Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons & Poetry, Oh My!

Finally got around to publishing my book of poems, West of House, much of which is D&D related, such as this ekphrastic poem inspired by the late Keith Parkinson’s cover illustration for Gygax’s Temple of Elemental Evil supermodule:

The Temple

At last, the fog begins to thin.
The gates come into view:
Sundered a hundred years ago
By trespassers like you,
They hang ajar, their iron bars
Mangled and rusted through.

The grounds beyond are choked with weeds
From which gaunt trees strain up;
And the endless, drizzling rain has drowned
The earth in muddy cups.
No birdsong breaks the quiet here;
No beast disturbs the dusk.

Looming above this wretched garden,
Perched on a bloated mound,
The Temple like some massive vulture
Peers obscenely down.
But the wings that once spread fear are clipped
And closely folded now.

Half buried here, a broken helm
Is all your gaze unearths
To tell the tale of what befell
Both those who chose to serve
The Eye, and those who claimed they would —
Then bravely did — die first.

At your approach, the gargoyles part
Their mouths in silent screams,
And writhing forms of demons cast
In cunning bas relief
From every surface leer and lick
Their lips in lust and grief.

The doors stand open; darkness crowds
The space between. Wind moans
In broken stained glass windows where
Of old the candles shone.
The Temple beckons. Step inside
And rest your weary bones.

If you’re interested in reading more, it’s available for purchase here.  Also, a quick shout out to the folks over at the poetry journal The Literary Hatchet, where that poem was first published.

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