Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Throne of the Woodland King"

by Khawafl Liverpool, Rochester writer and art enthusiast
A poem inspired by Lowell Lunn's "Rustic Chair" featured in The Shoe Factory Art Co-op's November 2011 exhibit "Once Upon a Coffee Table: Fine Art Furnishings"

"Rustic Chair" by Lowell Lunn, photo by Khawalf Liverpool

the elderly possum paused
it’s head inclined at a purposeful angle
pointing to the caravan sized buttress
at the base of an ancient tree
it made a sort of guttural noise
a plea almost, had it had the gift of voice
then, right there at the human’s unshorn feet
it martyred itself
it’s eyes fading into oblivion wide and knowing
never closing
even as it hit the ground
he was here,
where he had asked to be brought
and perhaps even seen
for an audience
with the Woodland king
a brisk breeze shook him from his skin
waking decade’s worth of leaves
from their slumber of decay
to their new purpose of serving as communion clothing
that his foul fleshy form not offend
and raise rotting memories
of the misdeeds of men

so there he stood, nearly nude
the feel of this new skin
not quite yet sinking in
a scent of sage and rosemary
hung playfully on the very edge
of the wind’s wispy breath 
this place was alive
not only with living things
but with the earth’s essential essence itself
its sweet rustic musk bursting forth
from soil leaf bark and skin
there were no real life forms here
just things that happened to form
fleshed out of fantasy and alchemical lore
around the shiny gleam of Life’s core 
and yet there  he stood
dwarfed by the ornate runes
etched into the rough hewn door
a pact prepared by man staining his hands
a truce, or more correctly a plea
for some measure of leniency
a coin pressed firmly in palm
in hopes of staying the executioner’s hand 
the Sovereign’s words were wood
hard, straightforward spat
with smooth grain and splinter alike
and his inflections popped like knots would
in protest to a flame’s hungry lick and searing bite
  his displeasure clear, no matter the language barrier
they fell from his lips, snapping twigs and cracking bark
as faith and feeling drained
once again, from his heart
his pithy heart
once akin to spark and kindling
now a pit hearth of hard feelings and misgivings
and so
even without words that either truly understood
the crux of the proposed covenant was presented
and once again
man was found retreating in disgrace
from another bequeathed and bountiful world
that he had just laid waste
knees bent and face to the ground
as he couldn’t bear to stare
at the shame and disdain in the Sovereign’s face

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