The Kraken (conclusion)

The final installment of the The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III.  To start from the beginning, click HERE!

kraken9
From The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood

 

XVI. Benediction

With Kraken gone, the fearful folk returned to ply the sea,

And safety made the legend pass, though inadvertently.

A town was founded near the place where Galen’s cottage stood.

Where once a barren coast had been, there grew a neighborhood.

 

So Galen’s fame was scarcely known, but heroes must be paid.

He used his bellows and his forge to work the blacksmith’s trade.

At times, he fashioned stranger things, though most did not know why,

And, with his arm around Celeste, would stare into the sky.

 

Their union prospered in its way for those who cared to see

That Galen and his winsome bride were blessed with progeny

Of fairest skin on stoutest limb and fire behind their eyes.

They raised them well and lovingly and taught them to be wise.

 

They taught them work and taught them play, made sure that they were fed,

And told them stories in the night, then tucked them into bed.

As seasons changed, they watched them grow till they were straight and tall,

By young desire distracted from the saddles on the wall.

 

And, one by one, they saw them leave, when they were fully grown,

To found new homes with spouses fair and children of their own.

There is a way, mad by design, a way that wisdom makes,

To set the young at liberty to make their own mistakes.

 

And, one by one or all at once, the children would return,

The cottage glowing in the night with candle wax to burn.

They laughed and ate. Some went outside to play or walk around,

No longer knowing what they paced had once been sacred ground.

 

Their father told his history repeatedly, and yet,

Through unfamiliarity, descendants will forget.

And so he hammered weaponry and saved it for the days

Another generation would embrace heroic ways.

 

Some undergo the humble change from ridicule to fear

As those once sheltered made aware of danger drawing near,

But some remember righteous thoughts, discovered in their youth,

Of better dreams and simpler ways that turn them to the truth.

 

In times of pride and apathy, depending on the year,

There well might come a moment when a Kraken will appear.

As some are lost or made aware, the cycle starts again

To test the motivations that direct the hearts of men.

 

Still, man and wife would spend their days in faith and blessedness,

Commend themselves to higher things, and frequently confess

That tribulation comes to teach the lessons all must learn

In preparation for the day the griffins will return.

To order The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood, click HERE.

The Kraken (#12)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XII. Departure

The morning came when all was done. No task the prophet gave,

Save breakfast, which he barely touched. His countenance was grave.

And Galen’s pulse was quickened then.. His chest began to heave.

He knew just by his master’s look that it was time to leave.

 

“The time has come, “the prophet said and took him by the arm.

“Be carefully attentive lest we come to major harm.

There is more than one aspect to this problem to be solved.

Tomorrow, when the sun is set, this part will be resolved.

 

“Of course,” he paused, “wear proper dress, and don this garment here.

Despite our plan, the Kraken’s speed might best you, and I fear

You’d meet your end within its coils if not for this disguise.

One dressed in white upon the ice stays hidden from its eyes.”

 

Then quickly Galen slipped the robe on top of what he wore

But asked, “However shall we go with no boat on the shore?”

His elder went to fetch the saddles hanging on the wall

And gathered spears. Then, with a rope, he tied and bundled all.

 

He said, “I know your heart is set on striking out by sea,

Yet, nonetheless, we shall proceed as safely as can be.

No vessel born of human hands can breach the Kraken’s lair.

No ship that plies the sea is safe, but these will take us there.”

 

And as he stepped outside the door and pointed overhead,

A flock of griffins landed, calling shrieks to raise the dead.

With eagle’s front and lion’s haunch, and terrible in shape,

Each one arrested Galen’s eyes and held his mouth agape.

 

The wise man held the saddles out in effort to explain.

“Be calm. You should be thankful for the speed that we will gain.

There are no reins. You use your arms to balance as you sit.

The saddles only they allow. Their beaks refuse the bit.”

 

Amid the whir and flutter of appendages, they sailed

In feathered flight. A mighty squad, through azure skies they trailed.

All through the night and into dawn, the expedition flew

To find a world of gray and white had entered into view,

 

A frozen sea encrusted with the ice of broken flows,

Pale, jagged blossoms grown from seeds the deadly tempest sows.

Calm water in an open space was ringed by icy crags,

Bare, lofty, snow blown pinnacles on which the north wind snags.

 

The griffins banked and steered their course to land near water’s edge

And skidded on the hoary frost to stop along a ledge.

“Unpack your spears,” the prophet said, “before it grows too late.”

He added with severity, “It’s here that we must wait.”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The Kraken (#8)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?) 

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones, III ( check it out at Pneumythology)

VIII. Their Just Desserts

The captain was a wicked man who took his crew to task.

He kept the cheer he’d shown ashore contained within his flask,

Capriciously applied the lash to undeserving backs,

And spurred his vessel on along its chosen ocean tracks.

 

They worked the shipping lanes to find their merchandise at sea.

The Orca was a brigand ship intent on piracy.

All profits were contested first then split among the ranks,

But none would be for proper trade or kept in proper banks.

 

The holds were bare upon this trip. No raid had been as yet.

Too late did Galen know his plight once caught up in their net.

Repenting of impatience, he maintained a solemn fast

And put up the appearance of a spotter in the mast.

 

Neglecting to cry out, he spied a distant ship or two

And let them pass. It was his luck no other shipmate knew.

One day he gave a signal. There was no approaching storm,

But dark beneath the surface moved an undulating form

 

Of massive size. In consequence, they sounded more alarms.

The hardest pirates feared their fates within the Kraken’s arms.

With sails drawn slack and cannon down, the boat began to drift.

Keen eyes were peeled upon the waves to see what shape might lift.

 

The watchmen at the bow first saw the dim, primeval sign.

Two giant, round, unblinking eyes stared upward through the brine.

Just then, cries sounded from the stern in warning of a trap,

Long tentacles in tight embrace that made the timbers snap.

 

In spreading, inky camouflage, the surface waves were oiled.

With serpentine appendages, the darkened waters boiled.

So as a sword but one third drawn and two thirds in the sheath,

The Kraken writhed above the waves with twice more underneath.

 

The shattered ship was sinking low. The Kraken held it fast

And killed the crew in minutes, save for Galen in the mast,

And as the hull was pulled below, the mast alone still stood,

A crucifix above the sea, scant shelter for the good.

 

The Kraken then released its grip once filled with evil men.

Seen from above, it seemed to grow, thus fed on mortal sin,

While Galen, from his tilting perch gaped at the floating mass,

For in a coil of tentacle, he saw his true love pass,

 

A deathly pale upon her face, once radiant by day.

Her comely corpse through many years had suffered no decay.

The hair that once the wind had swept by water now was combed.

Her captor pulled her out of sight as to the deep it homed.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#7)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones, III ( check it out at Pneumythology)

VII. The Wrong Lot

 

In some odd way, impassioned youth, so hungry and so lean,

Can concentrate on final goals and miss the steps between.

Romance and proud adventure holding sway in Galen’s head,

He dreamed of reputation made and wished the Kraken dead.

 

It seems he didn’t think it out but moved instinctively

And wandered toward the siren song emitting from the sea.

As from the hills and forests green his journey led him down,

He headed not to prophet’s house but toward a harbor town.

 

A dismal place it seemed to be, as day began to fade,

Since rumors of the Kraken had inhibited its trade.

One building there was gaily lit. It’s doors were open wide.

The tavern called invitingly, and Galen stepped inside.

 

With savings earned, he purchased ale and sat down on a bench.

The barmaid came by presently, a fair and strapping wench.

She said, “The coins within your purse will purchase what you please.”

She pointed to his empty mug. “I’ll fetch one more of these.”

 

“Yes, do that,” laughed a husky voice and then another two.

“This patron bears the look of one with better things to do.”

Then Galen, turning toward the voice that he might better know,

Saw laughing over hearty brew a dozen men or so.

 

The chief among their company held forth with rousing wit

While, motioning with roughened hand, he bade the young man sit.

Gray stubble grew upon his jaw. A scar was on his cheek.

A wily look was in his eye, and, oh, how he could speak!

 

By such approach, the blacksmith’s son was quickly taken in

And joined the conversation of those rugged sailing men.

He heard their tales and sang their songs. He laughed and carried on.

The drinking followed round on round. His money soon was gone.

 

The Kraken swam within his mind till, pricked by guilt and doubt

Along with curiosity, the novice blurted out,

“How would your ship defend itself in case of an attack?”

With humorous indignity, the captain answered back,

 

“My ship has ample cannon, powder stored upon its shelves

With cutlasses and pistols. We can take care of ourselves.”

And Galen, in his addled state forgetting what he knew,

Grinned as the room began to spin and said, “Your ship will do.”

 

He next awoke by light of day upon a rolling deck,

With swollen tongue, unfocused eyes, and stiffness in his neck.

A harsher voice than he had heard the merry night before

Yelled, “On your feet, and get to work! Do what we pay you for!”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#6)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?) 

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

VI. The Apprenticeship

The night was spent with further conversation, food, and sleep.

When morning came, the boy set out with promises to keep.

His friend called out a proverb, enigmatic in its way,

“Expected change will surely come when night turns into day,

 

“And though you think this tragedy as bad as it can get,

If you will hearken to me, you will come by comfort yet

To know the situation isn’t what it seems to be.

The Kraken can obscure, but never feed on, purity.”

 

As Galen walked back toward his home along the stony beach,

Though none appeared, he thought he heard a flock of eagles screech

A cry unbound by space and time, its timbre sharp and shrill,

Much like a trumpet’s battle call when sounded from a hill.

 

He turned to face the rising land, his back against the tide.

His winding path led through the hills and to his father’s side.

The good man chuckled at the news delivered by his son

That, of the trades he might have tried, he’d settled on this one.

 

Not knowing whether such a choice was by the boy’s device,

He said, “We’ll both give this a try, but start with this advice.

Though I don’t know the final goal on which your hopes are set,

Be durable and sure of hand. You’ll make a blacksmith yet.”

 

Comparing to his father’s build, his own was rather small,

But, owing to inheritance, he’d grow both broad and tall.

For seven years, he labored hard to learn his father’s trade,

And, with the passing of each one, the prophet’s words would fade.

 

By rambling thoughts of gallantry was Galen much amused.

About the daily sweat and toil he seemed much less enthused.

One day, while working at the forge, his father’s arms went slack.

He turned and spoke these solemn words while straightening his back,

 

“My son, you’ve grown and served me well. Regardless of your plan,

The time has come to make your way. Go forth. You are a man.”

He paid his wages, hugged his neck, but neither of them knew

That, once the son was gone, the father’s life would soon be through.

 

The end would come while Galen was constrained upon a ship,

Commissioned by mistaken choice, a nearly fatal slip.

With freedom gained and body strong, it’s typical that he

Forgot the prophet’s sayings of what he was meant to be.

 

A little truth can lead astray such youthful confidence.

He still retained his childish zeal but wanted common sense.

His pockets full of silver coins, away from home he turned,

From father’s trade and prophet’s way, from skills and lessons learned.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#5)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

V.  The Prophet’s Home

Far up the coast, a cottage stood, white-walled beneath the sun,

And though the boy did not know why, he broke into a run.

Some hidden force had drawn him forth and drew him faster still.

He moved by sense of atmosphere as children often will.

 

He slowed his pace once he approached that house along the shore,

Stopped, then, proceeding cautiously, peered through the open door.

This place was curious, he thought, to see the sum of it,

A dwelling marked by common things, but some things didn’t fit.

 

A garden uphill from the surf provided meager fare,

And flocks of sea gulls combed the rocks and drifted in the air.

The domicile had hearth and bed but neither trough nor stall,

Nor any horse for miles around, yet saddles on the wall.

 

Beside the hearth, an old man sat, his eyes reflecting flame,

And since the boy had stared awhile, looked up and did the same.

A studied look was on his brow. In thought, he stroked his beard.

At length, when he addressed his guest, his countenance was cheered.

 

“Please state your name. Your face is strange. Your look I think I know.”

“My name is Galen,” he replied. “I know not where to go

Or what to do. Since days ago, my heart with grief is torn,

An empty ache within my chest, not felt since I was born.

 

“My eyes still redden with the tears, distraught by what they saw.”

He next relayed the incident in trembling and in awe.

The old man listened carefully, then once the lad was through,

He nodded contemplatively and smiled as if he knew.

 

“I lead a life of solitude. I wait on man and God,

Complaining not and wanting not, nor should I find it odd

That, of the great men of the earth, a lad should come to me.

Come in. Find solace by my fire, and learn the prophecy.

 

“This curse from undersea proves such a complicated test.

A simple and courageous mind will learn to solve it best.

With love denied, yet naught to lose, and fierceness in his heart,

A boy will grow into a man to learn the sacred art.

 

“All tangled problems must trace back through branches to their source.

Their tentacles join but one head. There concentrate your force.

Then morbid love revives again beneath the warming sun.

Make strong your arms, and count the cost to be the chosen one.

 

“Tomorrow, homeward make your way. Obey your father’s will.

Despise no task. Explore each path that finds your feet until

You come to me by his own leave with arms and pockets full

That I might try the character abiding in your skull.”

 TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#4)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

IV. The Grip Of Grief

Behold, the human spirit rises up from unseen wells.

The ghost inhabits its machine in ways that no one tells.

Considering such questions as philosophy might ask,

Let readers weigh priorities and take themselves to task.

 

Does grief arise from selfishness or sympathetic care,

Or could it be a bit of both for those of us who dare

To suffer disappointments in the light of higher ways

And hold to hidden principles that common life betrays?

 

The insincere may speculate, but wiser men have known

By heating in the crucible are human values shown.

Do any know how they would act or speak when put to test?

Upon what final consequence will actions come to rest?

 

As into deep obscurity the Kraken left its wake,

The boy upon the cliff still watched. His knees began to shake.

His face was pale. His trembling hands clenched tightly into fists,

Responding to the rage and pain that suffering enlists.

 

He cried out incoherently, and many tears were shed.

He fell to earth and beat the rocks until his knuckles bled.

Though scarcely would he recollect just how his flight began,

It seems he did what he could do. Directionless, he ran

 

Along the coast and shouted curses muffled by the wind

From time to time, he looked about in hopes the sea might send

Her back to him, that woman whom his heart was set upon,

But sunset came with no relief. Then likewise came the dawn.

 

Upon awaking stiffly from that long and fitful night,

He raised his eyes to heaven, and he vowed to put things right.

With conscience and with memory the maiden’s cry had play.

In heart this stricken lad became a man at sea that day.

 

He charged among the breakers then, undisciplined and rash,

And, seized by pangs of hunger, looked for shellfish he could smash.

In vain he begged the ocean to make right what had been wronged.

By stubborn pride and strength of will, his journey was prolonged.

 

He slept above the rising tides and fed on what he could,

Then, through the nights, to warm himself, made fires from drifted wood.

He roamed one day, suspecting not that well beyond a bend

Stood something that would bring his lonely vigil to an end.

 

Beyond this promontory, he, by fate or providence

(No honest man could then have said for want of evidence),

Would cease his restless wanderings and stop to stare instead,

His scattered thoughts arrested by the sight he saw ahead.

  TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

The Kraken (#3)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

 

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

III. The Maiden By The Sea

Embodied now in flesh and blood, the lovely sight excelled

His prior expectations and opinions that he held.

His eyes had never looked upon or even understood

Such lithe and graceful comeliness, such perfect womanhood.

 

Her features bore the radiance of clearest northern skies

With hints of sunrise in her hair and sea mist in her eyes.

Cold winds had neither blown upon a form so pure and fair

Nor sung so strange a melody as played within her hair.

 

With nimble steps, she walked the shore, an enigmatic sign,

A creature so impossible to label or define.

Was she a common villager, one born of humble stock,

Or manifest divinity with secrets to unlock?

 

Such questioning consumed his thoughts. Her presence moved him so.

Her look reflected mysteries impossible to know.

Some sort of understanding passed from woman back to boy.

His reason searched for older words his ardor might employ.

 

The silence grew unbearable. The tension left him weak.

The maiden looked with furrowed brow as if prepared to speak,

But her expression then went blank. A faint smile crossed her lips.

She looked down contemplatively, her hands upon her hips.

 

Her suitor took a timid step, as awkward as could be,

And she, in turn, moved back a bit, although reluctantly.

So then he stopped, and so did she. This funny circumstance

Proceeded back and forth awhile, a cautionary dance.

 

Her gentle shoulders shrugged a little every now and then

She smiled at him and looked away, but soon looked back again.

He sensed her recognition then and loved her more because,

This lady had accepted him despite how young he was.

 

Still glancing back, she turned away, still silent as before,

To wander several feet from him, now drawn by ocean’s roar.

Upon a rocky point she stood, ten feet above the waves.

The white caps peaked like headstones marking long-forgotten graves.

 

Not far offshore, but twenty yards, the sea began to foam.

Then, instantly, a web of flesh broke surface like a dome.

Dark tentacles, like living whips, shot forward with a crack,

Enclosed the maiden in their coils, and quickly drew her back.

 

Her fading cry to no avail, she flew away from shore.

The moment lasted but a breath and not a second more.

She disappeared beneath the waves while, running to the bluff,

The only witness was this boy whose best was not enough.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)

THE KRAKEN #1

quillEpic poetry, once a valued art form, has seemingly fallen upon hard times.  When was the last time you heard someone, anyone, extol the likes of Evangeline (I know I’ve never read it, but it was one of my mom’s faves), or The Aeneid (I did read that one, and maybe ingested about 70%).  I think of story poems as the opera of the written word: beautifully done, and woefully under-appreciated. 

So for the next several Thursdays in the “Not My Poetry” category, I’m introducing a new, soon-to-be published epic poem in short installments..  The author, Robert L. Jones III (of the blogsite, Pneumythology), playfully describes the writing style as “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner meets Dr. Seuss”, and if you know his site at all, inside of this grown man is a little boy who still loves big scary monsters.

And so, blogging world, I give you—

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones III (check it out at Pneumythology)

I. Invocation

The legend hails from northern seas, a tale that few know well,

Where faith and fear blow freely on the gray and changing swell.

Mark well the drift of this account, and come to understand

That humble and heroic things go often hand in hand.

 

Great beauty can arise somehow from ugly circumstance

Till on the heaps of tragedy brave men and angels dance

And find the grace to pause and hear the song that heaven sings,

The offered  joy of common folk, philosophers, and kings.

 

A struggle of the soul that found occasion to express

Its failure and its victory through physical duress,

This tale begins within the depths of ignorant despair

Wherein a monster threatened all who breathed the ocean air.

 

Reports would come to colder ports and spread from place to place

That ships on northern routes had disappeared without a trace.

Alleged survivors’ recollections met with mirth and scorn.

Some said from superstition’s womb the Kraken had been born.

 

The rumors flourished in the minds of those disposed to think

A pair of cold, unearthly eyes observed them from the drink,

And arguments flew back and forth till from a harbor town

Some citizens and seamen saw a merchant ship go down

 

In tangled mass of tentacles and blackened, churning foam,

A masted vessel splintered but a quarter mile from home.

The wreckage drifted in for nights and littered many days,

But not a man clung to the boards that floated in the haze.

 

From then, it seemed that none would dare to walk along the shore.

The legend grew from mouth to mouth in neighborhood and store.

In taverns next to many docks where ships would come and leave,

Men gathered over food and ale to listen and believe.

 

How thoughtfully they chewed their meals, digesting tale on tale.

Such sessions often went till dawn, when, filled with too much ale,

Some stouter men drew courage from within the barrel staves

And so resolved to cast their lots upon the open waves.

 

To gamble thus and play the odds such manly pride knows well.

Courageously misguided steps lead often into Hell.

Some sailed and lived. Some sailed and died, not knowing what it cost.

Some owners of their ships retired with fortunes made or lost.

 

Within the course of daily life, where time can break or mend,

On this delayed trajectory, who knows how it will end?

In times of choice and consequence, but few had thought it through,

And as their lives passed slowly by, the Kraken fed and grew.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY!!