Happy All Hallows' Eve Eve!
Yes, I know, it's not actually Hallowe'en, but Hallowe'en is tomorrow, I suppose it counts when it comes to sticking to a posting schedule.
Today's focus is my new poem (well, its second draft), a Hallowe'eny tale entitled Deceit of the Raven Witch.
I haven't completed a book since my last post, but I'm in the middle currently of The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson, creator of Dothraki, High Valyrian, and other conlangs (constructed languages). Seeing as my novel, Knotstone, will feature at minimum 2 conlangs, I felt it would be good to refresh on conlanging concepts and start work on them (Ndangi and Onoshoan). The book's really good, and definitely a recommended read if you're into that sort of stuff!
"Deceit of the Raven Witch" Video
Firstoff, I want to say, sorry in advance for all the copyright-y stuff in the video, but you can't be too careful :/
Also, sorry in advance for the poor quality and my ocassional slip up with a line. It's unedited 'cause I don't have time to edit it tonight!
But here you go:
If you'd rather read the poem for yourself, or see exactly what was written, please do!
"Deceit of the Raven Witch" Full Text
Deceit of the Raven Witch
by Byron López Ellington
“Stranger in the night, come nigh!”
This she whispereth when the moon was high.
‘Twas a white sphere floating softly,
Yet its shadows shan’t e’er be less lofty.
Her pure white skin hath the most abominable imperfections,
And her face was obscured by a witch’s hat which bore no reflections.
The little hair visible was dark as a raven’s coat,
Shiny, shimmering, blacker than a serial killer’s rote.
As well as this she bore a dress darker than the Black Sea,
Not as dark as her hair but nigh and nearly.
When hesitated did I to move,
Little did the woman approve.
Quoth the mysterious lady, “The end of all things awaits,
“So come along and face thy possible fates.”
Stubborn though I was at this late time of night,
The old hag with raven hair cast into me a fright,
And little choice did I possess
But to follow the woman with the pitch black dress.
Looking back, I see clearly my mistake;
If only to leave then my past self could I make.
Through the shadows I travelled with the hag,
Everything around me raising a red flag,
But lost I was in soul, body, and mind,
So that these warnings my senses could not find.
Trapped I was within my own elaborate web of deceit
That noticing my failure was slight cold against immense heat.
We walked and hiked for what felt like days,
But we never stopped, nor had any delays.
‘Twas only at twilight that any change was made:
Our lightless jaunt—it stopped and we stayed.
We stayed, rooted in that one spot, until the light was right,
And light enough to see her, but it seems it was to bright,
For in that very moment, when I would have had a glance,
Disappeareth completely she did and I never had the chance.
So I waited in that spot, ever still, all day and all evening,
Sickened of I and for myself grieving,
‘Til twilight cometh once more and the lady appeared.
Still she wore her same attire, and her I now so thoroughly feared.
And off we went in this pattern again for days on end,
Until we reached a resting place to which ourselves we could lend.
“This,” saith she, voice barely a whisper,
“Is the great Tower of Fables.” As she speaketh, her voice groweth crisper.
Continuing, quoth she “‘Tis the place we all come to die,
“And today thou shalt learn how if thy end is nigh.
“The Tower of Fables is a structure so mighty and old,”
She continued, “And yet its existence is a tale never told.
“Strongly standing over all worlds and all time,
“It tells of one’s life and death in only riddle and rhyme.”
Up the endless great steps we made our way,
The trip not bad nor good; not terrible nor gay.
We simply were, as everything around us was,
Walking endlessly like one fate-bound does.
At long last we reached the door,
Opened wide for all and more.
It was nothing unique, this entry,
But just beyond lay the land that was peaceful eternally.
Growing around us now was the greatest expanse,
A plain and forest of only animals and plants.
“This,” explaineth the withered one,
Who here groweth clean and greatly young,
“Is known simply as Eternity,
“The land of all maternity,
“Where the young can grow in safety and calm,
“And where the old can stay pure with the plentiful youth balm.”
‘Twas only in Eternity that I could clearly see
That the woman was not haggard, nor something from which to flee.
In the light of the land she was youthful,
And in the light of the land she was beautiful.
Lead me she did down a twisting trail,
At the end of which there sat a rainbow-feathered quail.
This quail cooeth, but understand it I could.
And it saith, “Thy fate lies in thy hands; do only what thee should.”
In this moment, to me this exquisite bird granted
The sensation, and only that, that I was enchanted.
Then away the quail fluttereth,
And beside me the woman muttereth.
But after only a moment’s wait,
She once more began her gait.
We walked for all eternity,
Through the land of all maternity.
Unlike the fear-ridden journey to the Tower,
This stroll was a morning flower,
Opening up to the marvelous daylight,
And not even once was there a fright.
Eventually we approached two great iron gates,
Which the woman labelleth the Gates of All Fates.
The brightest light poured through the bars,
Like a hundred thousand shimmering stars,
And yet I was not in pain,
And from the light I only felt gain.
Through the opening Gates we stepped,
And across a moat of light we lept,
Until my floating feet felt solid ground,
And I got the chance to look around.
We had landed in a forest grim,
Contrasting greatly, its light dim.
The green and brown were all too dark.
‘Twas silent as to make me hark,
Looking out for any subtle change of breeze,
My body and mind no longer at ease.
The lady’s skin grew disturbing once more,
Becoming more abominable than ever before.
“I wish to leave,” quoth I.
Saith the hag, “Oh, my…
“Believe do thee that I shall allow that?
“A failure once more, you stinking rat!.”
At these words she shrunk in size,
Hat and clothes no more, showing her beady, black eyes.
Becometh she a pitch black raven,
And I became a cowardly craven.
Her feathers had the hue of a nightmare,
Dark as her dress and dark as her hair.
The Raven Witch declareth with a foul croak,
“Careth not the Tower of Fables of thy fate, bloke.
“For thou possess only the one:
“Thou shalt run.”
And from the Raven Witch I ran,
Desperately considering a plan.
But the forest was too consumed by shadow,
And I hit a tree too hard for the raven not to easily follow,
And landeth she did upon my broken face to my dismay.
“Death,” quoth her, “comes to all but the Raven Witch and her prey.
“Now suffer in eternal nightmare, foolish man!
“Thou shalt be slaughtered like a lamb!
“I shall consume thy very being for all of time,
“And thou shalt be alive and feeling for my every rhyme!”
And there still I lie,
Hoping vainly that I shall die,
Whilst the Raven Witch consumes and lies,
A deceitful fowl that finds thee as she flies,
Circling the moon as she laughs with jolly,
Waiting for thee to show thy mortal folly.
This is my and my tale’s end,
So, my friend,
If thee ever see her, do not move a muscle, do not even twitch,
And never, never in all eternity, trust the Raven Witch.
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Sorry about that! You can check out my YouTube channel where I talk about reading, writing, and more up in the menu!