A Tale of Two Towers-Christine Ray & Eric Syrdal

Locked away in stone tower

rest of the world


becomes dim memory

time loses meaning

becomes shapeless



spent in solitude


only by whether

I read precious books

by sunlight

falling soft through windows

that no longer open

or dancing candle light


by this halflight

I read the words

of Tennyson

and his Lady of Shalott

in her lonely spire

whose shadow would fall

likewise across my

bitter landscape

but I’ve no magic mirror

to scry upon the world below

I search my embattled memory

to remember golden fields of rye

and green waves of grasses

against sapphire summer skies

here in this place

my color palette

is reduced

to the colors the melancholic

grey and brown


across flagstone and wall

and mortar in shades of ash


There was technicolor life once

music and dancing

intimate conversation

easy laughter

food delighted palate

wine danced on tongue

almost as sweetly

as your kiss

midnight words whispered

during stolen hours spent in

your strong, sure arms

before our fall

from grace

this lonely tower

this solitude

my self-chosen penance for loving recklessly

without reserve

without moderation


I could remove myself

no chains upon my arms

nor my feet

no bar upon the door

no lock

no elusive key that jingles upon

a jailer’s belt

forever taunting me

beyond the oaken boards

of the door

I have no sentence to fill

no judge has left me here

this is an oubliette

of my own making

I am the architect of this place

block by block

weathered and vine ridden

but this tower is high

and i’ve not the stomach for climbing

nor the strength

to smash the door

and descend the stair

by torchlight


Moonlight slants across the room

illuminates iron handle of

thick wooden door

as if beckoning me

from this empty bed

where I lie under snow white bedding

that has become both comfort

and shroud

But what awaits me outside this door?

Are these lonely hallways

full of ghosts

a hopeless maze

leading no where

or would they bring me

back to you?

Eric Syrdal is the  brave knight at My Sword and Shield


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