A Tale of Two Towers-Christine Ray & Eric Syrdal

Locked away in a 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 candlelight

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 nowhere
or would they bring me
back to you?

Eric Syrdal is the  brave knight at My Sword and Shield


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