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The Knight and The Maiden


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#1 Alsatian before The Doors

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 08:45 AM

A knight who'd abandoned the crusading horde
Rode to the villiage to lay down his sword,
Twilight had fallen, the woods either side
Darkened the pathway this templar did ride.
Thru shadows converging he strained at the shape
Of a beautiful maiden bedecked in a cape,
As mists of the autumn drew faint to her waist
The gallant crusader towards her made haste.

"Excuse this incursion to so sweet repose,
Mine intent is not to upon thee impose,
But whyfore, fair maiden, dost thou solely roam
These desolate highways so far from thy home?"
The dark-hooded lady motioned with her hand
To woods steeply falling into shadowland,
The spectre of silence her gesture betrayed
Silenced the templar who beside her stayed.

At length when the moonlight encountered the mist
The lady from silence did gently desist,
With voice of a distant midsummmer night breeze
She lulled her companion straight back to his ease.
"Of thine incursion fear not that I fear,
The soul of the man is true that I'm near,
These desolate pathways by night-time I course,
Lead not to the villiage so many times worse."

Long after the villiage had passed out of sight
They entered a forest that swallowed all light,
Black as a nightmare as deep as the sky
Like a shadow cathedral towering high.
The templar had long since dismounted his steed
And carefully followed this dark lady's lead,
Deep in the woodland of things unseen preying
Kicking autumnal leaves not yet decaying.

When by the midnight they came to a glade
He vaguely there witnessed the homestead she'd made,
Trained of some low-lying branches entwined
A cabin still growing of elm was designed.
They circled the stairway that spiralled this tree
Right up to the cabin 'neath its canopy,
The lady with templar still closely in tow,
The steed keeping vigil in darkness below.

"Now I deliver thee safely from harm
I banish the fears that became mine alarm,
Lady, there was no more to mine intent
Than of this duty that hereby is spent."
Bowing forthrightly he turned to descend
The spiralling stairway that round the tree wend,
But the dark maiden by shadow consumed
Imploringly whispered her contact resumed.

"Only a man of a soul that were true
Would commit to practice such words as you do,
Rare thou art, stranger, whose acts correspond
To traverse this threshold and linger beyond."
Again melancholy this young lady bore
Strickened the templar once more as before,
That she should value so highly an act
He took for granted as matter of fact.

Lured by his sympathy hereby invoked
This figure of mystery hooded and cloaked
Over the threshold and into the chamber
Silently ushered the kind-hearted stranger.
By solit'ry candle she lit once within
The knight's very conscience that moment did swim,
For there on the walls of the chamber were cast
Candlelit excerpts of this lady's past.

Unto his psyche the images rushed
Of so many paintings she'd long ago brushed,
Skyscapes by season by dusk and by dawn
Crowning her landscapes each diff'rently worn.
Creatures of character she also caught
Some of them mischievous others in thought,
All by the foresthood sworn to survive
Expertly rendered and all but alive.

Then in this gallery living of elm
He finally sighted the lord of the realm,
Tall as a warhorse as broad as a shield
A mighty woodcutter of woodland and field.
Thru wolfish companions close by his side
Barely the frame of a little girl spied,
Stroking their fur with her small fingernails
Playing and laughing and tugging their tails.

More comprehending thru what he had seen
He turned to the figure that watched him serene,
Still in her candlelight's flickering haze
The hood veiled her features from his longing gaze.
"Who art thou, lady, that walketh alone
The benighted forest thou maketh thy home?
What of the woodcutter, what nameth he-
Are thou his child or the mother of she?

As to the templar she slowly advanced
The shadows around her did quicken and danced,
Seemingly solid of Nothing made real
Something of sorrow he almost could feel.
"William the Woodcutter, wolves for his friends,
Knew they'd been branded as means fit to ends,
Knew of the appetite that eats us inside
And of the enemy that in us resides....

..."He knew of the treachery that brought us the throne
And of the travesty of words wrote in stone,
He knew of the forests and rivers poisoned dead
And for this knowledge they cut off his head."
She turned to the canvas to reach out and touch
The beautiful kinship she longed for so much,
Whereby the shadow intent on their toll
Vaguely deserted her resurgent soul.

On lifting the painting she turned it around
And there on the flipside another was found,
The templar beside himself upon inspection
Gazed there upon his own canvass reflection.
A golden haired angel appeared to his right
A maiden unveiled in the candlelight bright,
Searing in beauty and ageless of face
The knight and the maiden in final embrace.   2006


#2 Next Little Girl

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 09:55 AM





#3 Next Little Girl

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 10:54 AM



#4 Next Little Girl

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 06:55 PM

Dear Alsatian,

I think I have read this poem twenty times since you showed it to me, so many months ago and to be honest, I think it just hit me, the subtle analogy here of the redemption of the man of war, makes me think of the battle waging for souls, and at the end of the battle, the laying down of the sword and entering into the light. The embrace of the Maiden being the enternal embrace of the pure light.

Before he finds his redemption, he must enter into this dark forest, which I could compare to the dark night of the soul, dark as a nightmare. It makes me wonder, must we cross this dark place ourselves before we reach redemption, this nightmare forest being a sort of purgatory? He dies, and is plunged into the darkness before he is lead toward the light.

This mysterious lady saw some redemptive qualities in this soldier, though his battles were long and hard fought, he had fought bravely and on the side of truth.

"Of thine incursion fear not that I fear,
The soul of the man is true that I'm near,




& William the Woodcutter

Knew of the appetite that eats us inside
And of the enemy that in us resides....



I am trying to figure out her gallery of elm though, I have to admit, this is quite advanced.


~Sheri

#5 Alsatian before The Doors

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 08:32 PM

...Thank you...


...In a forest like the edge of death, beyond the contesting ground of souls, The Maiden appears to guide, but also to decide, what may be the redemptive qualities in The Knight; and what may be the fate of his Eternal Soul, as the vapid, freezing mists roll -you may choose to view this as a tale of purgatory.  Her very presence is the test.

Beyond the veneers of chivalry and valour, to what lies inside... she sees in his abandonment of the crusading horde, a man who has laid down the sword because he has learned that the corruption and warping of the truth has brought avaricous wars. (In my mind he had let down his guard, to be struck down, straight to this forest of late autumn twilight, where The Maiden is found (but I never made this clear) I just thought I'd tell you -it's a secret).

She also has a story. And it is intertwined with that of The Woodcutter as it comes to relate to The Knight; and is infered from her paintings he finds at her dwelling in the midnight forest, one of which is the penultimate revelation, that she may be the child of The Woodcutter, and the other, the ultimate revelation of what may have been always destined. Three Fates converging, as the story unfolds, to something beautiful, but maybe also, terrible.  

Why terrible? Well, this was what I was trying for. There may also be a side to The Maiden that is dark, possibly preying on the chivalry of decent men; luring him through the forest to her domain where she takes her toll; perhaps for vengeance, or just to claim his virtue. Keep it in mind, it will return later in greater definition....
But in the first sense where The Knight has died, and perhaps does not know it, he finds himself in the twilight forest, and she delivers him, like an angel: testing his sincerity to glimpse the truth beyond his valour.

I wanted to depart from the traditional fairytale but still maintain a positive moral, by readdressing traditional notions of good and evil as they are held in the tradition fable, and exposing the hypocrisy masked corruption. I give the wolves their say; as they became the keepers of an Angel who would bring this Knight through the darkness to his salvation. The Woodcutter has died the champion of their cause; they are wilderness that is tamed, villified and fed to sprawling, avaricious Empire. The forest is no nightmare in this sense. The traditional fairytale is the perversion; projecting evil on their innocence to preserve an insidiuos reign. I sympathise with the wolves, and greatly distrust the magistrates.




#6 Next Little Girl

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 09:48 PM

The Woodcutter and Death






Hi Alsatian,


This poem is more than it appears to be at first glance, with it's deceptively simple rhyme scheme of couplets, the light rhythm of a fantasy tale, and it's straight-forward story, and yet it is anything but simple with it's dark theme of death, and the lingering question of what may happen to us after we leave this realm.

As apposed to the traditional theme of the hero coming to save the damsel in distress, our Knight's armor appears to have been tarnished by the blood spilled in the name of empirical furtherance, and the damsel in this case, seems to have come to deliver our fallen knight, but instead-- leads him through the realm of his unknown fate. Does she deliver him into darkness or into light? As we follow along with him, we begin to feel his all-too-human trepidation.

She appears to size him up along the road, to judge and to weigh his life's works, she seems in fact, to be entirely and wholly in charge of where his soul ultimately resides, and yet he follows obediently in death as in life. Do his chivalric and highly idealistic ways speak to redeem him from the crimes committed by his land and carried out at his hand? Or is the way he fought and lived merely the unjust guise to appeal to, and to mask the atrocities of his race? What redemptive quality does he truly possess?

Here's where a frightening idea comes into play for me: your spirit being lead through a wilderness upon your death, not knowing whether the person in whom you are following is a benevolent or a malevolent spirit. In the case of the fallen knight in your tale, she appears at first to be a dark, shadowy figure cloaked in black, and she is beckoning him to follow her through a dark forest, and subsequently, into his unknown afterlife.

I have heard of a man who had a near death experience, and who followed a man who appeared benevolent and angelic in appearance, only to find that he became hostile and demonic the further he followed him. Is this the frightening reality we must all face and overcome that fateful day when we pass over? Perhaps we not only face the tough decisions of virtue in this life, but may also have to continue our vigil to obtain virtue into the next life. The disturbing possibility you've posed here, is that we may never really know if our path is the right one, either in our lifetime or ultimately in our death. You've illustrated with this poem, the most basic of human fears: that of the unknown and of fate.

Now, there are a couple questions that for me, beg to be answered. What is the relationship here between this Valkyrie-like female and that of her father the woodcutter, and you give the impression that she is somehow bad, when I think she is more like the bringer of justice in this scenario. And lastly, I wonder at the ultimate fate of the knight. Does he then go on to be beheaded by the woodcutter? Can he die a second death? What of the idea of a second death, more grave than that of the first: the death of the soul?

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~Sheri





#7 mojosmoothy

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 07:56 AM

I dig the poem,dense and elaborate, plenty to think on.
Thanks

#8 Next Little Girl

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:55 AM

"Eckhart saw Hell too; he said: 'the only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you,' he said. 'They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.'"~From Jacob's Ladder (1990)


Which goes with what I was saying above about going through purgatory. Meister Eckhart's Hell, would really be purgatory according to my theological understanding, but I have also been taught that purgatory is exactly like Hell, except you never get out of Hell, while in purgatory, you are purified before entering heaven. In this case, the demons would really be angels, like your wolves, being the redeemers in your view. I also have the wolves as saviours in my poem The Maiden and the Unicorn, because my character, the maiden, also goes through a torment before she is united forever to the Unicorn, symbolic of Christ. Our poems are similar thoughts aren't they?

~Sheri Lynne

#9 Alsatian before The Doors

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 12:45 PM

Well, Sheri, perhaps I don't know myself upon what side she treads, though I have an incling towards the light, because her father is a martyr. But when she was portrayed darkly, I thought of her demonically.

Along the reasons you have described above, I was wondering about The Judgement of Souls; and supposing there is an Afterlife, what kind awaits us regarding the lives we choose to lead. The thing is, if Purgatory is the weighing of deeds, then the road through there could be uncertain, as the deeds and decision are being weighed and made (burning off our sins to see what's left, and all that). So, even if Purgatory can be hellish, ultimately we will receive what we deserve.

I thought what if this theological outlook underestimated the power of evil? What if evil was not just the price we pay for freedom, but more powerful than freedom, rendering what good choices we make for the good lives we lead, irrelevant? So, when The Maiden is dark, she is keeping and tormenting a good soul, like a demon Valkyrie, scouring the battlefield for good souls to take to hell.


#10 Alsatian before The Doors

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 07:23 PM

An Angel...



Or Demon
?


#11 Alsatian before The Doors

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 07:25 PM

If you see
The Angel
....then The Woodcutter will stand for The Father figure: for courage, integrity, sacrifice and honour. Therefore, if The Knight in The Maiden's eyes reflects The Woodcutter's paternal qualities, The Maiden shall deliver him, and will be his angel.


"Only a man of a soul that were true
Would commit to practice such words as you do,
Rare thou art, stranger, whose acts correspond
To traverse this threshold and linger beyond."

There is a parallel between The Knight abandoning the crusading horde and The Woodcutter recognising the treachery of The Laws and Law makers. I wanted to establish the independence and truth in and of the soul of the Knight, despite the avarice of The Church and its crusades. He recognises the hypocrisy, but dies a soldier nonetheless. His abandonment of the crusade is thus symbolic; a valediction.

The Woodcutter, however, dies for what he believes. He would be a conscientious objector more than the soldier upholding his duty. The nature of his sacrifice is more straightforward; he is a martyr.


"William the Woodcutter, wolves for his friends,
Knew they'd been branded as means fit to ends,
Knew of the appetite that eats us inside
And of the enemy that in us resides....

..."He knew of the treachery that brought us the throne
And of the travesty of words wrote in stone,
He knew of the forests and rivers poisoned dead
And for this knowledge they cut off his head."

I wanted to depict the destruction of the innocent and of those who would defend them; to challenge the fairytale and expose the corruption upon which so many societies are founded. By "societies" I would like to imply Nations too (for National myths often resemble fairytales). Thus here, the wolves are the innocent, but their villification is what desensitises us to their slaughter; in order to claim their habitat and to tame the wild, they are demonised and erradicated. I supposed the Knight to have understood as much about The Crusades; that the process is the mechanism of Empire. Nonetheless, this reading remains positive, with The Knight gaining acceptance and deliverance in The Maiden (whose symbolic role here coincides with that of The Valkyrie of Norse mythology, women who would deliver the bravest of fallen warriors to Valhaller).

Her acceptance of him, therefore, is his redemption. It may indeed be that she is the little girl of the paintings he finds in the candlit cabin of elm...



brought up by the woodcutter, protected by the wolves, and that everything has been moving towards the final revelation: that inevitably he would discover the portrait of himself in her angellic embrace signalling his final deliverance.

On lifting the painting she turned it around
And there on the flipside another was found,
The templar beside himself upon inspection
Gazed there upon his own canvass reflection.
A golden haired angel appeared to his right
A maiden unveiled in the candlelight bright,
Searing in beauty and ageless of face
The knight and the maiden in final embrace.

...a mirror, as much as a portrait, perhaps...



The Demon

.....makes its appearance as the true face of War. Not the myth-maker's Valkyrie of condolence and solace, but with the logic of morality twisted to hell, where demons stalk the battlefield in search of souls to keep. I thought, what if regardless of the goodness of a life, eternal damnation was a matter of chance? What if the Demons got there first?



QUOTE (Next Little Girl @ May 26 2009, 05:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Here's where a frightening idea comes into play for me: your spirit being lead through a wilderness upon your death, not knowing whether the person in whom you are following is a benevolent or a malevolent spirit. In the case of the fallen knight in your tale, she appears at first to be a dark, shadowy figure cloaked in black, and she is beckoning him to follow her through a dark forest, and subsequently, into his unknown afterlife.

QUOTE (Alsatian before The Doors @ May 27 2009, 08:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... what if [the] theological outlook underestimated the power of evil? What if evil was not just the price we pay for freedom, but more powerful than freedom, rendering what good choices we make for the good lives we lead, irrelevant? So, when The Maiden is dark, she is keeping and tormenting a good soul, like a demon Valkyrie, scouring the battlefield for good souls to take to hell.




When he glimpses that mirror and she is unveiled, which of the two faces of The Maiden does he see? I wanted her to be....





enigmatic.


#12 Guest_TheEarlofPan_*

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 05:11 AM

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