The prompt given by the official NaPoWriMo site: a poem that resists closure by ending on a question.
A TALE OF TWO PERSONAE
Into woodlands hostile that thickened with gloom
Two rider on their mares black rode.
In deep twilight, when their seeking began
At gnarled roads crossing the men did meet.
Oh! Emon, whereto your mare’s trails set,
To what lofty endeavour upon your mind?
Inquired Marius, tugging his reigns dark.
A maiden fair at this labyrinth’s seam waits,
A treasured reward to those who labour ‘cross
And to win her grace, that enchanting smile
In mind, her form, through this grave terrain I toil.
But, say, why must you, dear old Marius,
Through highs and twisted quagmires penance,
Seeking what deeper gift for life do you wander
In this land for the dauntless whom with vision stride?
Marius, his head shook, his greying locks jiggling
No, Emon, no vision nor dauntless pursuits,
This shadowed haunt to search, has brought me.
A desire plain, though not as elusive as yours,
I’ve come, craving the delight of a fruit-
A fruit, exotic, that unfolds solely to him
Who, through the shallows of the woods travails.
But, be that as it may, this fruit in abundance
Though unfound in warm homelands, in these woods hang.
“Oh!” Exclaimed Emon, his proud chest swelling
Your quest, much minor to mine, I notice,
Why, barely could you brand yours a quest at all,
For only the woods outer hinges you must suffer
In search of that trifling reward that befits
Any, who, by small means their hearth forsake.
While mine own journey, more perilous stands
For, through the thickest of darkness I must crusade
Meditating a treasure unmade for lay merry men.
“Be that as it may,” simple Marius sighed,
“In our homely gains, your great relish we find,
We common men that dare not past the horizon.
Though wearisome pursuits my scope outlie
‘tis glorious that you, rewards richer seek.”
Agreed Emon, “Now hasten I must,
Time is of essence with leagues to traverse.”
With this, the twain, their own ways departed.
For fortnights thence, Emon, hunting sought,
Mad, under the meager moonlight, he fled,
Unminding his unease, seeking his muse.
His gift though, nowhere amidst the wild beasts lay.
In the end, all he met at his abstinence’s expanse
Were dead calls of silence from a lonely woodland.
Half a moon’s turn from the forest’s one end,
Once again, Marius on his own path held,
Emon, exhausted with his futile chase.
“Why, if that isn’t dear Emon!” he called.
Nodding, his tired mare to his friend, Emon lead.
“Take heart, Emon, gaunter you seem, and worn
Have you, your worthy aspirings yet quenched?”
Replied Emon “What hologram dreams that hover
In thin air; no path leading, no direction discerned?
The search, to nowhere had taken me, but despair.
But do tell me, have you, your fruit yet found?”
“Not yet, for these trails, much treacherous seem,
While hunger and thirst have pulled me down,
The drudgery of effort debases the prize,
The journey drab the destination distanced.”
Spoke Emon, “The perimeter of the woods
And it’s dismal heart, already I’ve searched.
The fortnights same betwixt us have fled,
But aplenty your fruits already I’ve found.
For, while at night in thrall of sleep you lay,
For miles long yet uncovered I have raced.
Now, leagues beyond your final haven
I’ve gone, though far from my own dream I stand.
“Be that as it may,” lay Marius shrugged.
“We common folks, our bread and slumber hold
More in preference than what may ahead lay.
That, our weakness be and the same our strength.”
“Ah, but such indulgence in the moment,
Only from you the future’s delight steals,
Your fruits by now, you sure must have found,
Had you, as hard as me, rode on tireless.”
So saying, shook his head in pity, Emon.
Once more, on their discreet paths they rode on,
Once more, striving to satiate their dreams
Till after long, under the moon once more,
The two, each other’s company regained.
By then, the depth and ends of woods Emon
Had traversed, seeking, tiring, again seeking.
All the ways arcane to woods he mastered,
A famed rider to all the wild beings.
Exotic treasures and cryptic arts learnt,
Effortlessly, in his higher search.
Yet, in the end, his lofty dream unfound,
His forest maid fair unseen, he withered.
At that point, then, Marius he met.
“Oh! Marius, is that you that yonder rides?
Stay awhile. So long, how have you been?
The fruit of your dreams, have you yet found?”
“I have indeed, the tree where it blossoms,
Though a fear has taken seize of me now,
For fortnights long, I’ve lingered to reach
My long life, in dreams of this I’ve spent.
And now that, ‘fore my eyes it hangs,
What next, in hopes of what would I work?”
“Well, why work at all, Marius when your reward
Ahead of you, so tempting, lies to seize?
Wallow in delight for your time has come.”
“Oh, delight true maybe, for my life small,
In ways small, itself has accomplished.
Yet fear too, for the prize, my deserving exceeds.”
“Be that as it may, how fares your pursuit?
Much have you grown in fame since we met last.
Though greater pursuits my scope outlie, ‘tis true
Small visions only to smaller feats lead
But lofty dreams like yours even unreached,
to bigger accomplishments entitle .
At you now I marvel, your achievements applaud.
Yet, why does jubilation from your face not
Scatter, like sigh through sadness relieved?
For far milestones, you have hitherto conquered
Much riches and experience rich you hold.”
“Well sure, so long a path have I conquered
But longer a distance to my lady yet.
A vision so far, to fade it has started
And hopelessness upon me slowly creeps
Nothing, now left to lead me further still.
So your dreams smaller stand so much bigger
For through thick and thin the hope guides unfading.”
This way, their fight, through the forest echoed-
If small dreams, easier won were greater
Than elusive ones that pushed it’s seeker.
All night in diatribe, speaking and dissenting,
Their journeys forgotten twixt the dark woods
Stranded they stood, in ponderous debate-
Small gratification or uncontended milestones?
The prompt from my writing group – Mycaptain : Life without sin/ sorrow
Wings unremitting flit across,
Time, in its folds, coyly enfolded.
Years have died since ceased the pain
And yet I stay undone-
To eternity a testimony.
Dear, for now I am a stone sculpt
That chiseled of sorrow incised deep,
My darkness to light of torment brought
And hewn out, till all that remained was fair.
When basked in brightness, easier men
When to an escape, fled the craven,
In penance my sins I beheld
The way my wars my darkness geld.
Dear, and now I am a stone sculpt
That chiseled of sorrow incised deep.
Now all the angst and filth dug out,
In deep caverns, beauty I bear.
Once, broken wings and fallen splendour
I dragged across to destiny’s door
And begged a stitch to mend my vigour
To prove I can’t be torn asunder.
And now dear, I am a stone sculpt
That chiseled of sorrow incised deep.
A tale of forbearance to rise
That ages thence, in time still lives.
To despair that tempered me I bow,
For void of grief how shallow I’d be.
For how could light in darkness’ absence,
And joy, in misery’s missing shine?
I am inviting you all to join me in this venture. You can use either or both the prompts, but make sure you tag me XD.
© 2019 Sahana Narendran