The Last Titan

His great eyes looked out of the stone of the mountain, and they saw everything. Not just everything that was, but everything that ever had been.

He had seen the world when it was a barren place, a world of twisted rock and foaming seas, where ice clashed with fire, where the elements battled in unending enmity. He had fought, too. His battle scars were plain to see, his craggy face was scarred: ice flows, rain’s lashing, the hot, searing lava rushing across his flesh. But now he was old, and still. His ichor was growing dry, the veins now nothing more than veins of rock. Men came, they chiseled and tunneled, they tore ores from his belly and stole diamonds from his heart. They no longer feared his hails of boulders, no longer ran in terror, afraid that he would unfold his giant limbs and storm across their lands. They did not know that he watched them, that he could feel their hammers within himself.

The great titan looked out upon the world. All his fellows were gone, made one with the world. Still he waited. Still the eagles landed, made nests upon his rocky shoulders. His crown of snow was splendid in the sun, but none knew the majesty of his youth. He was growing into the mountain, growing mortal, soon to be dead and cold as stone. All he could do now was watch the world grow, watch the gods vanish one by one, and wait for the tides to rise, and dash him to pieces. Then he would be a titan no more: just another fallen king.
By RN
(Prompts: titan, recollection)

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Orpheus and the Nymph

Melia wound her way through the woods.

The forest floor was soft beneath her bare feet, the moss somewhat damp, and where she trod, the flowers bent their heads away in bashful admiration, sighing in her wake. Her skin was fragrant, the scent of dewy nectar on her lips, of honey sweetness in the folds of her hair. She glowed with the light of morning sun upon silken petals, and her skin was softer than the youngest blossom.

She could hear the sound of the lyre, and it raised a flush of joy to her cheeks. It was this sound that had woken her, as it did each morning, the soft notes, the gentle voice of Orpheus.

But today, the song was so sad. It pierced her heart with cold mourning, it was not a sweet song but a bitter lament. What could have struck the heart of noble Orpheus, so that his beautiful music could become so tainted and fraught with longing?

Melia ran, her feet barely touched the ground as she leapt, doe-like, over the mossy roots and banks of grass and bramble. Her silken gown, made of the cloth of spider’s silk and spring frost, fluttered behind her as she flew through the trees. Orpheus, Orpheus, she must bring him comfort, she must join in his song of sorrow…

She found him at the stream. He was bent over his lyre, his black hair cascading, wet with tears, his head bowed, his spirit shattered. Yet, his voice, and the unwavering fingers upon the strings, they did not waver.

“Orpheus!” Cried Melia, and here came the Dryades, weeping and wailing, peeping from behind the trees. Here were the Alseides, and the Aurae whispering, here came Nephele, watching from above, here were the Naiades, drowning in sadness…all the woodland wept, the mountains mourned. “Orpheus!” She cried again. “Why do you play this sorrowful song, why do you strike our hearts with sadness, why pluck your lyre to the tune of death and discord?”

“Because Euridice is dead.” He wept, his tuneful voice breaking like an over-tightened string. “Hades has her now, and music is gone from the world. This song is all that I can sing, the tune of tragedy.”

Melia was struck silent. Her hand flew to her mouth.

She had envied Euridice, as had every Nymph and half the gods…but she could not live without the music of Orpheus. It was her only joy.

“You must go to hades, Orpheus, and steal back the song of your life. For if your misery goes on, all joy will depart, and the Nymphs shall weep forever. Winter will fall upon the woods, and ice shall freeze our hearts as grief has frozen yours. Go, Orpheus! Bring back your beloved from the underworld, and we shall wait with voices ready to sing in praise of your triumphant return!”

Orpheus dried his tears. He swallowed his sadness, and slung his lyre over his shoulders.

“You are right, creature of beauty.” He declared. “I must go. Hades shall not have her.”

“But Orpheus, you must not look back, once you have found her. Look on to me, to all those who love you in this world. The land of the dead is not the place for you – it is here that you belong, in this grove, your sanctuary of music. Remember, Orpheus. Remember my face, remember to go forward…”
By RN
(Prompts: beam, enough, [nymphs painting])

Pan.

The sunbeams poured down in their decant eminence on to the valley below. Swathes of diaphanous colours fell and flowed amidst each other. I was not afforded the luxury of the sunlight. I sat, only in shadow, playing delicately on my pipes to fuel the sensuality of the scene beneath me. The fingers were curious the caressed and pried. A hand brushed a leg, a thigh, a little too high for my liking… and I was taken.  My lips pursed ever tighter and my fingers pulsated with frenzy. Below the garments flew; perfect pastels strewn and blending in to sultry, sickening flesh. And all was beige and writhing, clawing. My senses were agitated. I played on, rousing their limbs. Ecstasy and terror echoed around me threatening to drown my pipes so I played louder. Their unfolding was desire but their pleasure was consumption. Roots were clawed from their bedding and soon the harpies pooled in crimson. And then they were quiet my music echoed hauntingly in the silence. Oh, such a revelry, such a feast. It was the greatest I had orchestrated to date, but not the only. There had been so many pale frames pierced at my hand. There would be another tomorrow night, and another and another gain. Their music would escalate, their sighs would be endless but it would never be enough.

 

Prompts: Beam, enough, (picture)

A Whisper of Wonder

So these are the two sonnets Maura, Maria, James and Heather came up with. The prompts were ‘wonderful’, ‘hurt’, ‘whispers’ & ‘a tragic love story’. Since we were talking about Yeats earlier in the seminar, we went with the theme of fairies. When it’s finished it’ll be a wee sonnet cycle on the subject of a grove of fairies in the woods, and a young man who, tempted by the sweet music made by the small creatures, finds himself fatally enraptured by one of them. They work sooo much better when read aloud in unison, by the way. Kind of uncanny.

Sonnet I

On the top of the hill the fairies play
Around the flowers they frolic and dance
And beckoning you close, they whisper “stay.”
Unwary travellers may take a chance
Follow the fairies wherever they go
Along the beauty of some ancient tune,
With glittering notes the stars start to glow.
While the sprites soak up the light of the moon
The Seelie Queen sits in her flowered shrine;
Her gentle smile, her sweet benevolence
Her beauty, her love and her kindness shine.
You slowly move forward with hesitance.
What you thought you saw was purer than gold,
But deep in the shadows are stories untold.

Sonnet II

A tale passed down from each father to son,
A warning to all seduced by the call
Who blindly pursue what cannot be won–
The hearts of fairies in love will not fall.
One moonlit night a boy strays from the trail,
Drawn into the trees by enchanting sounds
He walks through and pulls back the willow veil.
Driven by desire he enters their bounds.
The fairest creature of alluring face
Came forth from darkness and ensnared his soul:
The maiden moves and sways with serene grace–
Stunning to see but her heart is a hole.
And now he will dance till the day he dies,
While fairies laugh as their song fills the skies.

Sonnet III

In the deepest, darkest depths of the wood
There is a place to which the fallen go
When their footsteps no longer walk the earth:
A sad and ancient place misunderstood.
Some say it bears the most famous of graves,
A shrine to the fallen sprung up among trees;
A holy space for errant knights and knaves—
Those who met love’s cruel fate among the leaves.
In winter sprites will lay down white roses
As they sing out the sorrows of snowdrops,
Wishing for spring when lovers bring posies
And lovely the sound of all those blood clots:
For what mortal male would stand but a chance
With fairies who spin in such fatal dance?

Sonnet IV

Across the sweeping valleys, fields, and hills
Where children imagine, run, and play
Mothers warned, play out in fields if you will
But never in the faerie woods do stray.
And though they knew to heed their mother’s word
When dancing lights glittered in the darkness
And sweet strains played as they had never heard
The children ran to the shadows’ caress.
Merrily they skipped in time to the charm
There was not one boy or girl left behind
And their parents searched for them in alarm
Though nought but small footprints were there to find.
So never in the faerie woods do stray
For they will happily snatch you away.