In the autumn, two friends and I published an anthology of poems and stories, The Moving Dragons Write…. here are a few tasters:
Oppressed with foes on every side
Swords flash and ring on rival steel,
Pikes cross and clash in cruel intent.
The castle holds, but in great thrall;
As siege mounts, like an iron tide.
There is no way for loyal knights
To meet this danger to their King.
Need ties them to the western wing
Meeting the enemy thrust for thrust,
Opposing a threatened flanking move.
Suddenly they swing at our centre;
Knights and men break through.
Forced to meet this dreadful threat
We must commit our last reserves,
We advance my lord Bishops men.
But nothing can contain the breach.
Their eager forces press forward
As the bishops men falter and fall;
Till finally comes deep despair,
Our once impregnable castle falls.
In all this wreck and devastation,
Confounded by our circling foes,
We now enfold our once proud king.
We raise him high, then down,
Prostrate across the checker board.
© John Watts
Hamazasb and the Lost Shoe
Hamazasb… At night he leaves the carousel and with his friends he leaps to the skies and flies free among the clouds. He is not the fastest, he is not the strongest, but he is the most courageous! His shoes are shod in gold, his armour is lapis lazuli, studded with garnets, amethysts, topaz and tourmalines. His mane is dyed with woad and plaited with fibres of gold, his saddle is burnished copper.
Did he once lose a shoe? Did a gold nail catch against the canopy of the carousel as he flew into the night, did the shoe work loose and fall to earth, for some innocent child to pick up as a pretty thing? Who knows!
One dawn, as the first light of the not yet risen sun streaked the sky with the palest blue and apricot, the horses returned… except for Hamazasb…as he flew into the night a gold nail from his golden shoe caught against the canopy of the carousel. Anxious to fly into the clouds and near the stars he did not notice the shoe becoming loose, and when, glancing down he saw something falling in a shower of golden sparks, he thought it was a shooting star… it was his golden shoe, and without it he could not find his way back to the carousel.
Pangolin – his name means scaly ant-eater. He was teased about his beautiful enamel plaques on his criniere and croupiere and on his flanchard, and called ‘pangolin’, ant-eater… but he thought it a pretty name, and as the horse with the best sense of humour on the carousel, he adopted it, and bears it with pride.
Kakhaberi, his name is mysterious and comes from the East. He is the strongest of the horses, and the quietest; he is brave and fearless and loves his companions.
When Hamazasb did not return as the sun painted the land with light, Kakhaberi was anxious and uneasy; sometimes it had happened before that one of the horses had strayed too far, but this time, Kakhaberi felt something was wrong. Hamazasb was not foolish, or over-excitable, he would have returned, if he could… something was wrong…
© Lois Elsden
You might laugh me out of the text but I think is etymological discrimination. Just you check and see how many times little words like ‘the’ and ‘and’ get used compared to me. I understand the argument about conjunctions and articles being used a lot because they are essential to the smooth running of the prose but what about real meaning?
Now there is something that is vital to any exposition, have you seen what Elmore Leonard used to do to his novels? I never rated them myself and I think some of the readers who raved about them could be described as me; I mean, he never really even describes his characters properly and leaves out the bits that readers would skip anyway. That’s no good, novels are supposed to be hard work aren’t they?
I think my basic problem is that I was born as an adjective. Now, what is the essence of adjective? What is its function? The humans always boast ‘I think therefore I am’. The most an adjective can say is that ‘I describe therefore I am’. This means that my existence depends on someone using me to describe something or someone else. I have no independent existence, I always have to depend on a noun being available that I can apply myself to.
Don’t get me started on nouns. Do you know how arrogant they are? ‘I am therefore I am’, they always say, relishing their independent existence. And as for gerunds, they are even worse, seeing themselves as upmarket nouns, ‘we can do the job of both nouns and verbs,’ they boast, ‘I am and do therefore I am.’ Snobs, all of them.
Yes, I’m afraid I suffer from the adjective’s perennial problem, low esteem. I have been to see my Thesaurus, Dr Roget, but she wasn’t much help.
‘You should just accept your place in the lexicon and be happy with that,’ she said. ‘You have had a good life, I know you were in the Army, the Paras wasn’t it? That gave you a chance to travel and I believe Jonathan Swift wrote all about your adventures around the world.’
‘Yes, but even he spelt my name wrong. You’d think a man of the church would go to the trouble of getting that right wouldn’t you?
© Richard Kefford
If you want to find out more about the lost shoe, or ghost words, or to read more poems by John Watts, here is a link to our anthology, The Moving Dragons Write: