Today, I started a poem in one frame of mind and ended it in another. That is to say, though each poem goes through stages and transitions, an actual personality (not entirely my own) came out of this poem. It started with a really gloomy outlook on the part of the narrator, who then in the next stanza more realistically (if fantastically) assessed his/her chances, and then, in the final stanza, accepted a status of lesser importance in the world as he/she came to genuine, if slightly self-pitying, self-realization. I hope that after you’ve read it, this poem will amuse you and touch you both, but if not, well, like my character, I tried. I also hope that the title adds a little to the humor.
Hard Luck The moat is so wide Between castle and fen The glen is inhabited By dangerous men The clouds are so baleful The groom is so sullen The horse has gone lame And the dark road is calling Whence are you, tall stranger Amid the stream's currents Are you for the long trial Of bitter endurance The sword's edge is dull, Which provokes evil laughter I don't want to go first But I cannot come after No, I can't go first And I shall not come after. At the peak of the mountain Stars twinkle and wander As if to say fair to The path we meander Long years have divided us From our lost country We've lived a long time With bare crusts in the pantry Where is our divining rod Lost in the brushes Now all we can fathom Are croaks in the rushes If nature spoke truly We'd have our reply But the storms boil forth In the furious sky Stars don't gleam for long In the hideous sky. Kind comrade, provocateur Fetch me a slip Of linden tree bough To attach to the hip Of this stump of a tree Where I want it to grow So that something remains of me After I go And the world may think well of A wrong-headed soul Who won barely the half But still longed for the whole The regions that call me Have hardly a name Yet gentler they be Than those of great fame And I must content me With gentler fame. ©Victoria Leigh Bennett, 1/9/17