Sunday, March 30, 2014

Watchtower Dreams

©  Steve King
All rights reserved

He would not think of death,
who stood the steady watch.

For the dark shapes
had slipped from the field,
campfires all decoys, they said:
no horse noise there,
bloodied bronze at last gone mute.

Dark emptiness as he gazed to sea:
a single entity,
the field and sky,
the great water;
a nothingness,
past the eye,
past touch and feel.

It guarded hope, that emptiness;
made light the fears,
as if to seal the well of enmity
from which the blood had run.

‘They are gone,’ he thought.


‘The sea take them.’

‘I fear the gods, extoll them all
from the shadowed depths to the great heights.
So let gods bicker as the least of us,
let them bedevil themselves as men,
but not ever here again.

‘I will have dawn,
the touch of my bride,
she of the perfume and infinite song,
she who smiles with a thousand eyes…’




A new poem for Imaginary Gardens…


  1. The sea is a beautiful metaphor but its dark might & emptiness can be terrifying, a death watch ~

    I like the inner conversation at the end with dawn as a bride , though it is full of sadness ~ Love your writing Steve ~

    Happy Monday ~

  2. Your poem puts me in mind of some of the best of World War 1 poetry - though your particular scenario is not clearly defined as a battlefield. There is the sense of loss or division from loved one and uncertainty too, of ever making it back home.

    1. Kerry,
      I had in mind a different war--perhaps the last moment of Troy. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.
      Steve K.

  3. There is beauty in the sadness of this poem....To look upon war and take the mind from death seems impossible, but we do it to preserve our sanity. Your poems speaks to me of watching my daughter fight disease and my efforts to not dwell on what could happen,

  4. I could not help but consider the passengers on and families of the missing Malaysian airliner. You give them voice.

  5. This is an amazing poem filled with sadness..the watch tower of dreams..I feel like this is a place somewhere in between light and dark, hope and and death.."I will have dawn"..we all desire dawn..

  6. The quiet triumph here on a field at night by the sea makes me believe in postmodernity--after the fall, after the gods, after the epics -- but it's never resolved, is it, Helen's never quite where we thought she'd be. Thank Heaven -- what else would we have to write about? A fine rein of meter and sound here.

  7. I love the timeless feel of this piece. Am somewhat left hanging in suspense by your last three lines. What does the man in the watchtower see? What causes pause and interrupts his observations? An excellent piece of writing, my friend!

  8. A timeless, mythical quality in this masterful write. Bravo, Steve! ~jackie~

  9. I feel a Trojan horse lurking or at least the surprise attack. Beautiful poem about the wish for peace, the wanting to trust, the campfire and the pipe dream. I especially like the phrasing of the first two lines where there is a little ambiguity as to who is keeping watch-- death or the guard! That beginning especially moving. And of course the enormity of the struggle-- the thought of his beloved. Manicddaily k.

  10. I like "campfires are decoys." This is kind of haunting and epic.