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Brian Buckley

"Castle of Black" by Brian Buckley

SciFi/Fantasy text 8 out of 40 by Brian Buckley.      ←Previous - Next→
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A short little poem about a very old subject.
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←- The Boy | The Silent Dark -→
A lad in the country was riding one day
When off in the south he espied far away
A castle so dark and so terribly tall
He scarce could believe he had seen it at all.
He ran to his mother to tell what he'd seen -
She gazed on him fearful and frightfully keen:
"My son, don't you think of that castle of black
For no one who's gone there has ever come back!"

The lad didn't listen (they so seldom do);
His heart was still whole and the world was yet new -
He went to the blacksmith demanding a sword -
A rusty old knife was all he could afford -
The scabbard was leather and weathered and gray.
But as he was leaving he heard the man say:
"My boy, don't you go to that castle of black
You must know that no one has ever come back!"

He saddled his mare and set off for the hills
The wind and his spine shaking madly with chills
For nothing could shake his voluminous soul:
His heart was still new and the world was yet whole.
Enraptured by vision and filled up with song
He came to the fortress obsidian-strong
And rode through the gates of the castle of black
Though knowing he likely would never come back.

Now west is the forest, and legends there grow
Of kobolds unseen who cavort in the snow
And east are the dragons, whose terrible fire
Fills children with terror and men with desire
Up north is the river with fog at its mouth
But none in the village will look to the south -
For south are the hills, and the castle of black
And no one who's gone there has ever come back!

←- The Boy | The Silent Dark -→

7 Dec 200545 Eric Rajaonarivelo
Seems like this is the first coment dance. Let it be some breakdance move ! However, your work is very well done. You really seem to master the skills, congratulations !

1 Brian Buckley replies: "Breakdancing comments, excellent! Thanks for your comment!"
9 Dec 2005:-) Jacqueline 'Jac' Tanner
hmmm i quite like this i must admit. The rhythem to the stanza's is strange as im so used to four lined rhythmic poems and you go outside the square in that idea. The idea is fantastic... a young boy who believes he can do anything... even go somwhere where no one has ever come back from before!
There are a few lines that sound a little off however and ill point them out as how i usually do...
This Line "He came to the fortress obsidian-strong" Obsidian strong... it sounds a little off.. i know what it means.. that its very strong and such but the use of that word doesnt seem to fit to me.
Also this line makes no sense to me at all
"Of kobolds unseen who cavort in the snow" But that might just be me.
Besides that this is a great poem with a unique and great rhythem and you have used some very strange but good techinques in writing it!

:-) Brian Buckley replies: "Thanks for your comment! "Obsidian-strong" is just another way of saying "as strong as obsidian" - it's somewhat ambiguous as to whether the adjective applies to the boy or the fortress, and that was intentional. As to the second line you mentioned, a kobold is a sort of imp-like creature."
9 Jan 2006:-) A.R. George
Aha, there -is- a new poem! I just wish you'd put up a few more than one at a time. Two, even? 12

To business, then - taking an old, predictable theme like this and making it not just readable but enjoyable really is great. I think it was the little quirks about the boy that made me invest an opinion on the fact he was going to die - snippets like '(they so seldom do)' and that whole demanding-a-sword-but-getting-a-knife couplet were wonderful touches. True, this may well be Boy #344502 going off to die stupidly and bravely somewhere, but I still felt sad when it came to it.

Enraptured by vision and filled up with song
He came to the fortress obsidian-strong

... was a magnificent couplet. Definitely my favourite. 'Filled up with song' is lovely enough on its own, but adding a phrase like 'obsidian-strong' just makes the whole thing for me. Great stuff.

Constructively I'm as bankrupt as ever 12, but something small about the 'voluminous soul' did distract me a little - "large or bulky" is the definition of 'voluminous' that I'm familiar with, and it's a word I normally associate with clothes (ie. voluminous cloaks, skirts, etc.). I suppose a soul could be large, of course, but it's that 'bulky' association that snags the odder side of my brain.

Anyway. Voluminous or not-so-voluminous, this was as effortless a display of meter as ever. I challenge you to fill up a whole ticket and post it next - five poems. Do you really want to refuse, and have people make chicken-noises at you ..?

1 Brian Buckley replies: "Hm, I can see the poor child now, in the market for a soul... "Please, sir, don't you have anything larger than a Size 2?" "Well, we've got this one here, but I'll warn you... it's pretty VOLUMINOUS. Maybe not meant for a kid your size." 1Thank you as always for your thoughtful comments, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm especially pleased that it had some meaning for you beyond just being Yet Another Sad Coming-of-Age Story. As for the couplets... I actually had Irish music going in my head when I wrote this thing, heh. Sort of like an old-style ballad. And once I had the first few lines, the rest just came out on its own.As to uploading More Stuff... well, as it says in my profile, I've been putting more and more of my poems on my DeviantArt page (because they're non-fantasy) so if you want to see what I've been working on lately, feel free to check it out... on the other hand, I don't want to abandon my Elfwood page, and I can't exactly have people making disrespectful chicken noises in my direction...So I'll see what I can do. ;-)"
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'Castle of Black':
 • Created by: :-) Brian Buckley
 • Copyright: ©Brian Buckley. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Black, Boy, Castle, Hills, Ride, South, Sword
 • Views: 1455

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