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J. E. Schroeder

"The Road Alone" by J. E. Schroeder

SciFi/Fantasy text 4 out of 19 by J. E. Schroeder.      ←Previous - Next→
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Look! A poem without meter, rhyme and a quatrain format! It's so hard to break out of a pattern once you get into it, but I like this poem well enough to think that my little venture outside of my usual style was rewarding. Let me know what you think! Especially about punctuation, if you would. That's a new thing for my poems, too. Without meter, I used it to try to give some rhythm to the poem. I hope it worked ;)

Revision 5/19/2010 -- the house keeping continues with a subtle revision of this piece.  I've adjusted several images and lines which were a bit flat/cliched in the previous version, and hopefully the piece is smoother and stronger now.  Happy reading!

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←- Immortal Gift | Tragedy of Saren'tal -→

Why one walks the road alone
is for the one alone to say.

The lonely wind whispers,
passing in wails and sighs
across these fields which stretch beside me.
It is the only sound I hear
as the bleak horizon looms forever at the end of the road.

The gray sun pains these vacant eyes,
eyes deprived of hope, of love--
shrouded in the endless misery of despair.
The road is long, and cold--
so bitterly cold.
The intemperate misery of loneliness
has long since stilled this once-beating heart.

Destiny? Nay,
fate has guided me this far,
and each solemn footfall echoes my doom:
the eternal quest, the restless yearning
to fight, to lose myself in the glory
and thereby forget the pain that comes when the deed is done.
But the intervals are short, the pain brief--
those lonely miles are soon gone.
Then the fire burns again, warms my soul;
but, like everything, it too soon dies,
leaving me cold, alone again
to walk in search of nothingness.

If once I think to halt my steps,
to pause alongside the road, if just for a moment,
I hear their cries,
I see their tear-streaked faces:
the innocents,
those who I’ve given my life to protect,
for a hero cannot rest in idle peace--
a champion knows no reprieve,
not whilst the agony of the world is upon my shoulders,
my weary shoulders.

If I pause, they shall suffer.

If I falter, they shall die.What is one soul weighed against thousands?
The scale tips ever in their favor,
fixed until the end of days.

My lone companion, my shining blade,
listens keen and silent
to my wordless laments.
Its nicked face reflects my own grim countenance
and, clearly, I see myself:
a weathered hero who cannot break,
though he’d give his soul to rest;
one fated to be strong, and brave--
cursed with courage, doomed to glory.

I shall go on,

though I shall never meet that warm horizon
but linger forever
upon the ever-reaching path of honor,
cold, desperate,
yearning for battle’s gentle reprieve.

I shall walk the road alone
until I relinquish, silently, this life.


←- Immortal Gift | Tragedy of Saren'tal -→

29 Aug 200445 Alden
In celebration of the first comment, let's do the Chubby Checker "...Twist, again, like we did last summer.."

Wow!! It works. A poem without meter or rhyme. In this case it sets the mood for the hero perfectly. His thoughts appear to be narrowly focused on his plight, on his personal sacrifice. He is accepting, lamenting, "What is one soul weighed against thousands?"

"The lonely wind whispers,
Passing in wails and sighs
Through the empty corridors of my heart..."

He appears to be destined to a life of loneliness.

"The intemperate misery of loneliness
Has long since stilled this once-beating heart..."

He knows there is no "reprieve" from his duties for the sake of personal happiness. It really makes me glad I'm not a hero or a leader of nations. I find that I appreciate the simple life a little more now.

I love it! More, More, More!!

1 J. E. Schroeder replies: "See! You can do serious comments 12 What a well-written interpretation! Yes, it seems to me that it must be lonely being a hero and having the weight of humanity upon your shoulders. I'm glad I'm just a regular person, too. Being a hero just seems too hard! Anyways, thanks for the commentary and compliments!"
30 Aug 2004:-) K. Sinclaire
Beautifully written. You obviously don't need meter to direct your poems (sigh - some people get all the talent).

I think the punctuation you used provided an excellent rhythm to the piece. It flowed nicely and drew you into the hero's plight right away.

A melancholy tale, but insightful, and thought-provoking. Do we doom our exalted heroes to this end? Should we?

Very well done, indeed.

2 J. E. Schroeder replies: "Why, thank you! I'm glad to hear that the puncuation worked well enough. I hardly ever use it in my poetry, and it always scares me a little. And speaking of poetic talent, when do we get to see some of yours? Hmm? I'm still waiting on that promised piece, you know. Many thanks for the kind and intelligent commentary 2"
11 Sep 2004:-) Alice Muffin Girl Smith
~ Through the empty corridors of my heart < "the empty corridors of my heart" is a pretty common metaphor, I think... would you consider switching it out for something else? Considering this is just about the only unoriginal thing your poem has to offer, I'd love to see it pack its bags. ^_^
~ Though I shall never meet that warm horizon < 0_0 You break my heart, honey... that's such a sad line...

A bit melancholy for my tastes, but very well written. I can see why you're proud of this little puppy. *gives poem a bone, and a brief scratch behind the ears* *poem looks significantly happier* There, that's better. ^_^ Kudos on the unique perspective, by the way -hero's are often sung about, but their lot in life is usually left out of the piece. Too depressing, by-and-by, for happy-ending tales. ^_~

:-) J. E. Schroeder replies: "Don't you worry, it's packing its bags even now. I didn't even realize how unoriginal that was until you pointed it out... I tend to get cliched every now and then, so please do continue to pick such things out! As for the melancholy thing, I REALLY do need to get some more upbeat pieces on my shelf... I'll work on that. Every library needs a little sunshine 12

Even though our poor wanderer may not have his own happy ending, he has provided them for many others and that's good enough to keep him going. Silly unselfish heroes... 12 Maybe someone will save him someday...

Many thanks for the comment!"
13 Oct 200445 Rosewood
I like the sad poems and written pieces. I write the same way. I try to break the cliche of always having the good guy win. This poem of your reminds me of a sying on the wheel of time books by Robert Jordan. "Duty is as heavy as a mountian, death lighter than a feather"

:-) J. E. Schroeder replies: "You know, I've heard an awful lot about those books... Maybe I'll break down and read them one of these days! Anyways, I'm glad the melancholy tone of this piece suits your tastes. I've noticed that I tend to write a lot more easily and (I believe) dynamically when I deal with the darker side of life. I don't know why, but that's just how it goes! Don't question inspiration, I always say 12

So, do you have a shelf here at Elfwood? I'd be interested in checking out some of your work.

Oh, and as to that quote you mentioned, it certainly captures the sentiment of this piece very well. Thanks for commenting!"
14 Oct 200445 D Joelle Duran
Wow! *stares* This I really, REALLY liked. I love those sorts of melancholy things, and the lines "For a hero cannot rest in idle peace/A champion knows no reprieve" and those following remind me so much of one of my characters that it really carries a lot of punch for me. I love this poem!
Beautiful work--I'm glad you were willing to try something more unstructured and I'm delighted you posted this one. =)

:-) J. E. Schroeder replies: "Why, thank you! This piece was a challege for me, and it's nice to know that I can write successfully outside of my comfortable, happy metered structure. I'm very glad that you liked this one.

So, which character does it remind you of? Is he/she from a story you have posted? If so, said story might make a nice starting point for me to get into your work. I'll be over some time this weekend, so if there is something I should read first do let me know! Thanks again for the kind comment 2"
4 Dec 2004:-) B Layne
I wrote a poem about a wearied warrior traveling upon a long road... but yours is so much better! *sobs as tears of envy stream down face*

Your poetry is awesome! I'm so glad I've stumbled onto your site. I've read 4 or 5 so far, and I think I shall go read more! *skips off*

1 J. E. Schroeder replies: "I'm glad that you found it, too! It's nice to meet a fellow poetry enthusiast, as you seem to be. And I've now read the poem you mentioned, so don't sell yourself short! It's a great piece 2

Again, thanks for reading/commenting!"
14 Aug 200545 D Joelle Duran
I've been by this piece a few times of late, so I thought it only fair to let you know how much I loved it. It's my favorite poem on Wyvern's simply because it reminds me so much of some of my own characters.

My favorite stanza is the third from the last, 'If once I think to halt my steps,' because it reminds me so much of my beloved Defender. I just love coming over, reading that part again, and getting myself all choked up. It's so gloriously beautiful and sad, it's like you looked right inside his mind. The next stanza is precious too, it reminds me of where I'll leave the hero in my books (Geren) should I ever make it to the end of that long tale. Though I fear I'm not heartless enough to leave him so utterly alone as the final two lines state.

But wow *happy shudder* do I love this piece! I hope you don't mind that I saved it to my computer--I don't want to ever lose it should you take it down or Wyvern's close. I really should memorize my favorite bits. =)

22 J. E. Schroeder replies: "Did I really never reply to this wonderfully kind comment? Allow me to now officially recognize and appreciate the compliment! I'm glad that you like it, and that you can see a bit of your characters (whom I love) in it! I've yet to meet Geren, I think... You'll have to let me read some little section with him in it ^_~ Oh, and of course I don't mind that you saved it! I'm just happy that it has such meaning for you ^_^"
21 May 200645 Erica
That was an amazing poem! It told the story so elegently...you can really express so much with so little words. I’m impressed! I truly did love this one. It tells the real story of a hero’s mantle. Heavy, restraining. Whatever other stories may tell you a hero is not totally free! Wonderful work.

:-) J. E. Schroeder replies: "Thanks Erica! Glad you like the piece 1"
21 Sep 2008:-) Kaykamisch
I loved this:

"If once I think to halt my steps,
To pause alongside the road, if just for a moment,
I hear their cries -
I see their tear-streaked faces:
The innocents;"

...and the repetion with "my shoulders/My weary shoulders"

Those parts especially stuck out to me. In some ways it reminded me of a poem/song I wrote a long time ago, "Along the Way", but I think it’s just because it’s someone on a road alone...has nothing to do with anyone heroic, lol, just a lonely traveler...though they’re not really on a road at all in mine, it’s just a metaphor so...nevermind. 1 I liked this. ~K

:-) J. E. Schroeder replies: "You should post the song if it’s not copyrighted (hehe)--I’d love to read it 2 I’m glad you liked the poem, too--thanks for reading and commenting!"
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'The Road Alone':
 • Created by: :-) J. E. Schroeder
 • Copyright: ©J. E. Schroeder. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Fate, Hero, Journey, Quest
 • Categories: Fights, Duels, Battles, Warrior, Fighter, Mercenary, Knights, Paladins
 • Views: 1105

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Heartstone (part two)
Of Courage and Fire (4,5)
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Heartstone (part one)

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