Poem: Facing Death

I’ve added more to my narrative poem. Please enjoy.

The addition:

Out of the billowing haze, they emerge,
their worn faces more befitting a dirge,
skeletal men, the animated dead.
Before their grisly presence the town fled.

They say not one word, or make any sound,
their silent steps seem not to touch the ground.
Like phantoms, their rotting bodies progress,
an image rising mists further impress.

Cloaked by this spilling of pale vapid air,
poured from the portal to death’s hungry lair,
these dead men’s numbers are thereby obscured
the count unknown of the dread un-interred.

The poem so far:

The prisoner, amid ghastly jailers,
walks with a head bent low by his failures.
He is a hub with heavy chains for spokes.
They rattle around his neck like a yoke.

Terminating each branch marches a guard.
Sometimes jerking his leash, one will retard
this dreary half-dead victor’s procession,
to ask the soldier a mocking question.

“You who fear not dying, what say you now?”
No answer comes, for silence is his vow,
save he drops his head lower at the taunt.
They parade onward after this grim flaunt.

In times now passed, under weight of chain mail
—weightier chains when compared on a scale—
leading the charge, he outpaced mounted hosts,
but now stands he rooted as if a post.

Taking no more steps, the soldier then halts,
and his own head he finally exalts.
A spectator he spies amid the throng.
His powerful eyes hold the other long.

He wishes to flee, this man in the crowd,
but the prisoner’s stare has him there cowed.
The eyes will speak, seeing the lips will not.
The bright spheres know by what means they were caught.

Those jailers, servants of their master’s will,
with a cruel savagery that would kill
lesser men than this conquered warrior,
transform this scene to something gorier.

Waving the chains they compress around him,
and begin, each one with a nasty grin,
to set the oscillating binding’s dip
to strike the man, and his mortal flesh whip.

The blows fall harder, the blows fall faster,
all falling in an attempt to master
the rising spirit of this their captive,
his undead will animate and active.

Thunderclouds above shake the lofty sky,
and the weeping heavens bleed from on high,
washing the fresh cuts clean of deep red blood
anointing the solider with a swift flood.

Weary, the prisoner drops to his knees
and breaking his hold, the traitor he frees.
The man in the crowd turns from the dread fray;
his back toward the captive, he walks away.

The head once more falls, bowed and defeated.
The chains still, their objective completed.
His damp black locks spill over his eyes,
rainwater mixing with the tears he cries.

Onward, to the city’s edge they parade,
coming before Death’s gate of bleached bones made.
Absent porters, yet creaking hinges sing,
opening the realm of the Demon King.

The doors part, silencing the mocking crowds.
Persists only soft drops of the rainclouds.
Their pitter-patter drumming surrounds all,
covering the scene in the bleakest pall.

The guards and captive stop before the gate,
steeling their resolve to face this grim fate.
Wispy tendrils of smoke obscure their path.
From these coiling tails echoes a laugh.

Out of the billowing haze, they emerge,
their worn faces more befitting a dirge,
skeletal men, the animated dead.
Before their grisly presence the town fled.

They say not one word, or make any sound,
their silent steps seem not to touch the ground.
Like phantoms, their rotting bodies progress,
an image rising mists further impress.

Cloaked by this spilling of pale vapid air,
poured from the portal to death’s hungry lair,
these dead men’s numbers are thereby obscured
the count unknown of the dread un-interred.

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