The Lost Knight

The Lost Knight

The Lost Knight stood and reared his mare.
One stood ahead with flaming hair.
He stood and gazed and could not care.
For his heart had not ever seen one so fair.

To the ground he leapt with feet so light,
Then fumbled forward with all his might.
And stumble he may he’d win the fight.
He’d reach her who made his heart take flight.

He dropped to kneel down at her feet,
A most humble gesture and heart’s retreat.
From one who made his heart fast beat,
And who’s scent tasted so candy sweet.

He kissed her hand in such a way.
Like he’d kissed it a thousand day.
He looked to her green eyes then did say.
I’ll Love You forever if I may.

She stood him up and did disclose,
That he’s the one that she has chose.
He picked for her a single rose,
Sat her down and wrote her prose.

© DJF

 

This piece was written long ago in university, with very little revision since. One of my most loved poems, it seems to strike a chord with others. Recently as 09/09/9, it was shared from my poetry IG @DJFpoet by @Myth.and.lore, who made some wonderful comments. Thanks for the love. – DJF

Magma Hurler – Poetry

Here’s some more adventure poetry from gaming sessions about the deaths of heroes. First, a little background, which you can scroll past if you just want to read the poems.

Back in 2007, I took a hand at dungeon master for some D&D 3e gaming, and while I don’t think I made the game excessively hard, there were some deaths of heroes. A new game master sometimes doesn’t know how to manage the difficulty or challenge rating. I didn’t fudge any dice roles, and even made crucial roles on the player side of the DM screen. It was pretty tense from what I remember, which is how the games should play out.

The players made some tactical errors that contributed to two deaths. Resting and healing before combat is always important, and ranged attackers staying back behind the meat shields, especially the less hardy wizard. Once a character falls, the balance is thrown off, and things can go downhill quickly. The following two gaming poems, similar to the Fall of Ormenth, are about the decline of two heroes against a magma hurler.

Smoking Ash – the Fall of Bob the Wizard

           Smoking Ash
With light aloft he held back darkness deep,
While his fellow heroes did clang and creep.
Using normal sand he made goblins sleep,
Casting spell to leave them piled in a heap.

In dungeons his voice echoed like a choir,
Weaving magic glamour, pitch getting higher.
Ahead loomed a monster of rock and fire,
Whose flaming spit, unknown, would be dire.

With heroic gusto Bob ran forth and cast,
Three flaring blue missiles to be his last.
Smoldering magma hurler strode forth fast,
And smote defenseless Bob with molten blast.

Paladin and warrior attacked with slash,
While swift arrows flew and maces crash.
When the lava monster fell with echoing smash,
All that remained of Bob was smoking ash.
- DJF

Fallen Komrade

           Fallen Komrade
He crept through shadow on feet so light,
Silent death shifting in the dark of night.
Deftly shooting accurately with his arrows,
Striking from shadows his foe he harrows.

Intricate chests unlocked and traps disarmed,
With skillful art he remained unharmed.
Plentiful skills, successful rogue for hire,
Not knowing his mortality would end in fire.

He witnessed the magma beast hurl molten blast,
Bob fell. He left sanctuary and darted in fast.
Hoping with assistance to save his fallen friend,
Not realizing such heroics could lead to his end.

He fired arrows deftly at the fire creatures head,
Not knowing after the next blow he would be dead.
The adventurers who survived the fight would say,
That Komrade Tusk had certainly earned his pay.
-DJF

Poetic Style

The first poem uses quatrains, groups of four lines, though I elected not to use the formal style of alternating rhyme scheme. While I tended to use relatively simple words for rhyming, it’s still challenging to arrange them with similar number of syllables and tell a decent story. The second poem uses couplets, pairs of rhymes, also grouped together in four lines, also with similar syllable count. I find you can get away with being a syllable off, maybe two. Any more than that and you lose the musical quality of the lyrics. For more information on rhyming types, schemes, and definitions, check out the great site Poetry Foundation.

Wrap up

In the end, it was a sad day for two players and their characters, and victory tasted bitter sweet for the survivors. Winning sometimes comes with a cost, and the cost of defeating the magma hurler was high. -DJF

The Fall of Ormenth

Most of the notes in the previous post about Critiquing Early Drafts of Poetry have been implemented. This version is clearer and easier to read. There’s a stronger sense of conflict and a few new details should make Ormenth’s loss more impactful. Without further ado, here is the revised version of The Fall of Ormenth.

           The Fall of Ormenth 
Through darkened hallways and trap-laid room,
Adventurers stumbled forth to face their doom.
A valorous battle they had waged upon
Night Queen’s forces through dusk and dawn
Around corrupt altar leered four crones
Guarding on each side, two beastmen drones,
A drow priestess cursed and led the charge
And drow knight attacked on lizard large.

Heroes slew beastmen with fearful haste
Sinister cacophany their ears then taste
Wands of power crackled energy across air
Spells laying waste to the crones all there
Ormenth Roth fought drow knight brave
But ferocious lizard would design his grave
When healing prayer cast at battle’s end
A fallen hero lay crushed and rend
- DJF

For more poetry, check out @DJFpoet, though the current content there is mostly romantic, there will be more adventure poems going up soon. And check back on the poetry page in the menu, where more poems will be going up here on the website. – DJF

Critiquing Early Drafts – Poetry

Also known as, Dissecting Ormenth Roth.

First Draft

One of the first adventure poems to go live on my Instagram @DJFpoet was an early draft of some verses thrown together after a roleplaying session. Originally, it was a quick attempt to make the character death sound heroic. For those who played, it provided a reasonable summation of the battle. See for yourself:

             The Fall of Ormenth 

Through darkened hallway, stair, and room
They stumbled forth to greet their doom
A valorous fight they waged upon
The forces of evil from dusk till dawn
Upon evil altar stood four crones
And in the room two of her drones,
A drow priestess of evil led their charge
And drow knight came on lizard large.

They downed the beast men with much haste
Of evil sounds their ears did taste
With wands of power they fell and stood
One held by evil, two by good
Ormenth Roth fought brave his foe
But ferocious lizard would be his woe
When a light was lit at battles end
A fallen hero lay still and rend
- DJF 04/16/07

While today, it doesn’t read terrible, there’s a lot of flaws: poor word choices, cliches, simple rhymes, and confusion that needs to be cleaned up. I’ll review those in detail below.

Adventure Dice
These polyhedrons save lives.

Revision Notes

Through darkened hallway, stair, and room – Lists are boring, and while this rhymes with the next line doom, it’s not creating much setting. Consider modifying to add a stronger sense of location, which is challenging in a few syllables.

They stumbled forth to greet their doom – Who are they? And why are they greeting doom? Replace the pronoun to give context into who they are, and find a better word for greet that creates atmosphere.

A valorous fight they waged upon – Fight is a generic, which often happens to word choice in a first draft. The brain will usually go to familiar words and cliche phrases. Next revision, spice up the combat more specially, even using hyperbole.

The forces of evil from dusk till dawn – While forces of evil is cliché, I can work with that trope, but the Tarintino reference needed to go. The idea that the fight lasted through the night needed to stay, and the rhyme was solid.

Upon evil altar stood four crones – The word Evil showed up five times in the middle of the poem. Definitely pulling on easy to access words when drafting. Changing evil out gave me a chance to set more mood. Also, the crones were not standing on an altar, they were around it, such as on a dais. Needed to tweak this so people didn’t envision four old women table dancing.

And in the room two of her drones – Drones in 2007 meant mindless slaves, servants, and such. Today it has a different meaning, and these were not robotic controlled, unmanned devices.

A drow priestess of evil led their charge – Seeing all the evil now? Well, they’re gone in the revised version, and while the next version is better, I’d have to fully reconstruct it to bring it to the next level.

And drow knight came on lizard large – Were are all the drow coming from? The scene wasn’t set very well from the beginning, something I’d remedy if I could remember the story better.

Next Time

And that’s the first eight lines, the first stanza. In the next post, I’ll present the revised poem. Without remembering the scope of what happened, it’s hard to clean up the middle and all the different antagonists. In future revisions, a clear understanding of the opposing forces is something to take into account when writing and revising new poems. -DJF

Adventure Poetry

In a recent post, I committed to write two poems a week, which is proving to be challenging while trying to produce quality material. In the near future, I’ll be posting some here.

I have poetry over on Instagram @DJFpoet, mostly a blend of romance and sensual works, with a few based on ideas, and some directly from people watching. My favourites are those written about and by the Lost Knight, a wandering warrior lost in love with the various women he’s met.

With my love for classic adventure stories, mythological and fantasy tales, and heroic battle yarns, it seems like a natural progression for my poems to morph into stories of heroes and monsters. Knights yet again, but a different side of that world.

I’ve written a few adventure poems in the past, based on gaming sessions. I’m cleaning these up (they need a lot of love), and will post a couple soon.

Revising poetry with an Old Fashioned cocktail

I also have some ideas for writing ongoing collection of poems telling individual stories but part of a longer saga. Knights versus demons in a world where the good guys lost the war a long time ago.

No immediate plans to try Skaldic or Eddaic form, iambic pentameter, or anything overly fancy, sometimes it’s hard enough just to tell a story in a few words and utilize figurative language.

With that, he set down the well-worn quill, 
And let his weary mind sit still...

DJF