English poetry

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The adventures (from frederick and the enchantress – dance drama)

(i) introduction

his home in ruins
his parents gone
frederick seeks
to reclaim his throne

to the golden mountain
he sets his path
the enchantress listening
schemes with wrath

four desperate trials
which she takes from store
to silence frederick
for ever more

(ii) the mist

softly mist suppress all sight
swirling stealthily as night
slur the sureness of his steps
suffocate his sweetest hopes
swirling curling slip and slide
persuasively seduce his stride

from following its essential course
seal his senses at its source
bemuse the soil he stands upon
till power of choice has wholly gone
seething surreptitious veil
across the face of light prevail
against this taciturn and proud
insurgent – o smother him swift cloud

yet if you cannot steal his breath
thus snuffing him to hasty death
at least in your umbrageous mask
stifle his ambitious task
mystify his restless brain
sweep him swirl him home again

(iii) the bog

once more the muffling mists enclose
frederick in their vaporous throes
forcing him with unseeing sway
to veer from his intended way

back they push and back
make him fall
stumble catch
his foot become
emmired snatch
hopelessly at fog
no grip slip further back
into the sucking fingers of the bog
into the slush

squelching and splotch-
ing the marsh
gushes and gurgles
engulfing foot leg
chuckling suckles
the heaving thigh
the plush slugged waist
sucking still and still flushing
with suggestive slurp
plop slap
sluggishly upwards
unctuous lugubrious
soaking and enjoying
with spongy gestures
the swallowed wallowing
body – the succulence
of soft shoulder

but no
his desperate palm
struggling to forsake
the clutches of the swamp
finds one stark branch overhanging
to fix glad fingers to and out of the maw
of the murderous mud safely delivers him

(iv) the magic forest

safely – distorted joke
from bog to twisted forest
gnarled trees writhe and fork
asphixiated trunks – angular branches
hook claw throttle frederick in their creaking
jagged weird
knotted and misshapen
petrified maniacal
figures frantically contorted
grotesque eccentric in the moon-toothed
tug clutch struggle
with the haggard form
zigzag he staggers
awe-plagued giddy
near-garrotted mind-deranged
forcing his sagging limbs through the mangled danger

till almost beyond redemption beyond self-care
he once again survives to breathe free air

(v) the barrier of thorns

immediately a barrier of thorns
springs up to choke his track
thick brier evil bramble twitch
stick sharp needles in his skin
hag’s spite inflicts its bitter sting
frederick (provoked to attack
stung stabbed by jabbing spines
wincing with agony and grief) seeks to hack
a clear way through
picking swinging at
the spiky barricade inch by prickly inch
smarting with anger bristling with a thin
itch and tingling of success – acute
with aching glory the afflicted victim
of a witch’s pique frederick
frederick the king snips hews chops
rips slashes cracks cleaves rends pierces
pierces and shatters into pointless pieces
this mighty barrier of barbs – comes through at last
(belzivetta’s malignant magic smashed)
to freedom peace of mind and dreamless sleep

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Poem The adventures (from frederick and the enchantress – dance drama) - Rg Gregory