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BARBARIAN

BARBARIAN, by Wade German: A smoke-laced sky is banner to our mirth And sends our god red incense to inhale: The sickly reek of sweat and blood-drenched earth From savage tides of slaughter — spilled entrails, Grim waves of flesh and feces, broken bone — And clouds of flies, aswarm on butchered meat, Are raising […]

YASHUB-GEB

YASHUB-GEB, by James Hutchings: Old Yashub-Geb fell out of space the last and greatest of his race. Deep doleful furrows framed his face — his stubborn strength was flagging. His scales were brass that once were gold; his baleful blood ran slow and cold. An ancient story nearly told was Yashub-Geb the dragon. His eyes, […]

THE BULL OF CONFLICT

THE BULL OF CONFLICT, by Lorna Smithers: I come from battle and conflict With a shield in my hand; Broken is the helmet By the pushing of spears. ‘Poem referring to Gwyddno and Gwyn ap Nudd’ – ‘Black Book of Carmarthen XXXIII.’ On an empty day automata drift Wending suit shapes through the mist. Touchless […]

THE SWORDSWOMAN

THE SWORDSWOMAN, by Jessica Salmonson: Sensing a weight of death and gloom observed by shades half-human, upon a steed that snorts at doom there rode the brave swordswoman. Her plume was white, her armor gleamed, the peasants watched her coming, hope brightened in their hearts and dreams: She rides! The brave swordswoman! Her sword was […]

SHADAKAR

SHADAKAR, by Barry King: Shadakar!  Shadakar!  Can you hear me? Your head, so heavy, so loose upon your neck. Shadakar!  Wake up! Ah, but the liquor has taken you away, Oh, Shadakar, Shadakar the mighty, whose weight of gold, whose thrice-heavy sword, whose swarm of spies, whose stolen life of luxury warms my bed. Time […]

ADVENT OF AN APOCALYPSE

ADVENT OF AN APOCALYPSE, by Bethany Powell: They are combing each other’s hair when the end comes. A raven’s poised to land in their linen standard and they do not jump when the horn sounds the finish. Instead, they make mazes of fierce braid and plait, or smooth out thin sheaves of gold hair, before […]

BURYING THE PLOUGHSHARE

BURYING THE PLOUGHSHARE, by Bethany Powell: Failure — wide open failure, scent of hot dust and sunrays on the green of weeds baking where they’re harvested all together, walling this plot. The dark king’s warfare has salted the ground. This is expected. Nothing is coming up but the most perverse of weeds, grasses hard enough […]

LEGEND

LEGEND, by Colleen Anderson: Decrepit rust, creaking scales weigh heavily on ancient bones. Burdens scar where past dreams shone. Cries beneath corroding teeth. Clanking nails on frozen mounds, unfurled wings now molder closed. Fancy flights ended long ago. Weary sighs in cataract eyes. Wispy smoke, old brimstone breath, memories of golden flames, gone — defiant […]

WILL SWORDS RISE UP

WILL SWORDS RISE UP, by J.R. Sparlin: Will swords rise up from the mists of time? Swords, knives, helms tossed into watery depths — at the end of the world will they be reforged? Mist rising in wisps, forming hilt and blade Swords of fire and earth rusted away, ages ago in lakes long vanished, […]

THE NORWEGIAN FARMER

THE NORWEGIAN FARMER, by Rob Mancebo: Down from the wilds of the mountains they ravaged, lawless men in a rough, screaming horde. In from his fields Sven Carlson came, and took up his shield, spear, and sword. All ‘round the district of Østfold they rampaged, daring any fool to resist. At the fjord bridge Sven […]

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