Haunt of Thieves: part two

Posted by ractrose on 3 Sep 2018 in Art, Poems
Oil painting cameo of hooded man




Haunt of Thieves

Part Two


A stranger to Gafeidda,

Bitter-hearted refugee who mistrusts this tale

And tells the Shepherd, “They are thieves, to be sure.

Friends of yours. You the dog and they the vultures;

theirs no sanctified nest, no god’s dwelling-place


Nor will you let me

Know your name

(your belief is told in practice; and your act is hid from sight)

Shepherd, I live by gleaning. I have no coin, no noble name

To bargain with, my labor alone; and what I fear

Is to be made prisoner

For they say the jailer likes his charges quiet,

And that he gives them nothing other men might


They say he offers crumbs for bait and once informed

Marks his man and plays him for his sport”

“Pride,” the Shepherd says, “is coin.

This is so. There are those who will break you for it;

count as gain the taking of it. Run! And where the path grows steep

And when the hound’s maw snatches at your feet

When you fall, and flail at a blackened shape

And find it not a root

For indeed, they’ve charred a sign on every stone

Severed hands of venturers and scattered bones

You hear them now, Gafeidda, the chattering crows

Nothing frightens them

They can be rousted only when the glowing coals

Come in a rain from the pinnacle

And your living hands and eyes

Will seem to the carrion bird akin

To those of dead men she has feasted on


Pride…Gafeidda, you will not die

To me, your thought is plain

Moments pass, not one can you afford to waste

And still you waver and would rather hear

All I have to tell

I tell no more than you have heard below

You may cross at any time

You may return to the forest

And hope to go unseen

Yet though I say to you, ‘This way is death,

And that way also’

You feel, concealed within this choice, a thread…a light

A way to life





Haunt of Thieves

Oil painting of soldier in kepi before dramatic rock formations

Haunt of Thieves (part three)













(2016, Stephanie Foster)




%d bloggers like this: