King of Chaos: Haunt of Thieves (poem)

Posted by ractrose on 19 Nov 2018 in Art, Poems




King of Chaos


The recruitment sheds are manned

Each by a bobbing puppet on a stick

Tittering in death’s head greasepaint

Shanty coffins banged at Gothic angles, these

Painted black, a bloated joke

A train scores the hill, a parade float

Straddled by some nameless King of Chaos

Loitered on, by back-leaning mockers, as the short lieutenant

As the wanderer recalls him

Why this lunatic was seething with it, professing faith

A twang of tautened muscles chirping, virulent in hate

Spectacle that it is, like a wedding’s trenchermen

Drawn in uniforms of velveted excuse-making

Mumbling, eating to obscenity, grinning falling drunk

Every soldier in this army kitted out for killing

Certain to be killed, but the camp is emptying


He wonders now, do I turn…ought I look

Does she follow there

And is the cripple my kinsman reborn

Her father also that priest of Aantahah

The Shepherd’s potent pillar of stone

Will he marry us, though she is old and foul in her way

And will this nuptial be the culmination

A sea of bodies, dragging over earthworks

Using the arms and legs that power them

Value in this sacrificial, this most literal spending of life

The tower men dusting their hands of a mess

Gafeidda will join his bride at last




King of Chaos

Oil painting of soldier in kepi before dramatic rock formations

Haunt of Thieves: part one











(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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