The Shell: Poems

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Depression Is a War

Between men and monsters
Men with white banners raised on a hill
Under a sky like a tower of glass
One hundred riding white horses
All armored in mail gold and glistening
Faces weathered from battles countless
Hair billowing silver out of helmets
Beneath them a valley covered by trees

Among the trees the monsters now creep
Out of shadows under the eaves
Where creatures stirred before the dawn
Now fleeing from snapping branches
Roots twisted into nooses as a black
Tide reeking of tar and ash oozes
Out from under the forest canopy

Behind the black flood they charge
One hundred ragged bodies
Covered in sores and rotten flesh
Faces like the faces of hounds and boars
Teeth like nails driven into flesh
Arms like the arms of starved men
Fingers like the talons of vultures
But eyes like the eyes of children

Wind from the cold north brings clouds
Tumbling like black blossoms across the sky
A tall man with hooded gray eyes
Blows a ram’s horn and they plunge
Each man into the valley, into the black
Tide of the forest that swallows them up

The monsters gnaw, and bite, and scratch
Carving deep wounds in the men
Wounds to match the scars they wear
Wounds that will fester until at last they
Will drain the strength of a man
Who bears them and leave him crippled


His armor bloodied and covered in the black
Tide that reaches out beyond the men
Beyond the forest and the valley
Beyond the hills where the men once rode
Devouring the world in its cold passion

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