Sunday, July 21, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Elf Poems 8

8. Yr 19, 4th Age.

Let them say this of my people:
That under the direst of pressure they are still glorious.
Only the most desperate of straits
Would cause us to come together
And appoint a ruler.
To invest the power to command
To loose and bind, judge and order.

We have an Elf-Queen.
Her court is the wonder of the world
Mortals are dazed by the ornaments
The decorations, furniture, the costumes.
Not knowing that this is an encampment
Of a people in flight.
To immortals, the greatest treasures
Are the court’s members
The wisest councillors
The greatest artificers
The cleverest scholars
The most dangerous hunters
The subtlest spies
The most fearsome warriors,
Except, perhaps, for one.

They tell me I should see it
And go and pay homage.
These last years I was the strongest supporter
Of a monarch, to stand against Unbeing;
Of unity, to face the threat of non-existence.
I will not go and offer my service.
I have always served her and she knows it.
We will not meet again before world’s ending.

So the war ended but now it turns out things are worse than ever. Welcome to the last three poems, which I like to refer to as Disaster Story.

These are my elves, not anyone elses. They didn't have a queen (or king) previously because they are attuned to the magic and rhythms of the world. They get together, discuss things, watch for signs, make decisions by sitting in council for weeks or months (or years) until subtle signs make it clear to all what the answer must be.

At war, of course, formations of troops can't operate entirely by mutual agreement, so they appoint a leader for times when decisions must be made quickly. Now, in this final extremity, the entire nation is at war, so they appoint a queen. By sitting in council for eighteen years until everyone agrees that this is right and they have the correct candidate. Poem 93.
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