Wrapped in a mantle of silence
each pin-drop a trespass
each noise slain as uttered
Stillness, vigilantly undisturbed.

Bleach-boned buttresses lace fragile spires
A pastel rainbow shimmers
in faded colonnades, wanly lingering
Walls, translucent dreams of long-departed architects
endure beyond their terminal mortality
heavy with the weight of years
mute stones only.

Ice gardens unmelting
whitely glint an earthen frost
their crystal branches gravely stiff
memories of wing'ed songs
vanished to dust
leaving statues in a tomb.

Day turns, burns to ashen dusk
Night winds whisper an echo of dissolution
Thin voices sing lament in buried tongue
or hum as one with figments of a madman's ear
who, when searched for, disappear.
What wind is this in stillness?
What echoes dog the footsteps of a foolish wanderer?
Nothing... tangible.
Merely haunting.
Elusive flotsam drifting from the nether shore
Pallid refractions splintered
from lives surprised into death.

For lo, the city wakes, aglow
a rainbow bleached
colours leached to light, borrowed sun.
The shades bestir
and wraiths do commerce in the creeping dark
eyetricks argue with credulity
in heads of mortals far astray
parted from safe, plain houses
exchanging smugness for wonder
warmth for adventure
comfort for splendour
and finding sad disquiet unsought.

Spirits mourning the forever lost
babbling in whispers
tiptoeing in dreams of restless slumber
glistening in non-existent shadows
full-distilling melancholy.

Whirling stars and reeling minds
watch the turn of time until
dawn kisses the dark farewell.

Night glow pales to naught
ghostly murmurs melt away
Silence pounces once again -
resumes the vigil of the day.

-- Kathryn A

Note: This poem is dedicated to all the wonderful works of fantasy
I've read over the years, which were its rich soil; particularly those
by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Andre Norton, and Tanith Lee. Honourable
mention for Mary Gentle's "Golden Witchbreed" which, while not fantasy,
gave me some ideas. This poem remained untitled for years, because I
could never think of a title that fit without ruining it (pardon the