Memoria: A Fragment From The Book Of Wyvern

Leigh Blackmore


Strong anodyne and opiate I quaff
To lull me slowly from the waking world;
The air hangs heavy, hot and drugged, as through
The mires of consciousness my sluggish mind
Sinks, ennui-swamped, to finally repose
Within the easeful lands beyond the Earth
Where often I have sought to calm my soul.
Lethargic movements cease and drowsy brain
Revives as glittering motes of dreamdust dance
Before me, coalesce to mirror thought,
And Part, revealing lustrous marble walls
I knew before in lives long past. Behold
The city where aeons ago I dwelled,
And trained under the wizard's dark-eyed gaze
To reach the perfect peak of sorcery
In that forbidden quarter where alone
The seers and mages builded their basalt towers
And cast their potent horoscopes and spells.
I enter through the giant brazen gates
And stand within the vast courtyard alone,
Where once the chimes of sapphire-spired fanes
Were sweetly heard and merchants from far lands
Displayed exotic wares to vanished crowds.
Around me, ornate balconies are joined
By spiralling staircases and walkways
Whose balustrades and colonnades lead on
The eye to arches delicate and fine,
Resplendent domes and columned porticoes.
Tall, slender towers topped by minarets
Of coral rise from well-proportioned streets
Where polished statues of chalcedony
Stand gracefully amidst islets of green-
Trim lawns and fragrant gardens, zephyr-cooled,
Lie sleep 'neath the sun's vermilion rays;
Proud peacocks spread their tails with eyes
Like purple jewels, strut regally past
Young trees in lovely orchards by the road.
Ripe, softly glowing fruits profusely hang
Among the drooping branches; on the air
Float scents of blossom-laden cherry boughs.
I move past silver fountains spraying still
Their light polychromatic water-jets
And leave behind the sector's opulence
To travel swiftly by well-known wide streets
Unto the onyx-paved sorcerer's realm.


In youth, I first espied the darkling manse
Where dwelled the enchanter, he who reigned supreme,
And braved the dangers of its bounds to gain,
Through him, apprenticeship to evil gods;
Have dominion o'er all things natural
And occult by black art, and e'en command
That Source from which no man at last returns.
Beneath the carmine skies of this dread place,
I learned to raise the spirits of the dead
And take their secret knowledge;
From rune-written tomes of antique lore
My mentor taught me all those formulae
By which the brain of man, else feeble and infirm
Can be borne up
Against the ministrations of daemons
Which seek to overthrow magicians' power.
I conjured fiery angels and the rank
And file of Hell's hierarchy terrible;
Evoked (by rituals complex and reviled)
Great wheeling golden Phoenixes from out
The precincts of the sun; upon strange sands
I inscribed planet signs and summoned up
The lich who found the polished mirror bronze
Of sunken Poseidonis; I burned herbs
And incense from pure magic oils distilled
That necromantic servitors brought back
From Aegypt's shadowed tombs and temples dead;
And after years, did build an aedifice
Of porphyry and Edomite within
The sorcerers' domain to take my own
Share of the treasures of the world without.


Now am I there once more at fall of night,
And as I gaze upon remembered things -
The blasting-wand and brazier, deviced
With lions winged and serpents venom-fanged -
Music by Winter's frosty wind-glance blown
Beats airy fists on mirror panes nearby
And I peer out to see the sunless globes
Of thick, dark night give way to clear, cold skies.
Light-rings like blazing dragon-scaled eyes
Float there among the planets, each to each
Mist-dripping golden rain like running fire.
Deep-drowning hills whose snowy peaks uprise
From valleys rubbed like copper candlesticks
With moonshine; and ice-crystal clouds, illumed
By starry lanterns, snow the silent plain
With drifting flakes. Afar I hear a sound
Of footsteps manifold which nearer grows,
A muffled tread of iron gods below
And bronze monarchs striding past in the snow,
Making a file of sea swept helmet plumes.
Their crusted garments flow beneath full beards
And faces leprous-white with dire portent;
They clasp great volumes, antient, vellum-bound
And pentacles and rose-quartz chalices.
It is the assembled might of all the town,
Combined for some reason arcane, who march,
Phantoms whose ivory staffs leave silver trails
On tiled streets and glazed roads, past marish fields
Unto the water's edge and start to chant.
The rising song, the orison of power
And fearful malediction imminent
Now strikes a chord in distant memory -
Was known to me, but lies beyond my reach.
The scarlet-streaked sky pulsates with sound
Subliminal; a dull, low thudding beats
Upon my ears, assails my sense all.
Throbs, as of some heartbeat supernal, move
The heavens, (glowing with radiant amber light
Which issues from no natural heavenly source)
To violent turmoil. Veils of crimson cloud
Tear wild across the blazing welkin, fire
Outpours the rift in opal-flashing streams
Of dazzling brilliance which transform the lands
Beneath, throw emerald bolts on hill and vale,
Let flow prismatic floods on beryl seas,
Transmute the air to stained glass rare, and make
Aethereal gold o'erlie the moon's light side.
The iridescent landscape trembles, shakes;
The seas grow huge and hollow; massive waves
Of coruscating colours roar and pound
Upon the barren shore's wide sweep. The boom
Of surf and sky in unison with that
Arising from commanding sorcerers
Builds in intensity, cuts through the night
To hammer at the tower in which I stand.
The floor beneath me rocks; enclosing walls
Crack and the giant pane breaks - wind rushes in,
As does recall. I scream as knowledge comes
And I remember where I heard that chant;
The time I died before, as now I do,
Intruder in this realm. The world explodes.
Chill star-winds howl around me as I fall
Fear frozen into the thunderous abyss
Whose gape rends wide the vacuum's fulgent stuff,
The spatial plane, and full reveals the glint
Of galaxies beyond our solar orb;
Star-shattered panorama of dead worlds
Where dust and rock alone behold the course
Of other planets, stricken, reeling down
The corridors of empty space remote,
To grind, and slow, and float lifeless; or flare
In brief in brief vitality of death-throes huge
And inconceivable in scale and then
To drift away as primal cosmic dust...

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