Mani Calls the Elfin Boy
Boy! O child! O child wind-whipped hair in forlorn night, O boy! Sweet boy, O elfin youth, how silver-sheen your eyes, like mine! Yes, me, here up above! Hollow sounds my voice? I think in ivory on the wind, in pewter tones the moonbeam’s strings beharp into the lonely air below! With smooth and honeyed wine matured in months and months of ticking moon, with sliver sickle-turning tusk to fullest pearl, I lunar serenade, and sing the soft of evening’s glow to down below, the sleeping creatures! Yet seen you once, I’ve seen you twice, for second sight was gift of mine from long ago the crone and keeper of the hollow cavern’s well! For I have strolled and sailed the black-bay silent seas below, and know, O friend, a thing or two, a secret, something craved by you ...
You seek the up-above, a maiden spider-dew embroidered veil, with crepe-enpetalled blooms a crown atop her flaxen mane! But down-below, O child, you must go, for closing eyes of mine, I see through yours, what salt has burned upon your iris, knots and tangles thick within her amber, flowing locks, and these cannot be cut without a sharpened edge, without a sword so swift and subtle, wool thrown on the waves, and wandered towards its blade would cleave the yarny threads between! For one whose grain of headlands is a’knotted cannot love, nor see, but pine away in tangled dreams! And how to cut those knots, let loose the griping tangles, lest a sweeping swish of subtle fire-from-the-forge of ore-made-ice with tongs and hammers? How?
Clasped and locked in woody branches, viny gnarls nine-leagues thick, it lies, this wonder iron-of-the-shiny-tongue-of-silver, deep within a hollow housed beneath the hanging roots of hoary tree. They say a sorceror insidious sated blade with hate of fiery ice, and slipping starlight from the darkness, stolen shafts of light, he mallet-hammered into edge of awe the sweeping strike of thunder’s fire fast within its tortured ore! And subtle things, unlikely things, at edge of world’s horizon stalked, he caught, and fleeting, nimble, forced mercurial spirits in damascine steel upon his anvil! All his wicked, wild hate, a winter’s windstorm never sated, frost-enbreathèd sparkle blew into the blade! Till spirits chilled in fright! I lit the way in darkness, dwarves of deep reflecting subtle splendor mine upon their shields, to let the nether-king reconnoiter, and seize this banshee-besom of the iron bogs! For stout and doughty smiths beneath the earth, mere rumor of its edge upon the chilling wind, had woven clasps of living leather, thick, enwoven ring-mail, might of adamantine roots the mountains hold within their bosoms, so to hold it close and clasp it tight to tree, where none might free it, fell the world on falter of the fleet yet deadly sorceror-enwhisp’ring blade! A peril poured in steel, a whirring rush adrenaline-bemetalled! Yet, my lad, O youngish elf, a spell indeed in hilted ore! O hoard’s so secret sword might swift and once-for-all with scissor’s nip untangle locks florette of lovely maiden, slip between the gnarled knots, and win your prize!
O why with eyes of coiled vertigo wonder upwards towards me, lad? What will you say? How may a blade so deep and tied titanium to a trusty tree be won? Why, wonder not, observe this scythe I carry, shadowed! Bright its polished claw so curved. It cuts the cords of tangled fate, when tragic knots have formed, and so is ever sought by sires of the wyrdless ones, who wander, hovering, o’er abyss, the fall of fate to which their tangles tie! O wish is swiftly strong to attain this ghostly scimitar, a gift the daubing giant-crones below once yore-days gave to me for deeds of valor former days had seldom seen! A blade above, with bend of bow, that cuts the tangles down below, to give for blade below that may the tangles up above undo with flash of flourished sweep! For keepers of the clasps below have secret weep, a sorrow sad that burns their bones and churns their gnawed and gnashing bellies! The nether-king a daughter has, O maiden of the wondrous night, whose belly’s bud the sorceror enseeded with his seething, frosty hate, and what has blossomed is a son, whom second-sight reveals might follow fast the father’s fevered craze! And such a shadow son’d is sun enshadowed, so they weep behind a wall of frozen face. A’pace to whip the reins of antlered deer, my lad, and pull thy sleigh through northern caverns, winding down, and find thy prize below! For up above, thy prize awaits!
And why? Why, gracious me, to give you scythe of polished quicksilver? For what? A single hope, my hope-forlornèd elf : that you might bring this blade beclasped in leather still, yet sheathed, to homes of heaven where your maiden waits. Delay thee not, nor tarry : fast, as if the earth were fire feet might burn, escape, and flee, towards where the rain’s enshimmered ebb does bow, and there, I’ll lift you, lad, and give you lift upon my silver ship, to ride along the rainbow bridge to where your love in chests of ruby rims ensconces kisses for thy lips alone! But let the whispered sorrow of the sword’s enbladed shriek beguile thee not! For siren of the smith, the edge seduces men to vengeance seek, and if you falter, all might fall within your soul, and how you’ll reel, and who knows what this madness might engender in your latter days, O friend! The cycle of the feckless feud is fueled by foolish rashness, and, enswirled to might, becomes a cyclone, as a scythe or blade betwirled, that severs heads of many sires’ sons! Beware! And let thy feet be swift, boy! Better days beckon ; heed the haunts below, and keep my rede.