Please not that due to the extremely long lines and the use of caesura, if you’re on mobile it would be best to rotate sideways.
There’s a place you’ve always dreamed of where the heart’s always at ease,
Ring your fingers, crown your forehead cause, in here you’re royalty,
Turn around, you’ll see your castle gaze from spires that reach past the trees,
Beyond a rainbow grew around it, perfectly invented just for you.
And then sometimes your memories they’ll take you back here,
Land of the ideal, of the free, and now you
take your sword around your hip, in pastoral lands you’ve never used it
Except to dub your knights of glory,
Meritocracy, justice, fabricated here, here by you.
One day amid your congregates, you meet a Noble Sage,
A Youth with sharp abounding mind, could tell you anything.
She’s studied quite a while, mentored pupils in all things,
From Trivium, Quadrivium, Five Magics; and she sings!
But would you lay defenses down, the Beauty shows a frown,
She knows that if you heard the words she has,
This land would lose its ruse,
And its place for it.
So for now you keep your fancies up and
hike your pants up through the fields as
maybe now today you’ll go and
Find something to excite your senses,
Cookeham, Penshurst, Appleton, they
Tip their hats at what you have an
Estate, kingdom, glory, bounty,
The orchards are for everybody,
—Fruits roll to your feet for you
—From tree to hand drop berries all too,
you open up this realm to
all who serve you,
Like Jubilee year, seven sevens,
On your estate, the bounty opens…
All excitement, every moment,
Monotony banished, rule from your throne, ask, “What would you like, what do you need?”
Lords and ladies, vassals and peasantry; “a meal,” “a home,” “a cow,” “a steed.”
Anything you need, and you’re never alone, asking, “what more is to life but serving others?”
And the noble sage answers you not, asking, “what more is to life but serving others?”
And the noble sage answers you not, “So maybe the next step is learning!”
Of course, you are a master of the liberal arts, so you ask once more, “My Sage,
Good Chloe Rhye, what can you teach me, what could possibly be left to learn
Before I die?”
She sheds a tear;pearl of wisdom.
She says, “There is but five, Five Magics left for you to learn. But beware, oh monarch, for they will bring you misery.” She is bid continue. “They Five are thoughts from another world. A world instead of memories. Would you take on this burden?”
“A fascinating proposal. Why misery? And how can it be possible,
A land without memories?”
The Maiden shakes her head, she says, “A land that is not memories. It is the world of this and more, a land of joy and of suffering. What is not here? What is it you lack? Is it truly knowledge, or is it experience? The lower forms of experience?”
“And why would one ever to such a place go?
I cannot comprehend, could reason you me show?”
“This world is full of structure and habit; joy and abundance. This is a world of imagination. This is your fantasy. You and I, we are not from here. When you open your eyes, and draw away from this tale, this story, these words, you will return from where you came.”
“You wouldn’t do such a thing to me, Sage, to kill the fantasy?
Tell me, why should I ever go?
I can help everyone, here from my throne.”
Chloe closes her eyes in a radiant smile. “My ruler, tell me, what can you do here? Everything? Or nothing?” Her eyes open, “Here with your invented castles and fabricated meritocracy. Escapism is a crutch of society. This world does not need you. You have many Lords and Knights who would make for a sustaining and wondrous oligarchy. A crutch is a tool of healing. If you wear it when you are healthy, you atrophy your legs.”
“This is all I have for you. We are not from here.
You know how to leave this place on your own.”
Now she is leaving, but before you let her go
“The world is wide open. You know what you know.
Here you do serve me, tell me what you know.”
So Chloe Rhye pauses, she smiles, says,
“To learn, of course.
This is the world of Forms, silly, Plato, you know?
You can’t do anything here, but create inspiration, of course!
So don’t stay here too long, Monarch, or you’ll get lost and slow,
But take what you can here, bring memories into Now.
This world has no suffering, it’s a future of dreams,
So when you return, remember these things.
Think in this world, and then act in your own,
Because this is what could be and that is what is.
This is a story, outside it, a gift…the present!”
She laughs at her own joke,
And then stands, and conjures the five sigils, Five Magics, with a voice of feminity.
“Give me Alchemy! Give Sorcery! Give me Wizardry! Thermatology! Electricity!”
Marvellously, you watch her go and consider returning to your estate,
To all of the phantom wonders, and your beautiful imagined kingdom.
But instead, you stop musing. You have no choice. There is nothing left for you to read!
There will be an improved, less format-frenzied version of this in the coming months. I hope you liked this one nonetheless.
There is a lot going on in this poem that is never explained. For example, the cadence or tune that the first section uses is pretty much just lifted from “Green Grass and High Tides.”
Otherwise, we have…well, I’ll list them for the convenience of any reader who has gone down this far. (Due to list format, the Roman numerals will be changed to regular numbers.)
- Green Grass and High Tides rhythm scheme, caesura use. Format starts to break down near the end of each stanza, and especially after words like “fabricated” and “ruse”
- This takes on the themes (though perhaps not exactly the form) of abundance and peace found in the genre of “country house poetry.” I explicitly name a few examples in the line “Cookham, Penshurst, Appleton, they / Tip their hats at what you have…,” referencing “To Penshurst” by Ben Johnson, “The Description of Cooke-ham” by Æmilia Lanyer, and “from Upon Appleton House, to my Lord Fairfax” by Andrew Marvell.
- There’s also the “Jubilee year, seven sevens,” a biblical tradition where farmland is to be left untended and open for anyone to eat from. This was to occur every “seven seven,” or 49/50 years (Leviticus 25:11, 25:18-22).
- Caesura returns, but the verse is very shaky, and once again breaks down near the end after Chloe Rhye appears.
- At this point Chloe Rhye abandons verse altogether and moves into prose, while the Subject of the poem maintains his verse, caesura, and some sense of rhyme.
- Chloe Rhye, apparently not great at verse, attempts to convey her message in a way that the Subject will understand: poetics.
- She then leaves the realm, using the “Five Magics.” Her incantation is taken direction from a song by the same name. This element could be removed, though maybe not. Five Magics works playfully into the liberal arts earlier in the poem, “From Trivium, Quadrivium, Five Magics; and she sings!” It is likely the incantation mightn’t make it into a later version.
- The Subject (via the narration) continues to cling to poetics, but despite this the text ends in a fourth-wall break, ending the piece.