General Poetry posted February 4, 2015


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A dark tale of evil and revenge

The Duke of Vanterelle

by kiwisteveh

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When the sunlight fades to its twilight shades
And the darkness closes in,
When the fox and owl start their midnight prowl,
Why 'tis then man turns to sin.

For the fearful weep when the shadows creep
And the devil lies in wait
For the tortured soul, and he takes his toll
On the lowly and the great.

'Twas on such a night that I first caught sight
Of a monster born in Hell.
Through the dark he came and he bore the name
Of the Duke of Vanterelle.

On his jet-black steed he rode with speed
And he howled an awful shriek.
In the village near, they prayed in fear
'Twas some other prey he'd seek.

In a nearby wood, where a cottage stood,
My wife and I did dwell.
Though our life was hard, we had scant regard
For we loved and we loved right well.

Like an angel bright, lighting up the night
Was my darling Isobel.
At the thought I cry, but she'd caught the eye
Of the Duke of Vanterelle.

To our cottage warm burst a raging storm
As the villain smashed the door.
Then a savage cry; in the flick of an eye
I lay wounded on the floor.

And my Isobel whom I loved so well,
he had thrown across his horse.
With the Duke astride, through the dark they'd ride -
To his castle was their course.


***************************


Seven months I'd yield till my wounds were healed,
With my face and body scarred,
But the scar unseen was the hurt most keen,
For within my heart grew hard.

It was vengeance now, for I'd made a vow
I would claim the Black Duke's life.
I would make him pay for that fateful day
When he'd ripped away my wife.

So I followed him to his fortress grim
On a night as black as coal.
By a secret stair I entered there,
To his chamber, softly stole.

All his grooms were gone and he slumbered on,
For my hour I'd chosen well,
So I paused to gloat, ere I seized the throat
Of the Duke of Vanterelle.

Though he woke in fear, he still wore a sneer
And he swore when he saw my face.
In his evil den, oh he knew me then,
But of remorse there was no trace.

With a laugh so cruel, he cried "You fool!
Know your quest is all in vain,
For your lovely bride has in childbirth died.
Now you too shall be slain."

At the words he spoke, in my chest there broke
A heart that was true as a bell.
All my passions burst and I raved and cursed
That he'd murdered my Isobel.

Then his sword he snatched, but his speed I matched
With a guile to foil his art.
With my trusty blade, what a lunge I made
And I pierced his wicked heart.

At the sound of din, all his guards rushed in;
For the roof I made a dash.
On the ramparts there, in the cold night air,
They had caught me in a flash.

Oh, the walls were high and my end was nigh -
I could hear my own death knell.
To the darkness deep, I made a leap,
To rejoin my Isobel.

There are those who sing of a ghostly thing
Who leaps from the castle walls
With a fearful cry to the moonless sky,
As towards the rocks he falls.

But my wife and I in the churchyard lie
Where the townsfolk like to tell
How our child survived, how he lived and thrived ...
To be Duke of Vanterelle.


 


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This is written in mixed meter (anapaestic and iambic) with a rhyme scheme of abcb and regular internal rhyme in lines 1 and 3 of each stanza.

As with any long narrative poem, strict adherence to meter would make the poem sing-song like and boring, so you will notice some variation in the meter.
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