The Valley – To Pluck the Ruby – a poem series


As I grasped that ruby, more than red, wonder fruit

I heard the whispers of the flowers, speaking

Of deals and what I could gain, an anodyne

For mine pain. I started for there was none

Nearby that may have broken my reverie, no body



With the whispers that rode the zephyrs through

The wondrous valley, I was told that I would

be given a deal beautiful, give up all of my pain

For a bite of this fairytale poison opiate apple,

And never see the sun again, shine or even dapple.


I paused, though not over long, and they returned

With more urgent whispers, saying thus that

I need not take the whole of the Faustian deal

Offered now to me, but a part only, half mayhaps

And in return would a service fulfil for

This valley.


I waited and heard that they would cure my pain

Although only in brief fashion, temporary,

So that I would need to return time and time again

For ever, even past my day of dying, but my life…

It would stay mine and I would do with it

Whatsoever I would…


The sun would still shine down upon me, free

And warm, Ra bathing me, but I must go forth

And draw others into this valley, of which facet

First was what I saw now, and not the end, devil

Traps abound as one went further within…


It was plain that I had thus stumbled somewhere

That defied all ordinary logic, made mock

Of those traditional logicians who rare

Can admit to the esoteric, the arcane

Traits of existence, both sublime and profaned.


I grew hungry for the Faustian prospect on offer

And ascertained from those nodding trumpets,

The shining black spiked leaves and all others

About in the verdant valley, that most I brought

Here would be eaten, morsels to feed the flowers

So bright here.


Not yet was the deal struck when I asked further,

Speaking with my palm around the ruby delicious

Apple, if I might see, mayst know, what else

Those hidden facets of the valley were, the flowers

Allowing me to see their heart of hearts,

Secret devilry.


A pause, as of considerations made by titans

Larger in spiritual mass than even the stars

Themselves…then they told me as I was as none

Which had come before or would ever come again,

And I was warmed in my living body cage crucible

Of pain, mollified.


The spirits inhabiting, pulsing within, the valley

Of colourless dreams assented at last, and I

Smiled, sun beating down a gold light tattoo

Upon my agonised and ever healthy looking flesh,

Plucked the apple with a sigh from the tree, fresh,

And held it aloft.


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