An ode to the Bird King

The Bird King has a new bard: my friend, Kneel Downe. He wrote this ode (in immaculate iambic dimeter), celebrating the avian monarch through a quest narrative. I found it a thrilling read: through writing about the Bird King in a style very different from my own, Kneel has shed new light on him.

Perhaps, as representations of the Bird King become more diverse, he’s starting to enter the realm of myth… Enjoy! JK

(Being an Ode to the Bird King)
By Kneel Downe. 2012

Skirting trees
I trod this wood.
A stench of pine
A pool of mud

I seek the Dark
Unholy place.
To gaze upon
that dreadful face.

Torn Badger’s throat
A fairy ring.
I travel light
I seek the King.

A clearing broke
This meadow fair.
Echoed madness
In the air.

A cackle cawed
From yesterday.
A lamp of skulls
To light my way.

Beheld I did
An ancient door.
“Enter not
Ye fearful pure.”

Abased was I
I bow and sing.
“I seek the Bird
I seek the King.”

Swung the door
A creak did croak.
Stairway beckoned
Billowed smoke.

Dank of moss
Swathed in mould.
I mounted steps
My madness bold.

A chamber vast
A burning grate.
I placed my silver
On the plate.

Stained with dung
This marble floor.
Steps I took
I took some more.

Portraits hanging
Slashed and ripped.
Their weapons gripped.

Ermine robes
And sceptres bent.
The slaughtered husks
Of parliament.

Above me ceilings
Towered high.
On every wall scrawled

Cards of Tarot
Ripped and torn.
The corpse of England
Raped and Shorn.

A thousand mirrors
Gleaming smashed.
A poet Bad
His throat is slashed.

An Artist
Hung on burning brands.
She has no face.
She has no hands.

Before me now
That feathered throne.
Twisted steel
Blood and bone.

A cape of Black
A stain of Brown.
Shadow played
That rusty Crown.

The Bird has flown.
The King has gone.
Left no daughter
Left no son.

Empty now
Damnation’s room.
No screaming bride
No eager groom.

Yet hung behind
This stinking throne.
Mirror gilded
Knowledge known?

I knock three times
I speak the word.
The mirror clears

Tis not a Bird
Tis not a Man.
Ice descends
Where blood once ran.

Throws the figure
Twisted shapes.
Talon kissed
His tattered capes.

I journeyed long
To know and die.
Trapped am I
In Bird King’s eye.

Feel my feathers
Burst my skin.
Taste the hunger
Smell the sin.

Raw my throat
I hear me sing.
I am the Bird
I am the King.



Kneel is a prolific and talented writer, specialising in hard-boiled sci-fi poetic narrative. Truly one of a kind. Check out his website here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s