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

IN THE HALLS OF THE KING.
(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.
Skeletons
Their weapons gripped.

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

Above me ceilings
Towered high.
On every wall scrawled
DIE DIE DIE.

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
BEHOLD THE BIRD!

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.

I AM THE KING.
I AM THE….

SQWARRRRRRRRRRRRKKKKKKKKKK………………….

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.

Advertisements

Excerpt from The Death of the Bird King

Here is a little taster of the long poem, The Death of the Bird King, that features in my forthcoming collection of the same name

V. The City of Granite and Glass

Factory chimneys
fart
poison clouds.

Grumbling trains,
screeching steel,
a taste of rust on the air.

The Bird King loves his homeland!

He builds a nest
out of galvanised steel
and animal bones,
lines it with bin-bags,
clambers in,
curls up.

From the clouds
he looks like
a prawn.

*****

The Bird King builds the tiny machines
that infest the city.

In daylight their carapaces disguise them
as crisp packets, bottles, detritus.

But when the light fades their cases open
like flowers
and they scuttle through the streets,
up drainpipes.

They feast on the sick and elderly.

At dawn they throw themselves back into the streets,
withdraw into their tortoiseshell world,
let the dusty wind
sweep them away.

Shrieks and sobs of discovery follow.

Interlude: Love

Tiring of his dalliance with the radiator,
the Bird King woos an armchair.

She’s amply upholstered
and groans dreamily
when he sits on her.

VI. The Bird King Dreams of Flight

Botched wings flex
ponderously,

drag
the Bird
King
skywards.

An avid beak stabs air,

targets the mountains
beyond the broken city.

His first flight!

He screeches in triumph,
harrows the skies.

Clouds form
about his
monstrous
bulk,

fizzing with lightning.

When he finally alights on a jagged peak,
he looks down
at creation.

The feeling of God.

He’s omnipotent.

Yellow eyes glaze with joy.

Interlude: Shadow

The Bird King looks at his throne and sees DEATH.
His nest: DEATH.
His city, his people, his kingdom: DEATH, DEATH, DEATH.

All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved

Excerpt from The Death of the Bird King

Here is a little taster of the long poem, The Death of the Bird King, that features in my forthcoming collection of the same name

V. The City of Granite and Glass

Factory chimneys
fart
poison clouds.

Grumbling trains,
screeching steel,
a taste of rust on the air.

The Bird King loves his homeland!

He builds a nest
out of galvanised steel
and animal bones,
lines it with bin-bags,
clambers in,
curls up.

From the clouds
he looks like
a prawn.

*****

The Bird King builds the tiny machines
that infest the city.

In daylight their carapaces disguise them
as crisp packets, bottles, detritus.

But when the light fades their cases open
like flowers
and they scuttle through the streets,
up drainpipes.

They feast on the sick and elderly.

At dawn they throw themselves back into the streets,
withdraw into their tortoiseshell world,
let the dusty wind
sweep them away.

Shrieks and sobs of discovery follow.

Interlude: Love

Tiring of his dalliance with the radiator,
the Bird King woos an armchair.

She’s amply upholstered
and groans dreamily
when he sits on her.

VI. The Bird King Dreams of Flight

Botched wings flex
ponderously,

drag
the Bird
King
skywards.

An avid beak stabs air,

targets the mountains
beyond the broken city.

His first flight!

He screeches in triumph,
harrows the skies.

Clouds form
about his
monstrous
bulk,

fizzing with lightning.

When he finally alights on a jagged peak,
he looks down
at creation.

The feeling of God.

He’s omnipotent.

Yellow eyes glaze with joy.

Interlude: Shadow

The Bird King looks at his throne and sees DEATH.
His nest: DEATH.
His city, his people, his kingdom: DEATH, DEATH, DEATH.

All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved