A narrative poem I did with my middle school students last year.


the castle gate stood tall and menacing
vines climbing up like blood vessels
creeping and reaching in all directions
along the walls and past the edge of sight

the girl stood outside the gates
shivering, uncertain, cloak pulled tight
she knew he was in there
she steeled her nerves

the gate crept open
only a slit to see inside
darkness lay within
no noise, no movement

she pressed her hand to the door
it grumbled at her touch yet opened more
“hello” she called to the darkness
only her echo answered

she set her mind and stepped inside
not knowing what she would find
she tiptoed in, leaving no sound
behind that could betray her

she looked around to find a light
saw orange waves at the end of the hall
and paced across the expansive room
to chase the light down into the gloom

the stairs before her twisted up
the light beckoned her to follow
faster and faster she climbed
the light just out of reach

she stopped at the top of the tower
the light from the torch flickered
with the shadows as if
they were lovers, dancing

in the shadow she saw him
dirty, ragged and hopeless
bracelets made of iron
adorning his wrists

“Papa!” she cried and cradled his face
in her hands to look into his weary eyes
“I’ve come to free you.”
she doesn’t see the danger in the shadows

“If he is to go, then you must stay,”
a voice, rumbles from the shadows
“There will be justice for the theft
and I care not who pays the price.”

she jumps and turns to look into the abyss
the darkness obscures his face
“I will take my father’s place.
she says, “He stole the rose for me.”

the monster steps from the shadow
eyes feral, fangs shining
reached out his hand, unlocked the shackles
that held the girl’s father there

“No!” the father cried
“A flower cannot live in the darkness”.
“She is dead to you now,
you must go before you are dead to her”

the man’s knees shook
“I will not leave my daughter,”
“Dear father, I repay the debt of my life
to you with your own.”

the monster growled
weary of talking and bargains
caught up the man as if
he were a mere kitten

“You will leave now
Your daughter will stay.
No harm will come
to either of you.”
Creative Commons License
Prisoner by Idgie Stark is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Author: idgiestark

Writer of things.

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