Stitch, Stash and Stow is the final Act in a three Act poem written under the title Copper Door. Copper Door is the 4th Chapter in a poem recalling my meeting with Merlin the Wizard many years ago and follows on from Elixir Vitae. Chapter 5, Natura Naturans is to be published shortly, and will conclude the poem.
Act 2 of Copper Door, Thread, Tread and Weave, heralded the beginning of a journey for the Buccaneer, stepping out with Merlin and Archimedes on a glorious underground adventure to save Camelot from the ruin of Modred and Morgana, and en route visit sweet nature’s Copper Door. But alas, tragedy struck early upon the journeymen’s arduous route when the trio became separated at a ravine, leaving the brave Buccaneer all alone in the dark to fight an overgrown Draconis! In stirling battle upon the very edge of life, the marauding Mariner was shaken by a savage blow and cast brutally against the rock wall. He lies where he fell slowly drifting as one with impenetrable night…
~ Copper Door ~ By ~ Dewin Nefol ~
~ Act Three ~
~ Stitch, Stash, and Stow ~
“This flume, this room, this funnel we’re in,
there’s no further we can go.”
“Boulder and smoulder contest our stride,
making our return arrested and slow.”
“Darn deluge, darn cave-in, darn witless Buccaneer!”
“Why had he never learnt Latin?”
“Is caudicalis draconis so complex a term,
“not to know it meant driftwood dragon?”
“At tunnel’s gape, where we all turned to flee,
gnarled wet and warty Oaken tree.”
“T’was driftwood thwarting our underground seam,
blocking our pathway beside river’s ravine.”
“How long have we worried along this maze of ways,
searching for our mariner friend?”
“How long had it been before precious dreams,
met with such dreadful end?”
“By Jupiter, Merlin! Come quickly here!”
“I’ve found a tunnel to the other side!”
“Said subway extends below an Infinity Pool,
but offers safe route inside.”
Upon closer inspection the subterranean path,
proved a tight passage barely insurmountable.
Of small concern for an owl of Archie’s size,
yet for Merlin, t’was all but impassable!
When at long, long last, tight tenacious tube,
squeezed squat opening upon farthest shore.
A climbing clough sloped to a tapered crown,
and disappeared on through iron doors.
Merlin raced to reach the perilous rise, and
scampered for the monstrous doors.
High on a ledge, already ahead,
sat Archie unpicking lock’s flaws.
“Concealed beneath darkly binding bond,
and enchanted periphery.”
“Are spells I’ve never encountered before,
in all my years of history.”
“Such charms were spawned from an ancient tongue,
in a dialect that passed long ago.”
“But I fear whatever skulks behind these iron doors,
would be fair reason for us to go!”
“No! We must keep on!” Merlin eagerly insisted,
pressing closer to the iron-clad shell.
“Our wily Buccaneer’s waylaid beyond ‘ere,
this door may lead to where he fell.”
With deftly hand and a wizard’s indolent ease,
from out of his bag a vial he retrieved.
And daubing four hinges with a generous drizzle,
stepped aside as iron started to sizzle.
“Been here before?” Archie nonchalantly asked,
as spit and spark smote hinge and fetters.
“Oh yes indeed, way back in ’57,
this was Ceasar’s great Hall of Letters.”
“At bequest of the Four King’s of Cantium,
we’d set out on a stealthy mission.”
“As I recall, we arrived by coracle, and
picked passage thro’ the river-system.”
“Having disembarked we’d headed out on foot.”
“Three in our company, as was the custom.”
“When by chance we happened upon this hidden door,
a giant portal to unearthly wisdom!”
“Five guards presented no encumbrance at all,
our spell-casting was a formidable tradition.”
“After heaving aside two iron-hung doors,
we stepped into a belletrist kingdom.”
“Behind this mantle of Rome’s imperial zeal,
lay a depository of wonder to feast upon!”
“From scrawls and scripts, from spells and spiel,
to classics scrolled but long forgotten!”
“Lost to wonder, to words, to Virgilian folio,
we pursued mission’s end, searched high and low.”
“Rumour was rife, the toxic tome had been found,
and was concealed here, deep underground.”
“Specifically and explicitly,
for ears of only you.”
“Said Hall was last resting place,
of a relic known to few.”
“The Lettered Hall housed The Wizard of Wands,
taken intact from Alexandria’s athenaeum.”
“Within opulent bind, is bound and found,
wicked Sorcery’s darkest compendium!”
“Here be evil that spoils, evil that boils,
evil that defiles all truth in antiquity.”
“It’s why this Book was secured so fast,
it has power to alter history!”
“Do you think it’s still here?” Archie enquired,
“After Modred’s many years of tears?”
Merlin pushed hard against solid carved doors.
“After Morgana’s many years of fears?”
With thunderous impact on the rock strewn floor,
two slabs shattered and scattered as scree.
With sudden screech through the vacant door,
rushed branches of a Banshee Tree!
Archie stalled, Merlin stilled,
and threw himself clear to one side.
“Her boughs spring once, it’s the wail in their flail,
that’s why the name’s applied!”
Dalbergia’s flame cast out its brightest beam,
deep into the cavernous beyond.
Merlin slipped silently into the scarlet gleam,
and slowly withdrew his wand.
Ash flurried and scurried in the press of air,
released in the quake of mighty doors.
And floated as motes in scarlet brigade,
spiralling upwards from fire scarred floors.
The Hall was vast, to honour Rome’s reverie,
with religion, ideas and philosophies.
With archaic wisdom stolen from every country,
blooded by Rome’s savage victories.
Four towering walls stood cracked and scorched,
fine murals, flags, and eagles torched.
Merlin gazed upwards to where once was a dome,
now pitted and pocked, scorched granite stone.
To either side stretched a thousand rows,
of charred wood stacks and cinder meadows.
Pillars stood buckled, each blackened the same,
every book and volume, vanquished by flame.
“What heinous crime has befallen this Hall,
and taken from us such treasure!”
“What odious fool has forsaken this Hall,
and destroyed it all beyond measure!”
Archie circumnavigated the entire Letters room,
seeking salvage and prize to return.
But discovering little, he flew from the gloom,
looking jaded in heart and downturn.
“Whatever was here, is here no more,
all’s been damned in a literary pyre!”
“Such glorious minds, their words, now gone,
all’s been consumed by raging fire!”
Far beyond reach of Sissoo’s sumptuous glare,
a shadow shifted to an open door.
Slipping slowly through the swarthy crack,
it stole away from the blackened Hall floor.
It was Archie who sensed the feint fleeing form,
who heard thud of heavy stone doors.
And flapping towards the source of the sound,
called for Merlin to follow once more.
“We’re not alone,” Archimedes whispered,
hurrying passed in dry smoky air.
And speared fast vector across the gaping room,
with distant door never leaving his stare.
Merlin ran and ran, for all his aging might,
to keep pace with Archie’s fleeting flight.
But failed on legs, both thin and old,
to keep the swiftly owl in sight!
“Well don’t delay or dilly-dally there,
waiting for me to open the door!”
“There’s no time to pause pursuing perplexing shade,
best policy is to push on some more!”
Broad bound stone, squealed and yielded,
swinging with effort upon ancient mounts.
Merlin tarried a little to take a deeper breath,
fearing whatever might suddenly pounce!
But only the surge of tunnel’s pitchy murk,
hurried headlong through the door.
Only the breeze from a distant wind,
stirred a foot or so from the floor.
Merlin stepped forward, his wand poised to strike,
prepared for any threat coming into view.
Archie flapped overhead, fearing to tread,
thinking it safer if he simply flew.
Bitter darkness bit harder at staff’s bejewelled blaze,
incensed at having woken from slumber.
But the tunnel was bare; there was no lethal lair,
no sneaky snare, spitting fire and thunder!
When unexpectedly across the subway floor,
slid a sliver of light at phenomenal pace.
It dashed or darted for path’s deeper gloom,
before Archie could give proper chase.
“It’s a Wisp!” declared Merlin with concerned surprise,
“a puckish sprite of the fairy-realm!”
“Caution prevails my fine feathery friend,
one wrong turn, could well overwhelm!”
“Twas no Ignis Fatuus sliding from Hall’s ashen tomb,
but something mean and menacing!”
“Tis safe to follow a foolish fiery Wisp!”
said Archie, flying off without questioning.
Myrddin hastened his chase of the serpentine beam,
slipping quickly down the passageway.
At tunnel’s end, where three paths extend,
Merlin slowed to feel the feint of the Fey.
Deep within darkness, small particles of warmth,
still lingered in the blush of whisked air.
Towards tunnel two and threading on through,
stretched two streaks of fast fading flare.
Bounding for two, Merlin strode on through,
quickening as long passages descended.
When into a cavern of sparse width and height,
sloping tunnels quite suddenly ended.
“At last!” smirked Archie with sardonic glee,
“I thought perhaps you’d lost our tail?”
“Meet my old friend, Gaslite Zee,
our new guide upon the trail.”
“Well, I’m delighted!” sighed Merlin wearily,
“Indeed we’ve need of company.”
“The tale we tell, is of dream’s defeat,
and unhappily, of near tragedy”
“Merlin,” said Zee reassuringly.
“Trust to hope in your loving heart.”
“We shall find your friend, the mislaid Buccaneer,
and I will show you where to start!”
“Twas fortuitous indeed that we happened upon,
your most timely company!”
“I’m grateful, I’m sure, yet tempted to ask,
how you know where our comrade may be?”
“Indeed agreed!” mimicked Gaslite Zee,
“t’was fortuitous for both thee and me!”
“Before you appeared, a phantom slid free,
and into my light stabbed its dark mystery!”
“T’was an evil creature, with fiendish intent,
a Darkly Sparkle from the after-life!”
“When we leave in search of your misplaced friend,
prepare for worse trouble and strife.”
“But, you enquire of me, a puckish Wisp,
how I know of your journey’s end?”
“Well, I’ll tell you more, as we head-out the door,
en route to your dragon-slaying friend!”
Archie forced a smile to lift the mood,
for Zee’s story had already been told.
Then in full sight, of friendships warm light,
they left quickly for darkly folds…
~ + ~
I lay within shadow, upon cold sodden ground,
weeping pain from my splintered bones.
“How long has it been since last felling wound?”
“How long since I fell on bloody stones?”
“Spawn’s accursed wraith, is it here with me?”
“Preparing to attack, or assault viciously?”
“Or has it flown, though skulks close by,
waiting and watching, with Draconis eyes?”
“Oh Merlin, why did you ever turn and go,
leaving me to die by beast and shadow?”
“Did I fail to meet your wizard’s highest stay?”
“Or falter one step upon the way?”
“Did I not fight with bravado and bravery,
to overcome our adversary?”
“Did I not fight with a knight’s gallantry?”
“Yet, alone I will die, in your lost ossuary.”
“How foolish was I to have ever believed,
in Fate, in Merlin, in Destiny!”
“How foolish was I to have ever agreed, to travel
a journey so foolishly conceived.”
“And now, for all my courageous sway,
shall I never again see first light of day.”
“Ne’er be overwhelmed by Love’s rising rose,
instead, overcome by deathly shadows.”
“Shifting shade hungers for my breath’s final spill,
eager to befriend one dying alone.”
“She shines coal eyes, scrawls her inky quill,
beneath last lines of my fading tome.”
“I feel her here, sense her never-ending lull,
taste cheap thrill on the tip of her tongue.”
“With Death as my lover on last voyage home,
am I still bound to where I begun?”
Upon cloying air whispered the faintest of words,
a muted hiss aside my death’s bed.
“There’s no brighter gleam, no better dream,
than one heartfelt and intuitively led.”
“I thought dear friend, you might fail at the first,
or fall foul of the incongruous ravine.”
“Yet it still seems, in your heart, left unseen,
is hope to live-on in your dream?”
“What gave you strength, surely gives you hope!”
“Tis not your time to come to me!”
“Banished were your fears, in a tonic of tears,
when Merlin passed his cup to thee.”
“I cannot stay here, my fading Buccaneer,
offering cold comfort until you are through.”
“I cannot stay here, my foolish Mutineer,
with Merlin’s elixir still flowing in you!”
“Feel your way through last testing hour,
with faith and resolve in your heart.”
“And within sight, of Merlin’s light, might,
you find your new place to start.”
“My friend, you’ve already travelled so very far,
upon a path to meet your noble end.”
“You sought adventure beyond the infinite void,
and that journey is still far from penn’d.”
“We shall meet again, before an earthy tomb,
or by Life’s crossroad at dusk of day.”
“Farewell Buccaneer, I’ll leave you to dreams,
of your destination far away.”
Darkness left, leaving her scent upon my skin,
her words lingering upon clammy air.
On this occasion, She came silently alone,
to offer hope, not to ensnare.
“Tis sweet joy to know my life will still flow,
beyond current sense of suffering and pain!”
“For one testing hour, must I strive to prevail,
seek strength to believe once again!”
“Upon hallowed ground, is where I was found,
by a Wizard who freed me from fear.”
“With purpose I followed, for I firmly believed,
t’was my destiny guiding me here.”
“Such wonder indeed whilst I shared his company, and
touched the heart of Merlin’s fantasy!”
“Bewitched, bemused, beloved, enchanted, and
guided by the hand of mastery.”
“But to meet my end on a journey bound,
within darkly passageways heading deep underground?”
“In abandoning me to die upon bloodstained floor,
how did Merlin perfect sweet Nature’s perfect law?”
“Perhaps it is not for me to dwell upon,
the way of a Wizard who inwardly guides.”
“But yield to belief, he is divinely inspired,
ending my path over which he presides.”
“My mind clings to many dissolving dreams,
limps still in hope towards the unseen.”
“But my heart lies broken, split apart at seams,
aching for repose in Eden’s garden green.”
“Should my resolve weaken, or fade further still,
will it have all been in vain?”
“Or did I find my way betwixt night and day,
questing Merlin’s reality membrane?”
“I see with simplicity, in the clarity of last hour.”
“Mine was never a love of life, not until it hurt,
not until death came knocking at my door.”
“Mine was never a life of love, not until it hurt,
not until my heart lost a life worth living for.”
~ + ~
“So there was I, an atmospheric Wisp,
bright with light and flaming cheerfully.”
“When there fluttered down on feather’s of gold,
the Thrice Greatest, Winged Mercury!”
“In a voice to crack blue Preseli stone,
he commandeered me to grand adventures!”
“Then led me at speed along underground paths,
to a great Hall pillaged of splendours!”
“And there I waited as Mercury requested,
glowing dimly in the murky mantle.”
“And there I waited as Mercury suggested,
for the arrival of Darkly Sparkle.”
“He knew foul fiend would frequent there?”
Merlin furrowed his frowning brow.
“Why didn’t he say, when here the other day,
in our pre-adventure powwow?”
“I can only assume, t’was to give you three room,
to press on without added distraction.”
“Had you known of the threat, it’s safe to bet,
you’d be first to take decisive action.”
“Should your cover be blown, we’d never have known,
who threatened your way ahead.”
“Twas for Camelot’s sake, I had to make,
first contact with Morgana’s dead.”
“But let us hurry and scurry and skitter on,
we’re closer than you might imagine.”
“When Mercury sequestered me, he also told me,
just where the Buccaneer had fallen.”
“Fascinating,” said Merlin stroking his beard,
“Morgana’s tentacles have stretched far and wide.”
“We are grateful indeed you’ve suddenly appeared,
and may remain a while at our side?”
“Of course,” agreed Zee, “quite happily,
until we arrive at Copper Seam.”
“From there you must travel her burnished road,
to fulfil your own special dream.”
“As for Zee, I’ll never be, any more than me,
a guiding light to a tunnel’s end.”
“For all those lost at lonely times, I am
a friend on whom you can depend.”
“When path ends, I’ll return to my vaporous life,
of sweet ignition and entropy.”
“To rise in flame, to flare then fade,
always fulfilling my destiny.”
“It’s been many years,” Archie said with regret,
“since we met in the Woodland Realm.”
“And traded tall tails of far flung shores,
beneath mighty boughs of Saturn’s Elm.”
“Centuries and eons are too many years,
but chance allows us to talk on our way.”
“Tis timely synchronicity, and Mercury’s trickery,
bringing us together upon this day!”
“But first,” said Zee, “I shall recall, briefly,
the rhyme of the dragon-slain Mariner.”
“You’ve crafted an obituary?” Merlin recoiled,
“Isn’t that being rather premature?”
“Oh no!” shrieked Zee, “On the contrary!”
“Your Buccaneer remained with the living!”
“My ode justly tells the one last tale,
of a hero who kept on believing.”
“A hero?” Merlin asked, unashamedly confused.
“Perhaps you should elaborate.”
“I’m intrigued to know, where your story goes,
and how we have cause to celebrate.”
“You’re peeved, indeed, I’ll bring you up to speed,”
and save my post script for another time.”
“Suffice to say, no dragon was slain, but,
an object washed underground in the rain.”
“In darkness, your hero, raged needlessly,
repelling a driftwood Oaken Tree!”
“Dislodged up-stream, it came thundering down,
drowned the Buccaneer and tumbled his crown!”
“The inscrutable Gaslite’s, control a gaseous vein,
or perhaps that should be gossip vine?”
“A tube for tattle, a pipe-line for prattle,
and dare I say most of its mine!”
“But,” said Zee, “whilst a wee sprite I be,
I tell you my tale with all certainty.”
“Your Buccaneer fought most courageously,
hewing branches off his adversary!”
~ + ~
Within a hurried hour, the rum team of three,
had hastened their return to wild Oaken Tree.
But searched in vain for either track or trail,
for slightest sign of their Buccaneer’s sail.
When alone, far away, submerged in deep grey,
Archie spied their fallen friend.
Lying still on the floor, was Zee right after all?
Or had life already come to an end?
As they gathered around the blood-soaked ground,
it was Merlin who fell upon one knee.
And tending the wayfarer with restorative charms,
incanted spells to kindle soul’s recovery.
“Tis timely intervention, for our Buccaneer pales,
his flaming flare is fading fast.”
“But I sense he must linger a little longer still,
to find new form, with an ancient past.”
“He dwells in the illusion of shattered dreams,
alone without faith to root his flower.”
“He seeks higher realms to determine his fate,
and slips beyond reach of my power.”
“Perhaps it’s early upon his unlearned way,
but I shall present a foolish notion.”
“Our Buccaneer is lost without fire in his heart,
might not Love, be our strongest potion?”
Looking to Archie, Merlin whispered words,
“VITRIOL if you please, my feathered swage.”
“Visita Interiora Terrae, Rectificando Invenies,
Occultum Lapidem,” said Archie, the oracular sage.
“Yes, yes, indeed agreed.” Merlin decreed,
“an acrostic, to solve it alone.”
“Visit the interior of the Earth and there,
to discover and rectify, the unseen stone.”
Merlin lifted the Buccaneer’s weak, wilted form,
and carried him to a cave by river side.
And there upon the blanketed ground,
laid him down with last spell applied.
“What does it mean to become your dreams?”
“What does it take for you to believe?”
“Break down your walls, step forth, be free,
embrace the power you hold within.”
~ + ~
Lifeless and listing, lay the brave Buccaneer,
with gentle heart stilled and without verve.
On a ship bourn away upon Life’s ebbing tide,
stood his ghost with spirit stirred.
“The last golden Galleon, she sails as my Queen,
fleet’s finest, most splendid, ship ever seen.”
“Oak timbered, high sided, five-mast sovereign,
carrier of souls to where dreams begin.”
“Fleet in flow beneath full fashioned sail,
She styles sleek lines from aft to helm.”
“As silhouettes we’ll follow the transit of stars,
homebound to a distant realm.”
“Cast off, cast out, make ready ruddy sail!”
“Hoist the talisman atop the mast!”
“Fly fast my fair Queen, for Destiny’s shore, for
disclosure and closure at last!”
Beyond harbour wall, with canvas pulled taut,
The Venus slipped silently away.
A voice from afar, “Fare thee well Buccaneer!”
Keened my spirit setting out on the way.
“Starlight, star shine, moon balm and calm,
pearls strung across an endless sea.“
“Unfurled, unfettered, unfounded, unbounded,
sailing in search of endless me.”
Empyrean rippled her infinite glass,
turned heaven to meet ocean’s end.
By clear moon light, within distant sight,
She called to me as her friend.
“Her Star blazons beyond far tipping edge.
my sweet herald at dawn of day.”
“Sail on Buccaneer, your time has come,
for Venus to guide your way.”
I stood for an age, with rosy eyes glazed,
in admiration of her exhilarating show.
Upon this night, it felt so right, to bathe
in light of her Loving glow.
“I fell in despair from Death’s deadly snare,
only to rise in eternal devotion.”
“Upon glittering seas, is where my spirit breathes,
sailing heart’s ocean of timeless emotion.”
For one moment I pause to imagine fine sight,
of a ghost-ship cresting giant waves at night.
When at helm’s wheel, I saw my vaporous apparel,
become a moth flying in starlight!
”What sense of grace unfurls such fragile wings?”
“Or impels my flight towards distant shore?”
“What sense of wonder billows full swelling sails,
steering The Venus to Copper Door?”
~~~~~ + ~~~~~