Barefoot Poetry

SS Matthews


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Thief Saga – Jewel of Night part 1&2

Jewel of Night

Part 1

A spell is best cast upon those who believe,
that power through practice of magic achieves
superior craft when one’s talent is rare
to call from the shadows what things you might dare.

A firm non-believer may discount results,
never-the-less beware the occult.
Dabbling in darkness may offer a thrill,
but lurking within are things that can kill.

From velvet chambers she conjures a Name,
invading my night with her summoning game.
Called from my card play to heed her demand.
Does she think me novice and hers to command?

For here’s a magician awake in the night,
able to shine an experienced light
on some would-be sorceress testing her fate
by compelling a demon to dance for a date.

A trio of knaves I fold with a frown
placing a threesome of winners face down.
Gambling for coin requires no heart.
I make no excuses, just rise and depart.

The curse that I carry does grant me a boon.
To spells of control I am nearly immune.
When muttered at midnight amidst full array,
even a specter might fail to delay.

Some find me more than a shadowy spell.
Some even think me an agent of Hell.
Her witch-work is potent and tough to defend,
drawing me into a this contact with men.

The stench on the street is nearly to much.
Streets should be vacant of riff-raff and such.
As torches of pitch throw their intricate weaves
of shadows down alleys, the playground of thieves.

I spot the two bullies, clubs poised to transfer
cherished possessions from my hands to hers.
Did they think me easy, a target of sport?
My dagger by moonlight will swiftly retort.

Dull eyes from darkness leer red in the night.
Mistress of magic how deadly your plight?
Fool of a bully, come fill then your grave.
Torch-light I wrap and reflect from my blade.

This phantom is more than some ox at the block,
this fine cloaked pedestrian’s head you would knock.
A blur is my answer, your mate must now grieve.
Red eyes roll upward and blood stains my sleeve.

What vanity drove you to wear this grave face?
Your thug-mate retreats at full speed from this place.
Fleeing this figment of death’s steel caress
may save him some breath and sudden arrest.

I’ve no time for chasing a wet-legged fool.
The witch that awaits me by her gazing pool
will see by the shadows a-swirl that I come
and wonder if mayhap her deed is undone.

Part 2

Arcane reminders to visit by day
circle her threshold and would keep at bay
most any practitioner of ill intent.
By spoiling their purpose my message is sent.

Withering sigils, well-crafted in blue,
might stymie the best, but I weave and pass through.
Having shadows for allies provides me an edge
to slash through illusion when out on the ledge.

As final announcement alerting the lass,
the old oaken door cries aloud as I pass.
Faintly a glow from her corridor’s end,
warns me away from invading her den.

A pentagram smoldering crimson conforms
to a waxwork geometry set round her floor.
Surrounded by candles reflecting her gaze,
she stands in her witch-light miasma ablaze.

Feeling secure when ringed by designs,
an elegant mistress of dark paradigm.
The envy of monarchs is won by her stare.
The envy of ravens is won by her hair.

Black is her raiment, black as her frown.
a web-work of lace to suffice as a gown,
Youthful and supple, I study her form;
voluptuous assets with skin pale but warm.

My interest reveals her control near its ebb.
She lifts from a table a bowl brimming red.
“Hold witch!” My dagger tip tickles my palm,
“You got lucky once, be still and keep calm.”

Her mouth sags to open, her robe reveals all.
A practiced beguilement, a trick to forestall.
I should not indulge the shape of her thigh.
“You’ve brought us together, I want to know why!”

I send forth a thought. She winces in pain.
Feeling my power she utters a name.
“No one can help you, but he whom you face.
Last time I’m asking, the truth, every trace.”

“You have many secrets of vigor and youth,
while other men stumble about most uncouth.
Fables surround you and legend’s your name.
I crave to learn these, to be just the same.”

“So is it my talents you say that you need?
Lying is painful, might cause you to bleed.
Your story, I will with spells, rip from your mind.
You’ve kept me this long, yes, I have the time.”

“Onto the table witch! Off with that robe!
Look not so shocked when acting so bold.”
A light from my hands quells her every protest.
She did as I bid and I did the rest.

Her story she utters in mutters and moans.
My real adversary stands right of the throne.
I left her to dreaming amidst her designs.
Magic has uses, yeah, magic like mine.

Barefoot Poetry
SS Matthews


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Thief Saga – Jewel of Night pt. 1

Jewel of Night

the sea witch by frank frazetta
The Sea Witch by Frank Frazetta

A spell is best cast upon those who believe,
that power through practice of magick achieves
superior craft when one’s talent is rare
to call from the shadows what things you might dare.

A firm non-believer may discount result,
never-the-less beware the occult.
Dabbling in darkness may offer a thrill,
but lurking within are things that can kill.

From velvet chambers she conjures a Name,
invading my night with her summoning game.
Called from my card play to heed her demand.
Does she think me novice and hers to command?

For here’s a magician awake in the night,
able to shine an experienced light
on a would=be sorceress testing her fate.
by compelling a demon to dance for a date.

A trio of knaves I fold with a frown
placing the threesome of winners face down.
Gambling for coin requires no heart.
I give no excuses, just rise and depart.

Some find me more than a shadowy spell.
Some even think me an agent of Hell.
The curse that I carry does grant me this boon
To spells of control I am nearly immune.

Yet muttered at midnight amidst full array,
even a specter is urged to obey.
Her witch=work is potent and tough to defend,
leading me into this contact with men.

The stench on the street is nearly too much.
Streets should be vacant of riff-raff and such.
Torches of pitch throw their intricate weaves
of shadows down alleys, the playground of thieves.

I spot the two bullies, clubs poised to transfer
cherished possessions from my hands to hers.
Dull eyes from darkness leer red in the night.
Mistress of magick how deadly your plight?

Did they think me easy, a target of sport?
My dagger by moonlight will swiftly retort.
Fool of a bully, come fill then your grave.
Torch-light I wrap and reflect from my blade.

This phantom is more than some ox at the block,
this fine cloaked pedestrian’s head you would knock.
A blur is my answer, your mate must now grieve.
Red eyes roll upward and blood-stains my sleeve.

Your thug-mate retreats at full speed from this place.
What vanity drove you to wear this grave face?
Fleeing this figment of death’s steel caress
may save him some breath and sudden arrest.

I’ve no time for chasing a wet-legged fool.
The witch that awaits me by her gazing pool
will see by the shadows a-swirl that I come
and wonder if mayhap her deed is undone.

Arcane reminders to visit by day
circle her threshold and would keep at bay
most any practitioner of dark design.
I tingle a little, but cross it just fine.

Withering sigils, well-crafted in blue,
might stymie the best, but I weave and pass through.
Having shadows for allies does give me an edge
for shredding illusion when placed on the ledge.

Barefoot Poetry of
SSMatthews


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A Thief Saga Poem – Tower Entrapment

thPGD2F97R

Morning’s eye watches yon tower of church,
setting warm rays on her high window perch.
Imprisoned by prayers and secrets well kept,
she stares through the noon-day with many tears wept.

A fantasy eve of mid-summer, restrained,
to languish within, to stark halls constrained.
Fire-haired princess of youth captivate,
dreaming of saviors which come not too late.

I watch from seclusion, confusion of trees,
a mottled illusion caught up by the breeze
which carry the hillside’s flowers and herbs
in scented commotion combining with hers.

I wait for the sun to fall overhead
and fold back the down of her west crimson bed,
Awaken companions I’ve need to fulfill
The task undertaken? A quest up yon hill.

A fair purse of gold he will pay for her hand
if taken from tower into his rich land.
He’ll bind her to keeping a-right his great hall.
He has yet to learn cells consist of four walls.

A handmaid, or mistress, a slave, or a wife!
What could be worse than abandoned by life?
Would I still be a man if completely alone,
or track like a beast on the land that I roam?

Into the landscape I blend with a yawn,
blending with meadow and moat and beyond
into a graveyard with draperies drawn,
commanding the shadows to rush me along.

Weaving a mixture of dim light and dark
disguising my movement, no flicker, no spark,
suggesting my presence, revealing intent,
I slide with the shadows betraying no hint.

A spiraling stairway of lichen on block,
leading me upward and into her loft.
Alone on divan and in sultry repose
half-covered in satin the color of rose.

A twitch of red lips, faint flutter of lids,
a gossamer gown, ample curves scarcely hid,
shift my soft values to velvet from gold,
I cannot be trusted, or so I am told.

Unwrapped in moonbeams across portal’s sill
I take this woman from need into thrill.
Twined in her hair is a trace of old dust,
I’m wound in the clutch of a lush succubus.

Her power is on me, my will she would drain,
but I am a power by night and I gain,
with strenuous effort control of my lust,
turning the mood to silence and rust.

Fetal on flagstones, a demon unveiled,
a tool of the Dark Prince I’ve hammered and nailed.
This sumptuous chamber, a cage she’ll not leave,
Lightfinger’s shadow-play game she must grieve.

For dawn is a nemesis I must abate.
Will she remember, perhaps she will hate,
the sneak-thief who fled with her power in haste,
the thief in the night whose shadow she traced?

I ignite a lone candle to burn for my sins.
I’ve a passion for candles and will sin again.
Forgiveness is one thing myself, I must find
I’ll not find it here in this prison divine.

This vault of salvation has lock I can’t pick.
Abode of the humble in which I don’t fit.
A church should be sacred to creatures of light,
not subject to monsters who walk in the night

SS Matthews Barefoot Poetry


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Thief Saga Epic Fantasy Poetry

Douglas Fairbanks
Image; Douglas Fairbanks – Thief of Bagdad

Thief

Win first her faith and her favor.
Prowl stealthily opulent chambers,
the deepening blue of her pleasure.
Eyes of night see not this thief.

Clutch tightly the stone her breasts adorned.
Make off with her Majesty’s treasure.
Win first her trust and sapphire lust.
How priceless, the jewels of this labor!

Untangle her silken limbs’ embrace.
Relinquish her softness, her satin.
Slip from her bed, yes tears will be shed,
but her curses in anger, forgotten.

I am a creature seduced by his trade,
a slave to a thousand desires.
But I’m first in her eyes, achieved by disguise,
where knave and knight both might aspire.

Republished from May 2014
and now

Lightfinger Returns

Dreaming of Knights, their banners a-breeze,
on winter white stallions, such sweet lust you breathe.
On satin down filled you sigh in your sleep.
Of gossamer nightdress, I should pause to peek.

But jewels are the riches I seek in the night.
Lightfinger of Shadow they call me by right.
I hunt in the flicker of torches burnt low,
an unnoticed shadow play lost on your wall.

Your jewel box lies open, a rare gift of haste,
though locks are but trifles to one with my tastes.
Gems of fine luster I transfer with ease
and here at the bottom a single gold key.

An intrigue, a secret, I will ferret out,
if treasures are hid, I will leave her, no doubt
with virtue and chastity both assailed,
while gemstones, tiaras and coins I redact.

Behind her bedchamber, a fine tapestry
of white Knights on horseback with lances on greens.
A joust to test true-ness of Knights chivalry,
but here there’s a door and lock near unseen.

This glittering key slides easily set,
a man of my talents affords no regrets.
A twist and a tug, I pull it aside,
a dreaming King’s harem within doth reside.

Women of races familiar and fair,
many exotics with jewels in their hair,
translucent attire on plush pillow piles
one with gray eyes not asleep and she smiles.

A maelstrom of maidens assailing my mind,
I’d lighten their braids had I enough time.
But my will is captured, this maid with light eyes
beckons me forward, to sample her lies.

Soft subtle embrace, a trap of bare limbs,
hips made of moonlight, and dew-fall and sin.
A thief should know better, a thief should be fast,
enwrapped in its power, a thief makes it last.

In away outer chamber, a shuffling of boots,
my soft gray eyed maiden and guards in cahoots.
But shadows are long when the candle is low,
I mix with the shadows, but stand out aglow.

Cleaver entrapment, a foxfire snare.
here in the darkness my image a-glare.
Quickly surrounded by several armed guards,
faced with no exit in a room with no bars.

In walks the princess who bows to my maid,
a ruse in proportion to talents was laid.
I look into gray eyes discerning her state,
yes, she’s the princess, deciding my fate.

I walk where I will and serve no regret,
I’ve made my mistakes, but none fatal yet.
I have the power, an awareness to change
the bog of belief for unfettered range.

Looks are deceiving when shadows are friends
Dungeons have windows, and shadows ride wind.
I bow once to gray eyes and give her a wink,
I’m held not by captors but chains of soft link.

SS Matthews


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A Thief Is Born (Epic Fantasy Poetry)

Gargoyle

A Thief is Born

Son of a Noble but waif of the street,
I took to stealing so mother could eat.
This kind, caring woman went one winter more.
But spring saw The Reaper at our humble door.

Sellers and guardsmen missed not copper coins,
Apples and sweet breads and hand maids purloined.
I took a rumor from a maid’s lips in bed
Of splendid gold dagger with hilt of jewels red.

Enchanted by Heron, a wizard, the best,
Inlaid with silver and spells to protect.
His treasure the envy of light-fingered thieves,
An irresistible challenge to a half-noble breed.

To seek out this dagger against the guild’s wish
Might cost me a post on their pick-pocket list.
Fierce repercussions from Heron The Great,
His undue attention could wreak a sad fate.

Headstrong or stubborn or too young to care,
I formed a plan that could work if I dare.
A sewer grate path from his fosse to the street,
His plain tower wall, no real trick to defeat.

At dawn I descend into the dank depths,
The city’s disposal, a bleak labyrinth.
Through dim corridors of waste ridden stone,
To reach the black waters of his moat-ed home.

Word is that Heron works long through the night,
Retires to chambers at morning’s first light.
Taking advantage of his slumber state,
I slither up stonework and over the gate.

Ravens on Gargoyles peer down from their perch,
Eyeing my progress and deft hands at work.
Man made devices turn to my lock-pick
The air of his quarters with magic are thick.

Scents of concoctions are foul on my lungs.
Draping each wall, wicked tapestries hung.
Depictions of dancers devoured by beasts,
Half-human demons with virgins for feast.

The main hall is paved in a large pentagram,
Congested oak table wears bare skull of Man.
Vials of all colors, and books leather bound,
Heron’s dark secret of witchcraft be found.

A blood-stained bronze basin, its use I can guess,
Beside the jeweled dagger in a red silk lined chest.
This evil tableau sparks a light in my mind,
Strengthens my nerve, but chills run my spine.

I reach for the dagger and at my first touch
A luminous aura dims crimson to dust.
A candle behind me, a whisper of steps,
Turning I face a grand master adept.

Thief! You’ll bear with you this curse to your grave
Take to the darkness, by light be betrayed.
Cling to the shadows, you light finger fool,
Leave now my dwelling or see your blood pool.

I take in my hand this dark tool of the damned.
And strike a black heart in malevolent man.
I flee from the knife where it pins him to rest
Fearing what devils may heed his last breath.

I feel his curse working and run for the wood.
My will is a weapon to wield and I should,
Ward off the power of words that he gave,
Words I must carry now unto my grave.

Penny-less thief, no home have you now.
Though justified, murder must weigh on your brow.
Seek out the shade ‘neath the trees, tarry not,
For rays of the sun seem unbearably hot.


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On the Rocks

This is where I find her,
Where rocks tip truth into sea.
This where my mind knows
Not to accept what it sees.

Pushing my life to the edge of the storm,
I come to the ocean a lie.
But dreaming may mend this image of self
Where ego concedes with a sigh.

And then the gale comes
In thundering waves
Assailing these firm jetty stones.
And when she arrives
Reality dies
Wistfully walking in squalls.

This is when I see her,
Long hair, long dress, long limbs
All white in dusk,
All grace in movement.
Eyes closed, she whirls,
Hair flying, she leaps stone to stone,
Dress flowing pirouettes the illusion
Of limbs beckoning to me.

So I come,
Whenever the wind rides fierce water,
dragging darkness and uncertainty behind.

I come to the ocean to dance.

poetry by SS Matthews


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Thief

Douglas Fairbanks
Image; Douglas Fairbanks – Thief of Bagdad

Thief

Win first her faith and her favor.
Prowl stealthily opulent chambers,
the deepening blue of her pleasure.
Eyes of night see not this thief.

Clutch tightly the stone her breasts adorned.
Make off with her Majesty’s treasure.
Win first her trust and sapphire lust.
How priceless, the jewels of this labor!

Untangle her silken limbs’ embrace.
Relinquish her softness, her satin.
Slip from her bed, yes tears will be shed,
but her curses in anger, forgotten.

I am a creature seduced by his trade,
a slave to a thousand desires.
But I’m first in her eyes, achieved by disguise,
where knave and knight both might aspire.

SS Matthews


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Track of the Wolf

Anion had never attempted such an incantation before, but then she’d never felt so compelled to seek someone out. Setting the clay bowl into its makeshift cradle over the small fire, she let the combination of ingredients simmer. As the mixture began to bubble, she added the wolf’s blood and slowly began to stir the mess with a large crow’s feather. In all, it was an unappetizing looking, sour smelling glob of seeing herbs and fluids.

Deciding to follow her instincts, she didn’t really know how to define her rescuer. If he wasn’t a god, this spell should work be he a man, an animal, or a combination of the two. This grove would no longer serve her as a haven; that was clear. The magic was broken and it was time to leave. Traveling with a companion would be much safer than going it alone.

Thickening, the mixture began clinging to the feather. Determined to divine her rescuer’s whereabouts, Anion stripped the gum from the feather and began to chew.

“Bendigeidfran, Bran The Blessed, bless this, my incantation.

On your wings my vision soars above the Father Oak.
From my eyes you may not hide, ‘neath mantle, cowl nor cloak.
Blood of wolf, blood of man blend now with my own
Feel my blood flow into yours and be to me now known.”

Closing her eyes, the vision began and Anion found her consciousness in flight. With the eyes of a raven, she could see a hare bounding along the same path that only the night before she’d fled along in fear of the slavers. The marks of her desperate attempt to escape, still visible, led to a disturbed area of dried and blackened blood. The bodies of the three men were gone, but the ground surrounding that horror-stricken site bore yet the imprint of his tracks. They were truly the prints of a wolf, large and wild.

Unbelievable as it all had been, it was no dream. Two slavers the wolf had savaged with fang and claw. While their leader struggled with his fear, she’d gathered the sword he’d discarded to rape her. Putting the blade to use was an act she’d never have accomplished on her own. It was the presence of the wolf that’d helped her find the strength. Still, it wasn’t out of debt that she sought him. Strange an association as it might be, a connection was made. And there was this unfamiliar sensation, one that had crept into her blood and set it aflame. Driven by feelings she did not yet understand, Anion followed the trail of prints to the edge of the trees.

#

With the previous evening’s storm cleared away, the stallion grazed contentedly on the fresh green of an open field. Finding enough dry wood to light a fire, Rowan sat watching the smoke rise as his clothing dried by its heat. He knew he should move on, away from the girl and the carnage he’d wreaked on her behalf.

Still, something was causing him to hesitate. Vague as it was, the feeling over-powered the suspicion that getting involved would only bring further risk of exposure.

Being new to these Isles, he could maintain his anonymity, but that was best done by traveling alone. If word should spread of a beast loose in the countryside, someone would come hunting. Those deaths bothered him little though. They were slayers and aware of the risks. It was the innocents caught in between that weighed heavy in his thoughts. They always seemed to be the ones to reap the harvest of his violence. In trying to defend them, or they to befriend him, the result was usually the same. Those who hunted him cared little for those he left exposed.

Whistling for the stallion, better judgment insisted he leave. Like a wisp of smoke straying from wafting column, he felt her then and paused. So she was a spell caster. He hadn’t picked up on that. Her skills might be unpolished, but the potency of her thaumaturgical casting was effective. He could feel her. She was trying to get into his blood.

She wasn’t truly defenseless then. He could leave her to fend for herself and she’d probably do little harm. Although labeled a witch by the locals, she’d probably be eventually captured and stoned. In their infinite ignorance, those who couldn’t understand her gifts would seek to end them. The talent she exhibited would need direction and refining to really be dangerous, that is to say, effectively lethal. If he waited for her, he’d end up filling that role. She’d learn from him and would become a force in the magical world. That is, if she survived. Those he’d taken as companions in the past had not.

Like it or not, he was the emissary of Death. He continued on while those around him withered at his fell touch. Let it be her choice, he thought. If she wanted to learn, he’d teach her. If she didn’t, he’d teach her anyway. It was, after all, the way of things.

Out-take from Wolfe’s Bane
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