Ian Stewart Black

Modern master of classical poetry

Month: July, 2017

Myths Of Old

We sought the darkened corners of the world
Enraptured by a lust that never dies,
With destinies of glory to unfurl
And monsters to be slain before our eyes;
What kingdoms sunken in the mire of time
Or heathen arts to history resigned,
What tomes of magic lay in foreign climes
Unthinkable to those we left behind;
Aspiring to the feats of ancient lore,
A common heart was blessed to beat with pride –
The sea of dreams lay open to explore
For those who venture courage on the tide.

And what have we to equal such a faith
When all we deign to contemplate is known –
Existing in the shadow of the wraith
Without a fleeting spark of wonder shown;
Our gods and monsters slaughtered long ago,
Their mystery and might explained away –
Too jaded now to let our vision grow
Beyond the shackles of the everyday;
And bolstered by the bleating of our peers,
We sneer at those who still revere the dawn –
An age of man without ambition nears,
For all that’s sacred and profane is gone.

The moat of souls encircles not the house
Of god, but flows into oblivion –
And I proclaim the tales we once espoused
Are proof of miracles beneath the sun;
There is divinity on earth, without
A call to prayer or sacrifice of blood –
A glimpse of paradise defying doubt
As veins of silver gleaming in the mud;
I may believe in nothing, but I yearn
To revel in a wondrous story told –
Alive with tears of joy as cynics learn
That there is beauty in the myths of old.


A Well Of Discontent

The fickle luxury of sleep denied,
I wallow in a merciless abyss –
The night a symphony of tortured cries,
But I am longing not for slumber’s kiss;
A feast of decadence is ash upon
My tongue, devouring even as I starve –
This hunger too innate to be withdrawn,
But in the essence of my being carved;
And as I will my woes away with wine,
I wearily surrender to my thirst –
To live in want of earthly things is fine,
But I must answer to my spirit first;
I languish in a well of discontent,
Lamenting every breath without you spent.

Your Hand In Mine 

I made an anchor of my heart 
When first I felt your hand in mine, 
And though we deign to live apart – 
My soul with yours remains entwined; 
But does an anchor not bestow 
The vessel with a leaden crown – 
At once made firm and faithful, though 
A subject to be bidden down; 
And such a gift I offer you 
As I deny to lesser kings – 
The fullness of my being due 
As tributary gold or rings; 
The waking hours of my mind 
Devoted only to your praise, 
With all I once adored resigned 
To memories of bygone days; 
Entrusting happiness to hope 
That never steered me right before, 
Another night in vain to cope 
With only darkness at my door; 
Perhaps to see my dreams beneath 
A weight of expectation crushed – 
The songs of love your touch bequeaths 
Diminished to a solemn hush; 
And what have you to sacrifice, 
What token did I ever ask? 
Was I so easily enticed, 
And you so worthy of the task? 
Should disappointment follow me 
With passion burning bright and bold, 
How devastated I would be 
To find your flame is bitter cold; 
Perhaps to live without a care – 
With nothing ventured, nothing lost – 
A sullen weight of sorrow spared 
Would ease the burden of the cost; 
Were life so simple or the heart 
So tame, I would not hold you dear – 
But in these endless days apart, 
My purpose beckons true and clear; 
The love of you commands me still, 
Upon your answer I depend – 
And I believe, for good or ill, 
The truth will echo in the end.


My words intoxicate you
With a wealth of practiced ease –
Unraveling myself to
Find a purpose, and to please;
Concocting heady philters
As a shaman from the air –
Through bitter sorrow filtered
To be served to you with care.
Unfurling as a lotus
Yielding realms of hidden things –
The words are all you notice,
But a phantom pulls the strings;
The soul of every sonnet
That you whisper in your sleep,
With all laid bare upon it
As you close your eyes and weep;
The sentiment you savour
Just to know you’re not alone,
The faith that never wavers
In a line you call your own;
A slave to every letter
Penned in service to my heart,
And no one knows you better
Than the ghost behind the art.
But there is scope for wonder
While the mystery remains –
Forever cast asunder
Should a grim confession reign;
The architect of Eden
Hewn of uncelestial stuff –
My heart forever bleeding
Still would fail to be enough;
Though every waking hour
Saw me harnessing my dreams,
I fear your love would sour
As the revelation deems;
You walk within my worlds to
Hear the echoes of my pain –
My life is all around you,
But a phantom I remain.

Undying Light

Tonight I curse the fire in my veins
That damns me to a life in passion’s wake;
As liars wander freely, earnest chains
Affix me to a heart I’d soon forsake.
If I should be as they, what vapid fear
Should find me in my sleep, or pain entice
Me from pursuit of pleasure to revere
As only love demands – and know the price.
Beneath the sword of Damocles is life
Bestowed a noble glory in defeat;
And thus we choose the path beset with strife –
In our devotion, we are made complete.
Though spiteful whims of sorrow may deny
My dearest dreams, the flame will never die.

A Darker Side Of Hope

A mist of moonlight in the sullen gloom
Enshrouds a heart of sinister intent;
The promise of malevolence in bloom,
And life in search of retribution spent.
For mine is passion without end, nor sleep
To ease the spiteful writhing of the dark;
Your hollow love was never mine to keep,
And still your poisoned arrow struck its mark.
A venom drawn from sacred nectar, stained
In service of a malice most profane;
Defiled as my unsullied soul, now drained
Of all desire and pleasure but your pain.
In shadows of your lies, I learned to spurn
The light – until the day I watch you burn.

The Bark Of Scots Pine

The bark of scots pine,
Or scales of fabled dragons
Crumbling to the touch.

Long Winter

For summer’s sweetness never left your lips
But dressed in golden veil your every word,
My life was forfeit to your fingertips
And all my spirit to your rev’rence stirred;
My heart relinquished and my bonds revoked
To better glorify your holy name,
As if from in a fever dream I woke
To cleanse my soul within your sacred flame;
But you demanded as an act of faith
I wander over barren sands alone,
Until my deity became a wraith
Of malice stripping loyal flesh from bone;
The ashes of my love beneath your feet –
A tribute to the goddess of deceit.

And thus began the darkest winter of my soul,
A foul excursion to the end of sanity –
From in whose shadow none return as once they were.
Had base debauchery and bloodshed followed me,
Without the feeble hope of a repentant breath,
Or hatred wrenched me from the womb to usher in
A rain of spite upon the world – not even then
Would absolution linger now beyond my grasp.
For so indelible a stain upon the soul
Is that imparted to a lover once betrayed,
That all my sins are as the fading stars at dawn –
The ground beneath my feet, forever Calvary.

Eden Crumbles Into Dust

A slave to my heart –
Thus I refuse you nothing
As you covet all;

Longing blights my waking world,
While you soundly sleep;

And when you wish it,
Eden crumbles into dust…
I am yours to break.

There Is Only Now

Drowning in the past –
Whenever I see you smile,
There is only now.