Skin and Bones

On some forsaken forgotten peak
There dwells a lonely fort:
Inside, a man of skin and bones
Rules an empty court.

His wife, she died of love for him:
A baron came to claim his rights
To kill the baron’s child she flung
Herself from a height.

The banners that flap are of baron’s flesh,
His drink of baron’s blood:
Yet still the man of skin and bones
Pines for the one he loved.

On clear days he will bring the storm.
In gentle rains he’ll bring the flood.
His cup is made of baron’s bones,
His drink of baron’s blood.

His son, he wandered far and fell
In love with the baron’s daughter.
In the name of hatred he was
Tortured, skinned, slaughtered.

His spirit haunts the fort these days,
Though he forgave his father:
He binds the man of skin and bones
Away from the baron’s daughter.

Between the forces of love and hate,
Some say that love is stronger:
But of the son and wife the son’s
Spirit’s lasted longer.

Upon some forsaken forgotten peak,
There dwells a lonely fort,
Inside a man of skin and bones
Rules over an empty court.

5 thoughts on “Skin and Bones

  1. Okay, too many relationships here for me.

    The best way I can piece this together is that there are at least two generations of barons involved.

    Otherwise, the baronial family tree appears to have branches that rejoin the trunk (not impossible, given the history of “noble breeding”).

  2. No, no.

    There are two separate families involved: the guy in the fort’s family and the baron’s family.

    There’s this guy, you see. Not a baron, just this guy with a fort.
    The guy has a wife and a son. The baron has a daughter.
    The baron comes along and takes advantage of the guy’s wife.
    When the wife realizes that the baron knocked her up, she kills herself.

    Cut to 15 years later.
    The guy is working out his plan of great revenge on the baron.
    However, his son has fallen in love with the baron’s daughter.
    Naughty, treacherous son! No biscuit!
    Instead of biscuit, tortured to death! Yay pain!
    (Meanwhile, Great Revenge proceeds. Baron is rendered into housewares.)
    But wait, what’s this?
    Ghost of treacherous son is protecting baron’s daughter.
    Darn, not going to be able to get service for four out of baron’s family.
    Also, wife still dead.
    Son dead now, too.
    Sucks to be the guy with the fort.
    “My whole family died and all I got was this lousy goblet & banner set!”

  3. Yeah, Jennifer, that’s how I saw it, too.

    Hmm. Something about it almost sounds more like a twisted nursery rhyme than a regular narrative poem, though I can’t put my finger on what. Does anyone else get this impression?

  4. Get this published somewhere, damn it, even if that means taking it down from here.

    I want to see RSB in The Year’s Best Fantasy And Horror 18th Annual Collection.

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