Let My Footstep Strike the Ground Like a Spear

A Villanelle

Let my footstep strike the ground like a spear
Hear me bound through the groves of Sicily
Drawing power from an Earth soaked in fear.

With father, I run from thicket to clear
Mt Etna rising to the west of me
Let my footstep strike the ground like a spear

A man who bests me for year after year
Stronger and taller than I’ll ever be
Drawing power from an Earth soaked in fear.

While running in stride, these terrors appear
How to match the man’s masculinity
Let my footstep strike the ground like a spear.

Yet, he talks of his troubles drawing near
The sun setting on a man such as he
Drawing power from an Earth soaked in fear.

I, trying to match the man I revere
He, tasting the slow loss of legacy
Let my footstep strike the ground like a spear
Drawing power from an Earth soaked in fear


The Tragen Wood 

A Democratic Allegory

Behold the mighty Tragen Wood
Where live a noble flock of thrush
That feast on endless gifts of good
Hewn from the mighty Tragen Brush

Yet not so lucky are the larks
That lie across the river’s bank
No fertile ash, but only sand
And brackish waters, darkly dank.

Fly starving larks across the hell
To shelter in the Tragen wood
So bird by bird, their numbers swell
To feast on gifts of endless good.

In anger do the thrush react
Too fearful of the foreign flock
So in despair they swear a pact
To place in charge a mighty hawk.

The fearsome hawk so quickly flies
To drive the larks across the bank
Harass, give chase, then terrorize
The larks to waters darkly dank.

Emboldened by his great offence,
The hawk demands obedience.
Alarmed, the noble thrush devise
A march to force the hawk’s demise.

So bird by bird, the thrush march on
Demanding that the hawk be gone.
They tweet and tweet and stamp their feet
And dare the hawk to fight their fleet.

The sunset melts into the night.
Yet still the hawk will not take flight
No fear has he over the thrush
Who merely tweet from underbrush.

Aghast the flock succumb to fear
And turn on thrushes weak and near:
Accusing of impurity
The thrushes’ ideology.

So dive they into pyrrhic war
Of thrush on thrush on Tragen floor.
Sweet eyes they gouge, soft bones they crush
Till all lie dead in Tragen brush.

The hawk flies up, his battle won
The Tragen Wood is his to run
The mighty thrush lie in the sun.
And thus he eats them, one by one.


Nathan Dennis is a Manhattan based playwright and poet of Floridian extraction. A graduate of NYU Tisch’s Department of Dramatic Writing, he is currently workshopping his Greco-Shakespearean tragedy, Lord of Florida, with PrismHouse Productions for a December 2017 premiere. His screwball comedy, The Octopus, was most recently developed through The Set Collective in June, 2017.  He served as the publisher and editor of the (now retired) Unscooped Bagel, and currently writes for CoffeeHouse Writers. 




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6 Responses

  1. David Hollywood

    From heroic to tragedy, like the entrance to some epic poetry. Great writing.

    • Nathan

      Thank you sir — I appreciate the compliment! Greek epic poetry and stagecraft are my guiding lights.


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