Photo of Königstein Festung‘At Königstein Festung’ by Gleb Zavlanov The Society January 29, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 4 Comments Within the shadow of the fortress wall, I stand agape; such gross, exquisite scale. My bulging eyes attempt to take in all But sadly, unsurprisingly, they fail. Hot inspiration spikes; aroused, I call, “Wake up, you bricks, speak up, recount your tale.” I push my ear against their rugged stone; They chant their story to my ear alone: The piercing clink of hammer, rock and nail, The groans of workers straining in the heat, Unfalteringly slaving through harsh hail, Rough rain, sharp snow, stark sun, and slicing sleet, Until, a thing no army could assail, It stands, impregnable, a noble feat; The ingenuity of engineers To last as strong as ever through the years. I wander up the stairs, amazed, upbeat, My mounting spirit just about to burst From fresh excitement, knowing that my feet Here, through these ancient halls, are not the first, That centuries saw a million soles beat This very floor in times of best and worst. I trace those soles up to a post and draw A panting breath of wonder, joy, and awe. A mystifying landscape beams and broods. Arranged in likeness of a grisly spine, A dark and daunting mountain range protrudes Through looming colonnades of spruce and pine Whose misty groves once crawled with multitudes That dared to test the might of Königstein, That plotted months in vengeful secrecy Amid dense forest tenebrosity. Now, I’m no longer me, no longer here, No longer now, but cast in centuries back, A stationed sentry, gripping on his spear With paling knuckles, eyeing country track, Convinced, lips chewed, that armies will appear From foggy woods to mount the huge attack. I picture them, upon the rising sun, In roaring swarms, rush, glinting weapons drawn. Beset with thirst, I venture to our well, Grown thick with vine and oozing watercress, Where, with deep panting, quaffing slurps, I quell My cracking thirst on nature’s blessedness, Then stare, amazed, at how it worms to Hell, No point untouched by Saxon edifice, When, suddenly, with glorious alarm, Bells clamor, warning of approaching harm. I scramble to my parapet, hand taut Upon my spear, heart pounding in my chest, And, petrified, gape at the juggernaut Advancing, loud with rancorous unrest. I feel my body jitter, head grow hot. I kiss my cross with frightened, fervent zest, Prepared to shed my honorable blood For Saxon kings, for Saxony, for God. “Aim, fire!” Arrows hiss like locust hordes, An ecstasy of scrambling horror peaks. The shrilly chafing shimmer of drawn swords Drains every speck of color from my cheeks. My twisted tongue flops through a thousand words And frantic, frothing phrases as it seeks To clump whatever hasty orison My terror-stricken soul can draw upon. Shouts, yells, and bangs, demented whimpering. I dizzy from the the nauseating dread. Men scream, blood pours, shields bang, flames rage, swords swing. I feel a fainting flitter in my head. Then, suddenly, a vicious, snapping sting Zips through my neck. My vision swells with red. I reel, eyes writhing, darting up to God, Then, wheezing, rasping, drop, choked up on blood. I start from that unsettling dream, cold sweat Pearled on my brow, fear tensing on my face, Transported from that fateful parapet Back to my time, my body and my place. I look out at the villages, afret With modern life’s smooth, mechanistic pace, Hosts of belligerent and zealous knights Replaced with cars and soothing neon lights. Gleb Zavlanov is a young poet and songwriter living in New York City. He is a 2017 graduate of Townsend Harris High School. His YouTube channel can be found here. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 4 Responses Leo Zoutewelle January 29, 2020 Gleb, this is totally fascinating, yes, gripping! Quite an accomplishment of embroidering the present with the past like that. Congratulations. Leo Reply Gleb Zavlanov February 1, 2020 Dear Mr. Zoutewelle, Thank you for reading. I am very glad you found it gripping and fascinating. -Gleb Reply Anna J Arredondo January 29, 2020 Gleb, I enjoyed reading your poem very much. You did a marvelous job conveying the unique experience one may have at historic sites when taking the time to really listen to what the bricks have to say. I felt transported with you, and was relieved to return to the present in the final stanza! In S2 L3, the final word ought to be spelled “hail”. Reply Gleb Zavlanov February 1, 2020 Dear Ms. Arrendondo, Thank you. I know I accomplished my task as a poet when a reader felt transported with me through the stanzas. -Gleb Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. 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