Since August 2017, I have been working on a narrative poem titled “when the east lays down”. It consists of a collection of sonnets, loosely strung together, telling the story of the fall of Constantinople. I wanted to give everyone a little taste of what I had in mind. So I’m sharing a “rejected” sonnet, a “sketch” called “the eagle.” I hope this post will wet your whistle for some more of “when the east lays down.”
This is a large project and will take me quite a while to get all my ducks in row.
I plan to illustrate each sonnet and produce something that can be held. A beautiful thing that has weight and substance.
So in honor of the 565th anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople:
“catch the wind, and never descend at all!
o’er earth and sea i see them scratch and die.
near the fire-boom, i dare not go at all.
soar instead is better. the best to fly.
talon banners tied ever to wall so weak, [^1]
always flapping, never grasping they be.
not strong like me. they be boasting, brash, meek.
talons grasp, tear and kill, flesh they carry.
i see blood spilled — wasted to dirt — to ants!
near-the-snow was hard. wind blew cold, bitter.
on-the-green, water seemed ne’er to stop. plants — [^2]
pines, wet. needles — woods, wet. wet, my litter.
lift me wind. soar me o’er the fire-blood!
east, i go now – to new tree, green new-mud.”
© rl busséll 2018
[^1]: Constantinople’s eagle banners
[^2]: The spring of 1453 was particularly wet. The population of Constantinople saw this as a bad omen.