At Play in the Great Hall


David Marsh

Thunder sounds his warning in the distance,
And spirits flee the hall.
Divas steal to stone their places back upon the walls.
Demons swirl into mosaic tiles on the floor.
Fairies lite out into night
And hide in weeds nearby to watch;
Angels fly into the painted ceiling
To clear the corridor,
As titan drones nearer his return.

Only chalice flames remain
To greet the storm.
They dance the empty hall with glow
And flickerplay their shadows for the hidden guests,
Who lay bemused by such uncanny bow
And wonder if the flames will stand
To shake hands with behemoth
When he returns.

A single angel dares to reach
Out to caress the teasing flame
In disregard of dangers bent
Upon the door.
Sudden is the crash that robs the moment
Of their playful touch,
Ripping corridor in flood
Of blackest winds and rains that bring
An end to brazen flames.
In an instant, are they sent
Scurrying back on cracking whips
Of bitter cold to lay in embers
Buried deep within the chalice ash.

The stone and marble tiles shudder
At the force with which the winds
Rip the empty corridor.
A new thunder lets that would feign
To shatter temple into dust,
Bringing tears to stone fašades
That cannot conceal complete
The fright with which divas fret
In such a presence.
The thunder rolls the halls and wrecks
A maul upon each concrete wall,
Setting them to tremble near

Angel eyes upon the ceiling
Look to demons down below,
Yet resist from calling out
Lest, they fear, they should be found
And torn away.
The troublesome tormentors,
Who boast they would be saviors
While tying knots in angel locks
When titan is away,
Now close their eyes, in part to hide
The shame of fear from titan's rage
And part, the shame of angels' gaze.

With no salvation from the grip,
The spirits yield to the whims
Of storm.
Foundation quakes and then gives ground
Stretching walls beyond their bounds.
The temple would collapse, in fact,
Were not for angels clutched to divas
Holding chaliced flames in place,
And demons who reach up to grab
The walls to hold them sound.
Even fairies, distant safe,
Illumine nighttime air
To call the titan out and end
The play before too late.

The mighty titan soon is spent
Of his amusement at the game
Much to the relief of spirits
Stretched far beyond the places
That they occupied, before.
Following the thunder bellowed
Down the corridor, ahead,
The storm leaves the temple dome
And rushes for the door,
Quickly as it came.
Save, of course, for one last shout
Of thunder, slapping back the walls
A final torment of contempt
Before fading out into the night.

Huddled, crying spirits hold
Their eyes shut tight long after
Storm has gone.
Clinging in a shivering mass
Afraid to view the damage or
The advent of return, again.
Fairies are the first to fly
Back to the Hall to see the sight
Of the wondrous delight
Left in the aftermath of storm.

A hall once great, now greater yet
By full magnitude in wake of storm.
The dome, once painted, now replaced
By crystal that shines clear the night,
The angels, there, now silhouettes
Painted in the stars.
Divas that before were stone
Have alchemized into gold -
Radiant goddesses made from tears
Wept during the quickening.
Chalice, loosed from goddess grip,
Springs forth a flame unlike before,
Who is no longer bound to base
And now stands free to dance, alone.
The demons that laid on the floor
Are brought to life with jeweled armor
Shining in the light more splendid
Than ever came from Vulcan's pit.
The walls, expanded thrice their size,
Sparkle shine with silver tiles,
That reflect silhouettes of angel
Stars and golden goddesses.
And from above, can be seen
One looking down through crystal dome
Of the temple that's been placed
Between His feet, in front of throne,
So that He can forever more
Watch the play that goes about
In the Great Hall for his amusement.

And in the awakening,
The godly spirits dance,
While somewhere in the far off distance
Thunder can be heard.


Author Bio

Born March 3, 1968 in a traumatic childbirth that nearly claimed his mother's life, David is the youngest of ten children brought up in a Missouri household richly structured in the mystical teachings of Pentecostal tradition. Writing his first short story at the age of nine, he would go on to locally publish original works of prose and poetry throughout his high school career while being awarded a variety of scholastic honors in mathematics and literature.

Graduating salutatorian of his class, he won academic scholarships to more than a dozen universities before settling into the Honors College at the University of Illinois. He left the university, disillusioned, less than a year later.

In 1998, David wrote his first novel, A World Without Angels. Since that time, he has been composing a volume of poetry for future publication.




"At Play in the Great Hall" Copyright © 1999 David Marsh. All rights reserved. Published by permission of the author.
This page last updated 1-7-00.

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