Decay | The Dying Ember

Decay | The Dying Ember

A Poem by Alexandria Reece

Cyclical thoughts, 

Those moonbeams caught in air, 

As iron bars, struck by, 

A dust storm,

Time, grimly winding,

As ruined Knossos,

Under the gaze of Kronos, 

Read out on parchment,

As a hook echo yawns and spins, 

Delving deep into an age-old scar --

Raucous, as enters a dulled and idling bistoury,

The tortoise’s belly has split 14 ways, 

And, for a moment,

The shaman’s hands quiver,

O’er the clear mark of the Zahir, 

O’er the implement,

Cooling at the caress of a rogue monsoon,

As sways the yarrow: fears allayed,

“Another day, another day under the sun”,

And recalled are the hours in which,

I found myself heavy with doubt,

As tied to an anchor, fading into,

The infinitesimal abyss,

The Gate of Ishtar -- my lips:

Lapis, belying a wail,

How then, all before me,

Seemed as ash, my sorry,

Domain of dust,

As caught in air,

Moonbeams, like iron bars,

Banishing aspirations,

Though aqueous all, my visions teemed,

With glimmering soot and rubble,

Can a being be a ruin?

My breath spent on,

Men who would not hear me,

Though when the storm came hastily on,

They would beat at my door,

On the limitless heath,

Entreat me, “let me enter,

Again, again, for sooth takes formation,

I’ve spoiled for intention,

And certain have squandered your song”,

Though proved it were,

Those arms,

Were not my place of belonging,

Acceptance; I long fiercely to be known,

Not merely glanced o’er,

And deemed criminal or caryatid,

“Begone”, begone olden miseries,

Your spells are mendacious,

Vapid language dappling your chins,

Away, your ghosts, away.

The hour is late, a crepuscular chill,

Holds sway over me, that e’en I,

Who have but dreamed of the hearth,

I should be sequestered aside,

Until the dun’s but a glint,

And the sand has forgotten the sea,

Feels the waning of anticipation,

For love is born of a friend or a feeling,

And rarely do these intersect,

So ei’er it’s doomed to be a quandary,

Or volatilized regret.


Knossos - the ancient Cretan city where Daedalus is thought to have constructed the labyrinth for Asterion (the Minotaur).

Hook Echo - a weather radar reading that indicates a rotating thunderstorm.

Tortoise Belly Divination (卜)- an ancient Chinese means of soothsaying in which the diviner would strike the underside of a tortoise shell with a hot metal instrument and read the fortune from the cracks which appeared on the surface. They would also predict the future with yarrow, thus their appearance a few lines later.

14 - A reference to Jorge Luis Borges’ The House of Asterion, in which the number 14 equates to an infinite sum. 

The Zahir - Another Borges reference from The Zahir. The Zahir is an entity or object which can manifest in anyone or anything, which causes a maddening obsession. The Zahir here being the fate read by the shaman (shamaness).

Ishtar Gate - the 8th gate of Babylon, featuring several shades of blue and depicting various animalia. The appearance here is to demonstrate the similarity between the muted roar of lions featured on the gate and a drowning person’s lips -- also unable to be heard/eventually unable to move.

Caryatid - a support pillar that’s carved in the likeness of a woman.

[The monsoon reference shortly followed by the yarrow’s thoughts to the sun -and- sinking into the ocean shortly followed by seeing all before me as dust is meant to conjure the feelings that hope and then despair bring in such ways]: 

  • hope (the yarrow) knows the rain is needed and the sun will shine again 

  • despair knows there is trouble at hand, but it is not always clear what the real predicament or danger is focusing on my past failures, rather than attempting to keep from drowning… the dust/air nothing like the oceanscape before me

Dun - hillforts on the British Isles which were mainly constructed during Medieval times.

© 2020 Alexandria Reece

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Added on June 15, 2020
Last Updated on June 15, 2020


Alexandria Reece
Alexandria Reece


A siren. A well-dweller. A hater of Theseus. I have been writing poetry since I was 12 years old and it has been a saving grace and my favourite escape. I am a mystery, wrapped in a shro.. more..