We roam corridors, chambers, caracoles, grand halls,
mindful of creaking floorboards, touching the targes,
drawn to the burnished armature donned by paladins
of yesteryear, gaping aslant at the ornate parament
adorning the wall, puzzling over its unfamiliar glyphs
in the hope of discerning some overlooked arcanum
that would explain no less than the world as we know it.
Despite its decrepitude, the stronghold’s bones
are good, its foundation remains solid, its parapet’s merlons
crowning the rooftop with august grace.
I espy the rafters, noting every tenon and mortise;
the coigns, which I grope, have bulk and heft.
I wander the grounds, admiring the verdure,
thankful not to be pursued by bloodhounds
or crusading cavalries keen on infidels.
Strolling beneath the portcullis and across the drawbridge,
the moat entrenched in earth below, we bid adieu
to this Middle Ages milieu, disgorged moderns
relieved to be restored to contemporary conveniences.
Yet from a distance we glance back in envy
at the stony pile overtowering its environs,
stoically defying the elements and time,
a relict destined to outlast mortal hours.
Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 300+ publications in 30 countries.