1 Aug 2014

Poem of the Week: The Necromancer

If you read the title and thought: ‘Isn’t the name of his upcoming book?’ then you’d be right. This poem is, indeed, related to my upcoming book; and, unsurprisingly therefore, the Necromancer of which it speaks is the one (and only) Neshvetal.

This is a poem about him. His tragedy. His loss. For he, dear reader, is the saddest of them all.

I think I shall be including the poem in the actual book. I believe it captures the Necromancer’s emotions with total perfection—and that reading it will give you a real view into who he really is.

Here is the link.


Let me start, funnily enough, with the beginning. Take:

In a castle
Enmeshed in frozen flakes
Of mountains clear and tall
A Necromancer lyeth thinking.
He sits on the throne of a king forgotten
Of which granite is the only known companion.

Structurally, the poem is a hexameter with lines of increasing length. I like this structure: I feel it reflects the way my imagination works—a spark (a premise) in the beginning, leading to several trees of thought; until, finally, it arrives to some sort of ‘chapter’ (for lack of a better word) in which the next section begins.

The poem also makes heavy use of enjambment—lines unseparated by punctuation, for those of you unfamiliar with literary nomenclature.

This means that the lines flow into one another; a fact which, I believe, is helped by the use of some rhyme and a lot of alliteration. There’s even a bit of assonance, though it rarely occurs.

Now that the structure is out the way, we’ll get onto the story. You’ll have noticed that most of my poems have a strong narrative: I believe this is due to the fact that I am (surprisingly) a logical person with a very linear mind.

Moreover, I think that… I don’t like poems written purely for the sake of words. The best written creations are made in the presence of the best stories, if you ask me.

Neshvetal’s Tale

His eyes
Are the colour of Winter’s
Wind-blown kiss; and his lips
Are firm like unyielding ice, but
Bright, as neon hues. His hair—ruffled
By Northern winds and distant cries of basilisks

—Leaves many an
Autumn’s caress upon
Those who gaze surreptitiously.

I begin with some description. Description in this poem is important: the poem is a most graphical one—that’s how it was created. That’s how most of my poems are formed, actually. I find it strange that I am so unable to convey that through drawing or painting; but so much more easily through words. Perhaps those are not meant to be my calling.

(You’re wishing I would leave the philosophy by the wayside, now aren’t you?)

Regardless, the poem is set in winter; fittingly, therefore, the Necromancer’s eyes are described in terms of such. This incidentally portrays him as a cold character—which he is, ostensibly.

Instead of attempting anything foolish (such as trying to assassinate his lover’s killer) he lay in wait, and so became poisoned by her caricatured memory.

His firm lips reveal his character: a tough one. He did not cry when she died. The alternative—unbeknownst to him—is far worse.

The quote ‘bright as neon hues’ reveals a degree of liveliness to him—but not a natural one.

Also: I hope you’ve noticed my little reference to ‘Leaves many an / Autumn’s caress’.

Some More ‘Interesting’ Quotes

How cruelly
Her life was taken:
By a bitter man with accrued ambition

Now for those of you unfamiliar with us writer’s various odd words, ‘accrued’ means ‘to silently accumulate—especially with regards to finance‘.

Aside from making some nice alliteration, the modifier (that’s the proper term; we don’t use ‘changer’ or even the posh adjective) reveals an aspect of ambition: how very cold, inhuman and… financial it is. (Indeed, how finance is very anti humanist—but that’s an entirely different kettle of fish…)

Life! He thinketh; such foolish tomfoolery!
Only death knows the truest hearts of undying lovers.

The last line reveals what sad parody his love has become. Oh, and did you notice my little archaism? I love archaisms: they make me sound all clever and posh.

(‘Yes, but Alex; you’ve used them inconsistently. And they’re not terribly imaginative.’ Moi: ‘It’s called effect you idiot.’)

Did you even notice the extraneous foolish on tomfoolery? There’s a fancy name for that, but I think I’ll just leave it at ‘it’s cool cos it’s stupid.’

And so love’s evil doppelgänger form
Crowns herself queen of a puppeteer.
The Throne of Puppeteers! How fitting.

Love’s evil doppelgänger form is of course a reference to the madness that plagues him now—a madness that truly invaded him once he became a Lichtr. (That’s the Proto-Zaelic—Old Arachadian—word for Lich, which is forgotten in the time period at which the Necromancer is set. I shall be writing a hopefully succinct intro on the Arachadian language soon, which shall be part of the book.)

(PS: a lich is an undead being; but a conscious, empowered and very much sentient one at that.)

The ‘puppeteers’ is a mockery of Necromancers. They puppet their undead; but like the evil puppets that they are, the undead also puppet him. (Geez, that’s a lot of puppet isn’t it?)

Also, I am making reference to the primary antagonist of the sequel, if I ever get to that.

Oh, and an earlier quote I forgot to mention:

His hands play idly with the toys of tyrants.

The ‘toys of tyrants’ refers to his knife and his spellbook. This is relevant to tyrants because their power is in fear and in political success; their knives are just toys.

His spellbook is less obvious—doesn’t he need it to Raise his undead? Well, he does, but only the more complex ones. And it is the Revenants—the many and the mindless—that form the bulk of his army.


My musings on my poem have been very literary and clinical. The poem, on the other hand, is very emotive. Honestly, I think its meaning is abundantly clear. I am merely drawing your attention to some of the subtleties; there are more, though, so do pay attention.

And I do hope this poem has drawn you in. You don’t think the Necromancer is boring, right? Hello? Are you there?

(Echoes of the uncaring ring emptily, leaving yours truly to work on his book. Thank you for reading.)

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