by Adam Bolivar
When Jack was forty-six years old,
He found a silver key,
Which once was lost as has been told
By better bards than me.
He found it in a cedar box,
Upon a velvet bed,
When three was chiming all the clocks
To echo in his head.
Well, he was only seven when
He found the hidden door,
Which opened wide admitting then
This boy to lands of yore.
He wandered far upon the track
And outguessed many foes
To win the fame of gallant Jack,
Whose glory ever grows.
All this he did before the clocks
Were finished striking three;
And back into the cedar box
Jack put the silver key.
He did not find this key again
Until his grandma died;
His age was twenty-three years then,
His character untried.
Jack lived atop a noble hill,
A Drake of Boston Town,
And to this day, he lives there still,
Though shuns his great renown.
The silver key takes many shapes,
Addictive are they all;
Who uses it the world escapes,Which brings about a fall.
The second time Jack saw the door,
The key a powder was,
Which made him sick upon the floor,
And then into a vase.
Jack Drake became a Jack of Spades,
A needle for a sword;
In dreams this keenest honed of blades
Made Jack a one-man horde.
From Gandermoon to Hexham Town,
Jack wandered far and wide;
His exploits brought him much renown,
Which was a source of pride.
But always then he would awake
To find himself in bed,
And nothing could appease the ache
Which throbbed inside his head.
He dwelt upon a tune he’d heard
Deep in the darkest wood;
The passion in him that it spurred
He never understood.
A woman strummed, a balladress,
Whose strings were silver, strange;
Her tangled hair her only dress,
Her voice of ghostly range.
They coupled there beside the stream,
Where rowed a haunted boat
That carried souls to death from dream
To face a hornèd goat.
And from their union sprang a son,
Who bore the blood of Drake;
This memory Jack came to shun
When he was wide awake.
But when he came to middle age,
Jack knew he must return
Before he left the worldly stage,For ballads made him yearn.
And so he found the silver key
Inside its cedar box;
The door he found inside a tree,
When three chimed all the clocks.
He found himself upon the track
That he had trod in youth;
In dreams he felt much more like Jack,
Which pleased him well in truth.
He felt again like twenty-three,
His wit was bright and keen;
Such was the power of the key
For dreams were ever green.
The ancient track then crossed a road,
A tavern crouching there;
Nearby a narrow stream a-flowed,
Across which hopped a hare.
Jack entered in the Toad and Crow,
As once he had before;
The barman seemed his face to know,
And for him gan to pour.
The balladress was in there too,
And played for Jack a tune;
Their separation brought him rue—
That night beneath the moon.
The balladress was older now,
And played for Jack a song;
But shedding tears she’d not allow,
Although she’d waited long.
Jack climbed a tower every night,
Which kept atop a maid,
With lips blood red, and skin snow white,
Although he never stayed.
He climbed a ladder of her hair,
A beanstalk spun from gold,
To look upon a face so fairA thousand tales were told.
Her mistress was a sorceress,
Who learned of Jack’s coy game,
So sang the wistful balladress,
Whose hair she could not tame.
The evil witch then cast her out,
And waited for Jack’s climb;
His cunning tricks she aimed to rout,
And punish in due time.
The crone threw Jack into the thorn,
Which scratched out both his eyes,
And then he wandered lost, forlorn,
A beggar now his guise.
When years had passed he found a shack
Deep in the tangled wood;
The balladress admitted Jack,
Who learned his fatherhood.
Her tears of joy restored his eyes,
And then Jack glimpsed his son,
A boy of seven—how time flies!—
This triumph he had won.
But then Jack blinked; the door shut fast,
And lost the silver key;
That glimpse he knew would be his last,
And sorrowful was he.
Click Below to read
In Fits of Wildest Dreaming
by KA Opperman
on thethe FREEZINE of
Fantasy and Science