The Seven Races of Man

In addition to poetry and other writings on the subject of Zen, I have also been known to dabble in writing fantasy novels. Here in the UK however Fantasy has entered a somewhat serious phase. With the novels of Steven Erikson and others it now seems that fantasy can no longer be about beautiful elves, treacherous goblins and blood thirsty orcs. In this brave new world the forests are burning and the elves are all now in brothels, the goblins have opened casinos and are making a packet, and the bloodthirsty orcs are in fact a muddy reflection of ourselves; sadly out-competed and forced by desperation to pillage. Steven Erikson is probably my favourite fantasy author of the last ten years so this is certainly not a criticism of his or subsequent fantasy, yet part of me thinks something has been lost. The well-worn clichés of fantasy, or tropes as Sonia Medeiros of Doing the Write Thing calls them, have something archetypal about them. There is a stubborn magic in such tales, a magic that talks to our unconscious. We have come so far, this human race, but in our journeying have we left one half of ourselves behind? So in response to Sonia’s May Challenge to give old fantasy tropes new life, and to attempt to reinvent and redirect my own faltering fantasy novel-in-progress, I present the following poem-stories. Imagine a world where not one but seven races of man still walked, each striving for dominance of the earth. Such a place is where my story is told. See if you can spot where my races come from in traditional Tolkien Fantasy, and where they have taken their own, new paths. (Apologies the word count Sonia is 588 – editing was never my strong point!)

Seven races of man were born,
Grown from void filled with earth licked by flame,
Each made in dark to strive,
For the light of lasting dominance,
Each in turn to taste victory and ashes,
As time grinds its hoed furrow on the world,
This is their story.


First came the Camlock,
Lizard skin, bleached eyes unblinking,
Sinuous and cold,
Their mastery long as forgotten eons,
As they are now forgotten,
By those once enslaved.


Across the seas they came,
As if the waves could not
Fill them up with cold forgetfulness,
With whip and fire they came amongst us,
As if with heavy brows and strong limbs slow to strike,
We were no more than chickens
Cuckolded to their frigid care,
With our seeds mixed down to nothing,
Held in chains beyond where sea meets sky,
Yet the blood still flows,
Where Burmid eyes rise with fire,
And brutish hands long to strike and tear,
Long forgiven yoke upon his neck,
From then till now rage shall become us,
Until we find ourselves once more in clear meadows,
On the other side of the sea.

Old ones,
Fast ones,
Childar blood ages like wine
In the deep forests of the world,
We who are of one mind
With nature’s covenant,
The childless-
One born for every lost,
But if we brew for war,
The world brews with us,
And if our coven grows dark,
A most unpleasant broth for the world over
To swallow,
Let them know our peace,
Or let them know our end.


The Runtar run
With fire cupped hands,
The gift of life and blood
To the long legged hunters with seeking spear,
May this plain never end,
Until the lightning laces with fire
The long grasses,
And it is time once more-
To run.


Sharp toothed,
Sharp eared,
Fox minded,
Let mine be mine and yours be mine,
Gamster country over,
And if in back stabbing,
I do stab around the world,
To my own back,
So be it-
Let the games go on.

We the little people,
The tunneling, hiding, laughing people,
Let us be or see us disappear-
Between the blink of an over-large eye,
The grasp of an overreaching hand,
We own the corners of the world,
There are more of us than can be guessed,
But what Dareen build none shall know.
Humanus knows not what he knows,
Orphaned child of disowned parents,
Glistening eyes for future only,
Mind like the edge of a blade,
Blood that wets the world with endless strife,
The possessed people,
Behind the castle walls the darkness growing,
Ambition to topple the gods,
Heedless of the ticking of the clock,
And chapters written by foreign hand.


There comes a final reckoning,
As each generation proclaims their feted years,
Yet on these times is placed the weight of centuries,
Drawn from well of worlds yet to come,
When the players of games shall cast their die upon all the lands,
When those slow to anger will be brought to frothing rage,
When the lost coven will burst like a boil in the midst of peaceful nature,
When the tall wanderers will wander no longer and plant their spears in city streets,
When the hidden ones shall have no sanctuary,
When the orphaned ones shall dream the memory of chains,
When the forgotten shall be remembered in the flames of vengeance,
Then in chaos shall reign the perfect storm,
And even the gods shall be as motes of dust,
About the seven crossed roads of destiny.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sonia G Medeiros
    May 17, 2011 @ 01:13:17

    I do agree that there is something archetypal about all these tropes. They call out to be told again and again. It’s the skillful hand that makes them seem new again. I love that you took the challenge and gave us a gripping poem. For that, I can forgive the extra 88 words. But next time… 😉 😀


  2. Habiba Younis
    May 21, 2011 @ 18:12:47

    I have always been passionate about literature and of all its categories, fantasy novels are my all time favorite (lord of the rings top the list)
    So you can infer without me saying that I loved this post 🙂


  3. Trackback: June Writing Challenge – Creature Feature | Sonia G Medeiros

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