Poem -

Erlkönig

As the light of the day fades,
night slowly puts up her facades.

Through the dark night,
A father rides,
with his little son,
barely nine.

The little son is tucked into the father's cloak,
warmer than the skin of goats.

However, the son is trembling.
He buries his face in his father, mumbling.

"My son, why do you hide your face?"
The father asks, heart picking up pace.

"Do you not see, Father, the Elf King?
The Elf King with crown and train?"

The son whispers back, trembling with terror
His large, dark eyes reflect his father's worried face
So much like a mirror.

The Father's brows furrow,
not understanding his son's sorrow.
"My son, I see nothing, but a streak of clouds, a slight shade of inferno!"

While in the woods by,
the Elf-King sits and smiles.
"You dear child, 
come with me!
Such wonderful games I'll play with you!
So many colorful flowers are on the shore,
My mother has many a golden robe!"

The son hears this.
He is nearly in tears,
slowly succumbing to his dreary fears.
Voice trembling again, he asks:
"My father! My father!
Do you not yet hear
What the Elf-King softly promises me?"
O, how he would like to take a golden robe to keep!
But instead, he tries hard, not to weep.

The father shakes his head, says:
"Be calm, my boy!
Through the dry leaves
Wind is rustling."

The boy breathes,
while the leaves whistle,
taunting him, and to him, they tease.

The Elf-King flies
And now he is next to the boy
Who is sitting still and silent
like a toy.

"Will you, dear child,
Come with me?
My daughters shall wait on you well;
My daughters dance,
in nightly rows
And will cradle and dance and sing to you."

The Elf-King's tempt hooks at the son
The son's eyes are wide
With no trace of pride
They dart, side-to-side.

"My father! My father!
Do you not see there
Elf-King's daughters in the desolate place?"

His voice is no longer calm
Nothing like a psalm,
But a terrified scream.

Shushing the son, the father rides.
"My son,
It is the ancient gray willows."

The Elf-King snarls,
reaching out to wrench the boy
from his father's grasp.

The boy reacts with a gasp.

The Elf-King chants.
"I love you, your lovely
form charms me.
And if you're unwilling....
I'll use force."

The claws hang onto the boy's cloak
The boy could only let out a few croaks:
"My father, my father!
The Elf-King grabs me!
He has done me harm!"

A bloody crimson scar
appears on the child's scrawny arm.

The father shudders.
The sky rumbles and thunders.

He holds the groaning child
in his arms.
While the child whispers
"Harm....harm....."

The father reaches the courtyard
with toil and pain.

The sky rains,
as in the father's arms
the child lies
his body cold,
his face twisted in pain.

 

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