Psalm of the Formicidites of the Gliese 221 System

Mother of us, queen of us, we live to serve you
Your mission is clear: more room to breed
So we travel far and wide searching for indeed
Each day hundreds of eggs are laid, while we the few
Who have survived in the emptiness of space renew
Our faith that one day we shall have home and feed
Sufficient for our numbers to survive, a need
So great we continue until we no longer can go, no longer can do

The universe is vast
Surely there must be a planet, a solar system
That can contain our numbers
So we travel as long as our ships will last
Some say that in all this we are the victim
These heretics, we eat them in their slumbers

The Battle Hymn of a Doomed Knight at the Hour of Death

I swing my blade
I raise my shield
But it is never enough
The fight is never done
There is always another villain to defeat

And so I ride
To certain death
I know I cannot win
But I am honor bound

The code of chivalry
Defending the weak
Protecting my king
It is my life
And it takes my life

And so I ride
To certain death
I know I cannot win
But I am honor bound

A lesser knight might think to flee
To escape to safe haven
To live free of the code
Free of this life of violence
But I cannot

And so I ride
To certain death
I know I cannot win
But I am honor bound

Why am I fighting this fight I cannot win?
I wonder myself
To save a queen?
If I die I cannot save her
No one can save her

And so I ride
To certain death
I know I cannot win
But I am honor bound

I dream of peace
I dream of my home
I have not been there in so long
My steward writes that all is well
I will never see it again

And so I ride
To certain death
I know I cannot win
But I am honor bound

My muscles ache with the weight of my mail
I just want to lie down
Rest
I never rest
There is always a fight

And so I ride
To certain death
I know I cannot win
But I am honor bound

The castle is in sight
I know what awaits me
I must go on
I cannot turn back
I swore an oath to never turn back

And so I ride
To certain death
I know I cannot win
But I am honor bound

If only I did not believe
Believe in my oath to the realm
Life would be simpler
I would live
An empty life, but a life

And so I ride
To certain death
I know I cannot win
But I am honor bound

I have arrived
It is time

Death Tanka

Inspired by The Dreams of Dragonflies and today’s DS106 Daily Create, I’ve written a few tanka about death…

cover me
close my eyes
i stopped living long ago
i just
didn’t know

I can’t feel the pain
But still vomit and tremble
In numbness

A little bird chirps
Flies off
I watch, waiting

It’s a strange exercise to put yourself in the place of a person about to die. In speculative fiction it isn’t unusual for the hero to *nearly* die and perhaps come to some great realization, find their inner strength, have a Buffy moment.

Angelus: “Now that’s everything, huh? No weapons… No friends… No hope. Take all that away and what’s left?” Buffy: “Me.” (from Becoming, Part II)

But facing certain death, accepting it, that is a headspace I have never written from before. And now that I’ve tried it I’m itching to experiment with it in longer forms.