Many men do tell, of the Mountain Hell,
Where flows a river of gold,
But none return that I have learned,
From aught that I’ve been told.
Both foolish and bold, for the sake of gold,
They all have ventured there.
And as many have said, the souls of the dead,
Have left their bodies bare.
When the moon is arisen, none dare listen,
To the sound of demon song.
For in the forest, the wild wolves’ chorus,
Is heard both loud and long.
And none do listen, when the full moon glistens,
Upon the trees at night.
And any there, who have a care,
For precious life take flight.
Strange deeds are done when the midnight sun,
Shines down upon the valley,
Dark, gory sights, in the darkest nights,
As the Hordes of Hell do rally.
If any care listen, when the full moon glistens,
They’ll hear it if they wander.
A Hellish sound – fierce and around,
Beyond the green hills yonder.
But who can say in the pale of day,
If these tales be false or true?
For none return, where the mountain burns,
And bid all life, “adieu”.
So I paid no heed, to other men’s greed,
And worked on in the fields,
Daily I wrought, good life I bought,
To avarice I would not yield.
Each day I toiled, with the earth’s good soil,
And blessed the food I ate.
Each night I slept, wherein there crept,
Sweet dreams of my due fate.
No ambition had I, that I might try,
To leave my parental home.
Save for the day, when my father away,
And I was left alone.
Always I knew, when the cool breeze blew,
I should be content with life.
‘Till came that day, I dare hardly say,
That caused me so much strife.
When my father left home, the hills to roam,
My mother said bare a word.
When she saw him leave, her bosoms heaved,
Her scream was all I heard.
But he never turned back as the day turned black,
The sun set fast that night,
When I slept it seems, my every dream,
Was wracked with ghoulish sights.
The very next day, my mother did say,
That father was gone for good.
‘Till then her boy was her precious joy,
Then slowly changed her mood.
As the days went by, before my eyes,
My mother’s demeanour changed.
No more laughter, heard I thereafter,
She was as one deranged.
Silent she became; I thought her insane,
As she looked at me with suspicion,
So I kept alone, within my home,
Safety lay in submission.
One morn I awoke, as the sun’s light broke,
Upon my solitary home.
My door fast closed, against the host,
As I slept there all alone.
Then I heard a crash, as my door fell fast,
My mother stood within its frame.
Her hair awry, I did all but cry,
As she cursed dear father’s name.
A knife in her hand, I had not planned,
Relying on the Good Lord’s Grace.
She grabbed my throat, the knife she brought,
Down towards my face.
I screamed aloud, as she howled and howled,
I turned and threw her o’er.
Still screaming loud, she cursed and scowled,
As she sprung up from the floor.
But quick I dashed as on the bed she crashed,
I ran fast from that house.
In fear for my life, escaping her knife,
I ran from my father’s spouse.
And I never looked back, at her attack,
As I ran for all my life.
‘Till breath I lacked, I fell on my back,
Safe from my father’s wife.
But clothes I’d few, so when body renewed,
I stood upon my feet.
As I looked around, some berries I found
That I might readily eat.
I had my fill and when hunger killed,
I walked along the road.
In time I arrived at a town outside,
And there I made my abode.
I slept in the streets, I rare did eat,
I worked whenever I could.
And all the while, across distant miles,
I felt the call of the woods.
At night I heard, strange whispered words,
Carried upon the breeze.
Something called me from across a sea,
Of forest, trees and leaves.
For weeks I heard unspeakable words,
As I recalled my mother’s screams.
My worst nightmares were of my mother’s stare,
As she haunted all my dreams.
So I made my mind, dear father to find,
In Hell’s great Mountain tall.
And so at last, put to the past,
Those hideous, Hellish bawls.
So I stole a horse, tall and coarse,
And then I stole a gun.
In the quiet of night, far from the light,
My deed was then soon done.
Away I went, on adventure bent,
I rode long into the dark.
And all too soon, beneath the shining moon,
I heard some wild dogs bark.
As a thief in the night, with all my might,
I rode towards the hills.
And ever I heard, my mother’s words,
Bending my mind and will.
Yet on I rode, to a distant abode,
In the forest green and dark.
And safe at last, in the woodland dark,
The dogs no longer barked.
But yet I feared, the darkness near,
So I lit a fire and sat.
The flickering flames seemed to curse my name,
As I waited in the dark.
No sleep had I, beneath that woodland sky,
For my body was wracked in pain.
As the daylight broke, to the dawn I spoke,
And stood a man again.
The stars now gone and arose the sun,
Restoring my sense of might,
So quick I shook, the dark forsook,
And rid me of the night.
Then on I rode, from my forest abode,
I was glad to see the blue,
Of the day, as I made my way,
My courage now renewed.
By the end of the day, I scarce could say,
From whence I had come.
The forest thick, my mind played tricks,
As down then sank the sun.
Then the man in me, he fast did flee,
As the night came once again.
Left in the wild, like a fearful child,
I thought I heard some men.
Quick down I fell for I fast would tell,
What those voices said.
But my heart beat fast, for my soul aghast,
It was the speech of the dead!
My horse then reared, for he too feared,
And raced into the night.
And left alone, chilled to the bone,
I prayed with all my might.
“The Mountain of Gold” has now been published in full by WIPF and Stock.
Copies can be purchased from https://wipfandstock.com/the-mountain-of-gold.html
as well as other outlets, readily accessible via the internet.