The King of the Copper Mountains

Once, I travelled very far.
I thought I might find the place
Where to earth there fall the stars.
Crossing wood and rising moor,
There I happened on a door.

Grand and old, with gold engraving,
Furred with moss and snail-jewelled,
At first I thought my eyes were failing.
I weary knocked upon the frame,
Which softly asked me for my name.

I replied in great surprise
And from within the door unbolted;
There before my very eyes
A hare stood cautious, trembling.
And in I wandered, stumbling.

A gentle passage, sloping down
Silk and silver on the walls,
I followed that hare underground
And at the levelling below
My footsteps, helpless, had to slow.

Great bronze arches overhead
As trees, with emeralds set for leaves
And over all the mountain red;
Silken banners trailing through
Like waterfalls of sapphire blue.

Cosy rugs beneath my boots,
The patterns bright with valiant tales,
The weave as thick as ancient roots
And across this vibrant floor
Lay every beast of land and shore.

Above them all, a kindly face,
Eyes so old and sparkling
And suddenly I knew the place.
I settled near the old king’s knee
And told my story wandrously.

That night I’ve never slept so well;
In rooms upon the mountain peak,
Horizons over every fell
For me to follow in my sleep
And stars above his mighty keep.

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Title and theme taken from ‘The King of the Copper Mountains’ by Paul Biegel

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