Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong exclusively to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this piece.

Acknowledgments: The writing of this poem was inspired by a previous poem posted my Melissa McMahan based on The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, and the author acknowledges her here. Thanks must also go to the various people who suffered through the writing of this piece, mainly Justin and Katie, who not only gave me a crash course in iambic, provided me with various dictionaries and a house, but acted as the most brilliant sounding boards ever. Thanks to the man from the Infamous Round Table who wishes to remain nameless, for his comment of, "This is crap and nothing more." Thanks mate. A double thanks to Katie and Justin for telling me not to listen to his mad ramblings. Poets, what can you do? Thanks also to Darrel Dana for his constructive criticism.

Author's Notes: I first began thinking about writing this a month ago when I read Melissa's poem. It's been bugging me ever since and has disrupted the writing of the sequel to "The Spear of Penthesilea" and even my job. I was walking around in iambic pentameter mode, and believe me, an archaeologist in that state is not a good thing! So, it had to be written and out of my head. I do not profess to be particularly good at iambic, I usually write free form poetry when I get around to it, so if this stumbles a bit in places, forgive me

Feedback:. I'd like to hear what you think, I'm at archaeobard@hotmail.com

Only This and Nothing More


Once upon a midnight dreary, came a warrior weak and weary,
Over many a morbid memory of substantial gore.
While I sat there, musing gladly, suddenly she came sadly
As of someone weeping madly, madly from a distant shore,
"'Tis some nightmare," she muttered, sliding to the forest floor,
"Only this and nothing more."
Oh forgive me if I faltered, when I saw her visage altered,
As each separate angled feature claimed witness to the pain she bore.
Eagerly I left my quill, holding fast my waning will,
To stare upon her wordless features which now were masked as ne'er before.
Yet the hapless pondered silence harboured fear of much more,
Silent fear forever more.
And the putrid warm reception, having rabid cold deception,
Thrilled me filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before.
So that now to still the beating of my heart she stood repeating,
"It is some nightmare," she muttered, her countenance poor.
"'Tis but some nightmare only, an aspect of a lonely war,
This it is and nothing more."
Presently her sobs grew weaker, as I comforted the speaker,
"You," said I, "oh woman, truly do your senses drift once more?"
But the fact is you were seeming, even more as of one dreaming,
And with eyes of frightened gleaming, gleaming for the slain of yore,
All is lost in silent whispers, forgotten now the love I saw,
Sorrow there and nothing more.
Deep beneath her darkness waiting, there it lay, forever baiting,
Stating, speaking words no mortal ever dared to speak before.
Yet the sorrow was now spoken, and the terror newly woken,
Better it remained unspoken, lest the loss unbound outpour,
'Twas the freeing of an echo trapped within without rapport,
Merely this and nothing more.
Yet within the tortured blindness, all her heart bereft of kindness,
Soon again there came a darkness, somewhat darker than before.
"Surely," said I, "here is something steeped in malice,
Fettered hate and soul so callus, warrior she is no more."
Let my heart be still a moment and my drifting strength restore,
"'Tis a curse and nothing more."
Then with greater strength delivered, every aspect now considered,
Braving still the horrid hatred I could not as yet ignore.
Not the least deception gave she, not a moment lost or gained she,
Though with eyes that now betrayed me, she raised the cry that most abhor,
Launched the cry from 'neath the darkness, every note I now deplore,
"'Tis my fate and nothing more!"
Holding back the touch of terror, it was then I saw her error,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance she wore.
"Though you seem as death still seeing, you are still forever fleeing,
Darkened poor and dismal being, haunt this aspect never more.
Take your heart from past redemption, bring forth here as was before!"
Quoth the being, "Nevermore!"
Once before I'd seen the danger, though this was something somewhat stranger,
As with silence softly spoken to relieve the sorrow of her flaw.
Then at once there was a glimmer, which I dared not see as grimmer,
There the stately warrior shimmered, once then twice unto the fore,
Fled the grim, ungainly, gaunt and ominous fear of yore,
Quoth the woman, "Nevermore."