Poems for Katran
Eulogy for St. Katran

I wrote this at 2AM after finishing Riven, a few months after it was released.

That was the first time I'd ever cried for any movie, book, or game, when I was going up the elevator to find Catherine. I'd figured out, the moment I read her journal, that the missing island must be the remains of the Great Tree she loved so much, and I had this gutwrenching feeling that Gehn's sadistic sense of humor, so visible all over the island, meant he'd imprisoned her in whatever was left of the tree. I'm sure many of you guessed the same. Even expecting it, I was so angry to see my fears realized. It had become more to me than a game, and then these characters took on a life as real as that of Frodo and Bilbo, Han and Leia, Aslan and Aravis.

Thus I became a disciple of St. Katran, and I humbly submit the moment of my conversion


Stands alone
Upon a balcony of bone
Overlooking a breathing sea
That echoes sighs she never speaks.
She turns, walks back inside
To pace her narrow prison:
Hollowed heart
of the World Tree
Cut to the knees
Its leaves and sacred boughs
Towered trunk long since taken
Grist for Gehn's empty books.

What does she see
In her blood red robe
Stripped of her people's mask
Wife of a dead man
Child of a dying world
Guardian of a dream
Goddess to a riven people?

Truth written stark
on  unseen pages
Broken stones
Fallen trees
Islands drowning
Sundered from sea to sky.

Will she be the last
Living soul of a dying Age
Cast adrift on her
Tiny shipwreck
Divested of words,
Her worlds?


She waits
Who understands too well
For this humble traveller
Who understands nothing
Who walks alone, like her
To find and set her free.


Katran Speaks: The Knife and the Pen

You ask me how can this be
My love
Have you forgotten?
You are not Gods,
And this is not Magic

But Words are more than Things
And the universe delights itself in surprises.

Let me always be surprising you.

You write the Page while looking through
The window to a new Age
I write within the Page looking back through.

Yes!  There!  A ship embracing stone!
That is the way I write.
Well, perhaps, not quite that way,
But see! You can stretch wings
Further than you think.

The tree roots deep
And there is such a place
Where the tree is the world,
And the tree is not the world.

He did not see the pen I wield like a knife
Master of Signs, he thinks himself,
But he did not recognize my sign:
You think you own us?
You think you hold us?
Here! I throw my dagger in your face!
Here! This is the power of my people!
Here! Do you not know whose hand holds the hilt?
I can make worlds you cannot dream of, old man
And you dare to tell my people the sign is your design?
You who said I was only a figment of your pen,
Now claim one of mine?
Who is the teacher, who the student now?

I will dream.

Atrus, my love, if not for you,
I think I might wish to be dangerous.

Instead, let me spin you worlds
To make you wonder
And thus we will talk,
Exchanging Age with Age
and Word for Word,
and Dream for Dream.

The falling water:
Is it at the top or at the bottom
Of its plunge that you see it?
Yes, both.


Eulogy for MYST Island

This poem is in the form of a Japanese Tanka, in which each verse follows a strict rule of 5/7/5/5.

Water slaps the dock,
Gulls, circling, cry from afar,
A path leads up wood
Splintered stairs. Rusted metal
Teeth loom, now forever stilled.

Pass the star chamber
Where once music used to play,
A dried-up fountain.
Brambles have taken the paths
Through the forest, by the huts,

To a clock tower
Its face so caked by salt-spray
It's illegible.
A rocket lies immoble,
Improbable organ mute.

The library stands
With moss growing up columns
Wood panels peeling
Within. Shelves are lined with dust,
Not books. Two black scorch-marks,

An old woman's grave:
There are too many ghosts here.
Once loved, abandoned,
The island sleeps. Butterflies
Hover over blue flowers.