Over the years, I've written three poems based on books by George R. R. Martin. I really like the first one. And since I have posted some other poems on my website, I figured I might as well post these. At some point, I probably should reread Martin's novel Fevre Dream and see whether I'm inspired to write a poem. I couldn't possibly write a poem for The Armageddon Rag – its poetry is the lyrics of 60s rock songs.

The first poem is about the book A Game of Thrones, and maybe a little bit of A Clash of Kings. The poem doesn't exactly fit chronologically with the books, so don't try to figure out when it fits. Why the title? If you figure that out, you will have discovered one of my inspirations for the poem.

      The Doom of Valyria
    (a cryptically titled poem)

The rain falls on the castle and the slums,
And homeless men sleep in the Dragonpit,
Until the City Watch with cudgels comes
And with hard blows soon drives them out of it.

The royal temple's splendor overwhelms,
But only rich men go inside to pray.
The armorers create fantastic helms
That grace the heads of knights who loot and slay.

Reports of skirmishes raise fears of wars;
Wild rumors spread confusion through the streets.
The Treasurer invests in ships and whores;
The King's Hand strives in vain to keep the peace.

A highborn girl flees through the wilderness;
Another waits within her lavish jail.
The queen puts on a new bejeweled dress
And goes to dine and hear a truthless tale.

The king is dead. The boy upon the throne
Likes killing cats and whipping serving maids.
His uncles gather armies of their own
And argue when would be best to invade.

Beyond the Wall, Man's ancient enemies
For cold and war and victory prepare.
And in another land, across two seas,
The cries of new-hatched dragons fill the air.


The second poem is based on his novel Dying of the Light (originally titled After the Festival when it was published as a serial). If you haven't read this novel, I don't know whether the poem will make much sense. I wrote the first two stanzas over 30 years ago. Originally it had more stanzas, each for a different character, but at some point I decided that most of them were no good and got rid of all but two of them.

When I looked at it again more recently, I decided that it needed three stanzas, one for each of the three corners of the main love triangle, so I wrote another one. I'm not entirely sure which of the characters it describes, though. If you've read the novel, you can decide for yourself.

                        Worlorn

“... Yes, the man is a ghost. Why else did he come to Worlorn?
This is a world for ghosts.” The old man tugged at his beard
and regarded Dirk. “You are the ghost of some tourist, I would
venture. No doubt you got lost while looking for a bathroom,
and you have been wandering ever since.” “No.” Dirk said,
“no. I was looking for something else.”

                                                            — GRRM, Dying of the Light

“Why did you come to Worlorn
After the festival's end,
When the world is growing rotten,
And the snow is reconquering the land;
Where hunters stalk the forgotten
While the sun slowly fades from the sky?”
— “I came to Worlorn
To watch the planet die.”

“Why did you come to Worlorn
After the festival's end,
When all the crowds have departed,
Leaving more ghosts than men?”
— “I was broken-hearted,
Looking for someone I'd lost.
But I discovered, on Worlorn,
That I had been chasing her ghost.”

“Why did you come to Worlorn
After the festival's end?”
— “I came to find those who have stayed on,
And offer what aid I could lend
To keep them from being preyed on,
So they could die a different way.
But when I got to Worlorn,
I threw my life away.”

Note how I cleverly rhymed Worlorn with Worlorn so it rhymes no matter how you pronounce Worlorn. 😊


And the last poem is just a bit of doggerel. I hope it amuses you. It's probably good I'm posting it before the next book comes out, because that keeps me from having to find reasonable rhymes for winter.

      Ice and Fire Blues

If you play the game of thrones, you win or die.
If you play the game of thrones, you win or die.
In the game of thrones,
The stakes are more than stones,
You're gambling for your bones,
You win or die.

If you hear the clash of kings, you must beware.
If you hear the clash of kings, you must beware.
If you hear the clash of kings,
You should gather up your things
And fly on swiftest wings
Away from there.

And in a storm of swords, there is no shelter.
Yes, in a storm of swords, there is no shelter.
In a storm of swords,
Be you septons, slaves or lords,
Not weddings, walls nor words
Will give you shelter.

And at a feast for crows, the meat is Man.
Yes, at a feast for crows, the meat is Man.
Your armies, ranged in rows,
With lances, swords, and bows,
Are but a feast for crows;
The meat is Man.

And if you dance with dragons, you will burn.
Yes, if you dance with dragons, you will burn.
If you dance with dragons,
Then regardless of your braggin'
And your schemes with whips and wagons,
You will burn.

And in the winds of winter, ...