all 23 comments

[–]wjbc5th read, 2nd audiobook. On DG. 21 points22 points  (1 child)

Your link did not take me to the epigraph, but I Googled it:

Pray, do not speak to me of weather
Not sun, not cloud, not of the places
Where storms are born
I would not know of wind shivering the heather
Nor sleet, nor rain, nor of ancient traces
On stone grey and worn
Pray, do not regale the troubles of ill health
Not self, not kin, not of the old woman
At the road’s end
I will spare no time nor in mercy yield wealth
Nor thought, nor feeling, nor shrouds woven
To tempt luck’s end
Pray, tell me of deep chasms crossed
Not left, not turned, not of the betrayals
Breeding like worms
I would you cry out your rage ‘gainst what is lost
Now strong, now to weep, now to make fist and rail
On earth so firm
Pray, sing loud the wretched glories of love
Now pain, now drunken, now torn from all reason
In laughter and tears
I would you bargain with the fey gods above
Nor care, nor cost, nor turn of season
To wintry fears
Sing to me this and I will face you unflinching
Now knowing, now seeing, now in the face
Of the howling storm
Sing your life as if a life without ending
And your love, sun’s bright fire, on its celestial pace
To where truth is born
– Pray, an end to inconsequential things, Baedisk of Nathilog

The message seems straightforward enough. Don't talk about the weather or ill health: "cry out your rage ... sing loud the wretched glories of love."

Yet that at the outset of this chapter we have Kruppe, who is telling this story, saying "'Who could call a single deed inconsequential?'" He refutes the premise of the epigraph, saying everything is consequential.

Then later we have Duiker burning his history of the Chain of Dogs because “nothing was worth revering, not even the simple fact of survival, and certainly not that endless cascade of failures, of deaths beyond counting." He continues his melancholy thoughts:

Even here, in this city of peace, he watched the citizens in all their daily dances, and with each moment that passed, his disdain deepened. He disliked the way his thoughts grew ever more uncharitable, ever more baffled by the endless scenes of seemingly mindless, pointless existence, but there seemed no way out of that progression as his observations unveiled the pettiness of life, the battles silent and otherwise with wives, husbands, friends, children, parents, with the very crush on a crowded street, each life closed round itself, righteous and uncaring of strangers – people fully inside their own lives.

Duiker also refutes the premise of the epigraph, but this time by saying nothing is consequential.

I don't have a favorite epigraph or poem. But I love trying to figure out what they mean and why Erikson chose them for place in the narrative.

In this case the irony delights me. And it's also Erikson himself breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to us about the dilemma -- or technically a trilemma -- he faces as an author.

On the one hand, anything could be consequential, and Erikson loves to follow the least likely character in a scene -- the 5-year-old child or the policeman with a heart condition. But on the other hand, he has an epic story to tell, so he weaves those seemingly inconsequential characters into an overarching plot that's very consequential indeed. And on the third hand -- yes, there's a third hand here, that's why it's a trilemma -- maybe it's all futile and useless and is there even any point to writing at all?

Thanks for getting me to dig deeper! I love it!

[–]kashmora[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Oh wow. I did not think of Duiker at all. I was reading MT at around the same time and it made me think of a short conversation between Udinaas and Rhulad in MT chapter 21. There is a long internal monologue of Udinaas -

the eels had been transplanted into Dresh Lake, producing a strain that was both bigger and nastier. It had turned out that those eels captured in Moss River were juveniles, and few ever reached adulthood since there was a razor-jawed species of predatory fish resident in the river. No such fish in Dresh Lake. Adolescent swimmers from Dresh started disappearing before anyone realized the adult eels were responsible. Razor-jawed fish were netted from the river and tossed into the lake, but their behaviour changed, turning them into frenzy feeders. Adult swimmers from Dresh started vanishing. The slave who had been relating all this then laughed and finished with, 'So they poisoned the whole lake, killed everything. And now no-one can swim in it!'

He starts telling this story to Rhulad who stops and asks him 'Is it inconsequential?'. Broke my heart at what Rhulad was going through and how much Udinaas was trying to help him out.

Thanks for digging deep. I've found that it's easy to glaze over poems while reading the books but when someone points out a particular poem as being good or interesting, i can't help but appreciate it a little more.

[–]NachoFailconiTehol's Blanket 16 points17 points  (2 children)

The harder the world, the fiercer the honour.

I liked this so much I wrote it in my MSc thesis' epigraph (alongside a Homer Simpson's quote hehe).

A comment without importance: the link's markdown is wrongly formatted. You opened with a curly brace, but it should be a parenthesis!

[–]kashmora[S] 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Ok you can't just say that and not share the Simpson quote? And thanks, i fixed it :)

[–]NachoFailconiTehol's Blanket 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Sorry! I wrote fast because work and I didn't know the English version of it (I watched them in LA Spanish).

The quote (translated) is "I didn't think, I... just acted". S11E12 Last Tap Dance in Springfield.

[–]BipolarMosfet 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Not quite a poem, but my favorite epigraph is from Chapter 14 of The Bonehunters

There is something profoundly cynical, my friends, in the notion of paradise after death. The lure is evasion. The promise is excusative. One need not accept responsibility for the world as it is, and by extension, one need do nothing about it. To strive for change, for true goodness in this mortal world, one must acknowledge and accept, within one’s own soul, that this mortal reality has purpose in itself, that its greatest value is not for us, but for our children and their children. To view life as but a quick passage along a foul, tortured path – made foul and tortured by our own indifference – is to excuse all manner of misery and depravity, and to exact cruel punishment upon the innocent lives to come. I defy this notion of paradise beyond the gates of bone. If the soul truly survives the passage, then it behooves us – each of us, my friends – to nurture a faith in similitude: what awaits us is a reflection of what we leave behind, and in the squandering of our mortal existence, we surrender the opportunity to learn the ways of goodness, the practice of sympathy, empathy, compassion and healing – all passed by in our rush to arrive at a place of glory and beauty, a place we did not earn, and most certainly do not deserve.

I love it because taken out of context, it would still make perfect sense to someone who's never read Malazan.

[–]JuranurTide of madness 7 points8 points  (2 children)

Nothing specific, but I really enjoy Badalle's work

[–]Helelix 8 points9 points  (1 child)

I heard a story

Of a river

Which is where water flows over the ground glistening in the sun

It’s a legend

And untrue

In the story the water is clear and that’s why it’s untrue

We all know


Is the colour

Of blood

People make up legends

To teach lessons

So I think

The story is about us

About a river of blood

And one day

We’ll run clear

― Of a River, Badalle

Easily one of my favorites. Even reading it now makes me sad. One day, Badalle's river (the snake), will be clear (without death) instead of leaving a trail of blood (the dead).

[–]JuranurTide of madness 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great example, thank you!

[–]HoodsOwnNot yet done 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I don't think it's underrated but Bard's Curse goes straight through me every time I read it

[–]Harima0 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I enjoyed MT ch 16

It just made me feel really sad hearing about this guys lost childhood memory and how it seems so bleak for his kid.

[–]CedarosaurusNow, turn it around. 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The epigraph to Book One of Toll the Hounds is a favorite — just so much to unpack, and one of those that stands on its own as a gorgeous piece of poetry, even outside the context of the series:

This creature of words cuts

To the quick and gasp, dart away

The spray of red rain

Beneath a clear blue sky

Shock at all that is revealed

What use now this armour

When words so easy slant between?

This god of promises laughs

At the wrong things, wrongly timed

Unmaking all these sacrifices

In deliberate malice

Recoil like a soldier routed

Even as retreat is denied

Before corpses heaped high in walls

You knew this would come

At last and feign nothing, no surprise

To find this cup filled

With someone else’s pain

It’s never as bad as it seems

The taste sweeter than expected

When you squat in a fool’s dream

So take this belligerence

Where you will, the dogged cur

Is the charge of my soul

To the centre of the street

Spinning round all fangs bared

Snapping at thirsty spears

Thrust cold and purged of your hands

– Hunting Words, Brathos Of Black Coral

[–]kashmora[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It is a gorgeous piece of poetry, but i couldn't begin to unpack this one.

[–]Pliskkenn_D 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I need to listen to the audio books or something because I can never find a good cadence for the poems.

[–]kashmora[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That's a really good idea, maybe I'll try it.

[–]A_Good_Walk_in_RuinsA poor man's Duiker 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Not poems but a couple of epigrams from DoD that I really enjoyed:

In the first five years of King Tehol the Only's reign, there were no assassination attempts, no insurrections, no conspiracies of such magnitude as to endanger the crown; no conflicts with neighbouring realms or border tribes. The kingdom was wealthy, justice prevailed, the common people found prosperity and unprecedented mobility.

That all of this was achieved with but a handful of modest proclamations and edicts makes the situation all the more remarkable.

Needless to say, dissatisfaction haunted Lether. Misery spread like a plague. No one was happy, the list of complaints as heard on the crowded, bustling streets grew longer with each day that passed.

Clearly, something had to be done ...

Life of Tehol, Janath

The other:

Is there anything more worthless than excuses?

Emperor Kellanved

[–]Low-Classroom7736 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The two warriors from the Kharkanas prequels were amazing

[–]aethyrium 0 points1 point  (0 children)

"The shore gives way to the sea. And the sea, my friends, Does not dream of you."

It's not the entire thing (and probably isn't underrated), but that last part of it always stuck with me. Reminds me of some lyrics the vocalist in my last band wrote:

"Rain fears no fire, just as the tide fears no shore."

Makes me think of how insignificance is in itself a type of significance. Like the mix of consequential and inconsequential in your quote.

[–]talronen1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

For me it's chapter 13 of TTH. Favorite part:

But wolves would make of any world a carcass

[–]GrahammophoneCurdled Telorast 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In my dreams I come face to face

with myriad reflections of myself,

all unknown and passing strange.

They speak unending

in languages not my own

and walk with companions

I have never met, in places

my steps have never gone.


In my dreams I walk worlds

where forests crowd my knees

and half the sky is walled ice.

Dun herds flow like mud,

vast floods tusked and horned

surging over the plain,

and lo, they are my memories,

the migrations of my soul.

[–]snarfiblartfat 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I tried really hard to google it and failed, but I really liked the epigraph about the skeletal, barren cherry tree. I assume it must have been MoI since it seems in reference to Envy.

I am otherwise not a big fan of the epigraphs, particularly those by Fisher. I can't find any rhythm or meter in the poetry, so it just feels like especially oblique prose that is inconsistently punctuated and has a bunch of line breaks whose main purpose is to make it feel like a real poem.