This blog's poems are from my published poetry book Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009) and are © Dr Karl P.N. Shuker, 2009. Except for author-credited review purposes, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any of these poems elsewhere, either in part or in entirety, by any means, without my written permission.

How to purchase Star Steeds and Other Dreams

If you wish to buy this book, which is 230 pages long and is ISBN 978-1-905723-40-9, it is readily available online from its publisher, CFZ Press of Bideford, Devon, UK at and also from such major literary websites as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, W H Smith, and sellers on AbeBooks to name but a few. You can also purchase a signed copy directly from me, the author - please email me at for full details.

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Wednesday, 21 April 2010


Painting by Lei Cheng

Many moons ago, I came upon the name Elvina, which entranced and captivated me, refusing to relinquish my mind from its sweet melancholic enchantment until eventually I penned the following verses, granting it a story and a reality, and in so doing releasing me at last from its haunting charm.


When through the violet pool I look,
To see what Fate may show,
Your smiling face still haunts my thoughts
Of worlds from long ago,

When you and I stood here, amidst
Each dappled glade and grove,
And in your hair a flower shone
Through hazy mists of mauve.

And all around your slender form
The trees in silence stood,
And murmured long your elvish name,
A name so pure and good –

A name as old as Time itself,
Yet bright as sparkling streams.
And in your eyes I saw a world
I visit still in dreams –

A noble world of elvish grace,
Where you no longer are.
And only night birds see my tears
Beneath each silent star,

Like dewdrops on the ruffled grass,
Like pearls upon the flowers,
As I among the woodlands sit
Through many starlit hours,

‘Ere morning calls me back once more
To mortal lands and time.
And then I leave this other world
Of memories sublime.

But still I see your smiling face
Within the lucent pool,
And so I stroke its surface bright,
And feel its ripples cool

Embrace my slender fingers ‘ere
Your image fades and dies,
To leave me gazing through the blue
Reflection of the skies.

Yet though beyond me you have passed,
From my world you have gone,
With elvish charm, Elvina, still
You are my lovely one.

Monday, 5 April 2010


One of the most mesmerising figures in fantasy literature must surely be the Snow Queen as conceived by Hans Christian Andersen. Here is my tribute to the alluring, illusive kingdom of snow and its bewitching, pitiless monarch.


A wilderness, white and unending,
Lay waiting, my soul to enfold,
As softly its slim, chilling fingers
Froze even my whispers with cold.

Its shimmering mantle draped slowly
My ankles with starflakes of snow,
While winds from the chateaux of Winter
Sent billowing murmurs of woe

Through clouds each suspended from Heaven
O’er landscapes enveloped in white,
As faintly a polar sun flickered –
A candle of shivering light.

And ever the icicles glittered,
Like pendants transparent and cool,
And ever the visage of Winter
Laughed softly through crystalline pools,

While snowflakes drew pale, bitter petals
O’er window, and garden, and door,
As slowly my steps led me onwards,
But only a nothingness saw.

For grimly the blizzard lashed downwards –
A phantom as chilling as Death –
As ever I strove to avoid it,
To turn from its glacial breath.

But Winter’s pale wraiths sang out softly,
And slowly their song drew me on,
Till, howling, the winds quelled their music,
And when I looked up, they were gone.

Yet there, in their stead, just beyond me,
The Snow Queen stood, calling my name.
To struggle was futile, was useless,
As ever approaching she came.

Her arms stretched out glowing towards me,
Enticing me nearer to Doom,
As, frozen, my spirit lay dormant –
A ghost in a windowless room.

Her eyes laughed in terrible silence,
Cold diamonds of shimmering blue.
And closer I stumbled towards her,
As stronger her influence grew,

Till spectres of snow loomed all round me
Like phantasms shapeless and pale,
Enshrouded in misty grey mantles,
And spangled with gemstones of hail.

Then softly a Voice spoke beyond them:
“Walk on – to your world, and your home.”
The sun shone forth strongly above me,
A beacon from Heaven’s bright dome.

And when I looked onwards, the Snow Queen
Grew wan in the sun’s holy light
Until, like a great mournful shadow,
Her form passed away from my sight.

And silence once more lay behind me,
Retracing my vanishing track.
And ever the sun led me onwards.
And nothing again called me back.
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