Onyxis the Stone
When gods still roamed the Earth
And Death was a physical being,
Onyxis the Stone
Was the oldest living thing.
Onyxis the Solid, they called her,
In their various tongues.
Onyxis the Leader,
When they sang of her in songs.
It was because she made her home
Atop a mountain in the white, white snow,
And anywhere anyone was
They could look to her to know which way to go.
She lived there almost all her life
And, considering the length,
To live up there in the cold, cold snow
It had to take some strength.
Every night she’d freeze right over,
And every morning thaw.
All that changing ice and water
Was starting to rub her raw.
Then one night in the deep, deep cold--
The kind that was getting really old--
She had a dream she thought foretold
A life in the valley for she.
And that little hope gave her peace.
She thawed and she froze
And she froze and she thawed
With only the hope
Of what one day aught
To help her to keep
Her head held up high
So the people below
Could tell their left from their right.
She dreamed and she hoped
And she wished every day
Until, finally, one of the gods
Remembered her name.
“Onyxis the Stone,” the god said to herself.
“The Solid, The Leader, The Stout.”
“Onyxis the Leader!” she said again,
Only this time it was more of a shout.
“Onyxis is who I need,”
She said to no one at all.
“Onyxis could do this deed
As easily as she could stumble and fall.”
And through the halls of her empty castle
A cackling could be heard,
Until it turned into chirping
When the god turned into a bird.
On lighted wing, quick and lithe,
She flew through skies of blue
To the top of a faraway mountain
For a meeting with you-know-who.
“Onyxis, dear,” she sang so sweet.
“Up here it is so cold.
How is it that you stand it?
Especially being so--ahem--old.”
“Little bird,” Onyxis said.
“It’s like you read my dreams.
If I could live in the valley there
I’d be as happy as the Queen.”
“You know, Onyxis,” the bird did whisper.
“I think I can help you there.
I’ll get you down to the valley
And out of this cold, thin air.”
At that Onyxis’s heart did jump--
And she thought that she did, too--
But what she wasn’t ready for,
The little bird was about to coo.
“You know, Onyxis, I’m just a little bird,
And this is a hard thing for me to do.
Maybe, then, you wouldn’t mind
If there was a favor that I asked of you.”
Onyxis was old enough
She knew the ways of the world,
But just the thought of the valley
Made her remember when she was a girl.
She didn’t always live on the mountain,
And if only she had known
How cold, dark, and lonesome it was
She might never have called it her home.
The best thing that she could think to do
Was to hear the bird’s request
And depending on what it was she sang
Onyxis could decide if agreeing was best.
Taking her silence as a point of entry,
“The thing that I ask you can do quite simply.
It’s just, there’s a man down there
Who once did fool me--
And don’t even ask,
I’m not telling the story--
But on the way down
If you wouldn’t be sorry
Could you roll him right over
And make it quite gorey?”
Though the bird did chirp.
The same maniacal laughter
From when we met her first.
Onyxis thought rolling over one human
Couldn’t do much harm.
Why soon she did wonder
Why she was ever alarmed.
“I’ll do it,” she said.
“And I don’t know who wouldn’t.
If they’re afraid to do it,
Then maybe they shouldn’t.
But I know that I’m not
And I’m ready right now.
Just tell me how to, then--”
“Smack, bang, kerplow!”
The bird was excited.
She showed it. She sang.
Until she turned human
And her laughter rang
Out through the valley
And back to the cliffs.
Louder and louder,
No ear could miss
The cackling, crackling,
That rattled the earth
Like a baby’s toy.
And the shaking did shake
Onyxis from her seat
Her decision was made
Just her fate left to meet.
As she rolled and she tumbled
She knew all was well,
It was valley life for her,
No more cold, icy Hell.
She rolled and she rolled
And she felt a soft bump
Giving no thought
To what exactly it was.
Remember, Onyxis had no knowledge of pain,
To her, bump or no was all the same.
And soon, she was sleeping in the sunny, green plain.
Yet, the next morning, upon waking
She was icy and cold nonetheless.
Standing in front of her, shaking,
Was the bird, clearly in duress.
“Onyxis, dear, I don’t know how,
But somehow you’ve defied me.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.
I’ve done nothing, you see.”
“That man down there--
Whom you were supposed to kill--
Now, how do you think
That it made me feel
When he laid there, sure,
But only for a bit
Then he got right up
And started walking again?”
“I did what you said.
I’ll do it again.
It’s not my fault
I didn’t kill your human.”
“Oh, you’ll do it again,
That much I’m sure.”
And she chirped and she chirped
Until she wasn’t a bird.
“And you’ll have your punishment,
Just you wait and you’ll see.
But not until you’ve done
What you promised to me.”
So she pushed Onyxis
Right off the cliff
And Onyxis rumbled
And bumbled and biffed.
And she thought to herself,
This is bad for a Stone.
Maybe I could be happy
On a mountain alone,
But if there’s one thing
That I know for sure:
Rolling like this,
Anything is better.
As things went
She had no way to stop
Until gravity and inertia
Forced her to plop
In the middle of the town
The man she killed called home.
She listened while his wife
Cried and she moaned.
And this particular death
Was strange for more than this,
It was strange, also,
Because of the dead man’s dying wish.
So she sat for ten days
And ten nights staring
At the ghastly sight
Of a dead man lying
In the middle of the dirty street
Because before his makers to meet
He wished that he would not be buried
So across the river Styx his soul couldn’t be carried.
And when in Hades
He pled his case
He soon stood again
And he started to pace.
But the joy of wife and town,
Didn’t last long
Because soon came again
The tiny bird song.
She cooed when she arrived.
“You’ve messed up again
Our man’s still alive.
Now since he clings
To life so strongly
And since you commit
Your deeds so wrongly
There’s a punishment
That I have in mind
That will be terrible
For you and he in kind!”
As soon as she said it
The scenery did change
And Onyxis found herself
In the valley of a different mountain range.
But she didn’t get to rest for even a minute
Before her whole world started spinning.
The man who it was her job to crush
Now did have his own job to push
Onyxis up to the top of a hill
But Onyxis didn’t like it so Onyxis did struggle.
And just before they did reach the summit
He did drop her and down she did plummet.
In the valley she did rest
Until her short time was spent
While the man did make
His slow and winding descent.
Then he’d heave and he’d ho
And he’d pushed her again.
On and on and on
With no end.
This her punishment
For all eternity:
A life always rolling
And no Valley of Peace.