Poetry

Abridged Reality

If you try hard enough

You can grow deaf to the world

Live in absentia,

Home-grown dementia,

A home grown right

Between your stoppered ears,

Sand filling your mouth and nose.

Little pockets of bliss;

A determined abyss:

Life has always looked better

In the director’s cut.

 

Book Spine Poem: Shadow-Spy

After reading “Broken Words Spoken Here” as presented over at Sentence First, I had to try my hand at stacking up my own book-spine poem. A book-spine poem being what it sounds like; a stack of books that, when the spines (titles only, omit the author’s names) are read, become a new work of art.

It’s a frustrating venture, having to deal with a limited number of phrases, and no option of rearranging the words within a given title, but exciting and rewarding for a bibliophile. After dashing about between several different bookshelves and pulling out tottering piles of everything that looked cool, I fussed and arranged, delighted and remembered, sighed over excellent titles that simply couldn’t be worked in, and despaired that I have so few verb-stocked titles in my home. Then I settled at last upon this.

Shadow-Spy

By cunning and craft, shadow and claw,
Invisible armies spy for the Night Riders.
Whatever happened to justice?

Out of the silent planet,
The martyr’s song inspired
The spy who came in from the cold.

In the shadows of the gods–
A memory of light.

FullSizeRender (46)

 

 

The Sky-Child and other stories

Sky-Child Cover

The cover reveal was breathtaking, to be sure, but now it’s time to look beneath the beautiful surface, and speak of its soul, its stories, and its songs. First, taken one at a time…

*****

~ Song-o-the-Lute ~
A breathtaking free-form poem in its own right, worthy of esteem. Brief as the brush of fingers on strings, it is a worthy opening to this compilation, and worthy of mention. (Clearly it was so worthy I was overcome with its worthiness.)

~ The Sky-Child ~
The longest tale herein–and the aching, melancholy beginning to the life of one Gant-o-the-Lute. Long before rescuing Villem Deere on The Seventh Spell’s roads, or destroying unnatural rock formations in The Song Caster, the incredible bard’s life brimmed with music and yearning, sweetness and sorrow, and a remarkable fight against the mundane. A spin on Jack and the Beanstalk like no other, the giant is the least of the difficulties the minstrel-in-blue takes on. As a tiny taste of its quality, I give you the excellent reworking of the traditional fee-fie, foe-fum folderol.

“Fie!” said the roar. “Is it a foe who’s come?
Do I smell the blood of a mortal man?
If foe he be, his life’s the fee
For venturing here to challenge me.
If man he be, his life’s blood red
And bones will spice my stew and bread.”

This may be my favorite story in the whole collection, but the last gives it some competition. I suppose that, as cruel as it sounds, the suffering of the incredible simply takes my breath away. But then, ‘The suffering of the incredible’ might be a line to suit most of the tales here seen.

~ Still Broken ~
A hundred-word jaunt back to Sula and Villem.

~ Day Broken ~
A vignette set just before The Swan Prince‘s opening chapters.

~ Skie Welduwark ~
A vibrant myth of the kings of the sky and the world’s waking. I find that I always love following the (often harrowing) antics of the Welkens. Perhaps it’s one of those just-human-things.

~ Starheart ~
The two intertwined hearts of The Stone Kingdom exchange enchanting tales under a starlit sky. A myth of how the stone kingdom came to be, and a myth of the forging of Wilderhark’s nations are tailored around a gentle conversation, humming with love.

~ The Shining Son ~
A story with the regular beat of a fairy tale, of pride and jealousy in the heavens. I also get to see my favorite sneaky wind working terrible deeds, so this is a win for me.

~ Affected ~
Set first behind the stone eyes of Denebdeor’s children, we watch the chaotic beginning of The Seventh Spell unfold–then on to the woman behind the curtain, as it were, the witch behind most of the magic in The Wilderhark Tales. Then to Gant-o-the-Lute, and a quiet conversation with Edgwyn, of love and hope in the dark of night. And back at last to the thoughts of the children, awaiting the breaking of the seventh spell’s tangle.

A mini-anthology in itself, this short story following the seventh spell’s affected suits the melody of this collection perfectly; passionate, funny, sweet, melancholy, and hopeful.

~ A Gallivanting Soul ~
A lute’s music tells its owner a tale known to it alone, bringing the string of stories full circle and tears to my eyes–tears for love forever lost, and tears for treasure found.

*****

Seamlessly woven together in perfect order, this Wilderhark Tales collection can stand proudly next to any of the novellas. (A good thing, too; as book six-and-a-half, it will likely stand between The Surrogate Sea and the series’ final volume.) D. E. Shipley’s prose is beautiful and melodic, almost lyrical, her characters as lovable and exasperating as ever, (you know I’m looking at you, Lute–and a fine view it is, too,) and her wit as charming as ever.

A fantastic anthology for any readers, workable as a standalone, the abundant easter eggs would nonetheless be most appreciated by readers of the previous six Wilderhark novellas.

This lovely creation is available in Kindle and paperback forms on Amazon and on Nook with Barnes and Noble.

 

Marginalized

The margins spill over with
intricate loops of doodle-cipher,
every flower and leaf a silent scream,
every cross-hatch-darkened corner
hiding secrets
of the soul.

It’s a garden

–no

a jungle

into which
the girl tried to escape
every day.

And now
she has.

With a breath of a wish
and a brush of a curse
she fell flattened and inked
into a world of her own making.

If they flip through the pages,
if they look in the right places,
they’ll find her

climbing the vines to a floating island
a blue sketched demon-dog
snapping
at
her
heels,

a graphite bazooka
slung over her shoulder.

The next day, and pages later,
they might see her
riding a living
feather
into a forest
of
perfect
spheres.

They might, but they don’t.
They never look at her world.
They never did.

She told them where she was going;
in between neat rows of
facts and numbers,
she told them.

In black and grey and blue
she told them
In rarer reds and greens
and in bright highlighter s
creams
of yellow,
she told them.
Her nightmares and dreams,
she told them.

She told and told
and
told them of
her two-dimensional haven,
but no one knew her language
and no one saw her screams.

No one read the margins.

They look for her
in the facts
but they’ll never find her
there.

She’s lost to them

forever

in the wild,

willful

margins

Dance in Time

*****

Up the lances, up the spears,
Waging war on human fears,
Salt the fields with victor’s tears,
March on, time, march on, the years.

Hear the blade’s edge cry for peace,
Driving nations to their knees,
Cry as sorrows never cease,
Count the rings on thirsty trees.

Will you, Peace, take War to wife,
To dance upon the field of strife?
As mind and body, soul and life,
Are dandled on a spinning knife.

Hark the note in horns of war,
Asking what we’re fighting for.
Battle stands as timekind’s lore,
We can do no less than more.

*****

For more, see my website’s poetry page.

Unborn

An unborn song

An unborn story

Rolled through the streets by the wind’s inspiration

Rolled out again on its next exhalation

A new thing under the sun

A new thing never begun

A whisper no human heard

Perhaps to great for a word

A note

Or the stroke of a brush

I wonder what it meant

I wonder what it was

Perhaps it was too much

To touch

But I weep for its passing me by

Visit my poetry page for more.

Here We Go Again

Here we are

And here we go

And here we go again

All the shields

And all the walls

And all the fighting men

Are falling like a mighty tower

Before a stronger wind

Here we are

And here we go

Who’ve seen it all before

Flowers laugh

As kingdoms fall

To chaos, plague, and war

Here we are

And we the earth

Will drink your blood again

Tramp us down

Or change our face

We will always win

*****

*****

Loosely inspired by the superior work of Carl Sandburg, which I feel beholden to share here:

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
                                          I am the grass; I cover all.
And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                                          What place is this?
                                          Where are we now?
                                          I am the grass.
                                          Let me work.