Monthly Archives: October 2011
I haven’t had much time to work on the Old Age poem, which I’d really like to finish. I did work on a short new poem as a bit of an exercise.
I stand exultant yet mute,
Vexed by prudent secrecy.
Wistful longing forcefully abated;
Utterances shuttered . . . silenced.
Wondrous revelations swallowed,
Forcibly restrained, tethered and chained
Open to so few.
Hidden for mere moments;
Sufferingly long moments;
Withstanding the ebb and flow,
Of temultuous, undulating restraints.
Waiting time will wither.
Rejoicing in revelation,
All joyous and unrestrained,
New beginnings emerge and change.
I intend to write out a good portion of what might eventually become novel length book. This is the rough draft of the first chapter only lightly edited as I typed it out. I don’t really have an outline. I think I’ll just wing it. I haven’t written any prose of any real length for a while, so it was interesting to see how much I stuttered as I started. I’m sure there are a hundred gramatical errors in there, and I included next to no real description, but I think it’s a decent draft. I’m actually thinking I might try to figure out how to write at a YA level, so I kept the language in this a little simple. On the other hand, I think even the descriptions of the body may be a little heavy for a true YA book. Not sure yet. I’ll keep plugging away.
Cyrus Greyson stood looking down on a dead body as he had often done. The young woman was burned and splayed on the floor of a dingy hovel in the lower city. She was positioned face up as fluids wept from the cracks in what had once been her skin and pooled around her. Her body was blackened and mangled from feet to neck, arms and legs bent and twisted into unnatural positions. More unnatural was her face. It was untouched. While her body was broken and burned, her face was spared even the slightest blemish. Yet that was not the most disturbing element of the grisly scene. Her eyes were frozen open wide in fear and her gaping mouth looked as though the sounds of her screams should still be audible.
He had seen murders as violent and disturbing before, but this was different. Magic was in the air, so palpable it made the squalid chamber feel claustrophobic. It shouldn’t be here–not like this. Magic left traces. There was always a resonance where magic was used; that was normal. It should not resonate so strongly. It was enough to feel suffocating, and it definitely should not emanate from the corpse of a murdered woman. This was an act of evil and of incredible power. He had never seen anything like this–even in war.
“You have something, Cyrus?” Sir Valorian stood apart from him near the doorway, clad in light armor, nestling his visor in the crook of his arm. He normally gave Cyrus run of the scene until Cyrus felt he had examined everything fully. He must have sensed the tension Cyrus felt. It wasn’t like Valorian to interrupt him while he investigated a murder.
“I do, but I wish it were otherwise,” he replied to Valorian.
Valorian looked confused. “You’ll have to explain that. I fear I’m a little thick today.”
“No, my friend, you aren’t thick. The air is thick . . . with magic.”
“Magic? Here? You’ll definitely have to explain that.”
Cyrus motioned Valorian to move over to the body. When he approached, he got his first good look at the corpse. He was a keen observer with an acute eye for detail. Cyrus suspected that was why Valorian had been given the task of assisting him. He reported directly to the Lord’s Council. If a murderer was to be judged before them, they needed as much information as could be had. Valorian ensured they had that knowledge. He stepped up and Cyrus could hear him exhale a long soft breath. It was obvious that the death was unique, as obvious as the frightful snarl transcribed on the young woman’s face.
A piercing wail went up from the doorway. Cyrus had a spell half formed on his lips and Valorian had drawn sword before either realized there was no danger. A man was held at the door, supported by two Council Guardsmen Valorian had set to watch the entrance. The man trembled. The strength had left him, and he stared into the room at the body on the floor. Then he began to sob.
Cyrus approached the man. It was obvious he knew the woman. The guards holding the man lowered him to the ground. The man merely slumped there in the doorway, staring and weeping. Cryus stooped and touched the man on the sholder. Contact allowed him to work his magic more easily. He uttered a simple incantation to soothe the distraught man and help him feel a small measure of peace.
“You know this woman, yes?” he asked.
The man nodded and breathed deeply. He seemed to pull himself together as the spell worked to calm him. He finally pulled his eyes off of the body and looked directly at Cyrus.
“She is my wife.”
Cyrus had assumed as much. “Can you tell me her name and yours?”
“I’m Maeric. My wife is Sabine”
Now that the man was looking at Cyrus, he couldn’t make himself look toward the body again. Cyrus continued to radiate calm at him. He needed more information.
“I’m sorry for your loss, Maeric. When did you last see her?”
“Nearly two weeks ago. I contracted with a local merchant to move goods to Merrion with a wagon caravan. I returned this very hour.” At that the man began to sob softly again.
Cyrus could not force calm on the man. It was not right. He needed little more for now. “Maeric, can you tell me the merchant’s name?”
“Rivenseal . . . Cassellius, Rivenseal.”
“Thank you, Maeric. I promise to do everything I can to find the person responsible and see him before the Council.” With that, Cyrus stood and stepped back toward Valorian.
Valorian leaned in toward Cyrus to be better heard. The husband had begun to sob more loudly as Cyrus let the effects of his spell dissipate.
“I’m guessing you don’t suspect the husband,” Valorian said sparing a glance for the distraught man.
“No, I feel certain he’s telling the truth. We’ll check with the merchant anyway. It won’t hurt to verify what he said so your report to the Council will be more thorough.”
“So what’s your plan for now, Cyrus?”
“I need answers. I’ll have to stay a bit longer with the body to test some things.”
“It will be unpleasant. I think it best if you remove the husband and yourselves. Take him to the healers. They should be able to soothe him further. We’ll need to question him again after he’s calmed some. Until then, it would be best to have him available. Now I need to find out what I can about the magic used here. The sooner the better.”
“As you wish. I’ll leave a guardsman posted beyond the door in case you need anything. I think I’ll also speak with the merchant after the husband is settled. We can meet at the hold after.”
Cyrus nodded assent and watched as Valorian led the guardsmen and the husband out and closed the door to the chamber. He took a deep breath and turned back to the body. He wasn’t looking forward to this.
I’ll try to post some further revision on some of the poetry next. I thought I’d get this up first though.
This is the second rethink for Old Age. It was more of a brainstorm. I tried to think a little more specifically from the main character’s point of view. This is pretty heavily romanticized, and the interruptions aren’t quite as negative as I’d originally thought the poem should have. I’ll probably start looking to work this and the first rethinking into the original drafts to see if any particular direction comes to me. It all seems a little unfocused, and although I don’t mind that too much personally, it’s probably not good for the work.
I also noticed that even now, I almost always default to four line stanzas for drafts and brainstorming. I wrote most everything in quatrains when I was young, and it has persisted in some form to this day. I don’t have a problem deviating from that format, but when I’m just thinking loosely, it’s typically in four line thoughts. Creatures of habit.
She was beautiful.
He could remember every line of her face.
She was young and old and in between.
She was perfect.
A constant buzzing tugged at his attention,
As he bathed in her memory.
It finally broke his reverie.
They had questions to ask–stories to tell.
They worshiped him as he worshiped her.
He was accorded honor for the wisdom of years,
But insulted with insinuated frailty.
He could hear and see and think yet.
They spoke in muted shouts,
Fearful they may go unnoticed.
Poking and prodding to ensure attention.
All subtle seeming save in his eyes and ears.
Unintended they force bliss aside.
It flits peripheral yet substantial out of reach.
He fights to reach it . . . devote himself to it.
They aren’t satisfied.
He must respond.
It will buy a few moments.
A nod, a word, a look to gain so much.
It is a small price to pay; he pays.
They seem satisfied,
So he leaps fully, recklessly into the abyss once more.
Drowning in her once more,
Woefully unaware for a time at least.
This is an exercise I did to get some words down and see where it leads. Most of the time, I have an idea or theme that I will follow closely trying to write a more polished first draft for a poem such as with Old Age. In this case, however, I had the first phrase, which I’d thought of and written down in a notebook at some point. Since it was just a turn of phrase that occurred to me rather than a specific idea, I started with it and just let my mind wander for a bit to see what all I could put down fairly quickly. It’s low-grade poetic brainstorming, but just looking at this, I can see some potential for themes or even some verse that might be fodder for a similar exercise.
The willful deception of my heart sustains me,
Awash with emotions I desperately try to subdue.
Unbending forms force their structure on me
So tense–coiled and compressed
Brutish but subtle such as it were,
I feed my anguish into its maw.
Tirelessly constructing pathways;
Drowning naivete with ever more complex machinations
Unknowable fears course through me
Blanketing me in cold separation
Alone in stasis
Without direction or recourse
Twilight landscapes devoid of depth and color
Stark surroundings bind me motionless
Hunkered down . . . fetal . . . wallowing
Effusive sadness permeates everything.
I had actually written the original three drafts over a few day a while back. I posted those and used that as a reason to look at the poem with fresh eyes. I thought I’d try to rethink the work and see if any new perspective came to me. These stanzas are a bit of that. I’ll probably try to do another one or two “rewrites” and then work it together if any new material works better for me.
Honored for longevity with proximity
They natter on and on
So much to tell,
Spanning days and weeks and years
Occassionally, they break his reverie
Inject the rhetorical
pat him on the leg and speak too loudly
It’s an unintented affront
He nods and smiles
Affirmations are so important to them
Memory is dear to him
He walks the shadowed lanes of the past
So difficult to separate the sensations
So much emotion ties to thoughts
He bound so much love and passion
To a past he desperately clings to.
All used up