the_vulture: (tvhead)
a romantic asexual

"When are you going to get married?"

asked the unintentionally cruel aunt
like she does every time she visits
too occasionally to explain
the lonely sorrow that is being
a romantic asexual

"When are you going to get married?"

the answer is always an awkward mutter
those who truly know me never ask
it's an unvoiced understanding
they know about, but never speak of
a romantic asexual

"When are you going to get married?"

the words cut a savage reminder
of all the things I'll never have
a wife, kids, the love that comes with them
all lost to me, as no one wants
a romantic asexual

"When are you going to get married?"

a prison sentence pronounced as a question
invisible bars of loneliness between me
and the joy I see everyone else share
half a life of heartache, and half a life to go, as
a romantic asexual
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Yes, it's time, once again, for [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith 's Poetry Fishbowl and this month's theme is military science fiction! Go check it out (and leave a prompt)!
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Yay! It's time once again for ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl! The theme is 'influential women'. Go check it out (and leave a prompt)!
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Yes, it's time for [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith 's monthly Poetry Fishbowl, and this month's topic is 'modern myths'. Come check it out!
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LJ user ysabetwordsmith is currently hosting her monthly Poetry Fishbowl. Go check it out!
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Yes, [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith  is once again again hosting her monthly Poetry Fishbowl and this month's theme is "anti-heroes and anti-villains", characters who put the grey in 'shades of grey'. Go check it out and leave a prompt!
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As a result, in part, of prompts I've given during [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's most recent Poetry Fishbowl, Captain Mary takes to the skies on a quest for REVENGE! Join her on her adventure in the epic ballad, Salt from a Dead Woman's Table!
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 ... and we're going PUNK! (Steampunk, that is (and, punk of other eras, too)). Go check it out!
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*chuckle*  In the midst of cleaning and reorganizing after the flood of a few weeks back, I found a stack of my old high school poetry (written almost exclusively in Grade 12). I've begun putting the OCR software that came bundled with my scanner/printer to use, reclaiming my writing from those old dot-matrix printouts (yes, dot-matrix). Much of the poetry is dated, some of it is cringe worthy, and a few are... revealing. 

Take, for example, this poem about Death, in which I discovered I had some understanding of a fundamental pagan truth years before I actually became pagan:


I am Death. 
I am not Evil. 
I am not Good. 
I am feared, and hated, 
Yet I bring lasting peace 
I am an agent of Destruction, 
And by destroying, 
I become an agent of Creation: 
Allowing change, renewal, 
And rebirth. 
I am a destroyer. 
I am a creator. 
I am a bringer of change. 
I am Death.

Yes, not my most brilliant work (I was 18, cut me some slack!), but, yeah, the concept of Death being intimately tied to Rebirth is one I did not realize I had rolling around in my brain for so long.

the_vulture: (tvinflight)
And this month's theme is commoner heroes and second fiddles. Go check it out and leave a prompt!
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 [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith  has written a deeply and spiritually meaningful poem, titled "The Death Tenders", based, in part, on a prompt I gave for her current Poetry Fishbowl. This month's theme is "wild animals". Go check it out and leave a prompt!

For more of my thoughts on vultures, please read my very first LJ post.

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Inspired by the drawing I did for Sketch Fest (which was first inspired by the prompt she left there), [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith  wrote a lovely poem telling the tale of the two lovers pictured. I am so pleased by how beautifully she elaborated the implied narrative of the drawing. Go read it!  :)
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Given all the Christmas goods that were being brought out by retailers during October, I reckon we can help Halloween get a little satisfaction by posting links to the results of [ profile] ysabetwordsmith's December Fishbowl and, thus, as a perk, reveal the Monster House poem, "Beggar's Night". For my part, I'm linking back to the wonderful poem, "Bittersweet Love" written from the prompt I gave her about the therapeutic properties of chocolate, as well as my often mentioned joke when the subject of chocolate comes up: my body is a temple... and the Goddess demands CHOCOLATE!!!
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[ profile] ysabetwordsmith is holding her monthly Poetry Fishbowl and this month's topic is humour & whimsy. I'm thinkin' we could all use a chuckle right about now, so go put a prompt in (and ignore the really bad "put another shrimp on the Barbie" joke I left there).
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Please take a gander at [ profile] aldersprig's "Cunning Linguist", inspired by one of my prompts. 
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[ profile] ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl for October is now open, and the theme is GHOSTS!

the_vulture: (awesome)
Prior to the poem being funded and fully posted, I had emailed [ profile] ysabetwordsmith with some of my thoughts about the poem “‘Stained” from the ‘Path of the Paladins’ poetry series. The conversation, conducted through a number of emails and PMs, went something like this:

Me (near the beginning of August): You know, I could write an essay analyzing this poem. It's so rich in multiple levels of meaning and symbolism.

Her: I think you should flesh this out. We can always post it as an essay after the poem is fully sponsored. I'm scholar enough to admire your analysis, and really, there just is not enough good literary analysis of speculative poetry. More is good.

Her, again (about three weeks ago): "Stained" was fully sponsored this morning… If you're still willing to flesh out that lovely essay for public posting, that can be done at your convenience now.

How could I refuse?  :) 

I apologize for the lack of cuts, but the journal entry editor is being stupid today.

The Symbolism of "Stained"

The poem "Stained", by [ profile] ysabetwordsmith, presents a number of interesting symbols and parallels to further enrich the meaning of character and story elements found with the serial poetry series 'The Path of Paladins'. Key among them is the characters Ari and Johan, the Bright Temple and beams of sunlight in both material and metaphorical forms, conveying a powerful message of hope. 

In this poem, Ari is proving to play a greater role than that a typical sidekick for the primary protagonist to play off of. As has been established in an earlier poem, there are some important parallels between Ari and Gailah, the goddess of the principle character, Shahana. Both Ari and Gailah have survived a brutal attack and rape by male antagonists. Both, however, also show resilience and growing strength. In taking Ari under her wing, Shahana is not only rescuing the girl, but, in educating Ari in the ways of her faith, she is also in the act of rescuing the religion of Gailah. In this poem, Ari comes to represent divine presence, stepping beyond the parallels and seeming to act in the stead of the Goddess Gailah by displaying disapproval for Johan’s actions early in the poem and later reaching out to him in forgiveness. In particular, Ari consciously attempts to speak on Gailah’s behalf, upon Johan’s departure, when she whispers “Gailah knows,” planting the seed for Johan’s possible self-forgiveness in the future.

The topic of forgiveness is explored in an interesting fashion by the actions and statements of Johan. Outwardly, he claims no interest in rejoining the path of Gailah, claiming that She is weak. He even attempts to refuse Shanana’s much needed assistance in healing his injured arm. His actions, however, tell another story.  Shahana and Ari find him in a small roadside shrine dedicated to Gailah. The statue has been brushed clean by hand and a branch of blackberries has been laid in the offering. It may seem meager service, but it must have been dedicated and difficult effort for Johan, given the state that he was found in, with one arm crushed. Furthermore, the descriptions of him silently mouthing the prayers sung by Ari, and being found curled up beside Shahana in the morning, betray a desire to return to the fold. This contrast between his spoken and unspoken behaviour reveals an inner conflict. Between Ari’s thoughts on the situation, and Johan’s own admissions, it would appear that he feels unworthy of Gailah’s forgiveness, though this seems to something difficult for this previously proud man to deal with. His path to redemption, being further explored in the poem ‘Will Not’, will be interesting to follow.

In the poem, Ari brings up the topic of the Bright Temple, which served as home for the paladins of Gailah. Shahana mentions that the Temple is always open should Johan choose to return to it, to which he replies, “The bright temple was destroyed.” From here, Shahana brings up the point that only the physical temple was destroyed. This brings up the theme of where the heart of a faith lies. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, once wrote “One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.” For both Ueshiba and Shahana, the most important ‘temple’ that any religion possesses, is the one built within the spirit of its practitioners. Johan may currently see Gailah’s religion as being as being in ruins as the Bright Temple, but Shahana reiterates that, so long as there are those who hold true to the faith, the religion can always rebuild. The true temple is, in essence, one’s own faith.

Rebuilding is touched on in many other ways throughout the poem. There are mentions of tangible reconstruction, such as Shahana’s statement that the Bright Temple will be rebuilt one day, and the healing of Johan’s arm. Interestingly, these are both events that would be, or are, enacted through the power of faith, be it the resolve of more numerous future worshippers or divine intervention via the faith of Shahana. However, there is more subtle discussion of rebuilding through faith that is brought forth in this poem and others in the series. In this poem, Johan begins his journey in rebuilding his spirit, a process that will require him to renew his faith in Gailah and, perhaps more importantly, himself. This is suggested in the dialogue between Ari and Shahana towards the end of the poem where Ari states that whatever Johan is holding against himself will eventually be resolved by the knowledge that Gailah knows his struggle and understands. However, both Shahana and Ari, in their discussions with Johan, point out that nothing can be rebuilt as it was, something that Johan seems to be fixated upon as one reason not to move forward. Ari’s analogy of silk being dyed to match a stain is an eloquent description of this concept.

At the end of the poem, all of these themes and ideas are tied together with a single act. As Ari states that being aware of Gailah’s understanding of Johan’s inner conflict will eventually be enough for him to forgive himself (and, thus, rebuild his spirit), she smiles in a fashion described as being as “sudden as a sunbeam through clouds.” This gives a suggestion of the Bright Temple, which is earlier described as being “like yellow fire in the morning light.” Also, given how Gailah often reveals herself through beams of sun and moonlight, as well as other natural phenomena, throughout other poems in the series, this act also shows Ari as a surrogate for Gailah with another parallel. Finally, in being described as a beam of sunlight through clouds, this act becomes symbolic of hope; though things may be currently gloomy, a brighter future is in store. 

It is this message of hope, shown through the expression of faith, forgiveness, reconstruction, and divine presence, that seems to drive this poem and lends it power. As the characters from this poetry series battle against darkness and fight ever closer to a brighter tomorrow, we can not only see our own struggles within theirs, but also that beam of golden sunlight piercing through the clouds to shine upon our own world.


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