Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Creation and Creator

As you may or may not know, I used to belong to a local poetry group. Aside from doing readings, the group would gather in the upstairs of a local pub once a month where we would read poems in progress, have a drink, and generally chat about poetic things. We also had “poemwork.” This is purely optional, but most of us participated because one, it was fun, and two, sometimes you end up with an unexpected poem. Today I’d like to share one of these assignments.

Poemwork: Make a poem out of a collection of dictionary definitions.

Merriam-Webster On-line dictionary
Family Word Finder – Reader’s Digest Books, 1976
Words looked up: underworld, creation, provident, fanatic, skeptic, heaven, hell

creation and creator

in the nether realm of the devil and the demons
lies the place of departed souls
a social sphere below the level of ordinary life
a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness

it lies on the side of the earth opposite to this one
the nether world in which the dead continue to exist
the damned suffer everlasting punishment
in these regions of Hell

the Norse goddess of death
is bringing the world into ordered existence
the Deity’s all-foreseeing care over the cosmos
has her acting without a prearranged script or plan

other goddesses, whose worship involved frenzy
descend in one way or another
not seeing beforehand
the act of creating, the act of making

a person disposed to skepticism
can make ready for the future
but absolute knowledge is unattainable
and judgements must be continually questioned

with God, sin is absent over the earth
there is a spiritual state of everlasting communion
in the arch of the sky, the dwelling place of the Deity
the world under Heaven is a condition of utmost happiness

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fiction Friday - An Elemental Wind

I thought I’d switch things up today and instead of a flash piece or an unfinished piece, I’d share an excerpt from a completed work. In this case, that work is An Elemental Wind, my first book.

In this scene, the vehicle our heroes Nakeisha and Chaney were using has been disabled by a sand storm and they’re forced to spend the night out in the desert. This is one of my favourite scenes in the book. :-D

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

It was almost too dark to see by the time they settled themselves on the sand-filled hollow. Nakeisha lay with her head pillowed on Chaney’s shoulder. Together they watched the stars appear, then the moons of Anchyre started their journey across the night sky.

“Do you know the story of the moons?” Chaney asked.

“They have a story?”

“The large one is called Kandor and the small one is Shinandu. Early in its history, Anchyre was ruled by a powerful warlord in the North and an equally powerful queen in the South.”

“Their names wouldn’t happen to be Kandor and Shinandu would they?”

“Yes. Now don’t interrupt. The two were desperately in love, but a curse kept them apart.”

“A curse?”

“It was believed that should Kandor and Shinandu ever come together, a disaster of epic proportions would befall Anchyre.”

“What happened?”

“They may have been rulers, but they were only human after all, and eventually Kandor could stand it no longer and went to his beloved in the dark of night. She tried to resist, but was unable to withstand his charm. Their joining caused a cataclysmic explosion that blew them into the sky and caused Anchyre to become giesthenis.”

“You made that up,” Nakeisha accused, raising her head slightly to look at him.

“See for yourself,” Chaney said. “Every night since, Kandor has chased Shinandu across the sky. It’s said if he ever catches her, Anchyre will be restored to its former glory.”

“It’s a lovely story,” she said, laying her head back down. “I hope some day Kandor catches Shinandu.” She yawned and made herself more comfortable.

“Look,” Chaney pointed. “A shooting star. My people believe them to be good omens.”

“Hmm?” she murmured sleepily. “Mine make wishes on them.”

“What did you wish for, Nakeisha?” he asked softly.

There was no answer. He turned his head to look at her and her eyes were closed. The day had finally caught up to her and she was asleep. With a contented sigh, Chaney, too, closed his eyes and went to sleep.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

If I’ve piqued your curiosity and you’d like to read more, you can get your copy of An Elemental Wind by clicking on one of the following links:

Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Let America Be America Again

Though Langston Hughes is a somewhat more modern poet than the ones I usually enjoy, there’s no doubt that the man knew his way around a poem. I chose this particular poem of his in celebration of my American friends because today is their Independence Day. It’s a little long, but worth the read.

Let America Be America Again

by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!