Friday, October 26, 2012

Fourth Friday Fairy-Tale prompt (from Spinning Straw into Gold)

(I almost gave up month, because I'm not happy yet with this one, and I generally don't like sharing poems I'm not completely happy with, but the prompt is designed to encourage us to open up a bit writing-wise with each other, and so here it is, warts and all. Be kind with criticism, please, but do give it!)

Why do you call us
angels? Laughing at our bird’s wings
The river gave us?

You, smelling of incense and dark, earth-
birthed greens. Soft-eyed
boy under dying tree; thoughts
like early apples bursting in the sun-

              nearer. It will be

a baptism with us, while your eyes
reproach and tiny wings
sop the blood.


  1. To be perfectly honest... I love it! The only critique I would give is the last line imagery of "sopping" up the blood when the rest is infused with water imagery; I dunno, maybe somewhere more along the lines of "mingling" since water is such a dominating cncept already? Anyway, loved it...
    -The Neglected Husband Who Has Awesome Taste

  2. Thanks Honey! I've been nervously checking the comments here for DAYS! I think you're right, the end was a bit of a struggle for me, hmm..we'll see.

    love you!

  3. What? No more comments than this!

    Thank you for participating Masha! I hope it was helpful for you.

    I'm not trained at teaching poetry, so totally discard if your instinct is "UM, NO." And truly, your poem looks fit-to-be-published to me, so these are more like food-for-thought.

    "Why do you call us" is a great first line. It's so sinister that they're sort of putting the blame on this poor boy. And then this word "angels" dropped on us. It's worse than if they outright denied that they're spirits of good. The whole first stanza does not bode well for him!

    In line three, you might use a specific river or another body of water less common. But "river" has a nice rhythm to it where it is. I can imagine how when rushing water is parting around an object, it makes foamy "wings" around it. Nice.

    Incense makes me think that he's just been at church, which I love. What kind of incense is it? Is it the heavy Mass-kind or something lighter? Now that I'm typing this, that might actually do a lot to lean the poem in one direction or another. Has he been dabbling in black magic? Out with a lover? Is he one of _those_ soft-eyed boys? Of course, you might want it to be vague.

    "thoughts like early apples bursting in the sun" -- that's a one of those lines I'd give my pinkie for. You know, I immediately thought of apple blossoms, "early" apples. It works so well.

    The visual-kinetic movement of "come/nearer" is so great. And the "baptism with us" just puts the nail in the coffin of sinisterness.

    You mentioned "soft-eyed" before, is it intentional to bring eyes up again? If not, I think you can do better than "eyes reproach." Aaaand, I think you know, too, so sorry if that's salt in the wound. But yeah, in case you were lingering over that line, Masha the Poet can whittle that one into a dagger--I want to see it!

    I like "tiny wings/sop up the blood." Seth also brings up a good point about continuing the water motif. Mingling is, again--have I used this word enough?--sinister in its passivity. Like it's diluting the horror of what's just happened. Whatever you decide you want us as readers to be feeling, I'm sure you'll pick the perfect ending.

    Thank you for putting this out there, especially when you weren't happy with it and feeling vulnerable.

    I loved it. <3

  4. Oh, I just had a thought. Since ruskala seem to drown their victims (maybe this is what Seth was talking about), you might replace blood with something that suggests drowning. Like, "tiny wings smothering your breath," but not that, but something like it.

  5. Christie~

    THANKS!! I was a little sad about the lack of comments, but I'm REALLY glad I participated, otherwise I would have buried this one for a few years.. I LOVE the fourth-fridays, thanks so much for hosting them!!

    I'm going to keep with river, but I think you're right about intensifying the incense image..I'm leaning toward a lover because if he were actually devote, they wouldn't be able to get him.

    And I agree that the second 'eyes' needs to go..hmm...

    As for drowing, you're right they do, but like all Russian folk-creatures they have that ambiguity, and bloody scratches are common in the drownings. I guess I want to try to bridge the two..but mingling is good. what do you think of 'stirring'?

  6. oh hey hey hey hey

    sorry to be coming late to the party but, uh, great job M., good creepiness, and I am no good at talking about poetry AT ALL but

    how do you feel about "taste" or "lick" for "sop"?

    I'm a knee-jerk taste partisan; it's my go-to sense for all my sense detail needs. so feel free to ignore if it doesn't work for you? (tiny wings can totally taste; they are magical).

    "taste" gets you some extra tongue-y alliteration action, too, if that's a thing you want in your poem

    anyway, sorry to fail to comment, M. The next time you post a poem, I promise I'll cover you in encouragement as soon as I see it!

  7. Laura, that's great that taste is your go-to sense. So many writers, me included, are "blind" to all senses but sight. That's defiantly a strength of yours.

    And I like your suggestion. "Lick up" is similar in function to "sop up," only it gives me this feeling of unholy relish and a memory of the metallic taste of blood.

    Masha, when you said stirring, my brain leapt to the image of a witch stirring a cauldron.

    Maybe you could find a way to use both of those, if you can't choose?