Monthly Archives: July 2011
ttto “Dryad’s Promise” by Betsy Tinney
(I wrote this in the Rotten Apple filk at Contata 6 this year)
Now, most Scottish dryads only want sun and water,
They cling to tradition like leeches to knees,
knowing their oak cousins deep in the wetlands
are distilling the best of whiskeys.
“No, you sisters mine, no,
no, please give back all the wet forest floor,
for these loamy distillings are nothing but spirits,
and our grandmothers’ trees deserve more.”
Sometimes, at new moon, they open their tavern,
their oldest of barrels are then newly cracked,
when the travelers came, you can see them all drinking,
the barmaids fill glass after glass,
Crying, “Ho, you customers, ho!
Don’t drink the swill served in town anymore,
for our grandmothers’ trees bring rare life to our barrels,
and you’ll learn to like dryad scotch more.”
Warned are the locals about the oak’s daughters,
of seasons and centuries of this long line,
when oak forest swampland runs red with the slaughter,
the drinks are on sale, you will find.
“Grow, you peat bog moss, grow
each of the ones we’ve interred, you will find
in tasting our whiskey, the deepest of flavors
will ever bring dead Scots to mind.”
In back of the tavern, surrounded by oak trees,
they tower there, silent, majestic, and strong
and the ghost of a customer, in grave not-so-shallow,
brings news that chills to the bone,
“Go, you vagabonds, go!
Do not tarry here lest they keep you behind!
Though it may seem like gifts when they give you some free ones,
I still cannot leave here, I find,
no, that taste in the scotch, it is mine!”
Any poetry I try to write
is thwarted by the many itching
gross, swelling, icky mosquito bites.
From the earth emerge
The winter now turns to spring
You return, my dear
One day, I met a wizard.
He requested help with his spells
and I, being a student of such a school,
volunteered with vigor.
The days passed,
and we spoke on most of them.
The weeks passed,
and I grew to know him.
The months passed,
and I grew to love him.
When I heard he’d begun to summon,
a chill froze the pit of my stomach.
Did he not know that these are dangerous?
He grew confident in his ways.
I and my fellow students watched in wary dread,
One day, the demons broke loose,
and they stole him away,
wounding the lady of trees
and badly frightening the rest of us.
We now seek he who we have lost,
he who was taken from us.
I, being well-studied in dreams,
seek him there.
I have now begun this many times.
I lay down, close my eyes,
and am there.
“Give me back my friend!”
The demon shakes his head.
“No. He let us in. We are guests here.”
The dreamsky darkens,
clouds rolls in,
the derecho beginning.
I feel the power gathering,
in the ground,
in my hands,
in my soul, the wind.
One strike, thunder that follows.
Two strikes, cacaphonous, drawing closer.
Three strikes, the last licking the demon’s lashing tail.
His eyes widen in shock and sudden comprehension.
“You cannot have him. Be gone, utterly and forever!
Nevermore shall your shadow slide over the earth
like a slug after a rich meal,
nevermore shall the lady of trees thrash in your claws,
nevermore your cruel touch beautiful things to mar.”
I am thrown to the ground,
the demon towers above me.
“You cannot banish me, because you cannot banish him!
He must fight, and he must win,
or he will never again see the light of day!”
I smile, a grin so feral and bright that it splits the dark and,
staff ablaze with my storm,
fire and lightning ,
stand in the doorway in the demon’s shadow.
I shriek with all that I was, am, and can be,
“The gate is here,
unlocked, open, flung wide!
I hold the light
that you may always find
a way back
through the darkness!”
This could be a poem about how I don’t understand.
I could say,
“I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people”
“I don’t understand how good people can still do terrible things”,
but it would be a lie.
This could be a poem about how I don’t care.
I could say,
“I don’t care that you are suffering. We all suffer”
“I am suffering. Why should I care when you suffer?”,
but it would be false.
This could be a poem about how faraway problems do not affect me.
I could say,
“That problem’s distance is great, and does not relate to my life”
“I haven’t known those people very long, their day-to-day means nothing to me”,
but it would be patently untrue
These things are my honesty,
waving a red flag in code
from my aching heart
I love you.
Healer, heal thyself.
This is heavy medicine.
There is no going back from this.
There is only going forward.
The woods are dark and you do not know the path,
but you will walk it by torchlight.
No misstep shall tumble you
nor mischief waylay you.
I will lift the light
raise it to guide and guard.
As my shadow beside me paces,
so too I am with you always.
In deepest shade,
in brightest sun,
find me at the meeting of ways,
for I am there.
Be afraid, but let not fear consume you;
I am hungrier than your fear.
Be wary, but let not caution stay your feet;
I am more frightening than the dark woods.
They are mine, they are me,
I unlock their secrets only for those who are actually ready to hear them.
Your path and feet have parted ways,
and though none but you may find it,
your chosen methods leave a daze
over those you love who’d mind it.
I have watched you of many days,
your worldview with confusion rife,
unknowing, watched you slip away,
seen what you have done to your life.
I wait in silent simmering
for word from the lady of trees.
Rock bottom dropped from under me
lifting my prayers up to the breeze
that they may be carried to She
Who resides now in summer bright,
that She may grant Her blessings three
to reach you in your deepest night.
Heed them, at your peril ignore
the signs and portents you have made.
You have been placed at Justice’ door
It’s only She can give you aid.
Those who love you do fear for you,
and sadly of you they fear same.
Metaphors cannot help you, true;
it is left to you to take blame.
I plead You, Psychopomp, hear this:
he lies at losing’s very door.
It’s not his time, he’s gone amiss,
must mend those precious things he tore.
I love you like a dear brother,
Gentle, clever, witty, and true.
Your place, ne’er filled by another,
Is now taken by something else.
Battle of Serenity
ttto Foggy Dew (traditional)
As down the slope one bloody night
in a battle fierce rode I
There armed lines
of fighting men
in uniforms passed me by
No help would come
not even some
and we knew we could not flee
And the Alliance bell
Brought us into hell
at the battle of Serenity
Right proudly in our coats of brown
We’d hung out the flag of war
‘Twas better to die
freely in the sky
than as chattel or Alliance whores.
And in great pain
Falling blood like rain
We fought to gain the valley
While the Allied ones
with their blazing guns
shot us down at Serenity
Twas Alliance bade our free wills go
that an empire could be born
Not a one could abide
Tyranny so wide
Still surrendered that dreadful morn
Oh, had I died
by my sargeant’s side
Where I’m now I’d never be
Their names I will keep
Where my comrades sleep
in the valley of Serenity
But the brave who fell
Their tales we tell
As though our fallen were here
The browncoats who died
Still lay far and wide
In my memory these long, long years
And the worlds did gaze
in a wounded haze
at their kin they could no longer see
They had gone to fight
to keep freedom’s light
Alive down in Serenity
In my thoughts I return
To where Hera burned
my heart with grief is sore
For we parted back then
With valiant men
And women who we won’t see more
But to and fro
in our ship we go
and here in the black we’re free!
The war is done
And though we never won
We found our Serenity
You will not ask me if I love you.
I will not tell you I do.
I will not ask you to break your word.
You will not tell me you want me to,
And I won’t.
You will ask me if I understand.
I will tell you I do.
I will ask you to break out a story.
You will tell me you want to,
And you will.