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Poem: "A Strange and Gentle Contagion" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "A Strange and Gentle Contagion"
Here is the linkback perk for the May 6, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. If you link to the fishbowl, make a comment and include the URL to reveal a verse of this poem.  If you link on different services, you can get multiple verses.

This poem was inspired by a discussion with johnpalmer under "Listening to the Lifebeat."  It also fills the "Telepathy / Mental Connection" square in my 2-1-14 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest.

All 15 verses have been posted.  Linkers include: janetmiles, helgatwb, laffingkat, wyld_dandelyon, ng_moonmoth, gingicat, kestrels_nest


"A Strange and Gentle Contagion"


The legends warn of vampires,
their hypnotic eyes and intoxicating bite
able to enchant their helpless prey.

It is said that, once bitten,
no human can resist their power
and must yield to their will forevermore.

The truth is subtler and more complex,
and although it is rarely spoken aloud,
it fuels far more than the legends.

The mesmerizing gaze is there to soothe fear
and to ease the first sting of the bite,
joining minds and hearts together.

The bite itself carries saliva to numb the skin,
chemicals to lull and heal and bond:
a strange and gentle contagion.

This leaves behind a scent marker
that any vampire can smell,
hinting at a likely ally.

It also leaves a sliver of empathy
that urges humans to awaken to each other
and draw together for mutual benefit.

The deeper the vampires drink,
or the more often they feed on a person,
the stronger the feelings grow.

This, then, is the curse the legends fight:
a creeping compassion that threatens
those who would hold them in thrall.

A village of serfs, once bitten, begins to question
the terrible injustice of their situation
and cooperate more effectively to change it.

No wonder that the society men go about
armed with their hammers and stakes,
stirring villagers toward torches and pitchforks.

They prefer to turn the ignorant masses
upon tender and innocent vampires
than to risk falling prey themselves.

So the vampires are defamed, persecuted,
hunted almost to extinction; but their skill
at cooperation allows them to survive.

There will always be someone who doubts
the bitter lies of the legends and takes a chance
with those sharp, solicitous fangs.

Those humans nurture their gifts in secret,
teach compassion and fellowfeel by word of mouth,
and in so doing, keep the hope alive.

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16 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 6th, 2014 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Three links

Thank you! Your three verses are up.
laffingkat From: laffingkat Date: May 7th, 2014 01:14 am (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 7th, 2014 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I have posted your new verse.
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: May 7th, 2014 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I tweeted!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 7th, 2014 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Your new verse is up.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 8th, 2014 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: 4 links to the unsold poetry post

Thank you! Your four new verses are up:
http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/3231473.html
kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: September 15th, 2014 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
If a linkback poem isn't completed with that fishbowl, how can one get the remainder revealed?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 15th, 2014 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

Sometimes I rerun it with a later fishbowl, if there are a lot of verses left. This is only missing a single verse. Link to the 9/2/14 unsold poetry list and I'll post that verse.
kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: September 15th, 2014 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Done!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 16th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Last verse is up now.
kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: September 15th, 2014 11:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 15th, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

The last verse has been posted, thanks!
johnpalmer From: johnpalmer Date: September 18th, 2014 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, very well done! Me 'ats off to you. Not that I have a particular hat, but it's certainly doffed.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 18th, 2014 04:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked this. It was one of the pieces that got me thinking of the Bat Vampires and Frankenstein's Family as connected, because they're both basically gothic fluff, dark motifs done in a cuddly way.
16 comments or Leave a comment