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Poem: "The Plowshare Sword" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "The Plowshare Sword"

This poem came out of the April 6, 2010 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from siege but also touches on ideas raised by zianuray and even jolantru whose "sword" prompt arrived after closing time.  It was selected in the poll for generally sponsored poetry.  This poem is an exploration of the idiom "swords into plowshares" ... from the perspective of the sword.

The Plowshare Sword

I was glad to go back in the forge
And give up recollections of war.
For me, no more the dark bloody gorge
Or the bugles baying down the tor.

In the smith's hand, I learned my new work:
I will go into the deep clean earth
As a plow, and I will never shirk
Now that duty is not death, but birth.

This field was a battleground last year,
I remember dimly, through a haze
It was bitter, steeped in blood and fear,
Yet now opens sweetly to sun's rays.

From their grassy graves, I raise the ghosts
Like pale worms squirming in sudden light.
With the smith's grace, I lay their great hosts;
With forgetfulness, they fade from sight.

As the gentle horses make their way,
Slowly I turn over troubled ground,
Leaving seeds safe in the loamy clay
Where they're covered by the next long mound.

The good earth mumbles under my touch
Like a lover waking from bad dreams.
It is good to speak of rain and such;
I could get used to such talk, it seems.

Some things can't be healed by mage or lord,
But by soldiers turned farmers, and me,
Sowing futures as the plowshare sword,
Learning what the smith saw I could be.

O, let others speak of heroes now
Of the brave blades swung and boulders hurled.
I had rather be the sword-share plow:
This is my  way of saving the world.

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9 comments or Leave a comment
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: April 9th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't believe this point of view hasn't been covered before; I think you did a great job, regardless! :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 9th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Someone may have covered this perspective before, but if so, I haven't seen it. There aren't even very many sword-perspective stories in general.
From: angela_n_hunt Date: April 9th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is absolutely beautiful.

Um, are all the poems ever likely to be collected in a dead tree volume?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 9th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like this poem.

>>Um, are all the poems ever likely to be collected in a dead tree volume?<<

I don't know. If there's enough interest, hardcopy editions are plausible. I have a couple in progress, actually, which will include a handful of fishbowl poems along with a lot of other stuff. One is a nature collection and the other is science fiction.

Currently folks are discussing interest in a series of poems about the origami mage, as mentioned in "folded wings" (March 2010) and "cutting and folding" (April 2010). That might turn into a collection, maybe even with line art and/or photo illustrations of origami.

Edited at 2010-04-09 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: angela_n_hunt Date: April 9th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

Well, consider me interested! :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 10th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm glad to hear that.
endlessrarities From: endlessrarities Date: April 9th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another great poem, from a really unusual perspective!

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 9th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I had fun with this. I enjoy revisiting classic ideas with a new perspective or twist. Folks are welcome to suggest more prompts along the "hey, how come we never hear so-and-so's view of this story?" approach.
jolantru From: jolantru Date: April 10th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful. :)
9 comments or Leave a comment