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Poem: "Crimson History" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Crimson History"
This poem came out of the September 7-8 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by marina_bonomi, who mentioned her earlier EMG-zine article "Red, A King Dethroned." It cites findings of red hair as a Neanderthal trait.  We speculated a possible path from there... 

Crimson History

When the world was frozen,
we discovered fire,
red tongues to keep the winter night at bay.
We and they stared at each other
from our distant caves
across the valley's cold floor,
two human species
divided by time and blood.
We were too different and too innocent
to make peace between us,
and so we invented war.
We killed them again and again,
beating out the red fire of their hair
and leaving their corpses naked as beasts.
But love and hate have always been
two sides of a single hand,
and somewhere in that conflagration
we too caught fire
and burned with them
so that even in this latter age,
rarely but indelibly a spark kindles
and a baby is born with hair of ancient flame.
We are marked,
like the striped tiger,
with a legacy of our crimson history.

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6 comments or Leave a comment
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: September 8th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Elizabeth, that's as poignant and strong as I hoped it would be.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 8th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

*bow, flourish*

Thank you. I am quite fond of other hominids; Neanderthals are a favorite.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: September 8th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a powerful and eloquent poem.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 8th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I appreciate the feedback.
eseme From: eseme Date: September 9th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
That's really cool, ad something I did not know about redheads (my sister is both readheaded and lefhanded).

It is also a poem with some great imagery - I like "our crimson history" and "hair of ancient flame."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 9th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like this. It's fun to hear what people's favorite parts are, or what a poem reminds them of.
6 comments or Leave a comment