Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "The Ones They Leave Behind"

This poem came from the July 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from marina_bonomi and tabard, then sponsored out of general funds.  It's a direct sequel to "Shine On" and shows the perspective of Larn as he watches his sister leave the village.

If you want to read more about Shahana the Paladin and friends, that's an option in the July perk poll for serial poetry.

The Ones They Leave Behind

Larn watched his sister walk away from the village
at the side of the steadfast paladin.
It was said that a paladin had come from here, once,
or somewhere around here, or something like that.

Now the paladin had come and gone,
the way the raiders had come and gone --
to be sure, one bringing good and the other evil,
but neither staying in the ruined village.

It was up to Larn and the other young boys,
with the help of the old men and women,
to rebuild whatever could be salvaged
and try to replace what had gone astray.

He was the last of his family, and likely to stay that way,
all the girls gone long since except a few toddlers.
Parents dead, aunts and uncles and cousins too.
Brothers and sister walked off into the world.

No Ari to gather unicorn hair to trade
to the traveling merchants -- that would hurt.
It had been months since anybody saw one, though;
perhaps the war had run off the unicorns anyhow.

Larn hitched up the mule that the paladin had left.
There was time yet to plow and replant.
He rubbed his hands together and tried to find
some tendril of earth-magic to revive the trampled ground.

The mule turned a quizzical head to Larn
and pushed his soft muzzle into the boy's calloused hands.
There.  There.  The magic twined around like a morning glory vine,
binding boy and mule, plow and seeds and soil.

No one would ever sing songs about them, but they didn't care.
Songs were for the heroic ones going upon the great campaigns.
It was up to the others, the ones they left behind,
to see that there was something to come home to.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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