April 9th, 2010


Jane Yolen on Writing

This is a lovely collection of thoughts about writing.

I was particularly charmed by the idea of the muse being out in the woods when the writer is at the keyboard.  And then I thought ... if the muse isn't in your office, maybe you shouldn't be either.  Where is your muse -- in the woods, in a museum, in a bookstore?  Go find her.  There you'll find the thread of the story you had lost. 

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.