February 10th, 2011


Poem: "The Ocean of Her Eyes"

Fully funded 2/11/11, second half filled from general funds.

So far aldersprig has funded $10 of this $20 poem.  Who wants to chip in toward the other half?  I am posting the first three verses of the poem now, the rest to follow as funding comes in.

This poem came out of the February 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from eseme and cosponsored by aldersprig.  Here continues the tale of the seer who scrys with the ink of sea animals; this poem is a sequel to "The Fisherman's Daughter" and "Atramentous Visions."

The Ocean of Her Eyes

It is not the visions in the bowl of ink
that captivate her,
but the visions inside her own eyelids.

As the seer ages, her sight begins to dim.
Bright eyes cloud over
until she can scarcely see
the dear faces of her family circling near.

Yet her Sight never wavers,
strengthened by myriad drops of ink
and the viscous swish of magic.
The seer can no longer gaze into the scrying bowl,
but she does not need to do so.
The light and the darkness are one,
and within her.
The smooth bone that cups her brain
is bowl enough for her now.
The world within and the world without
are barely separated by a thin, rippling surface.
Shadows swim like krakens
through the gathering gloom.

Her face is weathered now,
its furrows worked by the waves of time.
Wrinkles bracket her mouth with the footprints of gulls
forever facing into the wind.
Years of tracing an inky fingertip between her eyes
have left their mark there, like a dark line of horizon.
Soon the tide will roll out
and take her with it,
take her home.

For now the seer waits,
and whispers what she observes
into the shell of her daughter's listening ear.
The old woman Sees far more
now that she can no longer see.
These visions are filled with colors for which she has no names,
and shapes that she can hardly understand.
They flicker with electricity like strikes of hidden lightning
and follow currents whose patterns she can almost begin to grasp.
The seer finds them more enchanting than siren song.

Sometimes she thinks that
the world's dreams have gotten lost,
marooned in the white-capped ocean of her eyes.


That Which Lasts

I came across this Lakota quote today:


I like that quote. I suspect that it works better in Lakota than in English, though: the connotations of "Earth" may differ, and many native languages handle time differently than European languages, so "lasts" and "forever" could vary too. The sense that I get is, human problems are fleeting compared to the permanence of a planet (or possibly a biosphere).

Poem: "The Manticore's Eyes"

This poem came out of the January 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by this picture prompt from xjenavivex, who's doing art exercises, and eseme who mentioned color blindness.  It was sponsored by xjenavivex.

The Manticore's Eyes

The manticore's eyes
are as blank as pearls
but not blind.

They sat empty for hours
while the gods of fire and earth
argued over how to fill them.

It would not do, said the gods of earth,
to leave them colorblind as some men are,
unable to tell yellow from blue, red from green.

The gods of fire grumbled, bristling
at the reminder of those minor mishaps,
and overcompensated in turn.

The manticore's eyes see not only
yellow and blue, red and green,
but infrared, ultraviolet, polarity.

It is this last which does the damage,
polarized light overlapping into godsight
and the subtle perception of the soul.

The manticore's voice
is a thing of great and terrible beauty,
its hunger unending, its poison perilous.

But the awful, blazoned rage of the beast
is fueled entirely by the burning sight of its eyes
and what their vision reveals in the hearts of men.


List of Unsold Poems from the February 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl

The following poems from the February 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. They may be sponsored via PayPal, or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

"The Archivist's Eye" -- 21 lines, $10 SOLD
Your prompt about archivists and archives stuck to [info]ellenmillion's mention of Torn World. "The Archivist's Eye" is free verse written in tercets. It gives glimpses of how an archivist perceives the world, reading meaning in what is there or not there. This is a poem about Unafari, a museum worker in Torn World.

"As the Eagle Sees" -- 30 lines, $15
From your prompt about a character with amazing distance vision, I got the poem "As the Eagle Sees." It lays out the advantages and disadvantages of seeing so far, in such detail, among others who cannot. This is written in unrhymed quatrains.

"Clearsight" -- 20 lines, $10
From your prompt about foresight and hindsight, I got the poem "Clearsight." It describes how a psychic albino perceives time. This poem is written in unrhymed quatrains.

"Flash-Frozen" -- 42 lines, $20 SOLD
In this exciting episode, the psychic photographer meets a hot guy and saves the Earth. Tune in to find out what happens! "Flash-Frozen" is written in free verse.

"His Own Devices" -- 61 lines, $30.50
Some years ago, I came across a news story about a man who considered himself a cyborg and lived his life wearing a complex rig of electronics. He'd made the mistake of entering an airport; as you can imagine, it did not end well. "His Own Devices" is a free-verse poem merging your prompt and the news about that hapless cyborg, along with some pointed observations about the travel industry's opinion of adaptive equipment in general. Very little poetic license was needed.

"Icewater" -- 18 lines, $10
I pounced on your prompt about people who see galaxies but remain space-phobic. In a fit of pique at the state of our space program, I wrote it so that it could be read as describing aliens ordescribing humans. "Icewater" is free verse written in tercets, and it uses water as an extended metaphor.
tabard wants to sponsor this.

"Rods and Reels" -- 79 lines, $39.50
I combined "double vision in Second Sight" with [info]siege's query about how a seer's vision works. The result is the free-verse poem "Rods and Reels." It tells about the mystical evolution of foretelling through the perceptions of different people, wrapped around a rather sweet love story.

"Sights to See" -- 15 lines, $10 SOLD
Of course I saw your prompt about artists and depth perception, and immediately thought about styles of art that were inspired by artists who viewed the world in a particular way. "Sights to See" is a free-verse poem that celebrates visual diversity as a Muse.

"Snowblind" -- 15 lines, $10
I used your vivid image of a snowstorm inside the eye to create "Snowblind," written in unrhymed quintains. It's two things, really: a mood poem about the experience, and an extended metaphor about the eyeball as a snow globe.

"This Sudden Sight" -- 21 lines, $10
Your prompt about "suddenly able to see" reminded me of a story arc in which aliens benevolently invade the Earth and offer people various perks in exchanged for civilized behavior. This is instantly attractive for all the star-hungry people. So "This Sudden Sight" tells about a woman who gains her eyesight ... and immediately looks beyond it to a higher, more compelling goal. The poem is written in unrhymed tercets.

"Through the Eyes of an Owl" -- 27 lines, $15
Your prompt about the far-finder stuck in my mind. From this I got "Through the Eyes of an Owl," written in free verse with the heavy alliteration favored in Northern poems. It uses the far-finder not just to examine the world, but to contemplate what it means to perceive the world in different ways and to contrast the present with the past.

"Watergazer" -- 42 lines, $20
From this I got "Watergazer," a free-verse poem. It tells about Canis, daughter of Gaia, as she travels between the Spirit World and the Earth World.

"With Different Eyes" -- 41 lines, $20
While I was browsing through the prompt about different cone cells and types of vision, I got the idea for "With Different Eyes." It's free verse, with the stanzas alternating between 8 and 3 lines. It explores some of the subjective visual effects I perceive, and how they influence my worldview.

A World Without Edges -- 36 lines, $15
From your prompt about my Torn World character Rai, I got "A World Without Edges." This free-verse poem explains why he paints -- but declines to sell the paintings.

Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for February 2011

This month you have a choice between funding the half-sponsored $20 poem "The Ocean of Her Eyes" or any of the remaining $10 poems: "The Archivist's Eye," "Clearsight," "Icewater," "Sights to See," "Snowblind," or "This Sudden Sight."  Please make your selection in the poll below.  I'll check the results Friday night; if there's a clear winner, I'll post it then.  Otherwise I may leave the poll up a little longer.

Poll #1679952 Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for February 2011
This poll is closed.

Which of these would you most like to see published?

Finish funding "The Ocean of Her Eyes"
"The Archivist's Eye"
"Sights to See"
"This Sudden Sight"