The little black kitten
that someone abandoned
grew into a sleek black cat
that was always bringing home
unexpected things --
bottle caps and racquet ball rinds
and once a baby squirrel, its eyes still closed
the importance of being picked up
and taken home.
This poem came out of the September 6, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from stryck, thesilentpoet, and haikujaguar. It was sponsored by marina_bonomi.
You can learn more about the heritage breeds of Italian livestock online. Other poems about Fiorenza, the Italian Herbalist are listed on the serial poetry page of my website.
Fiorenza is the one whom the farmers call
to care for the livestock when something goes wrong.
She makes the pungent powder
to kill pests on the red-and-black Pepoi hens
who cluck their way through the gardens
and lay a trail of pale rosy eggs.
She makes the soothing salve
for the chapped teats of the Reggiana cows
with their warm brown eyes and coats the color of red wheat,
who give the good milk for reggiano cheese.
She makes the sweet oil
for painting the dry hooves of the black Norico horses
who work in draft teams to plow and harvest the fields,
patient as the slowly turning wheel of the seasons.
Fiorenza winds her way through farm and field,
picking as she goes,
leaf and flower and root and bark
all in one basket on her right arm,
and on the left, another basket
that the farmers fill
with eggs and cheese and bread.
It is that food she thinks of
when she holds the fuzzy chicks in the palm of her hand
or leans against the fragrant flank of a cow
or strokes the velvet noses of the foals.
These beasts stand behind everything her people eat,
their red and black colors setting the palette of the village
and appearing in pastoral paintings
up in the city of Fermo.
When she walks through the village
covered in mud or manure,
a heavy basket in each hand,
Don Candido shakes his head at her
but says nothing,
and she knows why.
Fiorenza has seen him decorate the church
at the end of the year,
and she remembers his large gentle hands
laying out the creche
with the Christ child surrounded by
red-and-black hens and wheat-red cows
and draft horses as black as the good Italian earth.
I'm requesting an illustration of the mule from Path of the Paladins, because I really like the animal sample pictures.
Monster House is ineligible this round, since it just appeared in the August mid-month fishbowl. Your current choices are:
* Fiorenza, the Italian Herbalist -- historic fantasy about a young woman taking care of her village in Italy.
* The Ocracies -- sociological fantasy about diverse forms of government.
* The Origami Mage -- historic fantasy about two women quarreling over paper magic, with mixed Asian flavor.
* Path of the Paladins -- low fantasy about tired people trying to make the world a better place.
Which series would you like to feature?
meeksp has two new sketches posted. Remember that donations now activate revisions at $15 increments.
"Restoration" is an illustration of my Monster House poem by the same title, requested by minor_architect. This is a really awesome view of the radiator dragon in the oven, looking over the dragon and out at the two hovering monsters. Lots of room for refinement, so please comment with your opinions of the picture.
"The Deep Inks" is a scene of Autumn at the Renaissance Faire with a mysterious client, requested by aldersprig. Autumn is already fairly detailed and recognizable. This picture's potential for refinement lies mainly in the details of booth and background, which are just vaguely sketched in now.
From earlier, "The Henchmen's Hitch" has some comments, and could use more if you folks want to see that one developed further. You can click on my author tag to see the other illustrations that meeksp has drawn of my writing. aldersprig has an author tag too. The Story Sketches project is very kind to those of us with multiple settings and an enthusiastic fanbase!
Discussion of "The Picket Fence Committee" revealed that several people felt it would benefit from expansion. They wanted to see more members of the committee, and mulled over what the committee's goals and individual members' motivations might be. This version of the poem includes two other committee members, and a few more hints about their perspectives and tastes. Special thanks to my_partner_doug, kelkyag, kitrona, and janetmiles for revision assistance.
Remember that in crowdfunding, the audience serves in the editorial role. What do you-all think? Do the changes make the poem stronger and/or clearer? Is it done now, or does it need further tinkering?
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