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Poem: "Wipeout" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Wipeout"

This is the third perk poem for the 2011 Winterfaire.  (Double back to read the first two, "All in the Family" and "Gallery of Souls," which are now complete.) All of these activities will unlock a verse each time someone does one of them:

* link to the Winterfaire page to boost the signal
* comment posting a Booth of your wares/services in the Winterfaire
* buy something from a vendor listed in the Winterfaire 
* host a similar holiday market in your own blog or other venue
LiveJournal will notify me of comments to this post and links to it elsewhere on LJ; for everything else, you need to TELL ME in order to get credit for it.  This poem is now complete!

"Wipeout" came from the July 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from haikujaguar who wanted to read about everyday spells that make a high-magic society possible.  After all, it's the small things more often than the large that change history.  This led to the creation of the Practical Magics series, and you can read more about that on my Serial Poetry page.  So far participants include: swirvel42, janetmiles, fatfred, lupagreenwolf, aldersprig, elinox, red_trillium


Jenina was the oldest of fourteen children.
She learned how to take care of babies long before
she saved up her coppers from doing chores
and left her parents' pig farm for the city.

Nobody there wanted to believe that a sunburned blonde
with long legs and knobby knees and far too many freckles,
and coming from a pig farm in the country to boot,
could possibly have any useful talent for magic.

Jenina was laughed out of the Ivory Tower,
and its neighbor the Ebony Tower,
and the Short Round House of Wooden Artifacts.
She bypassed the House of Fleshly Charms altogether.

At last she apprenticed herself to a drunkard.
Follumph was a terrible teacher and a harsh master,
but he gave her an endless stream of ideas
and access to a case of books that he never read.

Follumph had been tossed out of the Ebony Tower
for debauchery and general incompetence,
but once a wizard always a wizard, and his Guild card
still served to procure mystical supplies.

Jenina watched the rich nobles buy magic with gold.
She watched the wealthy merchants buy magic with silver.
She watched the working poor buy magic with copper.
She could, she thought, invent spells for any of them.

But she was the oldest of fourteen children,
and she understood the value of catering to the masses,
and there were surely opportunities going amiss.
She wanted to invent a spell for everyone.

It wasn't intended to be glamorous, but practical.
It wasn't intended to be epic, but everyday.
Jenina invented a spell for cleaning baby bottoms --
no cloth or pins or powder required!

As soon as Jenina released the spell for sale,
the entire parenting population of the city
beat a path to her door and showered her with coins
of every color and denomination.

She grew richer than the research mages and battle mages,
who no longer dared to laugh at the Dame of Diaper Charms.
She set up her old master in a tavern, with a new apprentice,
and sent dowries home for all her younger sisters.

Then Jenina bought herself a library and a castle
and built the Brown Tower of Practical Magics.
When the laundry girl ruined Jenina's new woollen dress,
the wizard said to herself, "Hmm, everyone wears clothes ..."

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

4 comments or Leave a comment
fayanora From: fayanora Date: December 1st, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, a friend and I were discussing magic in my Lyria world, and everyday magic came up. Because of the discussion, people in Dralakkith - an industrial civilization where everything uses magic - can now take college courses in industrial magic. There are also spells handed down families, like stitch-repeating spells for tailors. I look forward to ideas from this poem.

I also had to change the way magic affects people, as a result. Before I put thought to workaday spells, I had a system where all mages had loooong lifespans because of magic. Now one's lifespan and extended youth depends on the power AND frequency (how often used) of spells. Which neatly explained a character I had who wasn't getting as much youth out of being a mage as he should have, under the old system. With him not being much for spellcasting and more of a potion maker, his older appearance was explained.
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: December 4th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
The female research and battle mages are using it themselves, asking "Why didn't I think of that?" and the wives of the male ones are using it and asking, "Now, why didn't you think of that?".
eseme From: eseme Date: December 13th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Perfect! having had far more contact with a 19-month-old of late than I ever have before, I appreciate that spell, and the fact that everyone would want it.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 13th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you enjoyed this. Yeah, Jenina takes a different perspective on magic than most people do.
4 comments or Leave a comment