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Poem: "In the Palms of My Hands" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "In the Palms of My Hands"

This poem came out of the February 18-19 Crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by prompts from siege and aura55</lj>.  This is the second poem in the Hart's Farm series set in Sweden, and presents the carpenter's view of the same day as in "Welcome to Hart's Farm."

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. The rate is $.50 per line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.  

So far sponsors include: aura55</lj>, zianuray</lj>, catsittingstilljanetmiles

FULLY FUNDED
65 lines, Buy It Now = $32.50
Amount donated = $17.50
Verses posted = 5 of 10

Amount remaining to fund fully = $15
Amount needed to fund next verse = $1.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $5




In the Palms of My Hands


The workshop smells sweetly of pine,
long curls of pale golden wood falling away from the plane
to pile in fragrant heaps around my feet.
Tawny sunbeams fall through the windows to warm the shavings
and release the sticky pitch as I stroke the plane along the pole.
I am glad to be back in the workshop after mending a cabinet earlier.

My daughter Astrid is here with me, helping me work,
always ready to hand me the next tool I need,
with her hair as yellow as pine shavings
and her smile as warm as sunlight.
She wears a heavy leather apron just like mine
and a pretty red hat like the other girls.

Though she stands little taller than my workbench,
she is already diligent, and I know
whose gift she has inherited --
not the quick words of her poet mother,
but the shaping hands of her carpenter father.

When we go to wash up in the common house,
people are already starting to gather for supper.
There is Vendel the farmer, rinsing off the smell of horse,
and I lather his back with the pine-scented soap.
He teases me as we wash, saying that I will
go to supper still smelling of my own work!
I laugh and swat him on the rump.

Seeing him reminds me of all the times
we have worked together in the fields or barns,
ripe oats filling his hand like grains of sunlight,
loyal horses leaning into their harness,
wooden handles under my fingers familiar as a lover's flesh.

Clean and dressed, we head for the dining room.
Astrid in her fresh red dress
scampers off in search of her friend Klara.
Vendel peels away to talk with Elharn,
dark head nodding next to iron-gray
as they confer about some vital detail of the farm.
Inge bounces into the room quite nude,
and hugs me soundly
before moving on to Finlo.

Then I am swept up between Lia and Svanhilda,
their linked arms catching me as neatly as a trout in a net.
Lia is laughing, her golden braid dancing in time, bright as Astrid's
as if mother and daughter were spun from the same sunbeam.
Svanhilda is dark where Lia is light, deep brown hair
hanging over her shoulder like a horse's tail.
Yet they leave off their discussion
of Lia's perfect rhymes and Svanhilda's fabled monsters
to ask about my work, and I tell them
about the long poles I am making for a new hay wagon.

I see that Astrid has settled next to Klara,
and that Klara's mother Karin
has brought the new seamstress to supper,
wedged between Karin and Frida.
The young woman looks timid,
her attention fixed on her food,
but I smile at her anyway.

It is always good
to welcome someone new to the farm,
to watch the slow change as they fit themselves into this life
like the end of a drawer dovetailing into perfect corners.
Behind me I can feel Lia and Svanhilda still holding hands,
and there is Vendel breaking a wheel of bread with his thick fingers,
and here are yellow apples, still warm from the sun, cupped in my palms.

We hold the future in our hands,
fleeting as the shadow that sweeps over the field,
enduring as the promise of sunrise.

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

10 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: February 20th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like Hart's Farm and I'm really enjoying the stuff about woodworking (I'm a woodworker too, sometimes.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 20th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

This is useful to know. You can always ask for more of the parts you enjoy, when there's an open call for prompts.

You posted about canoe making, if I remember right. I have an abiding respect for woodworking and other crafts. I suspect that will come through in this series.
zianuray From: zianuray Date: February 20th, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like that the men (at least these two, though I hope they are representative) are caring-casual about physical contact. I hope this series takes off like a rocket, but not to the loss of Monster House! Hmm, am I the only one seeing some similarities between the two?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 20th, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>I like that the men (at least these two, though I hope they are representative) are caring-casual about physical contact.<<

Arnvid and Vendel are probably average for this community. I think Inge is the far end of demonstrative, and of the people we've seen so far, Solvig is on the reserved side. I suspect that some of the men tend to be reserved while others are cuddly and playful. In general, the community seems inclined to use both touch and cooperation to express love, whether sensual or platonic.

>> I hope this series takes off like a rocket, but not to the loss of Monster House! <<

Well, it has already attracted one new prompter/donor. It seems that new series often develop a mix of supporters from the current audience and some fresh faces. So the series aren't all in a head-to-head competition, which means the audience can support a goodly number of them.

>>Hmm, am I the only one seeing some similarities between the two?<<

No, the parallels are there, along with some differences ...

Similarities
communal living
cooperation
family life
tolerance

Differences
America (MH) vs. Sweden (HF)
modern (MH) vs. historic (HF)
suburban (MH) vs. rural (HF)

Less easily framed are some other factors. Monster House tends to explore social issues as the family members interact with neighbors and other folks (who are often, though not always, idiots). Hart's Farm has neighbors, but also a very large pool of personalities within the group, so the social dynamics will probably rely more on internal than external lines. Hart's Farm also adds sex/romance as a prevailing theme, while it's just a subplot in everything else except Schrodinger's Heroes.

*chuckle* And now I'm flashing my background of Rhetoric Major/Women's Studies Minor.
rickybuchanan From: rickybuchanan Date: February 23rd, 2012 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I just wanted to comment that I am adoring these Hart's farm poems.

I am imagining a very affectionate biromantic asexual genderqueer character who has a passion for gardening, especially growing edible herbs and plants, and loves getting the children involved in the garden too.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 23rd, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>I just wanted to comment that I am adoring these Hart's farm poems.<<

This is really good to hear. I like knowing what people are reading and enjoying.

There is a new Hart's Farm poem available for sponsorship, "After Dark." I need to update my Serial Poetry page to show the new stuff.

>>I am imagining a very affectionate biromantic asexual genderqueer character who has a passion for gardening, especially growing edible herbs and plants, and loves getting the children involved in the garden too.<<

Okay, I have noted this as a prompt. Good counterpoint to Solvig who is aromantic asexual with very low skin hunger.
rickybuchanan From: rickybuchanan Date: February 23rd, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

Ohhhh, thank you muchly! Please let me know if it turns into a poem as I will almost certainly purchase it :)

Cheers
,
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 27th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

"Rosehips and Honey" has new verses, and is over half visible now. Yay!
From: minor_architect Date: February 25th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
This series is really starting to grow on me, although I admit that I'm having a hard time keeping up with your "cast of thousands." ;)

What interests me most are the expressions of non-sexual affection between the people on Hart's Farm. I could honestly care less about who's sleeping with whom - which is why I don't like soap operas! - but the descriptions of all the little kindnesses shared among them are quite endearing.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 26th, 2012 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>This series is really starting to grow on me,<<

Yay!

>> although I admit that I'm having a hard time keeping up with your "cast of thousands." ;) <<

So am I. This is the first series where I started with a character guide list, because I knew I'd need it with so many people. And they do tend to swarm. I'm not even listing "all" the people who may be visible in a given scene, just the most interactive or interesting ones. I'm also trying to get enough repetition that some folks will hopefully stick in mind, like Auduna as the newcomer and Inge as the nude artist. I may wind up doing some genealogy charting for the farmborn to make it easier to track certain information visually.

But it's not like Fiorenza's village where everyone is spread out, or Monster House where the characters accrued slowly. They are lots of people already together here, although there will be more characters in the future. These are serious communitarians so they tend to cluster. I've been in situations like that where there are 2-3 dozen folks filling a kitchen-dining room-living room space and trying to sort them out can be a real challenge. Fun, though.

>>What interests me most are the expressions of non-sexual affection between the people on Hart's Farm. I could honestly care less about who's sleeping with whom - which is why I don't like soap operas! - but the descriptions of all the little kindnesses shared among them are quite endearing.<<

This is good to know. The prevalence of touch, affectionate language, and cooperative work is something I like about this series too. Like you, I'm not a fan of soap operas. I think what makes this example work for me is that ... they don't really care, either, who's sleeping with whom. Or having sex, which are not always the same things here. They don't make a huge deal out of it, or tend to fight over it. Things may go wrong occasionally but it's not the crisis-to-crisis lifestyle of a soap opera.

As near as I can tell, most of them seem to move through affections with the same kind of familial flexibility that people do with hobbies or tasks; similar interests will pair the same several folks together more often than not, with some shifting around. But there's always an underlying weave of connections that aren't based on sex to hold the group together. I'm focusing a lot on the nonsexual aspects, along with the sexual ones, because it's good community glue that just doesn't get enough attention these days, and is proving popular with readers.
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