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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Ashes, Ashes"

This poem came out of the August 2012 Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from wyld_dandelyon.  It has been sponsored by the_vulture.  This poem belongs to the series Path of the Paladins, which you can find via the Serial Poetry page.

Ashes, Ashes

Ari was crying, tears trickling
down her cheeks in silent streams
to drip and splash in the fine grey ash.

There was nothing more left of the meadow
where they had walked earlier in the summer
The green-gold grass was gone, and the dancing flowers,
and the little village where they had stopped to eat.
The silver creek was choked with charcoal mud,
the fish washed up in stinking rows along the banks.

"It isn't right," Ari said hoarsely,
and Shahana could hear anger as well as grief
grinding together like gravel in the girl's voice.

"Of course not," she agreed, "but it is our job
to put right what we can."
Shahana twisted the trowel in her hand,
prying apart the hard-baked crust of earth
to drop seeds into the soft dark soil below.

"Do not worry, Ari," said Shahana. 
"Fire is not a new thing,
even if the hands of men have put it
to new and darker uses now.
The world knows how to respond.
With a little help, it will restore itself."

The runkled earth bit into her hands as she worked,
and her knees ached inside their armor,
but Shahana kept on until the last seeds
had been sown, a mix of grasses and flowers
that would aid the meadow's own reserves.
Soon enough the army's destruction would be undone.

Shahana dug one hand into the dusty earth
and reached the other toward the dull grey sky.
"Come, rain," the paladin murmured,
"it's time to water the flowers."

Ari turned her face to the woolly clouds
as the first drops began to fall,
washing the tears from her cheeks.

Behind the two women,
a small herd of unicorns
crept toward the creek,
dipping their horns into the water
to cleanse it even as the thickening rain
began to rinse the ashes from their coats.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
book_worm5 From: book_worm5 Date: September 28th, 2015 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sad for the village

...but good to see some renewal. Slowly working my way through (and enjoying) this series.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 28th, 2015 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sad for the village

Yay! I'm glad you're enjoying this series. It really is all about renewal. The initial prompt aimed at creating a tired, dented character in a dingy world. It made a great low point to begin a slow climb upward. So as Shahana and Ari go along, you see a lot of ways that decades of warfare have ravaged the world, and then slowly, signs of rebirth.
2 comments or Leave a comment