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Poem: "Secondary Feathers" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Secondary Feathers"

Since the linkback perk seems to be missing in action, I'll post it myself.  Comment here with your links to the December 2012 Poetry Fishbowl to reveal verses, one per service where you link.  "Secondary Feathers" is now complete.  Linkers include: janetmiles, catsittingstillzianuraycadenzamusesiliconshamanthesilentpoet


Secondary Feathers


The Fledging rolled through the population
in slow waves, bringing wings here and there,
at first only a few, then more and more.

It touched people of every religion, every race,
for all cultures had some awareness of Divinity,
however different their beliefs and practices --
yet it did not touch every individual.
Almost, but not quite.

At first it flowed around the agnostics and atheists,
those who had found no compelling evidence
for believing in God, or who refuted it.

Now they watched their neighbors sprout wings,
and some decided that yes, all right,
that was  rather convincing.

Only then did they begin to grow wings of their own,
secondary feathers after the primaries of the faithful.

Some of the remaining unbelievers fled
into the mountains and deserts and other wilderness
to escape what they saw as a plague --
although, so far, no one who was
utterly insistent about the absence of God
had sprouted wings.

"It's foolish, really," said a former atheist
by the name of Thomas. "They have nothing to fear."
"Of course you would  say that now,"
said the reporter who interviewed him.

Thomas just shrugged and said,
"As long as they don't believe,
nothing will happen to them,
just as nothing happened to me."

"How can you know that?"
the reporter asked.
"Did God speak to you?"

"No," said Thomas, "but I figured it out.
All these people around me fledging,
some of them with wings that mean  things --
that's not a plague, nor something humans could do.
God is the simplest explanation."

"That doesn't mean the atheists are safe,"
the reporter pointed out,
"just that you changed your mind."

"I like to use logic," Thomas said.
"Given the evidence, logic pointed to a real God,
an active God -- who could plant wings on everyone
yet chose not to do so.  I thought, well,
not only is God surprisingly real
but also considerate. 
Someone I might like.  And then ..."

"Yes?" the reporter prompted.

"And then this happened,"
Thomas said, opening his sparrow wings.
The secondary feathers on both sides
were not gray or brown, nor plain white,
but a pure iridescent pearl.

"God didn't mind  me using my brain,
didn't mind waiting while I weighed the data,"
Thomas went on.  "Once I decided,
there was this ... nudge, like a gust of wind,
and suddenly I had wings."

"So you think that active disbelief
can protect against the Fledging?"
the reporter asked.

"I think it's something that God respects,"
Thomas said.  "Apparently free will is real too."
He flipped his wings neatly into place
and the nacreous secondaries disappeared
under coverts of brown and gray

but however hidden, they were still there.

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Comments
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: December 5th, 2012 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I linked from my LJ, DW and FB.
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: December 5th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Also I don't know if it counts but two of my FB friends re-shared.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Okay...

That's five new verses up, thank you!
zianuray From: zianuray Date: December 5th, 2012 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
My LJ and my FB!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Your two new verses are up.
cadenzamuse From: cadenzamuse Date: December 5th, 2012 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I shared on my DW and LJ. And it accidentally turned into bad poetry while I was processing Fledgling Grace. (I promise if the actual poem ever turns up, I will let you know!)

And just in case you're counting, I think I count as a new prompter. :D

Edited at 2012-12-05 05:04 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> I shared on my DW and LJ. <<

I have posted your two verses.

>> And it accidentally turned into bad poetry while I was processing Fledgling Grace. (I promise if the actual poem ever turns up, I will let you know!) <<

Actually, parts of that poem are good. (I know what it's like writing poetry while half-asleep.) I think if you tinkered with it, you could fix the ragged bits. I'd be interested in seeing whatever new stuff you come up with while fully awake.

>>And just in case you're counting, I think I count as a new prompter. :D <<

I do count that, yes. The second freebie poem is already up (see "Hidden Seeker") and I'll tally up the new prompters, along with any new donors, for the followup report.
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: December 8th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
:-) welcome. It's always interesting to see the prompts other people come up with; I hope you'll come back to future fishbowls.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I'm really happy to have several new prompters this session. It's also great to see my audience members encouraging each other! The fishbowl gets going strongest when there is crosstalk among the readers during a session.
From: siliconshaman Date: December 5th, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Link in my LJ and DW journals... I wanna see what happens next!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Your two new verses are up.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: December 8th, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is a very nice concept, a considerate god. I'll be keeping that in mind outside of poetry; thanks!
siege From: siege Date: December 8th, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
In my work with various gods, I keep finding that they are surprisingly tolerant and considerate, even the ones known for anger or impatience. It's a matter of... social skills and appropriate humility for knowing how far one still has to rise to meet them where they are.

And YHWH has surprising depths that even I keep forgetting are there. He's very much a father-type, with all that implies.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 9th, 2012 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Sooth. Deities tend to perceive things differently than humans do, which colors how they interact with others.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>That is a very nice concept, a considerate god.<<

That's good to hear.

>> I'll be keeping that in mind outside of poetry; thanks! <<

I'm glad I could help.
From: technoshaman Date: December 8th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thomas. :D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 9th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I see you found the easteregg. ;)
From: technoshaman Date: December 9th, 2012 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

hee! It was just sitting there...
From: rhodielady_47 Date: December 9th, 2012 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)
You really put a lot of brainwork into this poem--it's what makes this one so memorable.
The Fledging poems need to become a book too.
:)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 11th, 2012 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>You really put a lot of brainwork into this poem--it's what makes this one so memorable.<<

That's always good to hear. I feel that attention to detail and research pays off in stronger writing. Nice to know that folks agree.

>>The Fledging poems need to become a book too.<<

They could at some point, if enough people express interest. This is one of my newer series, so it's got a ways to go yet; but it's growing rapidly.
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