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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "flute's song"
This poem fills a square on my card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This fest encourages the creation of boundary-pushing material that explores what happens when things go horribly wrong and people actually care about each other. Remember, things always go wrong; what matters is how you deal with that. Some of the content may be NSFW. Read the FAQ and rules here. The signup post is here. I'm hoping to attract some new readers.

The following poem belongs to the series Kung Fu Robots. This is science fiction with an oriental flavor. It features a group of robots who were designed for war ... but decided to pursue other things instead.


Fandom: Original (Kung Fu Robots)
Prompt: Deprogramming
Medium: Poetry
Wordcount: 183
Rating: PG
Warnings: No standard warnings apply.
Summary: A captured robot is reprogrammed to kill, then rescued by friends and deprogrammed.
Notes: Angst. Morality. Enlightenment. Questions of free will.


"flute's song"


flute had been captured
by the officers who once
commanded robots

they imprisoned flute,
cracked open its body, and
reprogrammed its mind

they erased all that
flute had been or remembered --
all, even the Way

then they programmed flute
with the sundry arts of war
and sent it to kill

but flute did not kill:
something in it resisted
the evil programs

the other robots
found flute and rescued it then,
erasing its code

what was and was not
would be again -- a flute's song
recalling itself

the kung fu robots
did what they could to restore
and deprogram flute

but for a long time
there was only the silver
shell of flute's body

that was all right, though:
it is emptiness that lets
a flute play music

where there's emptiness
music must follow and then
the Way will be found

the robots waited
through the shadows and silence
for flute to return

then flute's voice sang out
sweet as birdsong through bamboo,
ever familiar

saying, "the Way that
can be lost is not the Way!"
flute was enlightened

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4 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
thnidu From: thnidu Date: January 3rd, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm hmmm!!!

Inter alia, interesting apparent defiance of physical law there:

they erased all that
flute had been or remembered --
all, even the Way

then they programmed flute
with the sundry arts of war
and sent it to kill

but flute did not kill:
something in it resisted
the evil programs


(Typo: can be lost in not the Way!")
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 3rd, 2013 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>Inter alia, interesting apparent defiance of physical law there:<<

In humans, not all memory is stored in the brain, or in the parts of the brain where it is expected to be stored. There are subtler aspects to memory, and identity, that sometimes behave in ways we do not expect.

If a robot is sentient, then correspondingly, there is more to it than merely its code. Some parts of code might become hidden, or restore themselves unexpectedly; or the soul might lap over into the body in ways that are not precisely code.

There are things that we do not know about ourselves and others, and sometimes those are quite similar things.

>> (Typo: can be lost in not the Way!") <<

Fixed, thank you!

Edited at 2013-01-03 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: kangaekaeru Date: May 29th, 2013 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
This has given me chills. Poor Flute (and that final stanza...)

I am not sure how your fishbowls work; can one request things in ongoing series?

(redsixwing from Dreamwidth here. Irony: captcha wants me to confirm that I am human.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 30th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>This has given me chills.<<

Yay! That's exciting.

>> Poor Flute (and that final stanza...) <<

Yes, Flute and the others have a challenging situation here.

>> I am not sure how your fishbowls work; can one request things in ongoing series? <<

You sure can! Lots of people do that. It's what determines which series get more development: how many fans they attract, and how devoted those fans are.

Next Poetry Fishbowl will be on Tuesday, June 4 with a theme of "sleep and dreams." You can find more details about the project on its landing page. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

>> (redsixwing from Dreamwidth here. Irony: captcha wants me to confirm that I am human.) <<

*laugh* That is funny. You can prompt for the Poetry Fishbowl here or on Dreamwidth.
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