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Poem: "Sword of the Stars, Shield of the Moon" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Sword of the Stars, Shield of the Moon"

This poem came out of the April 2, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from DW user Rosieknight, the_vulture, wyld_dandelyon, rix_scaedu, technoshaman, and janetmiles.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Sword of the Stars, Shield of the Moon

The space race was complicated
by the wide variety of
races who wanted to go to space.

The elves and the dwarves
at least had requirements
similar to those of humans --
so much weight allotted
for water, for food, for air,
some minor tweaks to the size
of the acceleration couches
and other equipment.

The naiads required
a ship of their own
with an atmosphere
entirely of water.
It was so much heavier,
they took an extra ten years
just to get off the ground.

The dryads first had to figure out
how to dig up their trees
without killing themselves.
A lot of dendroastronauts
died that way before they got it right.
They made it into space eventually,
though, their spacesuits
looking like little greenhouses.

It was the magic
that made it worthwhile,
beyond the sheer joy
of going there.

The humans puttered around
with divination and scrying,
clear of the distortion
of ordinary air.

In space, the energies
ran pure, unmixed with
the base materials of earth.

Here the elven mages
could make wonders:
a sword of starlight,
a shield of moonlight,
armor beaten from sunbeams.

The dwarves eschewed such
frivolous media, and instead
snatched whole asteroids
from the black mines of night,
forging them into hammers and anvils
and the shells of new starships.

The naiads caught comets,
sang to them of salt and water,
blood and life and tides,
then let them go.

The dryads came last,
after everything had been invented
and people were wondering
what to do next.
They turned their leaves
to the speaking light
that was old before ever
the earth was born
and they drank in new ideas.

* * *


Elves originated in Germanic folklore but have spread beyond into many different iterations.

 likewise span a wide range of forms, with their roots in Germanic and Norse folklore.

Naiads are freshwater spirits from Greek tradition.

Dryads are tree nymphs from Greek tradition.

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3 comments or Leave a comment
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: April 7th, 2013 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Did the dryads take seeds from the trees of their sisters who died in the attempt with them?
primeideal.dreamwidth.org From: primeideal.dreamwidth.org Date: April 7th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
The lineation at the beginning is fantastic! And I love the image of the dwarves forging asteroids.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>The lineation at the beginning is fantastic!<<

I'm glad you liked it.

>> And I love the image of the dwarves forging asteroids. <<

There are references to legendary weapons being forged from fallen stars. So it stands to reason that would work with nickel-iron asteroids.
3 comments or Leave a comment