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Poem: "Landfather" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Landfather"
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janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: October 21st, 2013 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've just been rereading some of the Hart's Farm poems, and am caught by the similarities and differences between
Larn flings up his hands in alarm
and says, "Whoa, no, he's not mine!
I didn't get Dalka in trouble,
I just offered her a place to stay."

"Well, you're the man of the house,"
Althey says firmly.
"That makes him yours now."
He shows Larn how to hold the baby.
"Just hang onto him for a few minutes
while Rakel and I get Dalka cleaned up."


and

"Sorry! It's just another family custom.
If a baby's born without a father who lives on the farm,
the mother can choose a man to do the father things.
They'll all pitch in anyway, of course, but it's nice
to know who's officially responsible for it.
You can pick any of them; it doesn't have to be
one you want to lie with or live with.
Or none of them, if you don't like the idea."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 21st, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

In both cases, there's an effort to make up families as needed from available components.

The Hart's Farm folks have the advantage of a healthy community and a large family with a huge fault tolerance. They can easily afford to take in foundlings, and to them, it's a convenient source of offspring for the residents who can't have children of their own but want some. If there's a single parent, a complementary parent can be found if one is wanted.

Larn on the other hand is the "man" of the farm because everyone in the family who was older has either died or left. He's ... probably about 14 at this point. That was past the age of marriage and householding, historically, but he's still a teenager who's barely scraping by in a world gone to hell. He can wrap his mind around giving Dalka a place to stay, but he hadn't equated that with becoming a father. That's panic-making. To a baby, though, it's plain invisible: man of the house = Daddy. Johan and Althey could have been more tactful about explaining this, but their social skills have war-made gaps too.

You do what you can with what you've got. You take care of each other as best you can. That's a running theme across much of my writing.
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