Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Irony of Eight"

This poem is from the May 7, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from rowyn.  It also fills the #6 Opulent slot in the Rainbowfic Sunlight list.  This poem has been sponsored by technoshaman.  It belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis

Irony of Eight

Glenta had her iron in hand,
ironing the linen altar cloth
for their shack of a temple,
when Zargon appeared
with a lesser demon in tow.

Glenta went to find Shaeth.
"It's for you," she said,
indicating the demon
and Shaeth's former high priest.

"What do you want?"
Shaeth asked.

"I'm here to duel you
for the mastery of Evil,"
Zargon declared.

"No, thank you,"
Shaeth said politely.

"What do you mean, no?"
Zargon said.
"I'm challenging you --"

Shaeth waved a hand.
"I already laid down
the mastery of Evil," he said,
"so really, there's no need
for us to fight over it.
Just pick up the damned thing
if you want it so much."

"But that -- that's cowardly
and disgraceful and boring,"
Zargon said.

"Evil generally is, dear,"
Glenta said without
looking up from her ironing.
"If that's a problem for you,
perhaps you should consider
some other line of work."

"You have  to duel me,"
Zargon whined, stamping his foot
in its opulent pink boot.

"I really don't," said Shaeth.
"Let's sit down and have a drink instead."
He fetched two glasses and a pitcher
and poured the drinks.

"Shaeth," Zargon said
after a single sip,
"this is lemonade."

Shaeth shrugged and said,
"Well, when life gives you lemons ..."

"This is ridiculous,"
Zargon said.  "Attack!"

The demon attacked.
Glenta clocked it between the eyes
with her iron and it dissipated
in a puff of noxious rust-colored smoke.

"Iron banishes demons,"
Glenta explained to Zargon.
"I'm studying theurgy these days.
It's rather fascinating,
and it goes better with housework
than I thought it would."

Zargon finished his lemonade
under the gimlet gaze of his former lord
and said lord's newest saint
who was disturbingly formidable
for such an old woman.

Of course word got around.
You could hardly vanquish
a lesser demon
and expect to have
nobody take notice.

Glenta was offered a coat of arms,
which she accepted with a blazon of
Irony of eight, argent and sable.

"What?" said the herald
whose job it was to record
and approve the claim.
"That's not a real heraldic term.
You'll have to pick something else."

Glenta told him about the lesser demon
and the theurgical properties of iron
as she hefted her iron in one wrinkled
but surprisingly powerful hand.

Then she drew the design herself,
a field divided into black-and-white triangles
with the centers counterchanged
to look like a pinwheel of irons
each complete with its own handle.

"Do you have a problem  with that?"
Glenta asked the cringing herald.

"No, ma'am," he said faintly,
"no problem at all."
He approved the claim
and scuttled away."

"It's ironic," Shaeth said to Glenta.
"If Zargon hadn't come here
to challenge me, he could have
simply taken what he wanted."

"That's the thing about evil,"
said Glenta.  "If you stand back a bit,
it does a marvelous job
of getting in its own way."

"And when it doesn't?"
Shaeth asked, remembering
the lesser demon.

"Well, then it helps to have
good aim with your iron,"
Glenta said calmly.

Shaeth gave silent thanks
that she was on his  side.

* * *


Gironny is a heraldic field division that looks something like this.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, humor, linguistics, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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