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Poem: "Hear the People Sing" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Hear the People Sing"

Based on an audience poll, here is the free epic for the July 2, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $200 goal.  This poem came out of the April 2013 Crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by technoshaman and Dreamwidth user Elliemurasaki.  It also fills the #3 Bacchanalian slot in the Rainbowfic Sunlight list.  This poem belongs to the series An Army of One: The Autistic Secession in Space.


Hear the People Sing


It began at Supply Base Bounty
when Case found a crate full of wine
in what purported to be
a shipment of medical supplies.

He notified Router
and brought a couple of bottles
to the mess room for supper.

Case and Port,
Router and Backup
all shared the wine
and got a little tipsy.

They had survived a war
and a secession.
They were entitled
to celebrate a little.

Port started singing a rowdy song
that had been old long before
men left the homeworld for space,
something about a drunken sailor
and a rusty razor and the captain's daughter.
Case and Router sang along.

Then Backup began tapping
his fork on the edge of his tin plate,
a repetitive behavior that had always
gotten him in trouble at home.

He caught himself, stilled
his hands by trapping them
hard between his knees but --

there was Router,
holding out the fork
to say, "If you want to play,
then play.  You're not
any more out of tune
than the rest of us
drunken bums!"

Backup grinned,
and banged his fork
on his plate, making
music to match the rattle
of rhythm in his head.

Half bottle under his belt,
Router turned on the broadcast
and caroled, "We're havin'
a party!  Anyone wanna
join in the fun?"

And they did, they did,
because they could
and now there was no one
to tell them not to sing,
not to dance at odd angles,
not to turn up the volume
so loud, not to bang
on whatever came handy,

not to
express themselves.

There was Operetta
wailing along to Castor et Pollux
and Sam the Gardener
whistling through his cupped hands,
lamenting the lack
of a blade of grass.

Estelle played improv jazz
around the music of the spheres
and Babs sang scat along with her.

The Minotaur bellowed out
an Orphic hymn in honor
of the Bacchanalian revel:
"Come, blessed Dionysos,
various-named, bull-faced,
begot from thunder,
Bakkhos famed."

Hootowl shared his favorite recordings
of classical music with its
meticulous clockwork of notes.

The OCS-397  was inspired
by Hootowl's broadcast
and responded with
an intricate instrumental piece
of technical brilliance
and aesthetic cacophany.
Specialist Miles Cernan joined in,
drumming his hands
over the ship's console,
filling in the gaps between the notes,
an effortless duet of an odd couple.

Quell replied with
John Cage's famous 4'33".

In the end it was Shakespeare
who said what they all meant,
reciting lines from an ancient musical:

"Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
who will not be slaves again!"

* * *

Notes:

Read about how "Autistic People Are Musical" and enjoy some songs by autistic people.  Music has been used as therapy for autistic children and also as a proxy language.  Some neurovariant people enjoy the repetitive sound and motion, which may be discouraged by neurotypical people.  Seek opportunities for free expression.

"Drunken Sailor" is an old song with many variations.

Castor et Pollux  is an opera.

Jazz improv and scat singing are two characteristic aspects of African diaspora music, long since spread outside their base culture.

4'33"  is the ultimate minimalist composition.

Orphic Hymn 45 to Dionysus was translated by Taylor and comes from Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.
"Come, blessed Dionysos, various-named, bull-faced, begot from thunder, Bakkhos (Bacchus) famed."

"Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!"
—Enjolras, Les Miserables

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9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: technoshaman Date: July 7th, 2013 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, HELLYEAH! And QOTD, that last!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 7th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like this.
primeideal.dreamwidth.org From: primeideal.dreamwidth.org Date: July 9th, 2013 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Army of One and Les Miz; two great things that go great together.

(Now that I've said that, there may be something more substantial there. People militantly separating from the preexisting order? The patterns of music or the stirrings of hope encouraging people to make a stand for a new world? Hmm.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2013 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

>>Army of One and Les Miz; two great things that go great together.<<

I'm glad you like this.

>> (Now that I've said that, there may be something more substantial there. People militantly separating from the preexisting order? The patterns of music or the stirrings of hope encouraging people to make a stand for a new world? Hmm.) <<

It's a thought. Feel free to explore further if you think of more.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: July 9th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay!

Reminds me of certain nights, a long time ago.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 12th, 2013 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

That's good to hear.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 28th, 2013 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked this.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: April 18th, 2016 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Vin* time!

*Swypo for fun! I couldn't bear to change it.

• cacophany
-> cacophony
> bad+voice
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 19th, 2016 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Fixed!

Thanks for catching the typo.
9 comments or Leave a comment