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Poem: "Deer Children" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Deer Children"

This poem came out of the January 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from wyld_dandelyon and siege.  It also fills the "kidfic" square in my 12-8-13 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest.  This poem was sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  It belongs to the series Hart's Farm.  You need to read "Snow-Driven" first or this one will make noooo  sense.

Deer Children

It was Astrid who started it,
fashioning a pair of antlers
out of birch branches,
although Drífa did not
even have  antlers yet.

Then Bjarni dragged a tablecloth
of pure white linen onto the floor
and wrapped himself up in it
so that he could be like his sister.

Birgitta found a set of sleigh bells
and Engelbert brought out a basket.
Klara gave them a rope of braided rags
that was meant for making a rug
but wound up becoming a harness instead.

The larger children put on the harness and bells
while the littlest ones rode in the improvised sleigh.
Together they galloped through the main dining room
and out into the snowy yard without their coats or gloves.

Seeing all the fun, Drífa wriggled
out of her mother's arms and onto the ground,
where she transformed into a reindeer fawn.
She squirmed free of her clothes
and trotted after her friends,
bleating laughter in her high sweet voice.

By the time it was over,
the rug rope was a lost cause,
the table and chairs had been upended,
a bucket of kindling was scattered on the hearth,
there were muddy hoofprints and bootprints all over the floor,
and somebody had lost a blue-and-yellow mitten
in a snowdrift just outside the door.

The children flopped into a giggling heap
in front of the fire and lazily threw the kindling
into it one piece at a time.

Dýrfinna stared at them
in something approaching horror,
then flung up her hands and said,
"What am I supposed to do with you little beasts?"

"Just love them," Rowen said.
"They want Drífa to feel that she belongs.
Let's not discourage that, although perhaps
next time we might aim for something a bit less messy."

The children murmured apologies for the mess.
Astrid swept the remains of her antlers
into the hearth and gathered the rest of the kindling.
Bjarni put the tablecloth in the basket
and carried it to the laundry.
Klara untangled the cloth braid and declared
that it might still be good for stuffing.
Birgitta put away the sleigh bells
while Engelbert dabbed at the mud on the floor.

Drífa had fallen asleep
on someone's abandoned sweater,
already back in her human form.

Dýrfinna sighed and went to get a mop.
She knew, and Rowen knew,
what it was like to feel alone in the world,
as if you had no place to go
or there was nobody else quite like yourself.

Rowen brought out a bucket of soapy water.
"Here, we'll help you clean the floor,"
she said to Engelbert.

If putting up with a bit of mess and mayhem
would prevent Drífa from feeling like an outcast,
then Dýrfinna would just give thanks
that her daughter had the kind of friends
who cared more about belonging than behaving.

Besides, compared to some of what Dýrfinna had seen,
any problem that could be solved with soap and water
was really no problem at all.

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Current Mood: busy busy

8 comments or Leave a comment
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: January 13th, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I like this one. I wish more of us had friends like this when we were children.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 14th, 2014 07:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

You're welcome.

I agree that would make the world a better place. Children can be amazingly kind like this, or stunningly cruel.
cat_sanctuary From: cat_sanctuary Date: January 13th, 2014 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guessed what the first poem in the series would say, but both have a nice seasonal mood...Mange Tak!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 14th, 2014 06:19 am (UTC) (Link)


>> I guessed what the first poem in the series would say, but both have a nice seasonal mood... <<

I'm glad you liked these.

>> Mange Tak! <<

I can parse that as "many thanks" but what language is it?
natf From: natf Date: January 16th, 2014 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Mange Tak!

A web search says Danish which is apt. I did kind of recognise it from watching The Killing and Bridge in Danish, Swedish and subtitled English. I now know tak, nai and ha (sp?) for thanks, yes and no. I think the two languages have some overlap with simple words like that and/or non-bilinguals understand those words at least (a bit like many Americans know a little Spanish/Mexican).

Edited at 2014-01-16 11:40 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 20th, 2014 08:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Cool! Thanks.
tigerbright From: tigerbright Date: September 10th, 2014 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been flipping through the Hart's Farm poems again (they are very comforting) and I don't think I'd read this one before. I like it :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 10th, 2014 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm happy to hear that. This is among my fluffiest series.
8 comments or Leave a comment