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Poem: "The Treasure of Her Keeping" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Treasure of Her Keeping"
This poem was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "hurt/comfort" square in my 1/2/14 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest.


"The Treasure of Her Keeping"


There is a dragon
whose eyes cast a spell of forgetting,
and whose breath carries sleep.

They bring her the broken knights
after battle, the ones
who cannot stop weeping
over what they have done, the ones
not even the mindhealers can help.

It is a hazard of the elves,
who live so long
and have such perfect memories,
but the dragon knows what to do.

She catches them gently
with her jewel-green eyes,
slips her spell in with tender skill
before they can quite move to block it.

It is easier to remove the harmful memories
at this early stage, so that they don't have time
to solidify into pearls and thorns
in the back of the mind.

She breathes over the enchanted knights,
sending them deep into a drugged sleep
where nightmares cannot reach them.
They sink down to the padded surface of her nest,
their hair spilling around them
in strands of silver and gilt.

The dragon swaddles each one
in his own cocoon,
spinning them with care.

They lie piled against her warm flanks,
curled like eggs, each of them
wrapped in layers of dragonsilk,
its magic sustaining them
while they sleep and heal.

The dragon coils herself around her charges,
brooding over them as they rest.
It may take weeks for them to recover, or years --
she has some who have slumbered
for centuries now --
before they hatch out into their new lives.

She is jealous of their safety,
ferocious in their defense.
Sometimes enemies have come
to threaten this sanctuary,
but none have ever left alive,
nor succeeded in disturbing
the treasures of her keeping.

The newest knights whimper a little
in their sleep, and she soothes them,
breathing over the still-damp silk
to help them settle.

She turns the older ones with her nose,
easing them into a new position.
There, one shell is beginning to harden
and the dragon licks it with careful strokes,
silk slowly turning to nacre.

She waits, infinitely patient,
for the healing process to be complete.

* * *

Notes:

PTSD is bad enough for humans. Add a much longer lifespan and eidetic memory, and you can see why elves would require special care. Closely related, acute stress disorder appears immediately after trauma.

People have tried various approaches to preventing PTSD. It's basically a condition of memory gone haywire, so if there were a way to prevent the memories from encysting like that, the problem wouldn't arise.

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9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
jeriendhal From: jeriendhal Date: March 5th, 2014 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Normally I don't care for poetry, but this one sticks in my head for some reason. Lovely imagery.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 6th, 2014 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked this.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 5th, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked it.
natf From: natf Date: March 6th, 2014 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh I wish. PTSD (non-military in my case) sucks.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 6th, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

It seemed like something where a magical treatment could be very useful.
helgatwb From: helgatwb Date: March 18th, 2014 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Dang it!

You keep creating worlds I want to live in. This is another one. I've got PTSD, even though I was never in the military, and I'm pretty sure only magic could completely help.

Beautiful and compelling, even setting aside the subject of PTSD. I *like* this lady dragon.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 18th, 2014 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Dang it!

>> You keep creating worlds I want to live in. This is another one. <<

Worlds I'd like to live in too, some of them. I'm glad you like this one. You may request more of it during any relevant prompt call.

>> I've got PTSD, even though I was never in the military, and I'm pretty sure only magic could completely help. <<

That was part of my inspiration for this. (I did also address this in science fiction, but that one has serious drawbacks.) I've got multiple readers with PTSD or related issues.

You might like Señora Cocoa over in the Polychrome Heroics character list; her Chocolate Powers allow her to lift depression, among other things. I thought that might appeal to some of my audience.

>> Beautiful and compelling, even setting aside the subject of PTSD. I *like* this lady dragon. <<

Yay! I'm happy to hear that.
helgatwb From: helgatwb Date: March 18th, 2014 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Dang it!

>> I'm glad you like this one. You may request more of it during any relevant prompt call. <<

Hmm. I might just.

>> You might like Señora Cocoa over in the Polychrome Heroics character list; her Chocolate Powers allow her to lift depression, among other things. I thought that might appeal to some of my audience. <<

I do like her, very much. She's whimsical. I also love the dress you have her in, I've never seen a flamenco dress that color before, most of the ones I've seen are bright colors. I love brown clothing, if it's done right. Probably because I can wear any color a clothier could come up with, *except* brown.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 24th, 2014 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Dang it!

>> I do like her, very much. She's whimsical. <<

Yay! I did write a poem about her. Thumbnail is here:
http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/3180038.html

>> I also love the dress you have her in, I've never seen a flamenco dress that color before, most of the ones I've seen are bright colors. I love brown clothing, if it's done right. Probably because I can wear any color a clothier could come up with, *except* brown. <<

I tend to favor bright colors myself, but I have some nice browns too -- I like them in autumn. In creating characters, I aim for diversity. Comics run to lurid colors (for sound design reasons) but it's nice to branch out.
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