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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Puzzling People"

This poem came out of the December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from shadowsculptor and ng_moonmoth.  It also fills the "_____ Made Us Do It" square in my 6-10-14 card for the Fanbingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by ng_moonmoth.  It belongs to the series Path of the Paladins, and falls between "Our Most Vulnerable and Powerful Selves" and "Enlighten the Dark Corners."


Puzzling People


Zyweet the Trickster peered through
the thirteen dimensions of physical reality,
the five past tenses and five present tenses
and nine relative tenses of time.

The two people whom Yasun, God of Healing,
put together on a previous turn had now
completed their purpose together.

Zyweet reached out and nudged them apart,
Nahum and Rohalin going their separate ways.
"Your turn," the trickster said sweetly,
smiling at Talaton, God of Balance.

"Drat you," Talaton scolded, looking at the board
first with his right eye and then with his left.

There was really only one move available,
and Zyweet could taste how difficult it would be,
like mixing pepper and vinegar.

Talaton reached out and began
figuring out how to fit Nahum and Radd together.

* * *

Notes:

You can read about past, future, and relative tenses.

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7 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: technoshaman Date: December 8th, 2014 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Pepper and vinegar? some people like that... :)

That first verse has a very.... classical Chinese... feel about it...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2014 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

>> Pepper and vinegar? some people like that... :) <<

People make salad dressing that way too, usually with the addition of oil or honey, but spiced vinegar is a low-calorie version.

>> That first verse has a very.... classical Chinese... feel about it... <<

Yay! I'm glad you liked it.
shadowsculptor From: shadowsculptor Date: December 8th, 2014 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
A little bit unsettling to think of our mortal lives as a game played by the gods. Definitely food for thought. It reminds me a bit of the classic Doctor Who episode where the Eternals played war games with what they called Ephemerals (mortals-- including the Doctor, who is often perceived as immortal but isn't). Granted, in the case of your poem, the game isn't necessarily inherently harmful to the game pieces, though it has the potential to be. I wonder how the concept of free will fits in there. Is there such a thing as free will if every choice is, by virtue of being a potential, explored and branches into a parallel line of existence? I'd like to think it still factors in there somewhere.

Anyway, just some rambling and somewhat incoherent thoughts. Very well-executed and thought-provoking poem!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 9th, 2014 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

>> A little bit unsettling to think of our mortal lives as a game played by the gods. Definitely food for thought. <<

The prompt asked for this, which is a classic trope, but specified that the game be beneficial to the mortals instead of malicious. That set it aside from all previous iterations I've seen.

>> It reminds me a bit of the classic Doctor Who episode where the Eternals played war games with what they called Ephemerals (mortals-- including the Doctor, who is often perceived as immortal but isn't). <<

That makes sense.

>> Granted, in the case of your poem, the game isn't necessarily inherently harmful to the game pieces, though it has the potential to be. I wonder how the concept of free will fits in there. Is there such a thing as free will if every choice is, by virtue of being a potential, explored and branches into a parallel line of existence? I'd like to think it still factors in there somewhere. <<

I am imagining humans as random elements in the game, similar to dice. Or maybe it's more akin to shuffleboard or Tetris, where you're trying to make things fit together but they don't always go the way you want.

>> Anyway, just some rambling and somewhat incoherent thoughts. Very well-executed and thought-provoking poem! <<

Thank you! I appreciate the comments. They are thoughtful and interesting.
siege From: siege Date: December 9th, 2014 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

"I am a loaded die. You know this, but you insist on playing with me. I guess you understand where this is going."
-- Me, to a god of close acquaintance.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2014 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

LOL I must remember to use that myself.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: December 10th, 2014 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

>> The prompt asked for this, which is a classic trope <<

That trope has been done to death, which is why my request had broader scope than that. I'm pretty sure, for example, that it would be much more fun, and equally within the spirit of the prompt, for Bacchus and Dionysus to team up and throw a bachelor party the likes of which would never before or since grace Olympus to celebrate the impending union of a "lucky" mortal who had caught some goddess' eye, than to engage in another round of the Game of People.

>> but specified that the game be beneficial to the mortals instead of malicious <<

I'm also tired of seeing mortals used as mooks. Besides, I think it would be much more effective marketing for a god recruiting worshippers if steadfast belief made life better beyond "He hasn't killed me out of spite yet."

And yes, the concept of mortals as loaded dice that gods can't resist throwing every once in a while is really cool.
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