Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "To Choose a Direction"

This was the linkback perk poem for the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It came out of the February 2015 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "animal transformation" square in my 1-3-15 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest. All 17 verses have been posted.


"To Choose a Direction"


Information was infinite.
Time was finite.

This dilemma had puzzled Merle
for all the years of lir life,
until the day of lir First Flight --

how to pick and choose
where to invest lir efforts
out of so many possible choices.

After li landed,
lir parents asked
if li had any new ideas.

"I don't, but the wind does,"
Merle told them. "So for now
I will learn to listen to the wind."

During lir Flight years,
li passed from one mentor
to another, studying the wind
and weather and respiration and
kites on glass-dipped strings.

Merle began to learn about
shapeshifting, first changing gender
from li to ji, and later to zi.

Then came the study of human form,
but there was something -- oh, else --
prickling and tickling under Merle's skin
with every change, even after li
returned to lir first form.

One day it burst out,
quite without any intention,
achy and scary and somehow wonderful --
wings and feathers and Merle was a bird,
a great huge bird soaring far over the valley.

It was as if each individual feather had become
a fingertip touching the wind to read its meaning
like that odd language of dots and bumps
which the blind humans used.

Suddenly Merle could understand the wind.
It would take a long time of listening, though,
to put the messages together in lir head.

The rest of the answer came,
just as unexpectedly, when Merle
was listening to a human librarian
tell a story to a circle of children,
all about a nanny named Mary Poppins.

She (for the moment) thought it was
peculiar that humans had to pay
for a third parent and apparently
couldn't keep the same one very long.

The story included a quote, though,
which solved Merle's problem quite neatly.

The next time someone asked lir
where li wanted to go with lir studies,
li fluttered lir wings and replied,

"I go wherever the wind takes me."

* * *

Notes:

Shapeshifting is a feature of the Heliodrax.

Fighter kites are manipulated in attempt to cut each other's strings. Watch a video of them in action.

Mary Poppins is famous for the wind quote.

Choosing a specialty can be challenging.  There are tips on college majors and how to choose one.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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