Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The People of Wheels"

This poem came out of the October 20, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] lone_cat and Shirley Barrette. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the series The Ocracies.


"The People of Wheels"


Every country had its own form
of government that its people
considered to be good, but
not every form of government
had a country to call its own.

The People of Wheels were
a nationality without a nation.

They came and went as they pleased,
particularly around the borders of
the Hipparchy of Pelip where they
traded for horses to pull the caravan
of touring wagons in which they traveled,
and the rolling plains made a fine place
to pitch their housetents when they stopped.

They ventured through other lands as well,
of course, anywhere a horse could go,
sometimes switching to mules for
the high mountain passes.

Where they went was determined
not by a leader or a council but rather
by lot, for the People of Wheels
had a divinocracy.

They drew cards and tea leaves,
scried in fires and crystals,
threw the bones of sheep,
and read the signs.

It was a skill that let them
divine the workings of the world
and find safe paths to travel,
so that they avoided storms
and other troubles.

Everyone else might think
it was weird to live on the road
and never have a settled home,
but when it came time for a journey,

they all looked for the People of Wheels
who made the most reliable guides.

* * *

Notes:

Nomads are people who travel instead of settling in one place. In our world, the Romani are known for this.

The People of Wheels travel in touring wagons, but unlike the Romani here, they don't favor housewagons. They use a variety of covered wagons customized for different purposes. Fifth-wheel steering is a comfort option, and they're quite sturdy with clever features and plentiful equipment protected by tough canvas tops. Here you can see the parts.

chuckwagons for cooking, and so forth. When they reach a stopping place, everyone piles out of the wagons to pitch camp in housetents rather like an army does.

Buswagons are optimized for comfortable riding. Usually they have one of two configurations: several short crosswise benches, or a pair of long benches facing each other.

Trunkwagons are designed for maximum baggage capacity. These are often loaded with freight and the cover simply draped over the top, instead of using hoop frames to support the cover.

Gunwagons are used for protection. They actually carry a variety of different weapons.

Chuckwagons carry cooking utensils and supplies. They may have a portable stove, or equipment intended for campfire cooking.

Tents are used as housing or recreation. This article about nomadic tents is regrettably biased. This one about tipis is much more accurate. A good housetent is secure, spacious, and portable. Here is a guide to army-style tents. This one has a door and windows. Slashed sides may be tied open like curtains. This farmhouse-style tent has a porch overhang.

Divination offers a way to make the unknown more knowable. Types of divination include cartomancy, tasseomancy, and scrying.

Throwing the bones is a complex form of reading. Some methods use assorted bones, others a matched set such as sheep anklebones. Knucklebones are precursors of dice, which may also be used in divination. You can find real or artificial knucklebones for sale.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, magic, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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