Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Seeing the World Through Colored Glasses"

This poem came out of the November 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Dale Beaver. It also fills the "documentation" square in my 9-3-17 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.  It belongs to the Steamsmith series.

"Seeing the World Through Colored Glasses"

Ida Raynott was an ordinary girl
until an accident blinded her right eye.

She could wear an eyepatch to hide
the sightless eye and the scars around it,
but that didn't make her acceptable
on the marriage market anymore.

So she began to study alchemy,
and in time discovered how to make
a prosthetic eye that could restore
at least some of her sight.

It was anything but inconspicuous,
but Ida didn't care about that.

The device attracted the attention
of Maryam Smith, a steamsmith
who built tommies and studied
the interaction of elements,
and they became friends.

Ida was fascinated by the fact
that, underneath the mannish garb,
Maryam was still a woman.

Perhaps there was more
to life for Ida as well.

She became curious about
what could be seen, and
how to reveal the unseen.

Maryam encouraged her,
providing raw materials and
other financial support.

Ida's father did not
really approve of this,
but there was little that
he could do to stop it.

He did not dare to offend
Maryam, because she was
also Baron Carrington.

So Ida puttered around
her workshop, trying lenses
of this type and that to see
what they might reveal,
keeping careful records.

She discovered how to craft
goggles that made it easier to see
the elements with their lenses of
diamond for aer, emerald for ge,
sapphire for hudor, and ruby for pyra.

They had additional lenses attached with
screws and wire, enhanced with alchemy
to magnify even the tiniest things
for the viewer's edification.

Maryam bought a copy of each as
soon as they came off the workbench,
browsed through the documentation,
and every time she asked Ida what
her next project would be.

After finishing the pyra goggles,
Ida set her sights on aether.

She spent months testing
one material after another,
but not even lenses of yu
could make it come clear.

Then by mistake she dropped
a box of different lenses and
glimpsed, just for an instant,
something that might be aether.

Ida hastened to experiment with
different combinations of lenses,
only to discover that the ones
which gave the best results also
focused the light so much that
she nearly blinded her other eye.

Next Ida tried making the main lenses
out of glass which had been smoked
and quenched, thus muting the light
down to a bearable level.

She made loupes of diamond,
emerald, sapphire, and ruby
to fix over the larger lenses.

Ida was still tinkering with
the new design when Maryam
returned to investigate.

Sheepishly Ida laid out
her notebooks and admitted
that she had not yet perfected
the focus of the aether goggles.

Maryam just laughed, clapped her
on the back, and assured Ida that
she would figure it out eventually,
as such things took time.

Ida agreed, but privately she
thought what they really depended on

was having encouragement from a good friend.

* * *


Ida Raynott is a young woman who makes alchemical goggles. She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long straight brown hair that bleaches blonde in the sun. She is blind in her right eye due to an accident, but she learned how to make a prosthetic that restores some of her vision. She is tall and strong with broad shoulders, and she has a heart-shaped face. Ida is friends with Maryam Smith, who supports her research

* * *

aer -- the element of Air

ge -- the element of Earth

hudor -- the element of Water

pyra -- the element of Fire

aether -- the element of Quintessence

See the goggles for aer, ge, hudor, pyra, and aether.

The importance of close female friends has many aspects and benefits. It helps to have different kinds of friends. Such connections are especially vital in STEM fields, or in this context, alchemy and steamsmithing. Read about making friends among adult women.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing

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