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Poem: "Crimson Inscriptions" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Crimson Inscriptions"
This poem came out of the January 2, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] teigh_corvus, [personal profile] librarygeek, [personal profile] readera, [personal profile] we_are_spc (Jay), and [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah. It also fills the "antlers" square in my 7-1-17 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the Acrostic Magery series.


"Crimson Inscriptions"


Legend says that
unicorns can speak,
but this was never true:

Creatures of magic
don't speak, they write.

Legend says that
a unicorn's horn
leaves red marks,
and this is true.

The unicorns wrote
in short straight lines,
up and down the stones
and the trunks of trees.

The Druids watched
and learned to carve
the ogham staves.

The Vikings watched
and learned to etch
runes into rocks.

Linked together
in just the right way,
these marks could
even make magic.

The Druids learned
to make boundary posts
that would forbid an enemy
to enter their territory.

They learned to make
jewelry in beautiful metals
to bind soul friends together.

The Vikings erected
standing stones to guard
the borders of their land.

They etched runes
onto their swords, and
the named blades became
all the more powerful.

In modern times,
ogham workers make
plaques for happiness
while runecarvers make
theirs for protection.

They're all following
the old traditions.

Yet most people still
see only hash marks,
like the bored slashes
left by disorderly little boys.

Seeing is not necessarily believing.

That which is true remains the truth;
the Crafters go on with their work, and
the unicorns slip through the forests.

Now and then, a maiden begins
to write up and down the page,
her crimson inscriptions
dripping with power.

* * *

Notes:

Unicorns are one-horned beasts that appear in mythology around the world.

Red ochre is an iron-based pigment used to stain ogham and runes.

The Celts have ranged throughout much of Europe.

Druids practiced tree lore and the ogham. This alphabet had 20 or 25 letters. For the purpose of Acrostic Magery, only the five original aicmí are used, along with the punctuation marks. Ogham may be carved on wooden staves for divination or posts as markers. This copper bonding bracelet says anam cara ("soul friend"), useful for creating a connection between people. The ceramic wall plaque says sonas ("happiness").

Vikings were seafaring raiders who wrote in runes. For divination, runes were often carved on slices of antler. The Ledberg stone shows an example of runes going along the edge. The name of this sword, Grimnir, is written in runes. Bindrunes may be created for various purposes, such as this one for protection on slate.

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