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Poem: "His Eyes Uncovered" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "His Eyes Uncovered"
This is today's freebie, inspired by prompts from [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron and [personal profile] bairnsidhe. It also fills the "hope" square in my 7-1-18 card for the Winterfest in July Bingo. It belongs to the Schrodinger's Heroes project.


"His Eyes Uncovered"


Schrodinger's Heroes were
chasing a troublesome time traveler
through the multiverse when they
stumbled into a dimension where
their translation device quit working.

"What's wrong with it?" Pat asked as
people poked at the malfunctioning item.

"I don't know," Bailey said. "It keeps
throwing out historic references,
like a giant encyclopedia threw up."

"Sokath, his eyes uncovered!"
Alex shouted, waving to Ash.

"Hummingbird, the lightning in his bill!"
Ash said, and bounded up the steps.

"I'll search for references," Bailey said.
He turned on his tablet computer
and looked around for a library.

"All hope of salvation lies in diversity,"
Pat declared as he ran after them.

* * *

Notes:

Darmok
* "Sokath, his eyes uncovered/opened" – understanding/realization

Darmok is an example of an allusive language.

Hummingbirds appear in many legends. This one refers to speed, healing, and the ability to bring thunder and lightning. In many tribes, lightning symbolizes true speech.

Diversity has numerous benefits. Among these, it improves problem-solving ability. Learn how to promote diversity in your personal life and in your community.

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Comments
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 20th, 2018 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved that episode, but in hindsight it's a little unrealistic, because how did they tell their children these stories to begin with, in order to reference them?

Though on the other hand, in one of my two Harry Potter fan fiction stories, the one where Harry is a multiple, I have a character who tends - at least at first - to use unique or unusual metaphors almost to the same degree as the aliens in that episode. Here's some examples:

1. “Are you Chandra Rahasyamay?” Dumbledore asked.

Chandra nodded.

“Ah, good. Can you speak?”

Chandra looked thoughtful for a moment. Then, with a determined look on his face, he opened his mouth. He paused again, looking confused. Then he opened his mouth again.

“Silver Grandfather, with the fire-bird,” Chandra said, in an American accent. “The red and the gold. The silver and the blue. Starlight in the day.”

“Ah, well that's... an answer, of sorts.” Dumbledore said. “Can you sit up?”

Not speaking, Chandra struggled to move his limbs. He winced with every movement, apparently still in pain. He also shook with weakness, his skin going pale and sweaty again.

“The mountain,” he said weakly through gritted teeth. “Bare stone, smooth, unlined.”

“Don't strain yourself, or Madam Pomfrey will give me such a tongue-lashing.”

Chandra relaxed. He lay there, his breath coming in ragged gasps. Madam Pomfrey left to fetch something. A few minutes later, she had returned with pain-relief potion and a Pepper-Up Potion. He drank each potion readily, and soon was able to sit up.

A few minutes more passed before Dumbledore asked, “Do you think you can stand now? It's just that you are required elsewhere. I have them waiting, of course. I do not know how much of this you understand, but someone had written every single name from your collective on that parchment but yours. It does not match the handwriting of anyone in your collective, to my knowledge. And I do not believe that makes a difference, I'm sorry to say.”

“Chalice of fire, flame within,” Chandra said. “Struggle and conflict, thrice, or else all is silence.”

“Yes, exactly. Are you able to stand?”

“The wind has receded,” Chandra said, standing up with some difficulty.

“I... see,” Dumbledore said, which was a lie. He was not sure if there was any sense to Chandra's words or not. If there was, he wasn't able to decipher it yet. Parts of it made sense, and other parts eluded meaning.

(...)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 20th, 2018 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well ...

>>I loved that episode, but in hindsight it's a little unrealistic, because how did they tell their children these stories to begin with, in order to reference them?<<

I'm guessing there's a layer that children use but adults don't. In Russian, there are letters with different sounds distinguished only by diacritical marks that are NOT PRINTED in adult text, only children's text, which is stupid. Darmok might have teaching books that are illustrated and narrated like, "Darmok, a hero. Jelaad, an adversary. Darmok and Jelaad at Tanangra. The Beast of Tanagra ..."

It is accurate that metaphors and other figurative speech tend to hangfire translation, whether human or machine, unless one has native fluency. And even then, this example is so dense that you'd need five or ten minutes to explain every sentence because the connotations are crammed into such a tight space. Unpacking would make the conversation take ridiculously long.

China already does this with quotes. They don't cite Confucius or Sun Tzu or other classics, because only an ignoramus would fail to recognize them, and you can't imply that your reader is an ignoramus. But people do this all the time and it makes it very hard for Chinese students to get by in American academic settings. The concise reference is super useful -- you can often pry a tired Chinese dude off the ground with, "When weak, pretend strength."
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 21st, 2018 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well ...

*Nods*
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 20th, 2018 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Pt 2

2. “I wonder, Chandra, if you could summon one of the others to speak with your mouth.”

Chandra went back to his drawing, but said, “Smooth mountain. Underground river. No,” he corrected himself, “serpent-king cavern, but my tongue is not presently forked.”

“Hmm... are you saying they are... elsewhere? That you can't speak with them?”

“Yes. The ghost with rivers from her eyes is within the void. Until she exists again, my tongue remains round.”

'The ghost with rivers from her eyes? Does he mean Myrtle Warren?'

“Do you mean the ghost known as Moaning Myrtle?”

“Yes. She is in the void. The Many Faces rest in the serpent-king chamber within. I cannot Speak until she exists.”

'He's speaking in metaphors, images,' Dumbledore thought. 'But why? Is that how he thinks?'

“So the others are hiding somewhere, and you can't speak with them because you're missing the knowledge of how to get to where they are?”

“It is dust in the wind,” Chandra said. “The candle is out. I fumble for a match. But the prickling on my skin can cease; they have their own light down there.” He paused, looking up as though trying to remember something, before going back to his drawing and saying, “They have the key.”

“So they can come back whenever they choose?”

“Yes. The children cower under the bed. But their fear's candle will melt away.”

“Ah, I see. They all became overwhelmed with terror, but they'll return in time.”

“Yes. Mother will soothe their fears.”

Dumbledore made his hands into a steeple, regarding Chandra as he drew. It was inconvenient that the boy kept his eyes on his artwork. But then, the images he'd gotten from his legilimency earlier hadn't been very useful.

“Is this 'Mother' a metaphor or someone real?”

“Are any of us more than a metaphor? A lightning storm in a bottle made of meat. Each of us a society, the tempest a government, trillions of citizens made of water and chemicals, G.A.C.T., G.A.C.U. My own meat hosts a world of nations.”

“Is 'Mother' one of these nations?”

Chandra struggled with this one for several minutes.

“Mother, a nation? No. A sack of pebbles cannot pluck a flower. Blow out that candle, light another. Mother is... Mother.” Another lengthy pause. “Hmm... no other candles emerge. Well, if we are nations, Mother is the earth, the air, and the water. Mother is us. Mother is the tempest. Mother is all of it. Yes, She makes a tempest to speak for Her. But that tempest is a mask. The face is too big to comprehend.”

“Do you mean that Mother is a goddess?”

“I fumble for a match again. Mother is...” his wand popped out of its holster, and he stared at it. “Mother is this, but not this. Mother is the this behind the this.”

“Mother is... magic itself?”

“You approach it. Magic is... Magic is to Mother as Mother's mask is to Her face. Or as your hand is to you. Yes, that is the brightest light.”

Chandra put the wand away and went back to his drawing.

Dumbledore was still confused. Did he mean Mother was Life? He was going to ask, but Chandra spoke first.

“The sun sets. The pup needs to return to its den or the black father will bark at the silver grandfather.”

“Silver grandfather?”

“Yes. Silver Grandfather, with the fire-bird. With the star twinkling in the daylight of his eyes. *You,* is the candle I'm trying to light.”

“Ah. And the black father is Sirius Black, I take it?”

“Yes. The black dog will bark at you if the pup is kept awake too long.”

“Indeed. As well he should. I do apologize for taking up so much of your time, but your manner of speaking is challenging to understand.”

“Mountain with few cracks?” he asked.

“Yes, I believe that is a good metaphor. It is doable, but makes me sweat a lot, so to speak.”

“The mountain will come to a path in time. Then you will walk, not climb.”

“Good to know. Thank you. But yes, you should run along to your den, little pup.”

“Thank you, silver grandfather.”
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 20th, 2018 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Pt 2

Wow. Challenging to follow, but interesting.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: July 20th, 2018 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Pt 3

Chandra Rahasyamay, quite possibly the most unique character I've ever written. His headspace is difficult for me to get into sometimes, but it's an interesting and pleasant experience when I do. I keep wanting to recreate his essence in another character in my Ravenstone story, but honestly the reason he is the way he is, is because of the unique circumstances of his existence within the fan fic story. (Which can be found by searching for my username on Archive of Our Own.) So recreating him may never be possible. I'll keep trying, though.
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