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Poem: The Sugar Sea - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: The Sugar Sea
Based on the poll results, here is the generally sponsored poem from the January 2009 poetry fishbowl. This poem is the first of the four poems set in submerged Nebraska. This month's donors are: ellenmillion, arialstarshadow, minor_architect, and janetmiles.


The Sugar Sea


By the time the cockroaches came,
the sand had remembered that it was a sea.
The Sand Hills were dunes again,
fletched with beach grass and sand plums.

Their pale gold grains were exactly
the color of cane sugar fresh from the pressing,
and so the cockroaches named this
the Sugar Sea and set their conical huts nearby.

What had once been North America
was now East America and West America –- or
would have been, if anyone recalled
the Americas or the mammals that had named them.

Two long narrow wings, divided by
a wide inland sea and boned by mountains,
now housed the larval civilization
as the cockroaches began to settle and build.

Sometimes, in the dust, they found
strange things: layers and lakes of red rust,
and the ruined bones of buildings
beaten flat by some unimaginable cataclysm.

Even the Sugar Sea itself held secrets,
for on a clear day the sun would show the bottom
traced with strange straight lines
and square after square of subtly rubbled mud.

The cockroaches assembled their village
all along the soft shores of that warm, sweet sea
but sometimes they looked out over
the whispering water, and they … wondered.

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11 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 10th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
*Shivers* Wow. Just wow.

You're one of the few people I can actually read their poems. Your poems are engaging and awesome enough to hold my attention. And this one... wow.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 10th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm so glad you like this! Yes, submerged Nebraska gave me the shivers too. I've always been fascinated by historic renderings of North America from previous phases (there were several) when the continent was divided by a vast inland sea. Here are some previous images:
http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2006/04/assembling-north-america_11.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Interior_Seaway

I'm also delighted that you find my poems so accessible. Sometimes I play with arcane linguistic features, but most of the time, I want my poetry to make sense to as many people as possible. Much of what I write is narrative poetry, intended to tell a story, so that the features of the verse support and enhance the storyline rather than distracting from it. When I just want to fool around with sound or grammar, I tend to pick a prosaic topic and just jam with it.

Much modern poetry is simply ... bad. Badly conceived, badly constructed, and falsely praised. That's a pity, because it makes many people think that poetry is bad and irrelevant.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 11th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Well whatever you're doing, you're doing it right. :-D I guess that means I love narrative poetry. This deserves pimpin!

Much modern poetry is simply ... bad. Badly conceived, badly constructed, and falsely praised. That's a pity, because it makes many people think that poetry is bad and irrelevant.

Amen!

Have you ever read any of my poetry? Here: http://fayanora.livejournal.com/tag/poem
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 11th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

I like your limericks. Pimping is welcome!
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 11th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Pimping post done and posted.

Thanks! I love my limericks too. What do you think of my Opus Van De Oplicter poems?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 11th, 2009 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

You've got some good imagery in those, although the meter tends to vary. "My Computer Is Positively Ancient" is my favorite so far.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 11th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

:-D
daev From: daev Date: January 11th, 2009 09:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 11th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Thank you! This is closer to the version I was thinking of, that I'd seen before. In that one, the two mountain ranges -- the Rockies and Appalachians -- were above water, and most of the area between them was submerged.
From: technoshaman Date: July 11th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Sense of Wonder' is a key element of SF.. here you have taken it to the next level :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 11th, 2013 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

That's really good to hear. I'm glad you enjoyed this so much!

There are two more poems in this set, the ones in the middle. I'm hoping those get sponsored eventually, so people can see them.
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