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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "As Natural as Walking"
This poem came out of the Tuesday, September 3, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from DW user Satsuma. It also fills the "charcoal" square in my 9-1-19 card for the Arts and Crafts Festival, and the square in my 9-2-19 card for the Ladiesbingo fest.  This poem belongs to the Path of the Paladins series.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $0.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: DW user Satsuma, DW user Lilliane

FULLY FUNDED
291 lines, Buy It Now = $58
Amount donated = $50
Verses posted = 32 of 38 

Amount remaining to fund fully = $8
Amount needed to fund next verse = $0.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $2



"As Natural as Walking"


Klariffa had never expected
to become an artist.

She didn't think that
there was anything
special about her.

So what if she drew
things whenever
a burnt twig or lump
of charcoal came to hand?

To Klariffa, drawing was
as natural as walking.

She walked up and down
the hills every day, following
her parents and the sheep.

She drew what she saw,
hills and sheep and wild herbs.

When a paladin came through
the village where they sold sheep
and wool, mutton and milk, Klariffa
went with the rest of her family.

They listened to sermons about
beauty and creativity, and nodded,
because without that, wool
was just animal hair.

Then the paladin invited
all the youngsters to come
and draw on her slate.

She told them how to draw
things by making simple shapes,
and how to use drawings to show
someone else what they had seen.

When Klariffa's turn came, she took
the charcoal, only for it to glow red!

Startled, she dropped it, thinking
it wasn't out yet -- but it had felt cold.

"Well now," said Beshar the paladin,
"it seems that Alazar admires your work.
Would you like to come with me and
spend your days drawing things?"

"But -- but I'm to be a shepherdess,"
Klariffa sputtered. "I'm not a paladin.
I just help my parents tend the sheep."

"Draw me your sheep," Beshar said.

So Klariffa drew the sheep, calling
to mind their funny faces and floppy ears,
the things that made each one unique.

Once she finished, Beshar turned
the slate to Klariffa's parents and said,
"Name the sheep you recognize."

They named every one -- it
wasn't that big a herd, after all --
Clover with her spotted face,
Honey of the yellow wool,
and all the rest of them.

But Beshar looked impressed.

"Come with me and I'll teach you
everything I know," Beshar said.
"The Temple of Alazar will send
money to your family, and help
them find someone to take over
your work if they wish it."

"Yes, please," Klariffa said.
"It's only me and my brother,
who married a goosegirl last year
and moved in with her -- he has
a limp, and geese are easier
to keep up with than sheep."

Her parents were agreeable,
and promised to keep in touch,
but urged her to take the opportunity.

So when Beshar left the village,
Klariffa went along with her.

It was very interesting
to travel through places that
Klariffa had never seen before
and have drawing lessons every day.

Soon Beshar showed her a pile
of pages bound with a string.

"Someday, these will become
school books," the older woman said,
brushing back her black hair deckled
with white so it wouldn't hang in her face.
"We are helping the paladins of Gailah
to create a traveling school."

"They're half blank," Klariffa said.

"They're waiting for you," Beshar said.
"Read the words and draw pictures
to illustrate the text on each page."

Klariffa could read now -- Beshar
was teaching her that too -- and she
only needed help with the big words.

So Klariffa made drawings to show
whatever the words described,
in this case edible plants and
animals that could be hunted, then
Beshar painted them with fixative
to keep the charcoal from smearing.

"Why didn't you do these?" Klariffa said.
"You must be much more skilled than I am."

"Because they're yours," Beshar said.
"Would you like to see some of mine?"

"Yes, please!" Klariffa said with a nod.

Beshar opened another bundle of
pages and showed her drawings
done in charcoal that somehow had
colors, parts glittering with silver leaf.

"Ohhh," Klariffa breathed, her soul
suddenly yearning for those colors.
"Teach me! I want to do that!"

"Of course, my novice,"
Beshar promised. "As soon
as you have finished your book,
I will teach you to draw in color."

Klariffa looked at the stack
of pages still waiting for her,
and then grabbed the charcoal.

She'd show them what she could do.

* * *

Notes:

"Drawing is as natural as walking. A piece of charcoal or chalk is like an extension of my forefinger."
-- Percy Kelly

Charcoal is a popular art medium.  A basic set should include several types of charcoal.  Tinted charcoals introduce earthy colors before getting into brightly colored pencils.  Explore some materials and techniues to draw with charcoal.

Once you know a few basic geometric shapes, you can draw anything.  Some approaches reduce this to only circles and ovals.

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4 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 6th, 2019 08:47 am (UTC) (Link)
This is wonderful, and I dearly love the idea of art-focused paladins.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 6th, 2019 08:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> This is wonderful, <<

I'm happy to hear that.

>> and I dearly love the idea of art-focused paladins. <<

In this setting, paladins are people with a special connection to their patron deity, which allows them to work miracles. All the deities have some, and the powers bestowed match the sphere of influence, although some things are granted by more than one deity.
book_worm5 From: book_worm5 Date: September 10th, 2019 12:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Oooh

I like this one! I like the paladins in general, but it's less common to see them focusing on art and creativity rather than other spheres. I like her parents and their sheep too.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 10th, 2019 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oooh

>> I like this one! <<

Yay! :D

>> I like the paladins in general, but it's less common to see them focusing on art and creativity rather than other spheres. <<

It's an intermittent motif in this series.

>> I like her parents and their sheep too. <<

That's good to hear.
4 comments or Leave a comment