Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "The Song in the House of Your Pilgrimage"

This poem came out of the October 6, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kelkyag and [personal profile] janetmiles. It also fills the "Stay inside the salt ring." square in my 10-1-20 card for the Fall Festival Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis.

"The Song in the House of Your Pilgrimage"

Shaeth built his second temple
on the edge of the Barrens.

A century ago it had been
Panbaskett, before his followers
performed a Scorched Earth ritual.

Shaeth sifted the ashy earth
between his divine fingers and
wondered whether he could now
reverse the curse, in the interest
of having a nearby source of
grain for brewing booze.

He'd have to talk to
Abredin about that, but
he was pretty sure that
between the two of them,
they could manage it.

Shaeth and his followers
built the temple, including
a great hall for worship,
a courtyard for revels,
and a bunkhouse where
the people could sleep.

Belfegar would not
be parted from his side,
and Trobby was High Priest,
so Shaeth named Agricole
the head of the new temple.

Then it was time for
the consecration ritual.

That took some thought,
because Shaeth couldn't
just copy it from his old one,
and there wasn't exactly
a book of examples.

"Well, obviously, it's
like naming a boat,"
Trobby declared, and
smashed a bottle on
the temple gates.

That was really
all the inspiration
that Shaeth needed.

He fetched supplies
and his new temple priest,
then he went to work.

"Stay inside the salt ring,"
Shaeth scolded as he cut
the limes to put around it.

He'd learned quite a lot about
things to do with alcohol over time,
and wanted to make good use of them
in consecrating his new temple.

"Yes, my lord," said Agricole,
though it was clear that he
wanted to get back to exploring
the nooks and crannies of his temple.

When all the sigils had been drawn
in salt and lime wedges, Shaeth
raised his arms and his power.

"Seek to make life a consecrated thing,
so that when the sunset is nearing, with
its murky vapors and lowering skies,
the clouds of sorrow may be fringed
with golden light," Shaeth intoned.
"Thus will the song in the house
of your pilgrimage have always
the truest harmony." He signed
the final blessing with his hands.

It was all his first follower had
asked of him: a place to sleep,
a cure for hangovers, booze for
those who wanted it and help
stopping for those who didn't.

Shaeth could deliver those.

So Agricole was installed in
the Second Temple of Shaeth,
and now more people would be
able to find the God of Drunks.

It would be up to Agricole
to gather followers from
the Barrens, the caravans,
and the nearest cities in
service of his divine master.

Febretta and Katreese would
become his missionaries,
traveling the lands in search
of the Alhalen people and
spreading the worship of
Shaeth, the God of Drunks.

Coming to the Barrens had
been a bit of culture shock
for the two women, seeing
their own people again after
traveling so widely, but
they determined to adapt.

They even wanted to find
someone to teach them
more of the language, so
that Shaeth could have
hymns in Alhalen.

To celebrate this,
they broke open barrels
of wine and all got drunk.

It was an auspicious beginning.

* * *


"Seek to make life henceforth a consecrated thing; that so, when the sunset is nearing, with its murky vapors and lowering skies, the very clouds of sorrow may be fringed with golden light. Thus will the song in the house of your pilgrimage be always the truest harmony. It will be composed of no jarring, discordant notes; but with all its varied tones will form one sustained, life-long melody; dropped for a moment in death, only to be resumed with the angels, and blended with the everlasting cadences of your Father's house."
-- John Ross Macduff
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, spirituality, weblit, writing
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