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Poem: "The Sky-Eyes and the Earth-Hearts" GRAND FINALE! - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Sky-Eyes and the Earth-Hearts" GRAND FINALE!
I'm delighted to announce that the final two verses of "The Sky-Eyes and the Earth-Hearts" have just been sponsored! You may now read the entire xeno-entomology poem below. The original post is here.


Since several folks expressed interest in reading more about these characters, I made the poem available for sponsorship (there's a permanent PayPal button on my profile page).

117 lines, Buy It Now = $58.50</b>
Donations: $58.50 (FULLY FUNDED as of 9/3/09)

This poem was microfunded. Price was $.50/line so $5 sponsored 10 lines, etc. I posted the verses one (or more) at a time as each verse was sponsored. It took almost exactly two months to fund the poem, from July 2 to September 3. I consider this a success, such that I'm willing to try it again if I wind up with another epic poem that multiple people are clamoring to see. I think it would've finished faster with more participants, but we got the job done in a reasonable time (particularly in this economy). We had a total of 8 sponsors for this poem: minor_architect, nhpeacenik, browngirl, siliconshaman, haikujaguar, tuftears, janetmiles, and fayanora. Huzzah!

Thank you all for accompanying me on this journey.


The Sky-Eyes and the Earth-Hearts



The Sky-Eyes speak:

We are the Sky-Eyes,
the blue people of the air.
When you came to our world,
it was our territory you flew through
on your way down.

To us Queen Cosmos gave wings and the wind:
it is our duty to defend against threats from above.
When the songhawks come with their deadly voices,
we draw them off with the dance of eyespots.
You say that you mean us no harm, but
Your words batter our ears as savagely as hawk-song.

We know that our young eat the young of the Earth-Hearts.
We know that you think this is wrong,
but this is how our peoples live.
We cannot raise our own young as you do;
those perverts who have tried it always fail.
Without our family ties to the Earth-Hearts,
we would have no balance for the lightness of our minds
and no defense against dangers from below.
We live as we were made to live, and our life is good.
We cannot help how we are made.

How can we tell you
that what would be abuse for you
is for us a fair exchange?
How can we make you understand
that it defines rather than undermines our morality?
We cannot live without the Earth-Hearts;
the ruins of history have shown us why.
Your species was born to compete, even with each other:
how can we teach you cooperation when it is not in your nature?


The Earth-Hearts speak:

We are the Earth-Hearts,
the red people of the land.
When you came to our world,
it was our territory you landed upon
when your ship touched down.

To us Queen Cosmos gave strength and the earth:
it is our duty to defend against threats from below.
When the burrowers come with their crushing claws,
we bite them and sting them and drive them away.
You say that you come in peace, but
we smell the metal claws with which you would crush our culture.

We know that the Sky-Children eat our young.
We know that you think this is wrong,
but this is how our families love.
We cannot abandon their young as you would do;
they are so adorable, they rouse our nurturing instincts.
Without our family ties to the Sky-Eyes,
we would have no balance for the heaviness of our bodies
and no warning of dangers from above.
We love as we were made to love, and our families are good.
We cannot help how we are made.

How can we tell you
that what would be oppression for you
is for us a cherished bond?
How can we make you understand
that it supports rather than constricts our civilization?
We cannot live without the Sky-Eyes;
those who have tried, have all died out.
Your species was born alone and made to be lonely:
how can we teach you of symbiosis when it is not in your nature?


The Twin Peoples speak:

We are the Twin Peoples,
who share the world between us,
each completing the other.
It is our territory which you occupy:
we share it with each other,
and we would share it with you
if only you understood sharing.

To us Queen Cosmos gave the secret of synergy:
it is our honor to live in alliance.
Whatsoever the future may fling at us,
we will face it together, for in our unity nothing may defeat us.
You offer us the knowledge of the stars,
but you have no wisdom.
We do not know how the people of the stars
might be fitted into society alongside
the people of the sky and the people of the land,
but even if we knew, would you do it?

We know now that you raise your own young,
each individual caring for those you engender.
We think that this is wrong, that it limits you,
but it is how you were made so perhaps it works for you.
We cannot imagine a culture built on such bonds.
None of us really understand such a thing, or want it,
but we will try to put it out of our minds and work with you.
Without family ties to another species,
will you be able to live with us and love us?
You are what you were made to be,
but sometimes we fear your songs and your claws;
we wonder if you are truly civilized.

How can we tell you
that what is true for you
is not true for us, for everyone?
You cannot see through the walls of your truth
into our tunnels or our skies.
You with your single species are yet sundered from yourselves,
unable to agree, believing yourselves so different
each from the other.
How can we tell you it is not so
when your belief is rock and your logic floss?

It could be that you will destroy us,
but we cannot help ourselves:
you are so vulnerable and so adorable,
we cannot resist taking you in and
trying to teach you the wonders of reciprocity.
We will watch over you and care for you,
and even if you eat some of us it will be all right:
we understand that is how the world was made.

Then we will see what the Three Peoples can do
when the Star-Minds, the white people of space,
have added their strange new gifts
to those of the Sky-Eyes and the Earth-Hearts.
When Queen Cosmos declares it is time for metamorphosis,
you must trust Her judgment and believe enough
to try.


* * * * *

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
tuftears From: tuftears Date: September 3rd, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
An interesting work, and I'm honored to have been named as a sponsor.

It must have been very difficult for the human ambassador. <_< With all this talk of eating one another, he or she might have wondered if they saw him or her as an ambassador... Or an appetizer.
From: christinaathena Date: September 3rd, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I imagine the first humans to arrive would've wanted to intervene in what seemed to them to be a bitter inter-species war, as well. Maybe they even did intervene in places, leading to disaster.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

At first, the humans did not understand what was going on. Then when they started seeing parts of the symbiosis, they did not grasp how the Twin Peoples really felt about each other. They kept trying to interpret everything through a human perspective, and well, these aliens don't think like humans think. When the humans finally got to see the big picture, they wanted to mess with things, and the aliens didn't want them to do that. So it was quite awkward all through that. And then the aliens' own culture and biology kicked in, which made them want to help the humans no matter how difficult or dangerous that turned out to be. The humans were all "Buh ... whah ... HUH?!"
From: christinaathena Date: September 4th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Cool. :D

My pteranthropans made the mistake of helping out the early human colonists to their world after the colonists' technology failed them. Their good deed did not go unpunished, alas, and today they find themselves an oppressed minority on their own native world.

Like your aliens, they, too, do not have the same attachment to their young. They are amphibious and lay their eggs in protected bays and natural harbors. They ensure that there are no large predators, but don't take direct care of individual larvae until they emerge onto land.

Alas, many of their breeding-grounds have been seized for human use as ports and the like, and even some that haven't been used have become polluted, so that their effective birth rate has fallen dramatically. In more recent years, they've begun to use artificial bodies of water to raise their young, allowing their population to once again grow, but it's expensive. And probably not as healthy or stimulating to the larval brain as the challenges of a natural habitat.

Human-imposed natural borders certainly don't help, either, as it can sometimes become difficult to travel to a breeding ground if there are multiple national borders in the way.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>An interesting work, and I'm honored to have been named as a sponsor.<<

I'm glad you like it.

>>It must have been very difficult for the human ambassador. <<

Yes, very. The humans felt more and more awkward as the contact went along. For the Twin Peoples, I think they felt better about it over time because they could relate it to their own experiences.

>> With all this talk of eating one another, he or she might have wondered if they saw him or her as an ambassador... Or an appetizer.<<

That would've come up towards the end, yes. But the aliens were very astute in realizing that humans were likely to harm them (intentionally or not) and unique in accepting that as a natural part of the process.
From: christinaathena Date: September 3rd, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great poem! :D I wonder how such a society would work in its details? Are the butterflies a social species? Are they bound to individual ant colonies? Or do they scatter their eggs amongst many colonies?

One could do a lot with them in a novel or even a short story. :-)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>Great poem!<<

Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

>>I wonder how such a society would work in its details? Are the butterflies a social species?<<

The ants are a social species like Terran ants. The butterflies are different, more individual, not living in hives -- except that they were all raised in a hive by the ants. So they are kind of in between individuals and social insects.

>> Are they bound to individual ant colonies?<<

Adult butterflies tend to have a strong relationship to their "home" hive, like humans with their home town and parents. They can move elsewhere, but many of them do not.

>> Or do they scatter their eggs amongst many colonies?<<

I think they usually lay all their eggs near one colony, although it's probably possible to spread them out a little. The colonies aren't super close together.

>>One could do a lot with them in a novel or even a short story.<<

I think so too. This is basically a novel (well, probably) nutshelled into a poem. The core conflicts are in here.
From: minor_architect Date: September 3rd, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hurrah, it's complete! We get to see all of it now!

Very, very cool. (And I like Star-Minds. A fine name. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm glad that you have enjoyed this.

The Twin Peoples have a colorful way of speaking. "Star-Minds" just popped out as I was writing.
sythyry From: sythyry Date: September 4th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Very cool, Ysabet.
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: September 4th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great ending, as usual. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I was fascinated by the way the last section just kept building verse by verse -- so much happening.
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