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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Call for Cosponsors of "Choralia"
Here is another call for cosponsors, this time minor_architect drumming up support for "Choralia." This free-verse science fiction poem came out of the November 3, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl, inspired by haikujaguar, ozarque, and a previous fishbowl poem (not yet published) called "The World That Sang." In "Choralia" we learn more about first contact between humans and a race of aliens who speak in chorus. Donors so far: minor_architect, janetmiles, nhpeacenik, haikujaguar, miintikwa, and stonetalker

EDIT 12/8/09: stonetalker has funded the remaining portion of this poem as a holiday gift to haikujaguar and miintikwa. Happy holidays!

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. The rate is $.50 per 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.

78 lines, Buy It Now = $39
Amount donated = $30
Amount remaining to fund fully = $9
Amount needed to fund next verse = $3

EDIT 12/8/09: This poem is now FULLY FUNDED. The last portion was covered at half price as part of the 2009 Holiday Poetry Sale.


We did not know,
when first we arrived on your world,
that it was made of music
as much as matter.

We only knew
that it sang to us
from a thousand throats,
so beautiful and so mysterious.

We did not know,
when first we met your people,
that you were sentient.

We only knew
that your orchestral voices
were intricate and exquisite.

We suspected
that you were intelligent,
but we could not prove it.
We wanted to prove it,
so as to protect your world,
not knowing yet that
Choralia has its own protections.

When our starship disappeared,
we begged you to bring it back,
and when you did not,
we accused your people of stealing it.
But all our pleas and condemnations
were in vain.
We did not know that the safe way
into the system opens only once every twenty years.

So we stayed on Choralia,
becoming settlers
instead of explorers.

Our linguists followed your people everywhere,
recording and analyzing, always trying to tease out
words and grammar from the constant flow
of crescendos, arpeggios, diminuendos.

But people who look like walking pipe organs
and sound like clarinets and trumpets and
the high piping of piccolos
woven in with words in voices high and low
do not speak in the same way
that monkey-tongued humans must speak.

We noticed, though,
that babies born on Choralia
grew into musicians
as quickly as they grew into their feet
and learned to walk.

We called them mozarts
and let them play with keyboards
until they grew older and began to carve
flutes out of reeds and branches.

In their high childish voices
they mimicked you,
and you tootled back at them,
and we paid it no mind
for although the linguists still
puttered about with theories,
we had given up on communication.

It was not until
the first of the mozarts passed puberty
and their voices settled into adult registers
that they could combine with their younger siblings
into fully fluent choirs, treble to bass,
and take up their instruments
in elegant hands,
and speak to your people properly.

They tried to explain to us
that you are communal beings, not individuals,
and that we were hearing
not single words spoken in sequence
but whole sentences or paragraphs intoned at once,
the grammar woven through pitch and voice –-
but we were old, and did not understand.

It was a young Choralian who piped up,
one careful voice at a time,

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Current Mood: busy busy

9 comments or Leave a comment
fayanora From: fayanora Date: November 9th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another excellent one I want to see more of!
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: December 8th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this! I really want to know what happened, how it all evolved in the end. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm glad this hooked you so much! I don't know what happens next, though. Sometimes I do, other times not -- I know more about "The Transformations of Terror" storyline, for instance. This one, not yet. Maybe it will occur to me later, or maybe someone will give me a prompt that reveals more in a subsequent fishbowl. You're allowed to try and get back to places or characters or storylines you enjoy.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: December 10th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

I will hopefully remember and come up with related prompts! :)
From: minor_architect Date: December 8th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hooray! I'm glad this one has been fully funded at last. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2009 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)


We have a whole clean slate going into next year, so if epics emerge in the January fishbowl, have at 'em! It's fun to see things unfold. I'm pleased that the last two epics are now fully funded.
miintikwa From: miintikwa Date: December 8th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eee! Thank you, stonetalker! this is marvelous!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm glad you're pleased with your prezzie!
miintikwa From: miintikwa Date: December 10th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

Very much so!
9 comments or Leave a comment