The story exists even when there are no witnesses,
kissers, tellers. Because secrets secrete,
and these versions tend to be slapstick, as if in a candy
factory the chocolate belted down the conveyor too fast
or everyone turned sideways at the same time by accident.
This little tale tries so hard to be humorous,
wants so badly to win affection and to lodge.
Because nothing is truly forgotten and loved.
As it turns out, there is a wrong way to tell this story.when it would be truer to say nothing.
I was wrong to tell you how multi-true everything is,
I’ve invented so much and prevented more.
But, I’d like to talk with you about other things,
in absolute quiet. In extreme context.
To see you again, isn’t love revision?
It could have gone so many ways.
This just one of the ways it went.
Tell me another.
- ‘one love story, eight takes’ by brenda shaughnessy
I’ve become a collector of kindling. Things
that easily burn—doll hair, love letters,
the death certificate that was folded
and unfolded a hundred times. As I travel
around the world, asking shopkeepers
and tour guides if they’ve seen you,
I wish your name was flammable too.
That it could burst out of my mouth
and not come back. That it could
turn itself into unrecognizable ash.
That I could smear that gritty powder
across my skin and wear a coat of it.
How can I translate this into something
you can understand? The only language
we share now is light.
- from After Your Funeral I Set Out to Find You in Different Time Zones by Jennifer Faylo
Good call, but I do think it applies to Hawke as well; this idea of her homeland impacting her even in a foreign land, something she can never leave behind. Sometimes the wind pushes her forward, sometimes it holds her back, sometimes it’s just a flutter against her cheek or a fatherly ruffle in her hair; sometimes it hits her bangs just right and she looks more heroic; sometimes it hits her bangs all wrong and she looks a hot mess; but wherever she goes, the wind always follows, the wind always touches — and she can never touch back.
Touching me, you touch
The country that has exiled you.
- Charles Simic, “The Wind”
See how its ramparts gleam like copper in the sun.
Climb the stone staircase, more ancient then the mind can imagine,
approach the Eanna Temple, sacred to Ishtar,
a temple that no king has equaled in size or beauty,
walk on the wall of Uruk, follow its course
around the city, inspect its mighty foundations,
examine its brickwork, how masterfully it is built,
observe the land it encloses: the palm trees, the gardens,
the orchards, the glorious palaces and temples, the shops
and marketplaces, the houses, the public squares.
Find the cornerstone and under it the copper box
that is marked with his name. Unlock it. Open the lid.
Take out the tablet of lapis lazuli. Read
how Gilgamesh suffered all and accomplished all.
- Gilgamesh, translated by Stephen Mitchell
Although I’ve been kind of a poetry machine lately, I decided to take it easy on myself for my 30 Day Fan Poetry Challenge and match poems I liked to Dragon Age screenshots, concept art or fan-art. (Although, considering I just spent 30 minutes looking for the right artwork for this one, I suspect this whole “taking it easy on myself thing” might be utter BS).
This serves two purposes: One, it allows me to express my love for this universe in a new way that avoids any guilt for not continuing my existing fanfic or meta projects (which I’m taking a hiatus on until this massive work project is complete). Second, it forces me to familiarize myself with more poetry, since I don’t really have a huge knowledge base to start from. Not only that, but it encourages me to analyze and contextualize them, to make it personal, which is kind of the point of good literature, right?
So back to Gilgamesh. Amid all the bulls and floods and wild clay-men, it’s easy to overlook that Gilgamesh, in large part, is a man’s first love letter to the city, and we’ve been penning awestruck sonnets to them ever since.
How is a man’s hometown his legacy? How does the city push back on him and offer him life everlasting? What do they owe each other? It’s all here in Gilgamesh, the story of a man and his adopted home, this city he protects even though, like him, it is mortal and fallible and corrupt…because it’s beautiful, too, in a way that “no city on earth can equal”, and that’s why the poem ends as it begins: with a love song to Uruk, a listing of its virtues.
Stephen Mitchell’s translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite writings of all time. Mitchell doesn’t just translate Sumerian; he worships it, this dusty weird language that nobody has spoken or written in for 3,000 years, and he has such an innate sense of its cadence, its rhythm… Unlike so many other translations of this epic, which make it sound as lively as dishwater, Mitchell infuses every character and setting with personality and life. In fact, it all reads very much like something Varric might write in the Hanged Man, feet propped up, cold mead on his lips, toes warming before the fire crackling in the hearth.
Seriously, it’s just marvelous. Go check Gilgamesh out.
There’s gonna be some for the next month. Flutie and I have basically double-dog-dared one another to write a poem a day for the next thirty days, on the theme of the TV show Supernatural. To assist, I’ll be picking a screenshot from the show to base the poem on.
Left to my own devices, this may well result in thirty days of Destiel poem feels, which, while gratifying in its own way, might also become tedious. If you are a Supernatural fan, and you like poetry, and you want to see me write something about, say, Sheriff Mills (I am totally going to write a poem for Sheriff Mills) please link me an appropriate screenshot in my asks or as a reply to this post.
I haven’t decided whether I’m going to do Supernatural or Dragon Age yet, but just a heads-up: There’ll be lots more poetry crossing your dash in the future. And I invite you to join in the fun. Let’s make poetry cool again.