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April 21st, 2015 03:17 pm - here is almost seven hundred words of poetry all about spiders
It's Blank Verse Blog Week! I suppose, today
I’ll have to try to write in rhythmic glee.
(Am I the only one who feels dismay
That that name's less of iamb than spondee?)

I'm in the mood for formal language play
Because I'm reading in the book called "Doom"
Or sometimes "Angry Elves" if you're my friends,
By which I mean the Silmarillion,
Which I have tried to read before, and failed,
But this year's goal is "Finish all the books
That sit, half started, lonely, on your shelves"
And so I'm pushing though until the end.

I've got at far as fair, lost Beleriand
But must confess I still don't care for elves
Who love unmoving shadows in the West
And sometimes I mix Finrod and Fingon
And so on, but there's one old name I love,
Who's passed right through the story, and then gone
To an unsung and silent happy age,
And that, of course, is she, Ungoliant.

Long I’ve loved spiders, curious and quiet,
The weavers, hunters, builders, mothers, friends,
The fat and fuzzy, bright-eyes-in-the-dark,
Festooning silent places, guarding trails,
But most of all I think I love the way
They are the ones that we cannot shut out:
In all the sealed and sterile homes we've made,
Hidden from the earth that lives, for fear
Of anything that’s free, unclean, Not-Us.
And watching flick'ring lights as evening falls,
It's spiders that will find the open doors,
And dash across the shower-wall and say:
You can't shut out the world though you may try
For there is more outside than you can find,
And it is life, like yours, and not alone.

In the same way as dark Ungoliant
Who walked into the Pure-Land-Walled-From-Fear
And taught them light unshared is light devoured
In that uneasy twilight of the world
When all the Powers kept the world in dark
Except their private garden of the Trees:
Until she came and sucked up all the glow
So covetously kept corralled away,
And left no choice to them but share the Sun.

Not only light she sucked up that dark year,
For of the Nine Fell Oaths that were ill-sworn
Those days before the first dawn of the world,
The first-sworn of them all, and first fore-sworn,
Was Melkor's oath to aid Ungoliant:
And when that oath he broke, she broke his power,
No more with Valinor could he contend,
But tied to Children's clothing, weak he strove
Against the swords of Men and Angry Elves,
His black hands always burning with his Oath
He broke to she who cared not for their cares.

And as to she herself - she rolled eight eyes,
Expecting nothing less from Eru’s spawn,
And went away beyond the pains of song,
And wove her cloth to catch the gen’rous light
Of the bright Sun, the fruit she did not eat,
But left to spread for all beneath the Sky.
And had no truck with Oaths and Wars and such
And raised her daughters and her sons in peace,
To a great dynasty that spanned the World,
Until she chose to leave it her own way,
The only creature ever under sky
Who conquered Melkor and the Valar both,
And in one day, and only as she chose.
(If she *did* leave - the Moriquendi tell,
In the far South, and in the East, that still
She throws her silk into the sky and climbs
To dim the Moon to blood, from time to time.)

I mean, it could just be that she’s the first
Who bears the pronoun she, in all that book,
To do aught more than cry, grow plants, and sleep,
And that is why I love her, like her child
Shelob in Frodo’s tale, who’s feared alike
By Dark and Light, still scorning all their wars.

But mostly I have loved the ones who stay
Outside the realms where Kings and Noldor fight,
The spiders, Old Tom, Hobbits who wed Fae,
And all who learned to live between the light.

(14 comments | Reply)

May 9th, 2010 10:14 pm - Harry Potter fanfic from 2003!
Since I just posted - as my final argument on [community profile] poetry, a poem (Snake, by D. H. Lawrence) that always makes me want to write fic, I thought I ought to actually post some of the fic I have written around the poem.

Also, [personal profile] siegeofangels just posted about how she likes seeing people post stories that failed, that never quite worked and will never be finished. Well, I think this was the Harry Potter novel I was working on when I first friended her - in, what, 2003? It would have to be, this pre-dates OOTP.

So, yeah. Seven-year-old fic! Yay! What went wrong that I never finished it? Mostly that I was trying to do way too much - the bits of this novel that I have wind together so many characters, so many plot threads, so many things I wanted to say that even if I'd had the stamina to finish it, it would've been a giant unfollowable mess of a story. And I think I sensed that at the time, because I spent a lot of effort trying to figure out how to structure the plot, when I should probably have instead been cutting things out of it, or just writing the damn thing.

Anyway, I have here just pulled out the scenes that string together into a story about Ginny Weasley and Draco Malfoy striking up an unlikely alliance, which were in fact *directly* based on the Lawrence poem (as you'll see particularly in the first scene, which follows it terribly closely.) Pulling out just that thread works surprisingly well, actually - while I wouldn't call it complete by any means (you can clearly see all the dangling ends where other plot threads were meant to weave in, and several of the conversations cut off before the important things happen, and much of the middle of the story is missing) it's actually fairly coherent, and the most of the missing bits don't really interfere with what's going on with Draco and Ginny. So, verdict: if I was still interested in working on this, I think I would be tempted to re-work it as just the Draco & Ginny friendship plot, probably set during either book six or a post-book-seven Hogwarts year; none of the stuff in the D&G plot really got contradicted in the last four books. But I'd have to re-work everything around them.

So, Verdict: suprisingly readable as-is, interesting historical artifact, works best if you have recently read the Snake poem.

ETA: I suppose I should warn that non-explicit consent issues come up in this - they come up in the part that I didn't ever actually *write*, so in this version they exist only as a short bracketed plot summary insert - but I shall warn anyway.

Thread 2: Something to Expiate )

(4 comments | Reply)

February 22nd, 2010 03:08 pm - Wulf and Eadwacer
So, a long, long time ago, before I had an online journal or interacted with fandom in any way, back before Wikipedia ruled the internets, I used to post on Everything2, which is a wikipedia competitor with a very different structure, ethos, and culture. (As much as I do like the Wiki system, I wish more sites used an E2 framework instead - I think it would've worked really well for fanlore, for ex., with its emphasis on multiple voices and automatic flow.)

Anyway, one of the things I posted there, over eight years ago (!!!), was an attempted translation of the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer into poetic Modern English. I'm no Anglo-Saxon scholar, but I go through phases of reading lots of early English poetry and poking at the language, so it may be a bad translation, but I like the poem, and I like my version better than any of the other translations I've found, and I have nothing at all staked on it being a good translation, so critique it all you want. (I am, oddly, very fragile when it comes to criticism of my fiction - I can get scared into writing nothing for months even by *effusively good* feedback - but have a very thick skin about my poetry - say whatever you want about it, it won't change what the poem means to me.)

So there's this translation, that's been sitting pretty much ignored on a website that's been slowly dwindling in readership, until [personal profile] shanaqui with her riddles on [community profile] poetry inspired me to look it up again and repost my Wulf and Eadwacer there.

And what should I discover but that someone has quoted my translation in an academic paper, as far as I can tell from Google pretty much in full, and published it in the journal "Language and Literature" only this month.

I am trying to articulate why this pisses me off so much. Given that I generally approve of fair use and quotation and derivative/transformative work with or without permission, and am pretty radically anti-intellectual-property in general, and strongly support acafandom in using internet postings in published papers, I ought to just be happy that somebody (somebody who I rather admire as a writer and scholar) has noticed my un-expert little translation and thought it worth talking about.

But, well, what pisses me off? Is that the journal's publisher wants 25 dollars from me in exchange for the privilege of looking for only 24 hours at the article about my work that they published without even notifying me.

<I>That</i> pisses me the hell off (pardon my Anglo-Saxon. And Old French.) Cue rant. )

Short version: if Transformative Works and Cultures was pay-only, I would be a lot less supportive of it, that's for darn sure.

(I tend to think that fanacademia, even beyond TWC, tends to be fairly good about freely sharing info - even when papers are published behind pay-only, it's been fairly easy for me to get copies for free - but that might be because accumulated fanmeta rep has gotten *me* inside several locked walls of access that I don't even see any more.)

(Also, said fan network has already gotten me a copy of the paper about Wulf and Eadwacer that discusses me. I am now officially recorded in the ongoing conversation of Western Thought as "Melannen, a kind of 'groupie' for wit and wisdom" --- I'll take it! Could be worse. Also, my e2 post is "not exactly post-structural exegesis," but rather "a crude recommendation" to "make the empty room exciting with your own furnishings". Hmm, you know, I don't have any titles on my DW journal pages yet... :D But seriously folks, it's a reasonably good paper which is doing pretty much the same thing I tried to do in my e2 post but better - the quotes are actually a compliment, because I'm the only one of six translators - including Burton Raffel - he actually discusses at any length whatsoever. Even if he is baffled by the internets and the way learnings happen there. And he got the date of publication of the E2 entry wrong by five years somehow. And altered my translation in a fairly significant way without, apparently, noticing.)

...er. Speaking of the value of a public domain, last weekend I was at Farpoint - my first ever sci-fi con! - and spent most of the time trying to pretend it was con.txt, which meant hanging around the do-it-yourself panel rooms and figuring out how to talk about fanfic in them without outright admitting I'm a fanfic writer. (Panels I either gave or attended: Writing SF Erotica, DIY Social, SF Worldbuilding, Webcomics 101, Sex and SciFi, Not Everyone's a Pro, Copyright/Copywrong, Convention Sales for Creative Types, and Sherlock Holmes. I want to talk more about the con later, but this post is going to be long enough already.)

One of the coolest ones I attended was The Copyright, Copywrong panel, which was recorded and is available as a podcast. )
...anyway it also features me as "person in audience who wouldn't stop talking". Hear! Me attempt to talk to Marc Okrand without getting squee all over him! Hear! Me slip slash discussion in under the radar by casually mentioning the OTW without explaining what it is! Hear! Me get scolded for talking too much and not letting other people participate! Hear! Me completely fail to mention Interrobang Studios, which is ostensibly why I was at the con!

(and for the record, if I was not so lazy I would officially put all of my work under a creative commons share-alike license, the share-alike being most important and the attribution being least.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

(30 comments | Reply)

November 9th, 2008 08:24 pm
MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving	
Over Goldengrove unleaving?	
Leáves, líke the things of man, you	
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?	
Áh! ás the heart grows older	     
It will come to such sights colder	
By and by, nor spare a sigh	
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;	
And yet you wíll weep and know why.	
Now no matter, child, the name:	   
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.	
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed	
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:	
It ís the blight man was born for,	
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Guess what I spent all weekend doing! Ah, the joys of being a grown-up with your own place.


April 25th, 2008 10:59 pm - O HI NATIONAL POETRY MONTH
A poem that for some reason came to mind this week, from my favorite sonneteer of all time, Edna St. Vincent Millay:
I, being born a woman and distressed )

There was a women who understood everything that "sexual liberation" entailed.

So is "you don't talk about account creation being turned on" one of the rules of JF now? 'cause it's on. And nobody's talking about it.

(2 comments | Reply)

November 17th, 2006 07:32 pm - poetry as foreplay
Sister! [livejournal.com profile] anaross has written the Buffy/Poetry/Spike story! And it's twenty-eight chapters of poems and wonderful and demons and snow and striving and sex and Edna St. Vincent Millay (who is all of those things really)!

My Life Closed Twice

I haven't found much fic to read the past few days, doing a lot of reloading and malingering and whining, and then one of those special stories I wish I was good enough to write shows up on friendsfriends, and oh fandom!

Now I have to go write a villanelle, 'cause I've been away from poetry too long.

Current Music:: thom gunn

(2 comments | Reply)

May 2nd, 2006 11:33 pm - One More Argument in the Fanfic: Good or Evil? debate
I love to tell the story; 
'tis pleasant to repeat 
what seems, each time I tell it, 
more wonderfully sweet. 
I love to tell the story, 
because I know 'tis true; 
it satisfies my longings 
as nothing else can do.  

I love to tell the story; 
more wonderful it seems 
than all the golden fancies 
of all our golden dreams.  
I love to tell the story, 
it did so much for me; 
and that is just the reason 
I tell it now to thee.  

I love to tell the story, 
for those who know it best 
seem hungering and thirsting 
to hear it like the rest.  
And when, in scenes of glory, 
I sing the new, new song, 
'twill be the old, old story 
that I have loved so long!

(Words by Katherine Hankey, 1834-1911)

P.S. [livejournal.com profile] stellar_dust: If I dream about William Shatner's .... bullseye tonight, it will be ALL YOUR FAULT. And probably grounds to sue.

Current Music:: It has been stuck in my head since Sunday.
Current Mood:: [mood icon] sleepy

(4 comments | Reply)

April 8th, 2006 01:53 pm - Proof that I am fundamentally verbally oriented:
Beyond the rim of the starlight
My love is wand'ring in starflight.
I know he'll find in star-covered reaches
Love, strange love a star-woman teaches.
I know his journey ends never,
His star trek will go on forever.
Tell him, as he sails his starry sea
Remember, remember me.

That, I still know off the top of my head. But ask me to hum the tune? You get a blank stare, followed by a few bars of 'Imperial March' that segue into the Twilight Zone theme by way of Ode to Joy.

Current Music:: Anybody have an mp3 of "The Green Hills of Earth"?
Current Mood:: [mood icon] Totally not filking. Nope.

(17 comments | Reply)

December 23rd, 2005 08:44 pm - eating candy out of old socks
Ah, stale cigarette smoke, catnip, and rank goat: the inimitable scents of Christmas.

Have some nativity poetry, reeking of 1950's domesticity and Sunday school:
The Watch )

Current Music:: dahoo doray

(1 comment | Reply)

June 22nd, 2004 12:03 am - Oobleck fell over Georgetown once in the 1960's.
So we're back in Maryland. I've typed up and backdated three entries I wrote on the trip. They are rather whiny because I wrote them when I had time-- generally when I was bored and tired. But I *did* have fun. Mostly. The most exciting thing that happened was when we stopped at a little gift shop at Sunset Beach and this black cat with lighter dapples poured himself out from the crawl space under the building and I swear he looked just like black oil creeping over the ground.

And we stopped to see Pop-pop on the way back on Father's Day, and he and Aunt Carolyn swapped artifical knee stories, and that reminded me of the last time we were there with someone with a bad knee and Pop-pop was making a huge batch of sausage balls so I asked Mom if we had the recipe and that inspired her to go out and buy all the ingredients and make me make some for the pot-luck church ladies' meeting tonight, so I did, and then she made me go to the meeting, where I explained viruses and defragging to Miss Jerry, who is annoyed at her computer, and thinks you have to take it to the shop in order to wipe the hard drive.

There has been a funeral every week this summer. Mom's going to another one tomorrow for one of the church ladies.

Aunt Carolyn said I should get a part-time job at the church this summer like she did when she was a kid. I told her I'm there three or four days a week anyway, and Mom said no I'm not, I'm exaggerating, this week I'm only going to go to quilting and the meeting on Monday. And church on Sunday, of course. And oh yeah, Game Night Tuesday night. Oh. She supposes that is four times. I keep asking Mom what inspiration I have to get a job when it seems like every day she comes up with something else we can do this summer "unless my daughter gets a job." We can go to NJ-- unless I have a job. We can go up to RI to see Sister-- unless I get a job. We can go on a long camping trip-- unless I get a job. We can go to Ohio to party with her sister-- unless I get a job.

Not to mention I took a long nap in my hammock this afternoon because it was so nice out that I couldn't bear to do anything else. I dreamed that [livejournal.com profile] stellar_dust was still home and she was teasing me about fic and she thought my current idea was really stupid. Well. Just because Mom got me thinking about childrens' books this weekend and I started thinking to myself:

Mulder and Scully and the ABCs )

Today I learned: It isn't "Always a little and never a lot,/ or something may happen, you never know what."
It's actually "Never feed him a lot./ Never more than a spot!/ Or something may happen./ You never know what."

Current reading: A Fish Out of Water, by Helen Palmer, illus. by P. D. Eastman

Current Music:: otis redding - sittin' on the dock of the bay
Current Mood:: [mood icon] rhyming

(34 comments | Reply)

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