Monday, March 31, 2008

Poetry Train Monday - 43 - That Dream Again

This is a brand new poem, a backstory poem for one of my fictional characters. Arlen is a 17-year-old boy who lives in a cabin in the woods with his mother and step-father. It's the 1830's, and Arlen works the traplines with his step-father.

The relationship between Arlen and the step-father is strained at best. They are rivals for his mother's affections, and the step-father is a hard man. This story is from a screenplay titled The Penitent and the dream opens the film.

That Dream Again

In dreams I turn
Snapped twig reveals
Two eyes watching
Forest shadow moves
Breath seizes throat
Neck beads sweat

No time to reach
Musket hangs useless
Cool autumn air
Lacework gold above
Crunching leaves below
Bear surges forth

Your shot rings out
Heart nearly fails
Bear drops, tongue
Lolls from snout
You stride up
Lower musket

In dreams I turn
Your gaze moves
Up from kill
No time to run
Musket recoils
I jerk awake

In dreams I turn
I start awake
I clutch chest
No wound gapes
But sweat beads
On bowed neck

Copyright - Julia Smith - 2008


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Ugh. When I was little, I had night terrors about bears. I still remember them vividly.

I'm intrigued by the comment that Arlen and his step-father don't get along so well. It gives the dream a bigger context, and I like that.

Ann said...

Cool that you write poems as back storie for your characters. It sounds a little more serious than Arlen and his step-father don't get along.

gautami tripathy said...

I like the write up before the poem. It gives this poem a depth.

last journey

Akelamalu said...

I love the way you write poems for your characters - fabulous Julia.

Karina said...

Julia, I really like this one. I could feel that morning terror as you wake up from a dream such as this, checking that you are "whole", but still feeling the adrenaline of the scare.

R.G. ALEXANDER said...

Absolutely love it

Amy Ruttan said...

Oh man how vivid and powerful.

Trappers certainly had a hard life. My Dad still remembers riding the lines up in Timmins and Cochrane where he grew and the train would stop to pick up trappers out of the bush.

Julia Smith said...

Amy! Very cool about your trapper dad!

Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

Oh, Julia, what an intense and chilling poem! I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as the intro you included. The Penitent sounds like a fabulous screenplay!

Amy Ruttan said...

No Julia my Dad wasn't a trapper, he rode the train to get to school and remembers the trappers getting on out of the bush.

My dad worked at the Courthouse. LOL!

But him being a trapper would explain alot ;)

Rose said...

I really like this poem.

Julia Smith said...

Amy - (whoops) I thought your dad was a wild one in his younger days!

Anonymous said...

Wow, a very affecting poem, and I,too, like how you write poems about your characters.

Bears -- we might see one on a hike as it's getting warmer! We don't have big bears here, though -- we have black bears, and they're shy of humans. Still... it always pays to be aware.