Sunday, January 17, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 136 - She Was Too Strong For Me


Here's a backstory poem for one of the characters in the story I worked on during NaNoWriMo in November.

Cavan is the grown son of the village wise woman in a 6th century Welsh village. He spends his days hiding his own sorcerer's power from his mother. He both adores her as a son and fears her power as a witch.

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She Was Too Strong For Me


My cries filled our hut
My cries
Mother roused long enough to soothe me
I was too distraught to fight off
Her quick charm

I slipped back into sleep
Slipped back for
More torments
Unwilling to see what
Must surely come next

I sat up
About to be sick
I sat, watching Mother
I whispered the words of my own charm
Sadly I whispered with a seething anger

Did all mothers try so hard
To care for their sons
Did all mothers force sons to be cruel
To break away from so much caring

I remained sitting
A pitiful attempt
To stay awake
Soon my head
Dipped down
Upon my chest

I jerked awake, stiff and
Disoriented

Mother stirred

I moaned
Tried to force myself
Past Mother’s whispered charm
She was too strong for me

An eerie comfort, her strength
Even as it sent me
Those silent screams
Only I could hear

"No…" I moaned
Sweating with effort
I fought her
Fought the invisible bonds

I thrashed about
With all the might I possessed
Thrashed and fought
But all in my mind

In reality I lay
As though deep in sweet slumber
I sensed Mother rising
Sensed Mother creeping over
To look

Felt her soft fingers brush
A sweaty tendril of
Hair from my forehead
I moaned

Mother bent down
Mother kissed me
She whispered a soothing charm
Thinking to keep her son safe
From dream demons

Couldn't she hear
That my moans were really screams?
Her charm muffled them
Like thick cloths stuffed hard in my mouth

I fell into dreams
Down and down
To places no one should be made to go
“Hush, now,” Mama said

Forcing her breast in my mouth

I shook my head from side to side
Protesting this outrage
She guided my face with
Immovable hands
I was made to suck

In a while it comforted me
But I had sharp little teeth

I watched as Mama’s face
Lined with the pain of feeding me


- Julia Smith, Jan. 17, 2010

Nikita Banerjee How do you come up with such good poems? :)

Andy Sewina Phew, I think this would work well on the radio!

Janet says I'm always fascinated by a writer's process - is character backstory something you usually do as you write, before you write?

8 comments:

Nikita Banerjee said...

How do you come up with such good poems? :)

Andy Sewina said...

Phew, I think this would work well on the radio!

Janet said...

Wow, Julia - that was amazing!

Do you usually create poems for your characters or did this one just come to you? I'm always fascinated by a writer's process - is character backstory something you usually do as you write, before you write?

And this book sounds very interesting - looking forward to hearing more.

Julia Smith said...

Nikki - This poem came directly out of the writing frenzy of November's NaNo marathon. I had to keep going, going, going to make that word count, so I delved into character backstory in a way that I normally wouldn't have done. Then, for today's poem, I grabbed a scene of prose and reworked it into a poem, which is another direct result of doing found poems last year.

Andy - Woops - I forgot I was going to do an American Sandwich form this week. I'll try again next Monday.

Janet - I started doing backstory poems for my characters to post for this weekly poetry feature, and I really liked how they pulled me into the characters' voices. It helps me discover the most important aspect or need for the character. And with the discoveries I made doing backstory during NaNo, I'm going to do more of it in the future. Prose and poetry, whichever feels best.

The best part of taking the time to do the backstory writing is how it will alter what I've already written for this character. I'll be changing some things during revisions, changes that I feel really strengthen the story.

Jill said...

SO young and actually already aware of such powers...
I wish I had more time to still follow all of your stories! I miss them!!

Travis said...

Very good, if a bit disturbing. The tension was excellent, building slowly to the unexpected.

Yousei Hime said...

Thrilling accompaniment to the background you gave. Looking forward to more story.

madeline d. murray said...

The tension and pathos in this poem is strong. I hope we'll get to read more of this tale.