Triolet: Hell or high water

Taking up my own challenge with this rather gloomy number.

Julian_Onderdonk_(1882-1922)_-_Dawn_In_The_Hills_(1922)

Come hell or high water, still I wait,

Though dawn breaks slow upon these lonely hills,

When this night dies it may well be too late.

Come hell or high water, still I wait,

Where lingering shadows drift before the gate,

And no light from the morning sun yet spills.

Come, hell or high water, still I wait,

Though dawn breaks slow upon these lonely hills.

Triolet for Deborah

When the world is hopeless, coloured dull and grey,

Beyond the walls the unknown swirls its sandy skirts,

With the voice of wraiths that flee the light of day.

When the world is hopeless, coloured dull and grey,

Priests intone, black guards enforce the rule to pray,

You find the light, the green, the life so bright it hurts.

When the world is hopeless, coloured dull and grey,

Beyond the walls, the unknown swirls its sandy skirts.

Theodoros_Rallis_-_Child_Hiding_Behind_Egyptian_Sculpture,_Luxor

I think this triolet works. The world of The Green Woman is grey and hopeless, ruled by a miserable, cruel theocracy. Beyond the city walls is desolation, full of unknown horrors. But beyond is also a budding green place, a garden of Eden, a new start. Something, someone, needs to start the rebellion, the exodus, to find it. The world is grey, but the desert’s swirling skirts hide the key to a new life.

A constant theme in my novels is the search for a utopia. Not necessarily to find one ready made, but to build one. The Green Woman books are about Deborah’s search for her mother, herself, and a better world than one she has been presented with. The altruistic motivation doesn’t come to her immediately. It grows on her as she discovers that she might be able to change things, and the acceptance, that if she can change things, she has a duty to do it.

I like the notion that we all have a responsibility for those around us, and one of the tropes in fantasy fiction I find least appealing is the whipping up of armies, the killing of thousands, to fulfil one person’s ambition, to restore one person’s ‘rightful’ inheritance. There’s nothing ‘rightful’ about leadership. It has to be earned. Birth counts for nothing. The reverse is also true—the recognition of wrong brings an obligation to do something about it, however insignificant or useless we might feel.

Mighty leaders at the head of mighty armies does nothing for me as a literary construct. Cooperation, solidarity, mutual respect are all far more important. The grass grows without being forced; the sun shines for everyone. Putting aside differences and working hand in hand is the only way for any society to succeed. If you believe that too, you might like The Green Woman.

Book One: The Dark Citadel is free over the next few days.

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Over the edge of eternity

A triolet

Painting ©Gerhard Rießbeck

Riessbeck_stromschnelle

Over the edge of eternity, the silver river flows,

Into the pool at the world’s end, where golden fishes leap.

I set a barque of birch wood sailing, the petals of a rose.

Over the edge of eternity, the silver river flows

Bearing dreams and driftwood to a place where no one goes,

For our little lives are rounded and bounded by a sleep.

Over the edge of eternity, the silver river flows,

Into the pool at the world’s end, where golden fishes leap.

 

Winter King

Yesterday I wrote a pantoum about the Winter King and was so pleased with the result I decided to try and write a triolet on the same theme. This is more or less a triolet, though without the sophisticated nuance of changed meaning in the final couplet. That bit escapes me.

Shishkin_na_severe_dikom1

The winter king stands in the door,
Around his feet the snowflakes fall,
The golden sun we see no more.
The winter king stands in the door,
Frozen ripples rim the shore,
White the ash tree, white the pall.
The winter king stands in the door,
Around his feet the snowflakes fall.