Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A novel approach, in verse


I

I stumble through woods
where trees keep souls--
dead and gone,
newly-born,
I do not know.

I hear them breathe,
a different sound
than the thrum of sap,
the chitter of bare branches
one on another.

I do not feel my toes
anymore. They are stone,
but I feel the trees,
dug in deep,
weighted with snow.

Caleb? Is he wandering
through these woods,
alone and cold? So cold.
Can he hear the trees,
feel his toes?

I saw the woods
close around him.
I followed his footprints
until they faded under
falling snow.

He left me.
For dead?
I think he did not know
I was in the rubble,
digging my way out.

But did he look for me
as I search for him? I burn
somewhere deep—almost buried—
at the thought of lips
brushing mine.

That was a lifetime
ago. Before
my toes turned to stone
and the flame inside
fluttered like an injured bird.

The trees rattle
and clack in a knife-sharp wind.
They are restless, famished.
I must keep moving,
looking for him.

II

It’s colder now. I think
my bones are made of ice,
brittle, unforgiving,
but the woods stretch before me.
There is no stopping.

The snow has taken
all sound but the groan of limbs.
It’s smothered color.
Even the sky is fog-white,
no tattered scrap of blue.

Mile after mile of thickets
and endless snow. Something red
on a branch. An apple? A red bandana!
Caleb wore one pulled low
above his eyes.

It flutters. A blood-red rag in this
colorless world. He would not
leave it without purpose, a signal. A
sign that he lost his way.
Please, not that he lost heart.
*
*
This is my first attempt at writing novel scenes in verse format and is my little entry in Valerie Geary's fresh Scene-in-Verse Blogfest. Thanks, Valerie, for inspiring me to try something new. It was great fun.
I hope everyone is having a fantastic week and looking forward to 2011.

26 comments:

Wen Baragrey said...

Gorgeous, Tricia. Just gorgeous.

Linda Kage said...

WOW. Just...wow. I've always loved your poetry, but yeah, you've totally found your calling IMHO.

Thanks for sharing. This was beautiful.

Liza said...

Your imagery is stunning. Well done!

Laurel Garver said...

I think this form suits you very well, Tricia! This is both beautiful and compelling.

The Words Crafter said...

Oh, this was absolutely amazing! Brilliant! Well done! I have to go back and read it again....I was so there!

I especially loved "my bones are made of ice" ....

This whole thing is so evocative...

(I have goodies for you on my blog!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wen, Linda, Liza, Laurel: WOW! Thank you all for the encouraging words. It's scary to put something up in a format you've never tried before, but I did have so much fun doing it. It felt natural somehow.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

WordsCrafter: Oh, my, thank you, too. And I'll be over for a visit. :D

Donna said...

OMG, Tricia. I agree with Linda. Is this a new calling?

Misha said...

I love it! I must say I enjoyed writing my poem too although I had no intention of turning it into a novel.

Have a great 2011.

:-)

storyqueen said...

Yeah, um, I am thinking you need to write more of this....yep.

There is something in the sparse gorgeousness of it.

I am sensing a double dog dare coming along soon.....

So, start querying the mermaids. Seriously. I mean, even if the agent says that mermaids have been done, he/she might comment on your writing and the loveliness of it and say something like: Do you have anything else?

At which point you can say: Yes, as a matter of fact I do.

And then you whip out the novel in verse!

See? It all works out.

Shelley

Valerie Geary said...

Tricia- This was fantastic! What beauty: "where trees keep dead souls", "the chitter of bare branches". Le sigh. Also it made me shiver. In that good way when a writer describes a scene so perfectly you feel like you're there. (Either that or it was those pictures. Brrr!!) I hope you continue experimenting with verse novels...because this was beautiful.

Thank you for playing along! :D

Valerie Geary said...

(Oh and I second what storyqueen just wrote!! :D)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Tell us more!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Donna: I have no idea! I guess I'll keep experimenting.

Misha: Thank you. It was fun, wasn't it?

Shelley: I've got so many irons in the fire, I don't know what I'm doing. Right now, I've got a fairytale well under way and loving it, too. Maybe I can write three books at once! That'd be a double dog dare, for sure.

Valerie: Thank you! I did so enjoy doing this, I think I will keep experimenting with verse.

Caroline: I've got to think it up! Really, I just cranked this one up for the fest and need to brainstorm it more.

Jan Morrison said...

I love this! It is so good to try our story telling in many different ways - it wakes us up!

Phoenix said...

This is fantastic - makes me want to read more! What an incredible way to tell a story and to bring the readers in (and some lovely photos to accompany the verses as well!)

Wishing you some very happy holidays, and I will join you in sweeping 2010 off of both of our porches. Ugh. Bring on the new year already!

Jemi Fraser said...

What a terrific scene - I'm not surprised you have such a lovely touch with words!

VR Barkowski said...

So beautiful! The imagery and flow take my breath away. Captivating.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Jan: I'm wide awake now!

Tracy: Thanks, my dear, and a very happy new year to you. It's got to get better, right?

Jemi: Thank you! That's so nice to hear.

Viva: Oh, my. Those are mighty fine words. Thank you!

MG Higgins said...

Very nice, Tricia. So evocative. I can tell you had fun with it! (I absolutely ditto Shelley's comment.)

Jackee said...

Wonderful! Combined with your gorgeous pictures, this verse novel is stunning.

Thanks for sharing!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Mel: I did, and thank you. Now I'm going to have to make time to experiment with it more!

Jackee: Oh, thanks, my friend!

Paul C said...

I like this very much. Writing a verse novel. Very rich imagery.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Paul, thank you!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Great choice of words. Vivid! Agree with Caroline, more please!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Terry!