Saturday, 30 September 2017

Spinning Pearls

Spinning Pearls (2007) Post 274

Spinning Pearls is the second volume of my retro-Victorian fantasy verse, following Fernseed for Fairysight. The title, as with the first book, comes from one of the poems, which is a rare (for me) piece of free verse. Well, free-ish. With my love of patterns, I'm usually more attracted to form in poetry, but with my dislike of the conventions, it's often a form I've invented. (I have one so ferociously difficult I wrote it only once. The sole existing piece on this form is called The Book of Anna and yes, it IS in Spinning Pearls. 
The book falls into parts, called, respectively, 
"Ring Around the Moon", "Bridge of the Air" and "Spinning Pearls". 

In between the pieces fall a few lines of explanation or background information. Here's an example... the piece of verse is a rhymed acrostic, called Political Necessity.

Political Necessity

Ah, that I never knew her!
Sleep has held her in its arms
Lullabyed by rustling roses
Eglantine; its thorny charms
Enhanced by fairy flickers
Poised on twisted candle tips
In solitude still dreaming
Note the smile upon her lips.
Golden threads adorn her,
Blended silk all bloomed with lace
Enchantment holds the stasis
Age shall never touch her face
Unless one day she wakens
To displace our noble king
Yes, should those eyes drift open,
What a sorrow it will bring!
Ah! that I'll never know her
Kindness forces me to keep
Enhancing her enchantment
Slipping deeper into sleep...

(acrostic, this time based loosely on the story of The Sleeping Beauty. The narrator is a kindly man, but political necessity would make it inconvenient if the maiden should ever wake.) 

I love writing rhymed acrostics (and I do reversed ones too) because the challenge is to produce a poem that some people might not even notice IS an acrostic. If it obviously is, that often means the lines are forced.

I really love this book but it's long out of print. I'll now present two more bits of verse... the title piece (which won a prize in a contest) and the weird form one.

Spinning Pearls is probably about mental illness, or maybe an enchantment. What do you think?

Spinning Pearls

Nandi sits alone, untended,
Quiet time at her command.
The silent moments
Slip on by her,
One by one;
A string of pearls
Made deftly out of fossil moonlight;
Nandi sits alone.

Her thin hand draws
A languid arc all spindled out of
Rainbow promise;
See it spill Picasso petals
in the humming of her loom.
The colors trickle through the chinks,
Escape her fingers,
Dance like motes
To dissipate in virgin air.
The other rooms are thick with words
While Nandi sits alone.

The sparking gems
Of Nandi's fancy
Leap to being
From her mind;
A china rose-
Her unicorn-
The horseshoe made of polished steel.
To scent the silence
Of the room,
To bear the wonder
Of her gaze,
To form a cornucopia,
A brightly walled repository,
For luck and rainbows
On the loose,
While Nandi sits alone.

Her solitude is not for pity,
Others pause to say hello,
But Nandi simply turns aside,
And weaves her pearls
Of silent moments,
On a thread of rainbow braiding,
Catching briefly on those eyes,
Indifferent glances
Slipping by...

She saves her smiles for unicorns
And China roses fresh and old,
A horseshoe basket for her fate,
The candlestick to light her darkness...
Though she sits alone in silence
With her mind encased in crystal
Nandi knows her unicorns
Will come. She sits alone.

The China rose was from her lover
Planted for St Valentine,
The horseshoe gift to bring her laughter
Tossed to clasp a fairing prize.
The unicorns are Nandi's virtue
Long preserved and veiled in tulle,
But moonlight took her warm intentions;
Rainbows stole her gentle voice,
So all she'll do is sit in silence
Hoarding luck and moonlit pearls.
Her lips may part in breathless wonder
Seeing love-inspired mirage,
But Nandi's gone... the girl I won
Is spinning pearls

And I'm alone.

Now, if you're still with me, take a deep breath and plunge into The Book of Anna.

(The next poem is a deeply odd form of reversed acrostic. Words are spelled vertically, and then used horizontally in the lines. The pivot is a word, "Book".)
The Book of Anna

Twining words in honeysuckle old style,
Hillsides witness my word-requited tale,
Etudes, preludes, alluding to my ink smile-

The book of Anna –poet of the grail.

Briar roses, innocent and blushing
Overhanging my white uncharted brow
Over, lover, roving words a’hushing,
Knowing rhymes in the long-forgotten now-

Book of Anna – poet of believing.

Odes to seasons, sonnets from my life
Free verse, reversed, synonyms of leaving,

Of this Anna – and metaphors run rife.

Anthems penned in a fine soprano ringing,
Nevermore the silence of the night-
None but I need mind the rhythm winging
Ashes, roses, disposes of the light.

Anna – poet – B(r)ooks not black and white.

Flinging phrases out along the sunset,
Overreaching the syntax of today,

Of fun, so one, wordplay often unmet,

Kicking, clicking, all along the way.
Only Anna may venture to the deep end
Often swinging her dictionary’s tail,
Bringing, stringing, words both large and wee, penned,

Book of Anna – encrypted – cannot fail.

Even roses must twine about the ladder,
Hearts and thorns form poetical bouquet,
Torn, unspoken, broken, dyed with madder,

The Book of Anna, elliptical ballet.

What was I thinking when I created that? God alone knows, and He's not telling.


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

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