So every few days or so, I spend time reading other folks’ blogs and getting a kick out of the vastly different kinds of things that people find their passion in, whether it is cooking sous vide, or geeking out about TV shows, or the joys of shoveling snow. And I discovered D. L. Perching’s website for t-shirts for writers of All Kinds of Genres. She had Fantasy Writers and Fan Fiction Writers and so, naturally, I asked if she could make an Epic Fantasy Fan Poetry Writer t-shirt for me, to commemorate the four months I spent back in Spring Semester (read, New England Winter: nine f@#&ing feet of snow, errgh), writing about 250 pages of poetry about Xena: Warrior Princess.
She said yes. Reader, I bought one. In honor of the up-and-coming anniversary of the start of that project, I am going to be posting some of the poems that I wrote, with some of the thoughts I had about the problems of the show I was trying to address. Here is the first, for starters, which is about the events of the pilot episode from the point of view of Gabrielle, when slavers try to take all the women in her village, and Xena, who in dark despair has decided to give up being a warrior (and possibly living–it’s not clear). She then takes up arms again to save them, leading later to Gabrielle following her on her road and then joining her on it.
The Slavers Reach Potidaea
When you wake on the day that changes
Your life forever, you have no idea, you
Think it’s just another blue, green and
Ordinary day, perhaps a good day
For bringing in sheaves or beating out
The laundry against rocks by the river.
On the day that changes your life for
Good, you think your life will never change
From the round of hard work, festival,
Hard work, but that is just because you don’t
Know how to recognize a day like
The one that changes your life forever.
Change rarely happens here. When you wake
You know what’s coming: the same old thing.
Then one day, that change. Everything
Changes. Slavers, sweaty and leering,
Sweep through the village like a reaping
Leaving the men bleeding, taking just
Young women, the strong or beautiful,
Those who can do the kinds of work that
Such men deem the work of womenfolk.
Terror. Screaming. Chaos and that acrid
Sweat of fear, of the knowledge of what
May be—is—coming. The heart beats too
Fast. Even when the unexpectable
Happens: a war cry, sudden salvation—
Your heart still gropes in darkness. And
The next day, when you wake, after that
Night when you relived those horrors, oh,
After that day that has changed your life
Forever, you too are changed, like dough
That, when introduced to extreme heat,
Becomes bread, nourishment, food for your
Journey. Sometimes fire destroys, even
Annihilates. But, sometimes, it anneals,
Leaving you stronger even than you were before.