Wednesday February 23rd, 2011

The exercise:

Today we're writing something that takes place: inside the fort.

Kat has been battling what has come to be known around here as The Jamaica Flu ever since we got back. Now that she's starting to get a bit better, it's obviously my turn. I've been fighting it off for the last few days but it's starting to wear me down. Hopefully a good sleep tonight will help.

Anyway, back to the fun in Jamaica. While we were in Kingston my aunt and uncle took us out to Port Royal (the link is definitely worth the read if you want to learn some pirate history), where we had a little tour of Fort Charles:

I'm the sort of guy who just has to climb up something like that the moment I spot it. So here's the view from up top:

And a shot along the barrel of one of the many cannons:

It was an interesting place, but the sun was out and there was little shade to be found so we had to get out of there a littler sooner that I would have liked. Still with me? All right, let's get to writing.


Their enemies at the walls
And their supplies running low,
They gathered in the courtyard,
Lit by the moon's ghostly glow.

No one called for surrender,
Not a tear dared to appear.
They agreed to one last charge
Into death's arms with a sneer.

The drawbridge lowered at dawn
And every last soul poured out;
With swords and daggers held high,
They left this world with a shout.


summerfield said...

marc, you were lucky that the fort was empty! i love to take pictures of places like this, but the problem is there are always people milling about. i'd like to visit this fort someday. i'm a sucker for old and crumbled forts and castles.

i could see the ghosts of thebrave soldiers in your poem inside this fort. i especially love the image created in my mind by the last stanza. neat!


Portia followed the gypsy woman with a bit of curiosity and annoyance. She was wearing her two-inch heels and a walk along the grounds of the old Spanish fort was not in her mind when the gypsy told her that she had seen her in another lifetime a long time ago, and uncermoniously told Portia to follow her. She's always passed by the fort but never had the inclination to go in and look. She's from here, not a tourist, she always thought.

The gypsy, no more than sixty, Portia reckoned, had very dark skin, and the lines on her face told the hardship she had gone through. Her large silver earrings gave small jingling sounds as she turns her head side to side, up and down, as if looking for something in the mossy walls of the musty fort cells they passed. They reached a non-descript corner where the smell of death seemed to still hang in the musty air. Her ragged hands touched the walls as she murmured something that resembled a prayer although Portia was sure it wasn't.

A large brick moved and fell on the ground in crumbly pieces. Portia felt a damp air in her chest and for a while she thought she was going to faint. She thought it was just the smell but there was a gentle breeze that came from the bay beyond the fort.

"You," the gypsy told her, "was standin' here. Beautiful silk dress...and your hair...flowing. The sun..." she pointed to the direction of the bay, "red, sinking in water." She bent down and took a handful of the brick's pieces, took out a large piece that was strangely dark and held it up. "Your blood!"

The gypsy grabbed Portia's arm and forced her to stand up beside the wall where the brick fell from. Portia's chest felt tight and she couldn't understand it. She had no obvious sickness, but it felt like she was choking now. She put a hand on her chest and started to massage herself, as her eyes welled with tears.

"Yes, that's where you's standing," the gypsy said, her voice calmer now. She had a look of regert in her eyes as she told Portia, "I was the soldier with the live bullet that struck your chest. You died instantly."

Portia suddenly felt better.

"I'm sorry, but it was an order. A soldier always obeyed orders." She put her face in her ravaged hands and sobbed.

Portia asked her, "What are you talking about?"

"You were executed here for adultery. Your husband the son of the Governor-General. Your paramour, a soldier. Your son, he died during childbirth."

"They killed me for adultery? And who was the soldier, do you know?" Portia asked, both indulging and curious.

"I was the soldier, and they chose me to kill you." She looked at the snippet of red sunset glow slowly fading. "I love you...but a soldier always obeys orders."

"Well," Portia said but only she could hear, "that explains the chest pains I've been having since I was young."

A stronger breeze blew and the small hush of the palm trees seemed to have blown the smell of death in that little corner. Portia took the small piece of brick with her "blood", wrapped it in her handkerchief and followed the gypsy back to the gate.

sorry, but i just wanted a nice neat bow at the end.

Greg said...

@summerfield: fascinating idea and I think the bow at the end works just fine!

@marc: the pictures are great, again. I think a lot of the Caribbean island have forts on them still, remnants of the days of piracy, but yours looks like somewhere I'd like to visit too. Out of the sun, obviously :)
I like today's poem, particularly the second verse.

In the fort
"Earthquake!" shouted Sebastian, and leapt from the table onto the fort Timmy had built from pillows and sofa cushions. The roof caved in and Sebastian crashed down, laughing hysterically.
Timothy crawled as fast as he could, trying to get to the living room door. Any moment now and Sebastian would discover the booby-trap in the fort; Timothy had no idea what a bear trap was but the instructions had been very easy to follow....

Zhongming said...

Marc, I'm fighting off Taiwan flu ever since i'm back, it's going to be close to three weeks so I pretty much know the frustration trying to rid the viruses :)

Well, that's what happen when the viruses got the better of my immune system. :D

Folks, I'm quite busy lately other than fighting that bothersome flu.

Anyway here's mine:
In the Fort

"Dark stone cave burrows underneath?"
"shhh... You're gonna wake em up."
"whispers: sorry, sorry. Those remainings just scares me..."
"okay, let's take it slow and easy, alright?"

Marc said...

Summerfield - yeah, I managed to capture it at a quiet moment. Just as we were leaving a bus full of school kids was arriving. You can actually see one of the girls in a blue dress in the cannon picture.

Fascinating tale. You had me right there with you, very nicely done.

Greg - that is one well fortified... uh, fort. Sebastian is in for one unpleasant surprise.

Zhongming - I think getting sick after returning from travels is pretty common. If you don't catch something while you're away, somebody on the plane is sure to be sick with something.

Interesting little snippet, I'd love to see more.