Sunday June 26th, 2011

The exercise:

How about we go with: the tower.

Quiet day off today, featuring rest and reading. Oh, and going out for gelato for after dinner dessert.

Mmm, Blackberry Merlot.


It rose from the ground like a sickly old man without his cane, threatening to topple over at any moment and never reach for the sky again. Whenever the wind gathered strength and set against its walls I suspected that the end had finally come.

But still it remained upright.

No soul had been inside in recent memory, to my knowledge at least. Why someone didn't have it knocked down I never understood. Didn't they see the children playing around its base whenever the adults were too busy to watch them?

But still it stands.

Perhaps I shall destroy it myself. Not a finger would be raised to stop me. It's not like I believe in that silly old story about the last resident of the tower. Only little boys and girls are scared of curses these days.

But still I delay.


Greg said...

Blackberry Merlot sounds lovely! I've been reading (and cooking from) the Bocca cookbook lately and that has a number of gelato recipes that also make my mouth water.
The air of mystery in today's piece works well with the structure you've chosen, but I'm not at all convinced by the tense change from past to present in the middle. I think it would be more powerful if you stayed in one tense all the way through. (I recently noticed that I did exactly the same thing in the Ilmatu trilogy so I'm now having to go back and correct that; there's a job I hate!)

The tower
Primeval, it rises from a stone base,
Pointing upward like some giant finger,
A symbol for those who read symbols,
Shelter for those who travel.
Old stone forms its walls,
Laid by hands long forgotten,
Belonging to builders who built Before men had arrived here.
And ghosts haunt its walls,
Speaking in tongues no longer used,
Writing in letters no longer read,
Scaring only themselves in the dark.
The tower is a waypoint, too useful
To be struck down and turned into walls,
Yet uneasy nights are spent there,
As history stalks its halls.

Marc said...

Greg - I'm curious as to why you found it unconvincing. The bit doesn't fit entirely right with me now that I'm reading it again, but I'm not sure that's the word I'd choose to describe the problem.

'Scaring only themselves in the dark' is a great line :) I also really liked the final handful of lines.

Greg said...

Hmm. I think I've used unconvincing as a euphemism without really thinking about what I meant to say -- sorry! I think what I should have said was that I found the tense transition jarring.
Of course, as I said, I've just found that I've done the same thing over 10,000 words, so I'm a bit hypersensitive to that at the moment.
As for my poem today -- I think I should go back, take the last handful of lines as the start, and start again -- it's awful, and you're just being nice!

Denin said...

A solemn icon.
An abandoned power.
A threat to the skies left disregarded.

It does not lean.
It is empty.

It does not sway in the wind.
It is empty.

At the top, a broken window and bloodstains.

Below, faded chalk markings and free floating yellow tape.

The tower is not haunted, because the one who prowls its halls is alive.

Marc said...

Denin - that has an almost hypnotizing effect to it, especially with the repetition of 'It is empty'.

Great final line too :)