The following is a sample of my work during NaNoWriMo 2017 on a novel begun during Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2016. I originally shared the poem along with (1) my list of excuses for not having written much in fall 2017, (2) explanation and promotion of NaNoWriMo, (3) commentary on my novel-writing process, and (4) an excerpt, a scene from the same novel. These parts together comprise the post “Noveling in November.”
So here it is, from early November 2017, a fanciful rhyme belying, until the final stanza, the general unease of all in Looking-Glass Land under the White King’s regime.
To the Ray Harvesters from Cheshire Cat’s Pub
Let me sell you some sunshine
from the broad eastern plain
so you won’t have to reach so high up that tree
to catch the sun’s rays, blocked by dense
branches and lofty foliage from harvesting.
They have plenty of sun back east
where drought is too long creating
mirages in a soon-to-be-desert
and the drunkards stumble to the tavern’s threshold
only to find invisible smiling cats.
The sun is not useful there
where they block it with blinds
of thick wool and old wood planks
in the one building where infamy lives,
but barely, while liquor flows and cats nap.
The ground there is golden
with burnt grass and bright dirt, mocking
the yellow of sun beams wished
for growing green things, which you have
in abundance in your abundant shade.
Could we make a trade, perhaps,
a bargain of sorts? Rain for sun,
damp for dry, and a stoop of rum
or a sprig of thyme, for good measure
and good faith, or if you’d prefer,
some visions ground from your own toadstools?
It won’t be long now before you’ll
pale in the dearth of light on your western earth
and we’ll shrivel in the hot white searing
of sod and sand and roof on this edge of things.
We must take care of each other, or what are we?
© copyright C. L. Tangenberg
Somehow, I rattled that one off in about 25 minutes after drafting a scene that takes place at the Cheshire Cat’s pub, a place I invented. It probably helped that I came fresh from studying poetry and contemplating the craft of verse writing as part of my responses to a friend’s questionnaire for profiling me as an artist on her blog, in two parts: here and here. Thanks again, HL Gibson!
It also helps to be writing regularly, I must remember. The more often one practices. . . .