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13 November 2013 @ 09:13 pm
Original Poetry: "Raise The Lantern"  
Title: Raise The Lantern
Fandom: Original Fiction (Poetry)
Rating: G
Summary: I will come back, she said.
Author's Notes: For the writerverse prompt of "Waiting Here."


I will come back, she said,
a story told so many years ago
that only the words—the helpless ache—remain.
The memory of her face is gone.

There was work (or hope), she said,
there beyond the sea, or perhaps
it was simply far enough away
from the responsibilities of caring for a child.

(I waited by the shore,
at sunrise, noon, and nightfall,
searching for the hint of hull or sail
that might at last proclaim your return).

A child so loved would never be left.
Those were the words of the village, once,
until so long had passed that they knew
(they all knew while I denied) the hollow truth:

I was too burdensome or ordinary
to sustain my mother's love.

The cold sea laps along the shore—
the tides turn my heart— and I wonder,
who am I to believe the impossible
after all this time? Why am I here?

In my dreams, I still hear her songs
at the cradle, still imagine her holding me
high against the sky, floating on a peal
of sun-bright laughter (whose, I do not know).

I chase those feelings to the water's edge,
always hoping something might have changed.

I never wished ill upon her, but at times
I invented injuries or sickness
that might have kept her away so long.
Mere indifference was far too cruel to consider.

The seasons shift, the cycles of the moon
become my own, and I am a woman
scarcely younger than when my mother left.
Still, she has not returned.

Here, in the dark, I raise the lantern
and search the patterned waves.
So many years, and yet (and yet)
I wait. There is only one path home.

----- fin ------

cindytsuki_no_bara on November 14th, 2013 05:31 am (UTC)
i tend to think the "woman waiting by the shore for someone she loves to return after a long time" is generally a woman waiting for her husband or lover, so to have the narrator of this be a woman waiting for her mother is a nice switch. it's very melancholy but i like it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 14th, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
That was one of the reasons I picked a different approach to this. As hard as it is to be left by a husband/lover, to be a child waiting (so long that she is now grown) is much more heartbreaking and so nearly impossible to get over.

It was nice to stretch into poetry for this one, too. I don't think prose would have worked as well!
similiesslipsimiliesslip on November 14th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
I love your word choices and how you arranged them.

This made me cry.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 14th, 2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.

When I saw that you had commented, I reread this more from your eyes, and then hoped it hadn't cut too deeply. The situation is slightly different, but the feelings... I think the child not receiving the love she wants, needs and deserves is just heartbreaking, even if it's clear that it's the mother at fault here and not the child. *sigh*

whipchickwhipchick on November 15th, 2013 10:16 am (UTC)
This is beautiful - I love how it works as an allegory or as a very real, modern feeling.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 15th, 2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Though it's set in a past era, I wanted it to be primarily about the feelings and the terrible position the narrator is in, which unfortunately could happen to almost anyone and still does. I ache for children who go through this, and that it's nearly impossible for part of them not to still be that child wanting that love and affirmation even when they're grown. It's a wound that is very hard to heal, both because of the pain and the unfairness involved. :(
Awesomely creepy: baugirlsheartagirlnamedluna on November 16th, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
This is heartbreaking. No matter how much sometimes I hate living here, or I am upset at having to do everything on my own, leaving my daughter is something I could never do. The imagery was very vivid and the imagery of the sea works very well with this theme, nice switch to it being a child and a mother rather than lovers too far apart.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 18th, 2013 06:21 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine leaving a child, especially one a few years old (putting a baby up for adoption would be hard enough, but a child you've spent time with?)

It's just unthinkable to me, and the pain that it causes the child is immeasurable and so impossible to resolve.

This poem isn't my own pain, but I know it is someone's pain, and that drives me to express it-- for all the people for whom this has happened.

Thanks so much for reading!
basric: WRITING: Obey the Musebasric on November 16th, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
I really am not into poetry but this one caught my interest. It flowed beautifully. It moves the reader, the emotion was evoked well. I love you turn of phrase throughout the poem. 'And yet (and yet)' It simply was lovely. A wonderful use of the prompt.

Well done.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 18th, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

The pain of not having a parent's love is such a terrible thing. Even when the parent hasn't actually left, but has offered no more than if they had... it hurts almost as much.

This poem is as much for the people who have known that pain as for the physically abandoned. There are far too many of them. *sigh*

Thanks so much for reading and commenting.