Friday, December 10, 2010

Big Tent Poetry: Referential

Referential Magazine is an online journal based on an interesting premise - submissions must refer back to a poem they have already published, by taking inspiration from a word or phrase in a poem from the site.

This week's task at Big Tent Poetry was to write a poem based on something found at Referential. My poem is based on the words tibia, fibula and the phrase coins in the sack from Elizabeth Langemak's poem, Self Portrait as Fake Saint with Wheel

The Grave Robbers

He doesn’t have any use for it now,
it’s clear, his soul long since gone
and his silver coin to pay the ferryman
fallen to earth from his clenched grasp.

The last shreds of flesh melted into the earth.
All that we saw a few tufts of hair,
his bleached bones, sightless sockets.
I pushed gold bangles high up my arm,

filled a sack with gold coins,
buckled his sword belt round my waist,
snatched the sword from where it lay
beside his lifeless bones – tibia, fibula

hoisted his plough on my back,
filled a sack with gold coins.
We left as quickly as we came,
in the dark hour of the night

when there were none to observe us,
and the noise we heard was only an owl
calling “Who? who?”, though our hearts
beat faster, and a fox in the shadows

seemed to fix us with its stare,
and our step quickened as we heard a rustle behind us
- only the wind stirring the leaves, we said –
but we stumbled over tree roots

and I fell headlong, dropped my sack,
its mouth open, a coin as round and silver
as the moon splashing into a puddle
and staring up at me, a single accusing eye.

For more referential poems, go here

And I have a give away this week. One copy of our recently published book Flap: The Chook Book 2, written by the Poetry Chooks, a group of whom I am one quarter. If you would like to go in the drawer, please say so in the comments. I'll leave the draw open until Saturday 17th at 6pm New Zealand time - which is somewhere around 6am Sunday GMT


Mary McCallum said...

Yes, i'd love to go in the draw for Flap (love the title).

Deb said...

Great image, that opened eye!

Spellbinding look at the underworld. Inventive use of the borrowed words.

(And yes, would love to be in the hunt for the Chook Book!)

Anonymous said...

Such an exciting poem, which moves at a breathless pace. Gold, silver, bodies and graveyards - a terrific story.

Yes please, put me in the draw!

barbara said...

Enjoyed the story. Those details you scatter through really bring it to life (and death). Fox is a great witness for such deeds.

Please do add my name

Robin said... is great.

And please add my name. Lovely idea!

Tumblewords: said...

Incredibly fine piece of work - chilling and redemptive, too! I'd love to be in the draw - thank you!

Laurie Kolp said...

Vivid description with an eerie feel... love the surprise ending!

I'd love to be included in your drawing-- thanks!

Wayne Pitchko said...

nicely done......thanks for this

marianv said...

A poem filled with suspense, yet the imagery was delicately drawn.
Areally interesting tale.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

Yes, yes, yes. That final line is quite stirring.

(and you asked about the "She" in my poem about the Ventura afternoon. "She" was the baby of the woman in the poem. I left it vague on purpose so that the reader could make the "She" into whomever she felt it was... rather than tie it into a bow at the end. I have lost many people lately and the "She" actually mirrors more than just that baby, now that I think about it. More like the death of who the woman was... interesting. Didn't even know until you asked.