Whoa. These two poems are so lush, Croll. I think I’ve come to appreciate poetry the more I've studied it, and I loved both of these precisely because they are so extraordinarily rich in meaning and emotion.
I particularly adore the way you’ve used cross-rhyme in the first one. The words “pricked” and “kicked” and “unpick” all just have such a pointy sound to them, which is obviously highly appropriate, and the whole poem just had such a harsh feel to it. The way the imagery of blood and birth, especially the phrase “as surely ripped as the umbilicus” is linked to the sewing of the tapestry is disturbing yet at the same time beautiful. It’s such an interesting and fitting metaphor, portraying the Black family tree in such a way.
And though I don’t always understand unusual, complex or not-very-often used words, particularly in poetry, I thought they worked so well here. The colours, sable and gules, were especially fitting - what came to mind initially was Sirius’s Gryffindor colours rebelling against the black of his name. I'm not sure if that was exactly what you had in mind, but either way, the words you chose were gorgeous. I also loved the words maverick and recalcitrant to describe Sirius, because they are definitely accurate and at the same time so fitting of Walburga’s voice.
The way Walburga’s voice was put across in the second poem was even better, for some reason echoing in my ears, especially that word “recalcitrance”. In fact, the way certain words were repeated in that second poem was done expertly. I'm pretty sure I winced at “needle-pricked blood”, and I could really feel Sirius’s resentment and loathing for his family tree. At the same time, though, I got the feeling from the second stanza that he wished to be part of that family again, in a way. When he says how he wants to press the “charred holes back into existence”, I thought part of him wishes he wasn’t disowned by his mother. Again, though, I'm not sure if that’s exactly what you had in mind so I would love to know if that was your intention.
All in all, you did a fantastic job here. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of these, and I can’t to read more of your poetry. Thou art fabulous. ♥
Yes, all woven cloth is made of warp and weft threads - I never thought about that when I was doing embroidery, just when I was weaving so you have expanded my mind somewhat... Be proud, be very proud!
"With fingertips as faint
as fairy wings, I trace
each fragmented filament,
yearning to press charred
holes back into
Charred threads, or holes? I love the lines, anyway.
"She is gone. And yet
the scream of her remains,"
This is so true of every person who has ever hurt another - they go, but the hurt remains...
Whose temper, whose tears? Did her tears rip, or push?
Very interesting to set these two side by side and show two sides of this painful and ghastly situation...
Author's Response: I pondered the charred holes bit because threads does make more sense (can a hole which is essentially nothing be charred?) but I'd used threads in the previous verse, so I stayed with holes.
The temper I would think is both Sirius and Walburga, the recalcitrance is Sirius and the tears are hers. I often wonder if she was far more upset than angry at how her son defied her, but then the pain turned to fury as she got older and madder.
Thank you :)
I love the juxtaposition of his kicking while she stitched - from before the start, he was not with the program.
Rosettes staining weft - not sure it matters, but you are mixing your tapestries, I think. I am not that familiar with Needlepoint, but woven tapestries have a weft and a warp, but are not usually embroidered upon. It's usually one or the other. Then again, these are wizards and witches - if they are sewing, it is only because they want to - he was blasted off with a wand, after all...
"And I could not unpick each stitch
with my fine needle and dying
eyes, so fire scorched
away the shame."
This is excellent. It leaves a little ambiguity about why she could not unpick the stitches, and who exactly was singed.
"The threads were cut -as surely
ripped as the umbilicus"
I love these two lines. Are we ripping, or cutting, and a ripped umbilical chord either refers to birth, or to fetal death (I knew a woman whose child managed to unplug himself in her seventh month or so...) Is he recalcitrant because he ripped it, or for other reasons... and is it the physical chord or the familial tie - poetry should make you think, and this does get me thinking.
I am not certain it says exactly what you mean in each particular, but it certainly does convey something overall.
Author's Response: Uhm, not sure now. Basically, I thought cloth and canvas were comprised of weft threads and warp threads, so when Walburga pricks her finger the rosettes of blood stain the canvas that she's stitching into. She's not weaving the cloth but stitching into it (and pricking her thumb as she does so) I had this idea in a drabble I wrote that her pin pricks of blood are somehow what make the tapestry so powerful. I should expand that some day.
Sirius was just always a contrary child, and that means you go with it (in my opinion) because trying to change such 'recalcitrance' will never work.
TRhe ripped umbilicus, I sorta nicked from MacBeth and 'from my mother's womb untimely rip'd. Yeah, I know it was a c-section for MacDuff, but I liked the image that the cord wasn't cut cleanly cut or tied, but ripped raggedly.
Anyway, thank you for the review and I'm glad I made you think :) You've made me think - ha ha. ~Carole