ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the February 2015 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] anke. It also fills the "You are my strength" square in my 1-31-15 card for the Valentine's Day Bingo Fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] lynnoconnacht. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem is paired with "The Treasure of Happiness," each revealing how the characters think about themselves and each other, but in mirror images -- there are things they haven't figured out how to communicate yet. They have some rough emotional history which may cause headspace issues for readers who've had similar experiences. The tone of the actual poems is positive, though; these folks are very good for each other.

Spoiler alert! These poems are based on characters Glyn and Ruggiero, created by myself and [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, already introduced elsewhere ... but these are "in the future" compared to what has actually been published as of 2/20/15, and based on some stuff that is still in development. So if you only read series in their internal-chronological order, make a note of these to be read later.


"The Strength to Persevere"


Glyn isn't sure that Ruggiero
really understands what
he means to her,

that he's the first person
who ever stuck up for her
without being asked or obligated,

who wanted her for herself
and not because she was
somebody else's friend,

who above all has
not just the desire but
the power to protect her.

She doesn't know
how to tell him, so
she tries to show him,

with home-cooked meals
and housekeeping so that
he doesn't have to worry about it,

with the carefully organized tubs of
tools and supplies for the apartments
so his people will be comfortable,

with her mindful obedience
that for once isn't grudgingly given
out of habit, but out of true respect.

Glyn knows that Ruggiero is different
from the other people in her life,
from her parents and her friends' parents.

He gives her the strength to persevere
even when her body aches and
her mind is exhausted.

So when he says, "Are you sure you
want to go through with this, Piccolina?
We could still find you a placement in the States..."

she looks him in the eye and replies,
"I want to stay connected with you,
Zio Forte. You are my strength."

* * *

Notes:

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
-- Christopher Reeve

Perseverance is a virtue of continuing past obstacles, and a key trait of heroes that you will find under the cape.

Italian nicknames signify affection and belonging. Piccolina means "little one" with the feminine ending -a. Zio means "uncle" and can refer to any male of your father's generation or thereabouts. Forte is Italian for "strong" or "fortress" but also French for "a talent" or "the strongest part." Ruggiero is actually a title rather than a personal name, taken from Sicilian puppet theatre, but has become his use-name to the point he rarely uses anything else.  See the puppet Ruggiero here.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-02-20 09:09 pm (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl, laughing with her eyes closed. (!Me squee)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
*squeal of happiness*

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-02-20 09:26 pm (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: Little bear holding a heart with the text "Sending love to you" (sending love and hugs)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
They're beautiful poems. I hope they'll bring other people happiness to have them shared. ^_^

Re: Yay!

Date: 2015-02-20 11:06 pm (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: Little bear holding a heart with the text "Sending love to you" (sending love and hugs)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
I'm afraid it's entirely selfishly motivated. But it can make other people happy anyway. ^_^

There's a power and gentleness to these two poems that I really connect with. And, then, perhaps I needed this particular half of the set right now too. There's just enough buffer in Glyn's own perception to make it relatively comfortable reading, after all.

But the way you've captured her feelings and emotions about their relationship... So, so powerful and recognisable. <3

WONDERFULLY perceptive!

Date: 2015-02-20 10:32 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Glyn is someone who -- as you put it-- uses "mindful obedience" to enhance her own life as much as others'. And yet, she's still so terribly tongue-tied when it comes to *telling* Ruggeiro what she's thinking or feeling... You've caught that perfectly, without making her seem weak.

Thank you.

Re: WONDERFULLY perceptive!

Date: 2015-02-20 11:13 pm (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: Little bear holding a heart with the text "Sending love to you" (sending love and hugs)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
You've caught that perfectly, without making her seem weak.

Ah! I think that helps explain why I noted to Ysabet that these poems could do with a content warning. Thank you! It was so frustrating not feeling like I had the right words to do that, even though Ysabet understood me anyhow. (<3)

But... If you've been in the kind of situation Glyn seems to have been in, or at least that emotional space that she's been in, that is a very hard space to get back out of. And there are a lot of overtones of weakness to it, so the suggestion that strength is possible after who knows how long believing that there is only weakness... That can be a powerful (and painful) experience for a reader to have.

/slight tangent

Re: WONDERFULLY perceptive!

Date: 2015-02-21 12:59 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
The thing about Glyn is, at the end of the first arc, where this poem takes place, she really *doesn't* see her own strength. She sees people she just met stand up *for* her, treat her better than her biological family... and it only points out how hamstrung her friends and their parents were by the impenetrable, unbreakable facade of "normal family."

She's going to need some time to BELIEVE Ruggeiro when he tells her she's NOT (long list of failures and criticism) but she will get there. Her family dynamics were far more subtle than I've seen in most media, and the devastating effects are clearly visible even at *this* point in her life. But she's BEGINNING to find a new path.

Re: WONDERFULLY perceptive!

Date: 2015-02-21 02:05 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
You make me curious: will Farce's family GET a clue? Lawrence's mother is able to catch that there are vaguely clue-shaped shadows as something flies over her head, mostly due to sheer exhaustion and lack of spoons as well as lack of her own parenting/social skills.

I'd love to see a range of *parental* reactions, from the "we've done NOTHING but try to help that girl!" Bradstreets and Cassandra's parents, all the way through to "I wish I'd known more about X, I wouldn't have made so many mistakes," to Stan's parents and the Finns, who not only HAVE parenting skills, they actively work to improve and expand them, despite already being "good" at the job.

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