ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the July 7, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "yardwork or gardening" square in my 4-20-15 card for the Wellness Toolbox Bingo fest, and the "space travel" square for my Wordsmith Bingo card. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Space Traders thread of the series An Army of One. It is the third in a triptych of poems about splicing together a trade loop from the Orion side through the Lacuna to the Carinan side; begin with "Who Is Devoid of the Power" and "Hacking Perceptions."


"Hope and Forgiveness"


Astin left Cascabel with
memories of its monuments --
walls covered in poetry and
a slim spire pointing to infinity.

Xe left with a hold full of
medical supplies and games
and assorted other goods.

There were crates of
seedstock for the Gardener:
bush beans, winter squash, and
potatoes that would keep well,
grapes and peppers that could be
dried or powdered for storage.

Further scouting around had
turned up additional options.

Xe took primroses of
pink, purple, and white
which were beautiful and
also edible candied or fresh,
a silent symbol of hope.

There were pots of white pine
whose lush green needles gave off
an uplifting scent and could be used
to make tea rich in nutrients.

Bright red beebalm was
both edible and medicinal,
its festive flowers representing
forgiveness of harm done.

Several vanilla vines twined up
their poles, white flowers promising
flavorful pods later -- as long as Astin
remembered to pollinate them, a task
xe was eager to hand off to the Gardener.
Each vine would yield anywhere from
fifty to a hundred pods per year, enough
to keep the whole Lacuna in extract.

Astin whiled away the long hours
of space travel by making things.

Xe painted the bonsai pots of
the pine trees with verses from
the memorial poem and other quotes,
then spliced together some spare parts
to replicate the ground zero spire that
went on top of the vanilla poles.

In the Lacuna, xe passed the word
that Cascabel wanted z-balls, in case
anyone cared to start making them.

Formerly Carinan crewfolk speculated
about what else Cascabel might need,
and Astin gently warned them about
how overwhelming it was to be asked
when you had grown used to being told
what you were getting instead.

Sam the Gardener clapped his hands
and danced around the crates, earning
grumbles from his crew-brothers as they
grunted their way through the process
of unloading all the supplies.

They fell silent, though, when they saw
the little mementos that Astin had added
along the way, quiet reminders that Cascabel
like the Lacuna was stealing life out of death.

At Sargasso Base, the Minotaur laughed
and said that there was a whole cargo barge
full of z-balls somewhere in the floating mass of
wrecked ships, so word went out to the scavengers
that Astin had found a market for such things.

Nobody laughed when xe added a pebble of
slagged glass from ground zero to the pile
of items waiting for the Minotaur to weld them
onto the tower of his own war memorial.

The Massacre of Cascabel had been
the end of the world for so many,
but not for others; beyond the sky,
the whole cosmos went turning on.

Astin went on with xyr deliveries, and
Operetta was delighted with the medical gear
and updated the list of items to seek.

When Astin made it back to Trunnion,
xe had two plants left -- a white pine
for Spalling and a beebalm for V --
knowing that neither of those
were to be found locally.

The veteran's hands shook as he took the pot
and read the words that Astin had painted there:

It glared across the suddenly far too thin and fragile barrier
separating us from the dawn of our starfaring culture,
finding none who would return its gaze
.

Astin rescued the pot before Spalling
could drop it, and turned it around
to show him the other inscription:

Where there is wrong, I may
bring the spirit of forgiveness.
In this way our memory is purified,
our hearts are made serene, and
our gaze is clearly fixed on
what the truth demands
.

V took the beebalm and admired
its scarlet blossoms, the color
of an explosion on a plant
with healing properties.

Then V returned for the pine
and found a place to put it where
they would see it when passing by
on the way into the warehouse.

V came back dragging
a wheeled pallet of supplies
to trade for what Astin had brought.

By then Spalling had settled enough
to whisper thanks for the delivery.

Astin handed him the last copy
of Crazy Cargo Hold IV.

Though much of the galaxy had been
broken by the crushing grip of the Arms,
there were still people determined
to put the bits back together

into something resembling peace.

* * *

Notes:

Hydroponic systems can be used to grow a variety of plants. Potatoes do best in a medium like perlite. Squash do nicely as long as they have something to climb. Notice that folks in the Lacuna are aiming for multipurpose plants as much as possible -- things which share some combination of edible, medicinal, psychological, and other benefits.

Primrose has edible flowers, which can be eaten plain or crystallized. They symbolize hope.

Pine can be grown as bonsai. Its essential oil is cleansing and uplifting. The buds can be made into winter tea rich in Vitamin C and other nutrients. It stands for hope in adversity.

Beebalm has medicinal uses and edible flowers. Although best known for culinary purposes, vanilla also has uplifting and aphrodisiac qualities. It represents forgiveness.

Vanilla is an orchid that grows edible pods. Like other white orchids, it symbolizes forgiveness, but also sincerity and the long-lasting nature of an apology.

Hope is an emotion of positive anticipation in the face of uncertainty. Hardship can make people lose hope, so understand how to resist that. Finding hope is also vital; know how to do that.

Forgiveness is distinct from related topics and can be challenging to understand. This is important because revenge rarely works. There are ways to forgive even the unforgivable; understand how to forgive your enemies. However, to reach peace you also need to forgive yourself, so follow the steps for that too.

War memorials may follow certain design principles to make them effective. I spotted the one in the Lacuna first, and LJ user Ng_moonmoth found the ones on Cascabel, on the Carinan side. I haven't found a matching one on the Orion side yet, but they've probably made something.

The first quote comes from "The Conscience of the War" by LJ user Ng_moonmoth.

The second quote comes from this essay.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-07-12 01:01 pm (UTC)
capri0mni: Vanilla icecream cone, captioned "Simply sweet cool & good" (vanilla)
From: [personal profile] capri0mni
^points to icon^

Vanilla's a good metaphor for Hope. It gets a bad rap for being "simplistic" or "naive" in our modern culture of over-stimulation (and it's also suffered from being so often reduced to its cheapest derivatives), but in actuality, it's deep and complex if you pay attention to its subtleties.

BTW, this last Independence Day, I learned that Thomas introduced vanilla to America from France. ... And before that, the most popular "Ice cream" flavor was oysters (at least, locally, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay).

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2015-07-12 08:34 pm (UTC)
capri0mni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From: [personal profile] capri0mni
>>Bleah.<<

I agree that vanilla (even the cheapo kind) is a lot more appetizing than oysters. ...But I also think that humans are also pretty good at figuring out what tastes good. In some other context besides "Sweet dessert" cold oysters in cream might be tasty if matched up with the right partner(s)... charred grilled meat and brandy, perhaps?

But, yeah: I can see why folks quickly forgot the oysters when they found out vanilla is a thing that exists.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-07-12 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tadpoleacorn
Thank you for writing this. I really loved that you included which plants were sent through.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-07-12 08:56 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Loved this whole set.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-07-12 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clockworklady.livejournal.com

I wish it could get easier to move on. I don't want to hurt people who have hurt me and I'm less resentful, but I want to make them realise they were wrong, to be sorry and for them never to hurt anyone else. A lot of my life was stolen by their lies and their unfair treatment because it taught me so many things about myself (and what I deserved) that were so wrong. I considered killing myself a few times because of what they (different times and various people) had done.
I know these feelings of wanting justice are irrational and stem from seeing so many people who behaved badly and hurt me get off scot-free while I was punished more harshly than everyone else (despite intense efforts to be good, more than everyone else) and never defended. Why can't I stop these stupid feelings?
I'm much safer now. I'm finally having opportunities, resources and support, that most of my peers were simply given, more open to me now. I know the rational thing is to move on. Do I just need to make more happy memories to replace the bad? Some of these people have developed cancer and I don't feel sympathy, even though I know and feel that no one deserves cancer. I know I would feel bad for them if I saw them in hospital and I'm not glad they're sick. That's how bad these 'righting wrong' feelings are. I need to find a way to right the wrongs done to me.

Thoughts

Date: 2015-07-12 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> I wish it could get easier to move on. <<

I wish that too.

>> I don't want to hurt people who have hurt me and I'm less resentful, <<

That's good.

>> but I want to make them realise they were wrong, to be sorry and for them never to hurt anyone else. <<

Those are all rational things to want, and especially the desire to prevent further harm is necessary for a civilized society.

>> A lot of my life was stolen by their lies and their unfair treatment because it taught me so many things about myself (and what I deserved) that were so wrong. I considered killing myself a few times because of what they (different times and various people) had done. <<

That's very sad.

>> I know these feelings of wanting justice are irrational and stem from seeing so many people who behaved badly and hurt me get off scot-free while I was punished more harshly than everyone else (despite intense efforts to be good, more than everyone else) and never defended. <<

Wanting justice is rational, and again, justice is a fundamental part of a healthy society. Without it -- well, look around. America's a mess partly because a lot of abuse goes unpunished and unstopped.

The irrational part comes when people want to make everything like it was before the abuse, which is impossible; or when dwelling on past wrongs overwhelms their ability to function in the present.

>> Why can't I stop these stupid feelings? <<

Because tolerating the intolerable is not healthy either. Anger is the emotion that drives us to change the unacceptable, to right the wrongs that could destroy society if unchecked.

Also remember that it's much easier to redirect force than to stop it directly. You might not be able to make your abusers pay for their crimes, but you could work on ensuring that other abusers do, thereby being there for someone else the way nobody was for you.

>> I'm much safer now. I'm finally having opportunities, resources and support, that most of my peers were simply given, more open to me now. <<

That's good to hear.

>> I know the rational thing is to move on. Do I just need to make more happy memories to replace the bad? <<

More happy memories can help, but for most people, it's necessary to fix the imbalance created by the original problem. That is more difficult if the other parties are not involved in the cleanup; it takes longer to do it alone.

>> Some of these people have developed cancer and I don't feel sympathy, even though I know and feel that no one deserves cancer. I know I would feel bad for them if I saw them in hospital and I'm not glad they're sick.<<

Well now, that's the flip side of this issue, which does not come into this set of poems. You don't have to forgive people who have wronged you. Some people find that a necessary step in their own recovery, but others don't. There are other paths that lead to healthy places.

>> That's how bad these 'righting wrong' feelings are. I need to find a way to right the wrongs done to me. <<

I'd say look at victim support and/or bringing justice to other abusers. More than a few lawyers and activists came that route.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-11-22 04:59 pm (UTC)
bairnsidhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bairnsidhe
This is good. Feels are feeling and words aren't wording, but this is good. This is needed. 3q3q3q3q3q

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