ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the July 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron. It also fills the "Identify a feeling you're having" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette. It belongs to The Moon Door series.

"As the Creeper That Girdles the Tree Trunk"

Randie loved the changes
to her yard more than she
really wanted to admit.

They had begun by clearing
the brush away, and in the process,
had discovered a fallen tree and
an old bird bath which became
the heart of the log garden.

Alexandria and Everett had
focused the initial work around
the area visible from the back door.

Now a little bit of lawn framed
a bird garden and a small pool.
Everett was building an arbor with
a bench seat and a roof to hold
some climbing vines, along with
promises of a larger pond to come.

Randie's wolf adored the improvements
to her territory, and constantly wanted
to sniff around it and test the earth
for a den and especially pee on it.

So far Randie resisted the temptations,
but it was getting harder. She knew
the place was hers; she had owned it
for several years now. Why did she
feel this sudden urge to claim it?

Hilla came into the kitchen then
to find Randie clutching the sink and
staring at the yellow-flowered wallpaper
to avoid romping around outside.

"You seem upset," said Hilla.
"Want to tell me what's wrong?"

It was like that milk-bottle game
at the fair: everything went flying.

Randie's emotions scattered
like toppling bottles as her wolf
mentally gamboled around Hilla.

That was another thing about
being a werewolf: Randie could not
stop thinking about the other women
in the chronic pain support group.

She was an introvert at heart, but now
she could not stay focused without
other people around. It was maddening.

"My wolf is driving me nuts,"
Randie said to take her mind off
the newer problem. "She wants
to dig holes and pee in the yard."

"So?" Hilla said. "I pee in the woods
all the time when I'm hiking. This is
your yard, Randie, a little wee
won't hurt anything."

Randie spun away from the sink.
"That's not the point!" she said.
"It's -- it's completely uncivilized.
I am not an animal. I know
better than to act like this."

"We're all animals," said Hilla.
"Humans first, and now werewolves.
The change affects how we feel."

"I know," Randie said grimly.

"What's really bothering you
about this?" Hilla asked, laying
a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"I can't concentrate alone.
anymore. It's like ... like there
are pieces of my mind literally
running away from me to go look
for other people!" Randie said,
clenching her hands in her hair.

"Okay," Hilla said. "I can see why
that would freak you out. You're
a very private person. Wolves
don't like to be alone, though."

"Then what am I supposed
to do about this?" Randie said.
"I feel like -- like a tree being
strangled by a creeping vine!
I can't live like this."

"Maybe if you let your wolf do
one thing that she wants, she'll
stop gnawing at you so bad,"
said Hilla. "It works for mine."

"I am NOT peeing in the yard!"

"I meant digging," said Hilla.
"Some of our new plants arrived.
There's a pink fuchsia to set out
along with flats of blue lobelia
and white alyssum. They're
annuals so they'll grow fast."

"So?" Randie grumbled,
although she remembered
placing an order at the nursery.

"So you dig the holes, which
should make your wolf happy, and
I'll put in the flowers," Hilla said.
"It will be fun and productive."

She took Randie by the hand
and gently led her into the sun parlor,
where the flats and the flowerpot waited.

The fuchsia was already blooming,
its pink tubular flowers hanging in clusters.
The lobelia had deep blue-violet blossoms, and
the alyssum looked like a pile of cotton balls.

"They're pretty," Randie admitted.

"At least help me carry these out
to the back yard," said Hilla. "You don't
have to plant if you don't want to, but
I can't carry them all by myself."

Well, she could if she made three trips,
but Randie wasn't selfish enough
to point that out to Hilla.

Unlike Randie, Hilla had been
sick for most of her life before
she became a werewolf, and while
her body had recovered just fine,
her mind still hadn't realized that
she could do a lot more than before.

Sure, Hilla would get up right after
a full moon and go clean the house,
but she'd do one chore and sit down --
same as in the middle of the month
when everyone felt perfectly fine.

Randie still felt guilty about biting her,
so she didn't fuss about Hilla's habits.

"I'll help," Randie said quietly,
and picked up the fuchsia.

First they moved all of the plants,
then they gathered the tools,
and finally they started to work.

Randie was surprised to discover
that as soon as she dug into
the deep black soil, her wolf
gave a happy inner whuff
and lay down to sleep.

It was the first peace she'd had in ages.

Randie pushed her sleeves a little higher,
and moved on to the flat of alyssum.

* * *


This poem's title comes from a line in "The Law for the Wolves" by Rudyard Kipling, out of The Jungle Book, which you can read online.

Randie's house looks like this. The kitchen has a sunflower motif. The sun parlor has been converted to a home office.

Here is the plan they're using to turn Randie's backyard into a wildlife habitat.

At first, Randie's backyard was completely overgrown. Digging into the backyard, they discovered an old birdbath beside a fallen tree, which became the log garden. The area immediately behind the house was cleaned up to create a bird garden, wildlife ponds, and a little bit of open lawn. An arbor was added with a bench seat, roof, and framework for climbing vines. Here is a closeup of the small pond at the lower right corner.

When clearing space for a new garden, annuals make a quick splash of color, while perennials take longer to establish. Shade-tolerant annuals include fuchsia, lobelia, and alyssum.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-25 09:09 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*chuckles* Some people grok some things about this, and some grok others. Funny how easy it was to get wolf!Randie to stop yipping...

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-25 09:43 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Read and liked. Too tired to comment more. Good poem.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2016-09-25 11:18 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-26 12:21 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Rumbles delightedly.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-26 03:36 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
That's a good compromise.

I'm glad Randie and wolf!Randie are communicating a little better, too.

Hilla will likely get there, too - about doing things more. The more she's able to listen to her body the more she'll get to where... oh hey, I don't actually /have/ to sit down right now.

That's a good feeling. *s*

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-27 03:15 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Do Hilla and Randie absolutely have to stay in their indoor den for the whole 3 days? In time, especially now that they're working on being in touch with their Inner Wolf, might they eventually gain enough control to be able to go for a romp in the yard and not want to range out further? I guess what I'm asking is, if the human can access the wolf, could the wolf be able to access the human?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-22 02:20 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I was happy to find a bit of The Moon Door I hadn't read before. It seems the garden
"completely overgrown" link is broken? I am so happy that the pack is finding so many ways to help each other. Yay for gardens calming werewolves! -kellyc


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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