ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem fills a square on my second card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This fest encourages people to create and share material focused on what is variously called fluff, schmoop, gentle fiction, light reading, comfort reading, positive thinking, chicken soup for the soul, or anything else that offers a fun alternative to usual run of sex, violence, and angst of modern media. I'm hoping to attract some new readers for my writing.

The following story belongs to Schrodinger's Heroes, featuring an apocryphal television show supported by an imaginary fandom. It's science fiction about quantum physics and saving the world from alternate dimensions. It features a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This project developed with input from multiple people, and it's open for everyone to play in. You can read more about the background, the characters, and a bunch of assorted content on the menu page.

Special thanks to [personal profile] chanter_greenie for suggesting that Ash and Quinn would sing in the shower, in their native tongues.

Fandom: Original (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Prompt: Singing in the shower
Medium: Poetry
Summary: Ash and Quinn share a shower after fighting a mud monster. They sing to remind themselves of who they are.
Content Notes: Canonical asexual character: Ash. Canonical woman of color: Ash. Canonical genderqueer person: Quinn. Fluff. Friendship. Language as identity. Reference to recent mental assault. Caretaking. Nonerotic shower scene.

"Treasured by Me"

After an encounter with a mud monster,
Schrodinger's Heroes trudged home
covered in thick brown muck.

It had tried to swallow them all
and subsume their personalities
within the sucking morass of itself,
but they had proven indigestible.

Ash and Quinn decided to share Ash's shower,
the entire ceiling of which was designed
to emit a soft fall of water like summer rain.

They stood together beneath the flowing water,
gradually letting it wash away the memories
of the mud monster engulfing their bodies
and squeezing itself around their minds.

Ash began to hum, quietly at first,
and then with slowly growing confidence.
She opened her mouth and sang in her native Diné,
long gliding vowels and buzzing consonants,
sounds that had survived invasion long before.

"Ch´ikééh diyin
Bik´ee hózhó
Tsé ah nighááh." (1)

Ash sang of the holy maiden
walking, following the way,
and in singing reminded herself who she was,
who she would never cease to be.

Then Quinn lifted his voice
in a French-Canadian folk song,
a lilting tongue that lasted
even after the British had come
to claim Quebec as their own.

"A la claire fontaine
M'en allant promener
J'ai trouvé l' eau si belle
Que je m'y suis baigné ..." (2)

Quinn sang about a clear fountain
where a wanderer stopped to bathe,
as the water fell gently from the ceiling
to sluice away the clinging mud.

They helped each other wash,
because there was no getting rid of that much muck
without some assistance, and because
they always handled each other's bodies
with a certain tenderness, even reverence.
Ash respected how Quinn had
reshaped his flesh to reflect his spirit
and Quinn respected how Ash
preferred to avoid sexuality altogether.

It was just that bit easier with each other
than with some other people,
the way they could touch without meaning
anything more than care and comfort,
gentle hands trailing soap and cloth
as they cleaned away the grime of the day.

Ash took up the thread in Latin then,
because it was a scholar's language
and something she had taken into herself
by choice, not by birth or by chance.

"Mare Nubium. Umbriel.
Mare Imbrium. Ariel.
Et itur ad astra.
Et itur ad astra.
Mare Undarum. Io. Vela." (3)

This, too, was part of her 
and she embraced it with her voice.
She sang of the dust-seas of the Moon
and the perilous, marvelous journey to the stars.

Quinn joined her, their voices twining,
pressed together like their bodies
and the softly falling droplets of water.

Suus cuique mos. Suum cuique.
Meus mihi, suus cuique carus.
Memento, terrigena,
memento, vita brevis.
Meus mihi, suus cuique carus.

This, too, was part of him,
the old tongue that had
begotten his beloved French,
spilling down the centuries with
its echoes of Rome and forgotten roads.

He sang of the shortness and sweetness of life,
how people cleave each to the other.
"You are mine," they sang,
in a language that was said to be dead
yet still lived and breathed between them.
"You are mine," they sang,
"and what is mine is treasured by me."

They sang themselves back into themselves,
into each other, into their breath and their skin,
bodies mortal and yet marvelous. Treasured.
It was and would always be enough for them.

Ash and Quinn rinsed away the last of the soap
and turned off the rainshower.
The fans and the lamps came on
with a blast of heat like Indian summer,
drying them quickly, tousling their hair.

They stepped out at last,
separating back into their own space,
into companionable silence

yet still remembering the songs.

* * *


1) "Back and Forth Round Dance" in Diné / Navajo.

Ch´ikééh diyin
Bik´ee hózhó
Tsé ah nighááh.

The Holy Maiden
Following the blessed way
Everlasting walks.

2) "À la claire fontaine" ("By the Clear Fountain") in Canadian French.

A la claire fontaine
M'en allant promener
J'ai trouvé l' eau si belle
Que je m'y suis baigné

By the clear fountain,
On my promenade
I found the water so fair
That I stopped there to bathe

3) Here's where I originally found "Afer Ventus" by Enya in Latin, which had some minor errors but translated the sea names.  The song also appears on Enya's own site, with the errors corrected but the sea names left untranslated.  So I've kept the translations while fixing the errors.   I hope.  Thanks to [personal profile] thnidu  for help sorting this out.

Mare Nubium. Umbriel.
Mare Imbrium. Ariel.
Et itur ad astra.
Et itur ad astra.
Mare Undarum. Io. Vela.

Sea of Clouds. Umbriel.
Sea of Showers. Ariel.
And so, one goes to the stars.
And so, one goes to the stars.
Sea of Waves. Io. Vela.


Suus cuique mos. Suum cuique.
Meus mihi, suus cuique carus.
Memento, terrigena,
memento, vita brevis.
Meus mihi, suus cuique carus.

Each man to his own. Let this be so.
That which is mine I treasure,
And everyone treasures their own.
Remember, earthborn,
Remember, life is short.
And that which is mine is treasured by me,
as everyone treasures their own.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-06 04:33 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Mmmmmm. Music as identity. *purrrrr*. Also, Enya in Latin... some of her best moments...

What a lovely way to wake up of a Sunday. Thank you.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-06 04:58 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Seconded. Must look up Enya -- not an artist I'm at all familiar with.

Re: You're welcome!

Date: 2013-01-06 07:02 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*nods* and some folk adopt forms... I have a good friend (who is also a crowdfunded author, like yourself) who is a HUGE fan of the Quebecois tradition, despite being an American of Scots lineage. Musical `ohana?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-06 10:27 pm (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a starscape, including a spiral galaxy (on a quest for a jewel)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I'm meeeelting, meeeelting! And also squeeful, because an idea of mine ended up in an [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith story! :D I hadn't imagined the singing in the shower thing from a point of view without a door between listener and singer, but this is beautiful! I love it when ideas are surprising and marvelous.

Ooh, the Latin connection! I'd never have thought of that. I like it! And I am so going to have to play with Quinn's love of his native language in greater detail in orange!verse fic. I think he'll be showing it off with pride, while the character whose point of view the story's happening from looks on, utterly bemused.

In short, <3!

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2013-01-07 05:47 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a blue-shaded dyed egg (not enough blue in the world)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
The Illinois/Michigan/Canada fic is getting long on me, and I'm starting new job (TM) tomorrow, so I'm bound to be exhausted for the next few days at least. But you shall see this story yet!

I didn't know about that other story! *goes to look, has warm fuzzies*

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-06 11:08 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Mmm Enya.. always a fav of mine...

Oh hey, you know your description of SH is inaccurate? You say: "an apocryphal television show supported by an imaginary fandom."... I don't think we're that imaginary, are we? Surreal perhaps, Irrational sometimes.. but not imaginary. [well, not unless the universe actually is just all a simulation running on some multidimensional computer... now there's a concept for the Heroes to wrap their heads around!]

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-07 03:28 am (UTC)
thnidu: a G-clef crossed with a lightning bolt (clef)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Very nice. I think I've mentioned to you that one of my mottoes that I've had made into buttons is Music is my drug of choice.

Alas, I can't play the .ram file of the Diné song. I've known "À la Claire Fontaine" since my teens or earlier, having learned it from Theo Bikel & Cynthia Gooding's LP Love Songs of Many Lands. I've heard and enjoyed some of Enya's music, and I may go look for this piece.

Two comments on the Latin:
a. I think you slipped on the bananana effect. It's "memento", not "memeMto" (2x).
b. "Vela", I think, is not just an interjection like "iō": it means "sails". Vēlum means "a cloth, covering, awning, curtain, veil* [...] Esp., a sail (in good prose usually in plur.)." (Lewis & Short)
* of which it is the etymon

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2013-01-07 04:11 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Sooth indeed, and often soothing.

Re the quotes, Okay, but at least for (a) somebody slipped. ... Ah. What website? The typo also appears in the second of these googits, which is comprehensive but certainly not authoritative.

Googling Enya Latin Vela...

Vela, Latin for the sails of a ship, is a constellation in the southern sky. ...


The following is a compilation of translations taken primarily from
USENET postings. In the cases where multiple translations existed, I
tried to pick the phrases that made the most (English) sense, and which
flowed together the best. The choice was often arbitrary, and not
being a speaker of Irish (or Gaelic), Latin, or Welsh, I was not able
to make my own judgements regarding the accuracy of translation. Your
comments, suggestions, and corrections are welcome. Some of the songs
have the lyrics compacted, where repeated phrases are only listed once.


Afer Ventus African Wind
Running verse:
Suus cuique mos. Suum cuique. Each has its own habits. Each its own.
Meus mihi, suus cuique carus. Mine to me, its own to each is dear. (12)
Mememto, terrigena. Remember, [life is] earth-born. (13)
Mememto, vita brevis. Remember, life is brief.
Meus mihi, suus cuique carus. Mine to me, its own to each is dear.


(1) Proper names I'm guessing--Umbriel, Ariel, Io, Vela.

(2) This is tough. "itur" is a poetic form, apparently. The phrase
may mean "without end" or "eternal". (Larry)

'Et itur ad astra' means 'And we go to the stars'. There is no way of
putting into English the "impersonal" meaning of 'itur' which is actually
the third person singular of the passive indicative present tense (sorry,
but I do not really know how English scholars refer to tenses, hope it's
clear enough) of the verb 'ire' which means 'to go'. Since 'to go' cannot
possibly be passive (I am gone?) the passive mode is taken to sound as
done by everybody and nobody in particular at the same time, really like
something that gets done but without specifying by whom. (Mauro)

This phrase has been bothering me for some time - I was sure I'd seen it
or something like it before. Eventually I found it. There is a phrase in
Virgil's Aeniad which reads 'sic itur ad astra' which the translator noted
as having the literal meaning 'thus you shall go to the stars' but the
poetic, metaphorical meaning 'thus is immortality gained'. So
substituting 'et' (and, also) for 'sic' (thus, therefore) the translation
might read along the lines of 'and you shall go to the stars' or, perhaps,
'and you shall live forever'. (Unknown)

(3) 'Vela' refers to a boat's sail. It may well be a proper name, though.


-- It is apparent that most of Enya's Latin lyrics have been influenced
by Virgil's Aeneid, since many of her phrases are those used by Virgil.

Notes without an author indicated are by Larry Jordan.

Translation and notes by:

Larry M. Jordan (jordan@aero.org)
Mauro Cicognini (gin001@cdc835.cdc.polimi.it)
Aidan Hollinshead (year3-37@midir.ucd.ie)
Graham at the University of Delaware (Address lost)
An unknown poster.


Re: Thoughts

Date: 2013-01-07 04:30 am (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oops. I was editing it and didn't realize I'd posted it with all that verbiage. Here it is on Enya's own site, lyrics and translation: http://www.enya.com/lyrics_shepherdmoons.php#6

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2013-01-07 05:04 am (UTC)
thnidu: It actually says MUPHRY'S LAW and the bottom of the word LAW is clipped off (Murphy's Law)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
"Afer" (=African), not "After". I misread it too!


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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