First frost

The first frost, whitening the grass today,
Surprised the summer’s final cloverheads
And scattered them with diamonds as they lay
Like amethysts beside the cattail beds.
The mist moves like the Lord upon the face
Of silver waters ruffled by the wake
That trails an onyx grebe. The pearly lace
Of clouds drops sunbeams on the waiting lake.
But still the rows of indecisive trees
Stand dithering between the green and gold,
As if they’ve months to go before the freeze.
So, muddy-leafed, they watch the fall unfold
And wear this day the way that little girls
Play dress-up in their mother’s finest pearls.

(Originally posted on Making Light)

Martian Caravan-Song

Red these deserts – and free at last we roam;
But we are exiles from our fathers’ home.

Listen to me, as when you heard your father
Sing long ago the song of other sands –
Listen to me, and then in chorus gather
On this frequency, as we cross these lands.

From lone oases hid in sandy canyons
Atmospheres divide us, and cold of space –
Yet still the blood is strong, my dear companions,
And we in dreams ride at a camel’s pace.

We shall not tread again the wide and sandy plain
Where naught but night protects us from the sun
Nor gather in the souk to bargain once again
Returning to our tents when trading’s done.

When last from great Damascus we had banish’d
The infidels crusading through our lands
We did not know our peaceful time had vanish’d
Corrupted by the oil beneath the sands.

And so we fled, and insha’Allah have found
A desert world where we may roam at last.
But still we turn, when calls to prayer sound
To Mecca, to the homeland of our past.

(Originally posted on Making Light)

Settings pastiches

  1. Come live with me and be my love,
    And we will all the pleasures prove
    That we in dark and deeply mined
    Chasms of black Moria find.

    And we will sit beneath the ridge
    And watch the Balrog keep the bridge
    Above the fiery pit whose smoke
    Makes even orcish fighters choke.
  2. The watchmaker
    Who rigged for me
    The warp drive flange
    Out of space debris
    Has given my crew
    A working ship
    So we’ll make it through
    From this scouting trip.
  3. We’ve tried each spinning space mote
    And reckoned its true worth:
    Take us back again to the homes of men
    On the cool, green hills of Earth.

    Rocannon has windbeasts
    And hilfs who act like lords.
    But you just might, if you have to fight,
    Be spitted on their swords.

    To ice-encrusted Gethen
    Our coming was foretold.
    But who’d have known we’d sleep alone
    And wake up twice as cold?

    The dusty moon Anarres
    Is home to anarchists
    Who can only live because they give
    And by gifts their world exists.

    While rich and fertile Urras
    Is plagued with poverty.
    The poor all cry looking at the sky
    That the moon’s the place to be.

    On peaceful settled O
    The Night and Day are wed
    Sedoretu build on the vows fulfilled
    Both in and out of bed.

    The Hainish sent out ships
    For many a planetfall.
    But changeling breeds in time have needs
    To be Ekumenical.

    We pray for one last landing
    On the globe that gave us birth;
    Let us rest our eyes on the friendly skies
    And the cool, green hills of Earth.

(Originally posted on Making Light)

A sonnet on Google Wave.

The sea has depths in which no net is cast,
With trackless kelpine forests where great squid,
Like Sasquatch in his mountains safely hid,
Dance dreaming with the fishes swimming past.
And human interaction is the same.
Beneath an email surface lies the deep:
Unmodeled work and social patterns creep
And spread in ways existing tools don’t frame.
If all that data made a single stream
(Instead of tossing users to and fro
Among their applications), it could flow
To ever-mounting heights: Hokusai’s dream.
It sounds like fun. I must confess I crave
To grab a board and surf the Google wave.

Originally posted on Making Light.

So we’ll go no more a-scrying

So we’ll go no more a-scrying
So deep into the night
Though the comets still are flying
And the stars are still as bright.

For the software troubles grow
And the hardware fails on test
And the current halts its flow
And gyros come to rest.

Though the sky was made for flying
And the night has more to show
Still we’ll go no more a-scrying
And fall once more below.

Originally posted on Making Light

The sonnet muse is back from her vacation

In reply to a recent sonnet by Fragano Ledgister:

To make a thing, to bring it into being
Is intimate, like making love. The verb’s
The join, for making either one disturbs
A universe where knowing comes from seeing.
I dream a thing that doesn’t yet have form
Is risky as I love you. Both require
A trust that one’s interior desire
Is strong enough to make the world transform.
But reformations of the universe
Alarm a fair few folk. My age is cause
To say I mustn’t meddle with what was.
And thus they have a reason to reverse
That instant when I took the world apart
And re-assembled it to match my heart.

Originally posted on Making Light