Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-poetesses May 4, 2015

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:58 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A little nod to writer Diana Gabaldon and the scene in “Virgins” between Jamie and Ian (see the post a couple of days ago) which suddenly seem relevant!

.

They think

the words get in their heads and drive them mad

Those poetesses

let passionate words escape

and wind around the unsuspecting.

Mad poetesses:

bursting flowers

buzzing bees

desires dripping with rhyme and metaphor

What fornicating do they get up to?

It can’t just be words that fill them.

Can it?

.

.

Here’s the scene from “Virgins” referenced:

“I thought ye’d be up to your ears in whores and poetesses in Paris.”

“Poetesses?” Jamie was beginning to sound amused. “What makes ye think women write poetry? Or that a woman that writes poetry would be wanton?”

“Well, o’ course they are. Everybody kens that. The words get into their heads and drive them mad, and they go looking for the first man who—”

“Ye’ve bedded a poetess?” Jamie’s fist struck him lightly in the middle of the chest. “Does your mam ken that?”

“Dinna be telling my mam anything about poetesses,” Ian said firmly. “No, but Big Georges did, and he told everyone about her. A woman he met in Marseilles. He has a book of her poetry, and read some out.”

“Any good?”

“How would I ken? There was a good bit o’ swooning and swellin’ and bursting goin’ on, but it seemed to be to do wi’ flowers, mostly. There was a good wee bit about a bumblebee, though, doin’ the business wi’ a sunflower. Pokin’ it, I mean. With its snout.”

There was a momentary silence as Jamie absorbed the mental picture.

“Maybe it sounds better in French,” he said.

Diana Gabaldon “Virgins” in Dangerous Women George R R Martin, Gardner Dozois (eds)

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poem- for Brian #Outlander April 27, 2015

Brian Dubh

They miss you.

Shredded hearts pile blame

Lash out from pain

They’ve lain you in your grave,

Brian Dubh,

but while they grieve

still you live

in them.

.

.

A little Outlander poem today, in honour of ep 112 Lallybroch.  Dubh is pronounced “Doo”. It means ‘black’. Jamie Fraser’s father was known as “Black Brian” for his colouring. If you’re only meeting these character through the TV series, you may not know this.  

 

poem-turn back time January 7, 2015

In Outlander,

Jamie, the good husband, is always giving his wife, Claire,  good advice.

He gives advice to keep her safe.

Stay here in this clearing, away from the soldiers.

Sage advice.

Stay here in the hold, away from the pirates.

Good counsel.

Claire, a modern woman with a mind of her own, makes her own decisions.

Her decisions often run counter to Jamie’s.

Invariably, Jamie has to bail her out of the trouble she’s landed in,

because she didn’t listen to him.

Today,

my good husband came home for lunch and said,

“Don’t go out there.  It’s treacherous!  I had to put down salt,

to melt the ice on the driveway!”

When he returned to work,

I saw the mail lady come.

I’m expecting a parcel.

There’s salt down.

What’s the worst that could happen?

I stepped on islands made by salt pellets

down our steep drive,

crossed the slippery road, and was within a meter of the mailbox

when I was splayed out on the edge of the road like a frog.

Ah!  So that’s the worse that could happen.

Stay here in the house, away from the ice, he’d said

And after, my good husband didn’t even say,

“I told you so.”

Oh, if I could turn back time!

.

DSCN1452  5 hours in Emergency because I have a spiral fracture in my ankle, and apparently orthopaedic surgeon will screw in a plate tomorrow, but at least I don’t have to pay anything for this adventure thanks to Canadian MediCare!

🙂

Outlander is written by Diana Gabaldon.  It’s an amazing historical, time-travel, adventure, romance, amazing novel that you should read.  My husband adores it, and tried to get everyone he knows to read it, as do I.

 

poem- looking (an #Outlander poem) September 29, 2014

“I want to look,”

she says.

Finger outlining

the focus of

her attention,

she walks

a slow, studious circle

of analysis

and inevitable

appreciation.

.

“Fair’s fair,”

he says,

stepping back

with a glint in his eye,

joyfully

thankful for circumstance

that made her

his.

.

.

.

Another poem based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander;  this one based on Ron Moore’s TV series, specifically episode 107, “The Wedding.”

 

History- Leap o’the cask and the Dun Bonnet June 30, 2014

I discovered this article about regional history around Loch Ness that includes the actual recorded story of ‘Leap o the Cask’ and the ‘Dun Bonnet’ as it shows up in Diana Gabaldon’s books.  The story IS about a James Fraser.  This is the kind of historical coincidence that tends to give one goose bumps.

I found the reference here:

http://www.caithness.org/caithnessfieldclub/bulletins/2004/historyoffoyers.htm

James Fraser, 9th of Foyers, was on very friendly terms with Simon, 13th Lord Lovat, later to be executed for his part in the 1745 Rising, and on that account, Foyers joined Lovat in supporting Prince Charles during his short reign in Edinburgh as King James VIII. After the disastrous battle of Culloden in 1746 the ill-fated Prince Charles fled westwards and took refuge in Gorthleck farmhouse on the Foyers estate but was soon alarmed by a party of Red Coats and effected his escape by jumping out of a window. Foyers also escaped from the battlefield and his efforts to elude capture were every bit as romantic as those of Prince Charles.

Foyers was excluded from the Act of Parliament pardoning treasonable offences committed in the rebellion, and was forced to live in hiding for seven years after the rebellion. One of his favourite haunts was a cave, a mile to the west of the Falls of Foyers. One day, on looking out of the cave, the laird saw a Red Coat secretly following a girl bringing food for him and, as to avoid capture was a matter of life and death to him, the laird shot the soldier who was buried where he fell. So Foyers’s whereabouts could be kept secret, the inhabitants used to speak of him by the nickname “Bonaid Odhair” (Dun Coloured Bonnet).

After the Battle of Culloden, the Duke of Cumberland’s troops brought much misery and brutality to the district. The estates were plundered and burnt on a scale never before known on account of the proximity of Foyers to Fort Augustus, where Cumberland and his troops were garrisoned. Many people starved to death and many outrages were committed on their persons. At a change-house, An Ire Mhor (a large piece of arable land), on the road to Inverness near Foyers, a group of soldiers, including an officer, raped a young girl living there with her grandmother and, when the old woman tried to defend her grandchild, she was strangled to death. At a funeral, taking place in Foyers cemetery, one of the starving mourners grabbed a loaf of bread off a passing provisions cart heading for Fort Augustus – uproar followed. The offender was arrested and the troops fired indiscriminately into the funeral party, killing at least one and wounding many others. The bullet holes in the grave stone of Donald Fraser of Erchit, buried in 1730, can still be seen to this day. Another outrage was committed on a boy taking a cask of beer to Foyers in his hiding place – when the boy refused to tell of his master’s hiding place, the soldiers cut off his hands.

I’m particularly bemused that one of the bibliographic sources is History of the Frasers by Alex MacKenzie. It makes you wonder if it was printed by A. Malcolm, doesn’t it? 🙂

Here’s a link to some photos of the actual Dun Bonnet cave:

http://alastaircunningham07.blogspot.ca/2007/10/dun-bonnet-cave-from-inside.html

 

The Inverness Outlander group were able to go explore the cave.  Here’s a link to their blog post and photos of the day:  https://invernessoutlanders.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/trip-to-the-dun-bonnets-cave  Diana said she wouldn’t have gone on this trip because she is too claustrophobic.  🙂

 

 

quote- knowing June 11, 2014

In chapter 15 of Diana Gabaldon’s Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Jenny says of Jamie,

.

“Ye ken how he is…always explaining you to yourself.”

.

This line made me chuckle.  My husband is just like this, though he also very frequently explains himself. 😉  Kind of scary how observant he is.

 

please never die! August 30, 2012

This is purely selfish, I know.

Since October 2011, I’ve been obsessed with author Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series (though I read anything by her I can find: the Lord John series, blog posts, articles, tweets, Facebook postings).  Like millions of rabid fans around the world, I am waiting desperately for the next installment in in the adventures of Claire and Jamie Fraser, et al.  Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (aka MOBY) isn’t due until SEPTEMBER 2013!

>>Insert anguished groan here<<

Recently, Diana went to Scotland to celebrate the wedding of her daughter.  I found myself praying passionately that there would be no plane, train, bus, ferry, or auto accidents.  What if Diana was to expire in some sort of dramatic, Fraser worthy way?  She puts her characters through enough, fate might just mock her with an ironic  twist, and she could be caught in such a scenario up close and personally!  Worse, some ignominious event could fell her, some blip of biology could shut down that brilliant brain and still that witty pen.

😦  NOOOOOOOOO!  The very idea makes my heart pound in dread.

Yesterday, in my audio book of Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn, Jamie fought off a bear with a dirk, bare hands, and sheer determination.  (Claire contributed to his defence by whacking at the combatants with a dead fish).  After this attack, Claire shakily observes,

Anytime. It could happen anytime, and just this fast. I wasn’t sure which seemed most unreal; the bear’s attack, or this, the soft summer night, alive with promise.

I rested mv head on my knees, letting the sickness, the residue of shock, drain away. It didn’t matter, I told myself Not only anytime, but anywhere. Disease, car wreck, random bullet. There was no true refuge for anyone, but like most people, I managed not to think of that most of the time.

I am not a worry-wart.  I have a generally relaxed, laissez-faire attitude about most things.  I believe in doing what you can, and then letting go.  I wait without anxious fear for results of jobs, test results, admissions, reviews, and queries. Impatient curiosity may cause frustration, but not anxiety.  My kids and husband are on their own, provided only with my good wishes and sensible advice.  I never panic over their prospective demises, despite their penchants for death defying recreational activities that would indicate I really should.  Yet, Diana Gabaldon’s books can keep me up all night, fretting about how things are going to turn out for a character who’s stuck in another impossible situation.  Her fictional world stresses me out far more than the real world does.

I love her for it.

So I worry about Herself .*   This is slightly absurd, and definitely selfish.    I know it, and yet I can’t help it.

Please be immortal, Diana.  Or at least, get yourself into a time loop next time you’re in Scotland.  I recommend looking for wild flowers at the base of standing stones around Beltane.

*I also worry,  not infrequently, about Davina Porter, narrator of the Outlander audio books, for much the same reasons.  She HAS to keep narrating this series!  She can’t die or retire!

Imagine my head, cupped in my hands, shaking in embarrassment.  This is quite pathetic, but very real.  Am I alone in this absurdity?  Tell me someone else shares author anxiety?

July/2013 Especially now that MOBY won’t be released until March 2014 now!

 

 
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