Fantasy and Myth

Finally, some peace and quiet and a – largely – reliable internet connection. I was actually able to sit down and think about what I was going to write for the first time in 4 days. So for today’s NaPoWriMo exercise I prompted myself to write a poem inspired by the Malagasy poetic form, the hainteny. According to our faithful friend Wikipedia, the hainteny relies heavily on metaphors, local mythology and ohabolana i.e. proverbs. So I’ve written something a lot more European starting from that set of requirements. Hope you enjoy! (And if you don’t enjoy, I hope you’ll at least be leaving constructive criticism for me to snack on.)


The first sign this morning
was a sparrow, unusual for
this side of the Styx; it
was looking for inky worms,
so I fed it many succulent
invertebrates from Virgil.
Their deadness was a treat
for my errant guest; how
often does one find worms
that don’t struggle, that
submissively slip down the
throat, eager to be consumed?
The second sign was a manticore,
its cheek eroded by tears
because still water runs deep
and sometimes floods the
heart; it wasn’t blood that
coursed through my sad
guest’s veins, but liquid
of a fainter kind. I fed
the manticore all my gold
adornments – rings, collars
and all – because they have
curative qualities, although
the age of miracles is past.
The third and most
potent sign was the
descent of hail, despite
the traditional lack
of weather on this shore.
The impromptu stones
sowed themselves in my
weedy garden and by
evening, strong, hard
stalks had stemmed out
of the wounded soil,
claiming nature for
themselves. By then I’d
realised I was to have
no peace and quiet on
the plutonic coastline so I
gave in and declared
my cabin a boarding
house for the improbable.
Wonders will never cease.

fantasy landscape by Maichol Quinto

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