To Order

*The chapter of Witch’s Daughter will be up by early afternoon. Right now I’m doing a flying cleanup of the house. I have a book to edit, a book to finish, way too many articles for PJM, and I have a short story due drop dead this weekend, and a friend’s book to read. But the house needs cleaning, and I found out where Val-cat has been pissing (small victories.) But this has been running through my head, partly in response to discussion here this week (yes, all of this week) and partly– perhaps an answer to prayers. I want to point out that I’m not in the least mystical. Or at least I TRY not to be. Because when you have a mind like mine that can make the dream real, it’s not just for others, it’s for yourself. And it’s too easy to drown in the waters of the forever ocean at the edge of reality. So I try to stay in reality. But there are things even I can’t deny. However, remember I’m not a poet. Not in English. So forgive me if it’s not very good. I just didn’t know how to express it otherwise. – SAH*

To Command

The command comes
And I go
I fight or stand down
At the command

Oh it would be much easier
If the command had to be obeyed
If marionette-like I danced
Without will through the paths
Of my my days

(Someday when I meet Him
I must ask
About this joke of free will
Sending us careening
On our own
While our sight remains
Dark)

You can tell me it is time
To give up
Or you can tell me it’s
Now time to attack
But I bend my knee
To no man
To no sharp reason
To no hazy philosophy
Truth be told I don’t listen to me

The voice I hear is whisper soft
But binds me like iron
To what is meant to be

It was not always so
I bent the muse and arched it
For the sake of a story
For the sake of some bread
But it ate at the light
At the thought at the sight
At the voice that whispers
In the darkness of night

In the darkness of night
I walk dream paths
The choices of my life
The worlds without end
Branching from the breaks
That will never mend

The loves unloved
The children unborn
The lands unknown
The stories left unsung
And some lead to fame
And some lead to death
And some lead to pain
And all to regret

But this path that tread
This labyrinth of words
Is wished upon me from
Beyond all the worlds

Oh, I could refuse
I could walk away
I could choose reason
I could have my own say
But in the dark I’d loose
The spark that is me
The thread of the story
That is meant to be

You can say I’m a fool
I’ve said it myself
You can say it’s all pointless
I’ve been known to suspect it
But here at the end, where there’s
Nothing to see
There is just the command
And I don’t have to agree

I’ll fight or I’ll rest
At the command’s behest

(Who would choose if they knew
To be part of this rag tag crew?
Who would want to cast their lot
With our chances?
But the command comes
And the pen advances)

And perhaps there’s nothing
At the end of the world
No hope, no thought
No hope, no breath
But I’ll move when commanded
When commanded I’ll rest.

52 thoughts on “To Order

  1. Free stuff can wait – write what will earn money, do things necessary to get the heck out of Colorado, rest the bod/mind. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

  2. Ox will read of such later.
    Ox need sleep now.
    Why?
    “Ox, your crew is… YOU.”
    No call-ins. No no-shows. Scheduling screw-up NOBODY (not ox, not HR, not person looking at weekly to make dailies) caught.
    9 hours. Break? What’s a break?
    Yes, off-hoof time is needed.
    The rye… helped a bit.

    Nobody was gored. Despite the temptation.

    Oh, and for anyone who has been wondering what the humans might on about after all the unicorn stuff? It looks like dragon stuff didn’t take (lucky dragons?) and so the next attempt seems to be mermaids. Ox NOT try to figure it out. Humans weird. Often smart, often nice, often helpful. But weird!

      1. Ox *trying* for such. Even simply to move from Dept. 1 to Dept. 2.

        Problem: Even the human(??) who seemed to be utterly anti-minotaur now says, “Ox too valuable to Dept. 1.”

        (One of the very very few humans to truly creep ox out.
        Ox NOT supposed to know, but is/was mutual.
        That guy spent a year or so Elsewhere doing supposed DreamJob for him… and returned a lot more… relaxed/subdued/understanding? Still creepy. But now it’s elevated clicks on the meter rather than a roar. Suspect he learned that It Could Be Worse [Translation: Had NO DAMNED IDEA how good he had it] the HARD way.)

        He *might* even have figured out that I am Mythical – and it’s NOT common.

        He *might* also be Mythical, but is most decidedly NOT of hoofed type. I refuse to publicly speculate further, lest troubles arise.

        1. Ugh. Sounds like my old gig in The Supermarket. I tried putting in for transfer to another department experience in multiple departments was (I believe) a prerequisite to be considered for any sort of management position. But I was denied each time because, and I quote, “You’re too important. We need you here.” Because I was one of the few in my department who actually did their damned job. Like they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

      2. This past night was a weird reprise (and NO prize).
        ONE of the other four scheduled showed up.
        Two have phone numbers on the contact list that are… not active
        The one who showed up? Slow. Much slower than ox.
        NOT stupid, no. But… I suspect he used to watch snails whizz right along.

    1. I know why the silly dragon stuff didn’t take off (Dragons made sure that it didn’t).

      The Unicorns haven’t reached the point of say “Enough Is Enough” concerning silly unicorn stuff.

      Those who know about True Unicorns can tell you that Unicorns can be (almost) as dangerous to offend as Dragons. This Dragon wouldn’t want to offend most Unicorns. 😀

      As for the mere-folk, there’s a word for men (or women) who swim with the mere-folks. The word is “Dead”. 😈

      1. Aye. Unicorns should be heeded. “Get outta my way” is perhaps one of the BEST things to realize – it’s simple and usually readily done. As is “Go away.” And I admit there might be an… ungulate advantage. Unicorns are wonderful, but dealing with centaurs is easier – even the sober ones. Yes, those DO exist. Even if the half-lives are short. And I’ve met precisely ONE mermaid. I stayed ashore. I know my element (earth).

    2. Oh, and for anyone who has been wondering what the humans might on about after all the unicorn stuff? It looks like dragon stuff didn’t take (lucky dragons?)

      *looks at toybox* It didn’t?

      We’ve got dragons (going back at least a decade), unicorns (ditto) and mermaids (slightly newer) like crazy, a decent number of quasi-mythicals like Pokemon and Glitter Or Glow Everything.

      1. Dragon puddings? Cereals? Cake mixes? Mac & Cheese shapes?
        There are unicorn instances of all.
        I see mermaid stuff beginning (though ‘sea green’ is not an appealing food color..)
        Dragons? There WAS a “dragon’s hoard” pudding cup thing. WAS.

  3. It’s actually quite good. IMHO Poetry is not written to be critiqued. It flows from the heart through the finger-tips. The poet must release this pain or burst. Critics, (Who as a class hover somewhere below those who are useless and those who are worse-than) Can only thrust foul fingers in a pure stream of emotion sullying its waters and creating eddies of angst.

    1. Likewise. I think I understand what I’m supposed to be doing, but why? No idea. “Morning Trumpet” has been going through my mind recently, and Marta Keen Thompson’s “Homeward Bound.” [Anything sung by Bryn Terfel can go through my mind as long as it likes!]

  4. Good on yer, Sarah!

    I do like your poem though I would fault one line. I won’t note which one, as it’s your say not mine. & no I didn’t plan to rhyme, this time, but verse/terse sigh, OK, that’s a strength and beauty of poetry, poetic expression; it engulfs one’s thoughts and it hard to fall back in to prosaic form and format.

    So! Trying again; I do like, did enjoy reading To Command. Why yes, it is a bit rough and/but while it is a very personal statement it resonates in my mind and I’m quite sure it will provide pleasure, comfort and insight as to how to cope with today’s world for many other readers here.

    BTW: One of the 3 or 5 books I have open and am reading or re-reading at this time is Stephen Vincent Benet’s Western Star. As many aren’t familiar with it, I’ll note it’s a 181 page historical novel written in verse.

    Was Stephen a novelist or a poet, I wouldn’t presume to say.

    If you say you’re not a poet, Sarah, I wouldn’t presume to argue, though hopefully you’ll allow me my opinion that you just done did just write some good, powerful, poetry.

    So there! -grin

    -which brings me back to where I started;

    Good on yer, Sarah!

  5. It’s a good poem. With the fallen knight, reminded me of this (can’t look it up without watching it AGAIN)…

  6. [Wherin is noted thankful we are for whatever we receive, including observation that other stuff is Day Job – all in witty and erudite prose without typos.]

  7. Good image.

    Glimpsed it at two different times– didn’t realize it was the same– first time, I saw a cop; second time, I saw a Crusader.

    Poem-
    kind of like it, kind of have trouble reading it; brain tries to sing.

          1. Di dum di dum di dum di dum
            Di dum di dum di dum di dum
            Di dum di dum di dum di dum
            Di dum di dum dum dum dum

            I can do meter, rhythm, and rhyme but I can’t do poetry.

    1. It would make a good marching song.

      I saw a modern soldier the first time by; only became a crusader (fallen but not defeated) after I’d read the poem. It’s that every-warrior kind of picture.

  8. “In the darkness of night
    I walk dream paths
    The choices of my life
    The worlds without end
    Branching from the breaks
    That will never mend

    The loves unloved
    The children unborn….”

    OK, that stabbed me right in the gut. I too lay awake and ponder these memories; paths taken and not taken, the wonderful husband and children I have been blessed with….but also the true love foolishly rejected, and the children unborn.

    1. Speaking of memories, I caught part of Dr. David Jeremiah’s weekend program. He started by discussing a Dicken’s tale that I didn’t know about a man who to forget and then wanted to remember. He then went to Psalm 92 to discuss how memory is essential to thankfulness (and I missed the rest).

  9. OT, but speaking of fallen warriors I was glancing through some past posts by our esteemed hostess on PJM and was smacked upside the head with the reminder that Dr. Pournelle has been gone ahead three years this month.

      1. Beloved Spouse & I were watching a CSPAN presentation we’d recorded earlier this year, Eisenhower’s Influence on Ronald Reagan, taking place at Pepperdine when one of the people in the audience, a guy who had an organizer of College Students For Reagan in Reagan’s 1968 “campaign” for president, recalled

        The other point I wanted to add about Pepperdine is when I was doing some consulting for Pepperdine, having returned from Washington in the 1970’s, John McCarthy was a vice president of Pepperdine, and John had been the point man at General Electric who organized for the Reagan speaking commitment. He was in charge of that and later came here at Pepperdine. And Edward Tellar, he had met through Arthur Spitzer, a Pepperdine donor, and that’s, when you and I spoke on the phone, that is who I talked about. The other person was — I cannot remember the name of the science fiction author here. Jerry — cannot remember his name. He was kind of an inspiration for star wars. Henry Salvatori fellow here. Meeting Tellar was one of the most intimidating experiences of my life because it was like talking to a machine and he hated to be called the father of the H-Bomb but you ask him a question. You say, Dr. Tellar, he would pause for 10 or 20 seconds and say there are 14 reasons and go 1, 2, 3, 4 as if it was spitting out a computer. Incredibly intimidating. But I think that your research has been amazing uncovering the connections here in terms of both what came to be known as Star Wars and the different interactions with the people here. Terrific book.

        which left me yelling at the TV set, “Pournelle! His name was Pournelle!”

  10. Well, it’s not Beowulf, but I kinda liked it. Merely kinda because I’m tired from moving steel and furniture all day and I got more to do.

  11. By the way, Alma’s latest Familiars book is available.

    It’s titled Judiciously Familiar and It Is Great! 😀

  12. So there I was listening to Disturbed doing their version of The Sound of Silence while I did my arm lifts and I REALLY wanted to jump onto FB and ask you to tell me it would get better. And this poem shows up in my email. After you are done asking about email, I have a few pointed questions about His “humor”.

      1. Oh yeah. Too many tropes, soooooo many side plots that the main characters get lost, and some of the grammar? Dialect usage for color, that’s OK, but sheesh, we now have mutually incomprehensible academic languages to deal with. And He really needs to brush up on genre conventions, IMAO. 😉

        On the other paw, He’s the Editor, and He gets final say on critiques. 😛

        1. He gets final say on critiques. 😛

          Thanks, luv – now I’ve gotten this vision of a particular circle of Hell wherein bad critics are condemned to reside, tormenting the demons and one another.

          Good critics (both of ’em) may go to Heaven but they’ll find little there to occupy their skills.

  13. Not trying to buttinsky, but, he who? The tropical dialectic dictator with delusions of genre you speak of?

      1. Trope -ical As in ‘Of Tropes’ When I was in college some of my friends and i spent a good bit of time with word-play, for instance adding the suffix ‘ness’ to words that did not ordinarily use it. It was amusing, We didn’t get many dates though…

  14. You have never indicated a military background but this speaks loudly to the combat vet in me. I have a photo somewhere of my bunk in RVN with my pocket Bible, my Rosary, and a bottle of Johnny Walker (before I learned of single malts – I was reasonably young at 22) sitting on it. The things that got a soldier through.

    I’ve always been a bit strange (exhibit one, I read Plato in the third grade) and a good friend told me that I “have an old soul”. It was meant as a compliment and I took it as such. In the same vein, I look at the wisdom and insight we get from your writing and I tell you, with respect, that you, lady, have an old soul and it is a pleasure to know that folks such as you are in this world.

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