Monday, April 07, 2014

Butler/Banks Book Tour: Worldbuilding and the use of the arts in speculative fiction

Because I'm a poet, in addition to creating laws, theologies, culture, races, and history, I also use poetry to show my world.

These are some of the poems, you will find in my novel, The Constant Tower. Some of these poems can stand on their own, however all require some knowledge of their place in the context of the story. I hope you enjoy them.

From where he sits
in our Permanent Home
on the edges of the river
looking on our shore,
Ouis understands.
Bright is his joy now!
Why am I still troubled?
What does that sin matter now?


The Longhouse is redolent of sex;
I, myself, am perfumed in it.
How, then, can I leave my marriage tribe?

Some speak with me as an equal.
For them, the words from this studier's lips
Are like a Chief's law.
How, then, can I leave my people?" 


Another's sin taints me.
And yet, 
And yet,
In old age, I will return to my childhood pleasures.
I will allow myself to meditate on your face again.
I will dream of your nature-blessed strength and beauty
And look forward to it in Our Permanent Home.
For this girl, brother wounded brother.
If she is returned to me,
Should I regret the sin and yet enjoy the prize?


We have met strangers who are friends
We have met family from afar
Daily the world spins
Daily it turns
And today it has brought us to you.

We will trample you, Wheel Clan.
Our brothers build home fires in their permanent home 
But their spirits burn within us. 
Their flame will destroy your tower.
If you roll into our campsite,
You will find yourselves engulfed in flames.


In the days before cities existed, before the night lost its power, 
The great chiefs dreamt of cities built on tower music, 
Locking towers to fertile regions. 

A place of unending abundance, safety, and continual rest, 
A world where none were scattered, where night had no power to separate.
Music filled the universe then as now. 

Music undergirds it. 
Music sustains human cities and human hearts. 
In the old days, they lived with no greater joy than to fill the air with song.

Living chords, are what we are. 
The world is made of sounds, sounds unheard and sounds heard. 
But the ear must be trained to hear them
As the heart is trained to hear the echoes of love. 

Sounds make words and words make worlds. 
Flesh, color, light, stones. . . All are made of sound.
My heart is your keening room.

It is a room filled with hollow reeds, with drums, pipes, and shining many-colored crystals. 
Their rhapsodies sing of regions, like regions of my soul, 
Their variations link towers, as your heart and mine are linked.
Their chords record histories, like the histories of our people.
Their harmonies send out messages. 
Their codas sing destinations, the future of our lives.
Hold your hand above my heart as you would above a drum. 
Touch and feel the world's heartstrings. 

Music, like love, undergirds the world. It upholds the universe.
Lovely to hear the tower music, 
The sequences, the arrangements, the rhythms, chords, and metres. 
But not to be compared to my sweet One's voice.
How beautiful you are, my wife!


The future king and his wife stood atop the rampart
Golden they seemed, like the golden sun on a golden path. 
Behind them the standards of the Wheel Clan flew
Below them, their subjects-sang and cheered.

Once I had smiled to see her dressed as a chief's wife.
But as she stood high above our gathered clans
I thought: he has made her a queen. 

All power was his.
To win her heart, perhaps, and cover her with the clan's glory.
He was our Prince, the heir of all things yet so enslaved
By love for the girl my father had given him.
That morning, I saw tears falling from my brother's eyes.
Tears of joy and amazement.
A future king admiring a future queen.
I saw his fearful joy and wept. 

The following is one of my poems in my WIP, The Daughters of Men.


"The daughters of  men are beautiful.  
Lovely they are to look upon 
Soft they are to hold.  
But from among the daughters of men, 
A Scarred One will rise up.
Not gracious to look upon
Not beautiful to behold.  
Yet, of a well-beloved breaker of laws, 
This Stubborn One will be well-beloved. 
She it is who will bring disruption, 
Cleaving Desolation and the Holy One." 
- Canto 712 (The Ezran Edict) of the Nephilim Prophecies

Overseers or humans who wish to interpret the Ezran Edict should keep this one thing in mind: Interpretations of this prophecy hinge on the word "cleaving" which has two possible meanings: joining and separating. Ezra uttered this prophecy as he lay dying on the battlefield during the war of Resistance. It is agreed among the Forsaken that Ezra understood the complexity of the prophecy even as he spoke it.  But, that is all that is agreed upon.
- Gray Wolf's commentary on The Ezran Edict.

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