Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sevenling (Baba Yaga)






Sevenling (Baba Yaga)






Baba Yaga flies the living woods to pluck
silver tufts of wormwood, cobalt wolf'sbane,
red-cap toadstools for the little ones to suck.

Loneliness and these things made her luck:
resentment clutched and hope that's brought to naught;
and the beebalm, foxgloves, larkspur in her path

can not cure the sickness that she caught.



~April 2015










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Challenge: Frog-cups in New York City
The lively and darkly enchanting genius of Magaly Guerrero has found a perfect topic for this penultimate day of April's long haul: write a new poem that will include a flower named after an animal or a bird named after a flower. She requested a shorter poem, and I'm sure we can all appreciate that at this point, so I chose the sevenling form, inspired by the work of Russian poet Anna Ahkmatova. I also chose a Russian folktale to go with it.




You can find out more about the Slavic witch Baba Yaga, the mortar and pestle she uses to fly, and her house on chicken legs  HERE. 







Images: Baba Yaga, by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1929  public domain via wikimedia commons
Illustration of Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin, 1900, from the fairy tale Vasilisa The Beautiful
Public domain via wikiart.org

21 comments:

  1. Ah lovely--I could honestly not come up with a single appropriate flower and you have a veritable host! Beautiful sounds and language and a kind of sickness we all catch and cannot cure with herbs or even the slyest beauty. Thanks. k.

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    1. Well, flowers are kind of my thing, but I admit I had to think hard and make a list--among those eliminated which I would have liked to use: Lamb's ear, possumhaw, and skunk cabbage. ;_) Thanks, k.

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  2. Dark and delicious! I knew you, with your Green Fingers and Thumbs would add an enchanted spell~

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  3. Ooo...I LOVE a great Sevenling and yours is perfection!

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  4. I love Baba Yaga! I am glad you this from her side!

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  5. Wonderful! I love Baba Yaga, and especially admire your closing line.......

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  6. You and Kerry should consider yourselves guilty of Magaly Loving Poetry in the First Degree, just so you know. I walked into The Garden (almost a year ago), with no intention to stay... I just wanted a taste before running back to my fiction. But I love what you and Kerry do with poetry... There are many other poets whose work I enjoy in The Garden, but the words and worlds and ideas that come out of the two of you always inspire me.

    I love that you introduce forms in a simple way, even when they are complex. I haven't been around poetry for long, but seeing what you do and how you do it makes want to stick around.

    Okay, I will stop rambling now (it's just that today's poems have been so great that I'm all grins and my endorphins are running amok). There is not one thing I don't love about this poem. I'm a lover of fairy tales and of flowers with mysterious uses in life and folktales. I'm enchanted by your poem's explanation of Baba Yaga's behavior... "loneliness" can push the best of us to do unspeakable things... And when the pushing comes to someone whose heart is wickeder and leaning closer to dark than light, then the things they do rot all they touch. What a terrible life...

    But at least she has a nice wild garden. ;-D

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    1. Thanks so much, Magaly--I have loved your prompts and your own work throughout this long month, and it has brought a real appreciation of the lighter, more human and wiser side of darkness to me. AFA you being a stranger to poetry--one would never know it from reading your poems. You have a wonderful gift. Oh, and thanks for including me in such excellent company(Kerry) She is another who has taught me so much and inspired me so many times.

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  7. Incurable sickness keeps her alive in the imagination, and, too, what better use for this mixture than in her spells? I enjoy the sounds here--as potent as the witch and the mix.

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  8. You bring the magic of fairy tales, potions and cure-alls to the fore in this poem, and deliver with it the pathos of the human condition. The sevenling is one of my favourite forms, and perfect choice today.

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  9. what magic here.. I was on the verge of doing a witch's recipe.. which for sure would have included wolfsbane... but I'm glad I didn't this is simply magical. Need to try a sevenling some day.

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  10. This should be read at night, in the woods, around a campfire - frequently! I love how you've brought out this amazingly vivid image not only of Baba Yaga prowling the woods, but also her sinister nature.

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  11. Wow! So often, sevenlings strike me as awkward, but this reads beautifully.

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  12. This is so beautifully dark & intense!

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  13. Thank you for reminding me about the sevenling; a form I'd like to play with again some time soon. This one is beautifully executed, and you convey a great deal in the mere seven lines!

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  14. Seven's an odd number for a curse, but that's the wonder of it: The three is there--loneliness, resentment plus wrecked hope --but the count is self-infecting, a curse that can't help poisoning its wood and world. The eye is luxurious combing through this wilderness, and the leading figure cuts a hot swath. Baba's some wrecking ball of a past-due babe, huh. The Slavic drench is arch. Great pics.

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    1. Thanks B--I have seen Baba Yaga suck up people's souls all too often, and I'm willing to use any curse against her that wards me well--seven just happened to be handy, but thirty has been a really effective number,too. As long as there's a light in the window and some blood in the ink, I feel pretty safe.

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  15. oh, sure, get better as the month goes on. I'd grin but that seems inappropriate, given BY's temperment. the slog is just one more scratch from done... ~

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  16. I love it when you introduce me to mythical women I didn't know about! The art alone is fascinating. I am wondering about the beebalm. All the other plants you mention are toxic, but beebalm is a curative, isn't it? One part cure, six parts poison? They do say--according to what i just read--that Baba Yaga can present herself as either benevolent or wicked. In any case, all of it comes back on her doesn't it? Your sevenling makes me feel an unexpected pity for her.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg