Friday 18 March 2011

Sestina Day 6: Babywriter

Another science fiction sestina, this time inspired by the delightful Emma Jane Davies. One of her tweets referring to novice writers as 'baby writers' set us both off on a sci-fi tangent, and she gave me some excellent keywords!
My favourite so far, I think.


I take my pen and start to write the foetus.
Dipping my quill into the seething ink
Which, sapient, awaits life in its tube
I fill the world with verbal progeny
On artificial vellum leaves they spawn
And issue forth from my life-giving word.

They say in the beginning was the Word,
But once upon a time the human foetus
Grew in its mother's womb, from father's spawn
Back then, the source of life was never ink.
From lust and pleasure came our progeny.
But now it's just the writers and the tube.

We sit at desks around the metal tube.
Creating life with every written word.
The virus came and killed our progeny
And, in the womb, wiped out each new-formed foetus.
We found we could survive by using ink
And now through words alone can humans spawn.

We've learned to love our pretty, wordborn spawn,
And venerate the life within the tube.
As long as we can write our dreams in ink,
The human race can live in written word.
They grow up fast. Soon they will write each foetus
They will forget that they're our progeny.

Sometimes, we're scared of our own progeny.
Fleshborn, they call us, or organicspawn.
They snigger when I say I was a foetus
Inside my mother, never in the tube.
And ask me how, if never born of word.
I understand the passions of the ink?

I tell them fleshborns first created ink,
To write our stories, not our progeny.
They stare at me, and don't believe a word.
What is ink for, to them, if not to spawn?
The wordborn have no stories, and the tube
Can only fill our pens to write a foetus.

I write the words down in the living ink
Another foetus joins my progeny
Organicspawn: the servant of the tube.

1 comment:

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