A poetic journey through my mind

The Red Hood

She tucks her hair into her hood, tugging the fabric forward to shade her face. Kneeling, she opens the bag at her feet, checking that all within is as it should be. Satisfied, she stands, bag in hand, and without a further glance behind, sets out on her journey.

red as blood, black as night,
shadows shield me from her sight,
lead me when I start to stray,
that I might live another day.

mother moon hearken to me,
father darkness hear my plea,
hold me safe and free from harm,
and shield me under sheltering arm.

The moons light filters sparsely through the trees, causing more shadows than she relieves. The girl in the hood slips silently among the shifting shades, all senses alert and poised for action. A tiny far off squeak is heard and dismissed. The death cry of some small prey, most likely. A moment later, she drops lithely to one knee, hand going out to hover over the damp leaf covered ground. Her sharp eyes scan the leaves, then move to a nearby bush…and she nods, decisively. Standing again, she moves off in a different direction, eyes scanning the ground in front of her intently.

a howl of warning fills the air
a cry of mourning and despair
the red ones hunt! the speaker cries
and gulping, hard, I close my eyes

a shifting perfume on the wind
one testing sniff and it is pinned
closer than I like to see
the red hood knight still follows me

Shrugging to adjust her armor under her bright scarlet tabard and hood, she follows the trail, eyes intent and almost glowing with excitement and eagerness. Getting close now…she can almost taste the sour-sweat-and-blood that is the mark of the Beast she hunts. A howl rings out through the forest, and she snarls under her breath, eyes touched with disgust. Filthy murdering beasts. Momentarily, her senses are filled with the scent/taste/sight of hot apple pastries cooling on her Nona’s counter. She snarls again, and shakes her head, dispelling the image. No time for sentiment…it’s killing time.

running hard through forests deep
I dream of home, and warmth, and sleep
of friendly faces in firelight
anything but this cold flight

my heartbeat pounds within my chest
as if a bird fought in my breast
my legs are made for running far
but now each footfall seems to jar

Her breath quickens, along with her pace, as she feels the trail grow more obvious, easier to follow. The beast panics, running blind. Her grin is feral beneath the scarlet hood. Soon it will fall, and then it will end. Ever vigilant, she watches for an ambush, although she doubts there will be one. The beast is alone.

my breath is shallow, eyes are glazed
yet still I run. I am amazed
a-mazed I am, a mouseling, trapped
in territory long unmapped

I dare not turn my head for fear
of red-crossed knight who runs so near
I know she comes, I feel her eyes
I know her ears can hear my sighs

She shrugs her shoulders again to loosen the strap of the bag on her back, letting it slip into her hand as she runs. Reaching within she withdraws a gleaming silver knife with an enameled red cross for pommel, and a scarlet thong with a small glass flask hanging from it. Slipping the bag back behind her, the knife into a specially made pocket, and the thong around her neck under the hood, she continues forward, cautiously.

I stumble onwards through the night
my heart beats like a bird in flight
my ears hear running footsteps, nigh
as moonlight beams down from on high

one more stumble and I’m done
my traitor legs refuse to run
I crumple to the forest floor
let death come, I’ll run no more

She hears the dull thud of a large body hitting the ground ahead of her, and she hurries forward, ears alert to any further sound of movement. None comes, and she grins as she pulls the gleaming knife from its holder. Moving cautiously into the clearing, she sees the beast lying with its back to her, curled into itself, shaking with fear and exhaustion. The long grey tail matted with blood and sweat, the fur-covered ribs heaving with each panicked breath…it is harmless now. Only prey for the taking. With a quick prayer, she drips a bit of consecrated oil from the flask at her throat onto the blade, and shaking her head so that her hood falls back, she steps toward her prize. She will stare into its eyes as she…

moonlight shines on midnight black
the fall of hair hangs down her back
her deep brown eyes look shocked, afraid
as she stands before me, scarlet arrayed

a tear runs down through matted fur
as overcome, I stare at her
she drops the knife from open hand
and weaves as if she cannot stand

I close my fear glazed eyes and wait
I know full well my future fate
I hear her drop down to her knees
in the clearing, beneath the trees

her words are shaky and unclear
her voice a ringing in my ear
I grit my teeth, and wait for death
each breath I take is my last breath

I feel her hand upon my face
I feel her fingers move, and trace
I hear her voice, and my heart shivers
with the pain and sorrow it delivers

She stares at the beast as she lies before her, oh-so-familiar features made strange and warped. But oh, those eyes. Those soft brown eyes that she had seen all her young life, that she had thought gone forever. With one shaking hand, she reaches forward, turning the creatures muzzle and leaning down to lay her cheek against the sweat-matted fur. Cautiously, a long grey arm moves to hold her close…and she weeps. For the one before her…for herself…for the long wasted years. Curled up on the forest floor, the moonlight streaming down on them, she weeps.
“Ohhh…oh, Nona!”

25 responses

  1. KC

    This was written for Anansi the Poet’s faery-tale re-write contest. It started out as a different story, then mutated as it went along. They do that, sometimes. I like how it ended up, although it doesn’t qualify for the contest as it’s more than 50 lines. >;<

    The contest is on till Saturday, so if you can write quickly enough, you can still get in! *g*


    KC & Co.

    April 13, 2012 at 4:45 am

  2. Good Luck dear Poet Kyotzeta, with my love, nia

    April 13, 2012 at 5:50 am

    • KC

      ❤ *hugs* ❤

      April 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

  3. Epic

    April 13, 2012 at 6:00 am

    • KC

      Thank you, sir! 🙂 I’m glad you liked it.

      KC & Co.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

  4. Really amazing. Way to capture a whole universe. And “red as hood, black as night,” is brilliant. Maybe I’ll consider and excerpt from this piece…hmm.

    April 13, 2012 at 7:17 am

    • KC

      Thank you! I think that is one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten! “a whole universe” 🙂

      It was a lot of fun for me. Frustrating, as my silly laptop decided to shut down for updates in the middle of writing it, and I hadn’t saved, so… *sighs* Lost some of my best rhymes…but I think I recovered it pretty well. 😉

      KC & Co.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:53 am

  5. artblablablablog

    Such powerful imagery, xllent! I like the way you switch between story and poetry too, very effective for the reader.

    April 13, 2012 at 9:02 am

    • KC

      Thanks! *hugs* I’m glad to get it finished, although it was a fun piece to write. Next up, Picture Stories! 😉

      KC & Co.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:55 am

  6. KC All i can say is WOW WOW WOW! You’re A REAL writing genius ~to me! Hopefully you have a wonderful weekend and thanks again for sharing part of your inner core! Deborah

    April 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    • KC

      *hugs* Thank you! That means a lot to me. 🙂

      I hope your weekend goes well also…I plan to spend mine organizing/writing for “Bones”, and researching someone who can teach me how to best publish an e-book. 😉

      KC & Co.

      April 14, 2012 at 1:12 am

  7. wait, help me out. why was it partly a poem and partly prose?

    April 14, 2012 at 12:41 am

    • KC

      🙂 One, because that’s the way it came out, and that’s the way I write.

      Two, because it separates the two voices, the two worlds.

      Three, because the wolf/grandma doesn’t/can’t talk, so it needed to be different, somehow, in my head.

      Four, because the rhythm of the poem fit the Beast side of the chase better, fit the rhythm of the running, the panic, etc.

      But honestly, number one is all that matters with my stuff, unless I’m deliberately -trying- to do it according to some set of rules. 😉

      Does that help? 🙂

      KC & Co.

      April 14, 2012 at 1:08 am

      • yes. i didn’t want to fully read it unless i knew more because i felt i probably couldn’t really appreciate it. now i can. thanks.

        April 14, 2012 at 1:11 am

        • KC

          Np…I appreciate that you asked. 🙂 A lot of people wouldn’t have. I like the thought that you put into things. Thank you! I hope you like it… 😉

          KC & Co.

          April 14, 2012 at 1:14 am

          • no way i can’t like it. you’re welcome. i taught writing and poetry for 25 years, so i probably approach these things differently than most people.

            April 14, 2012 at 1:24 am

        • KC

          Also, oops, sorry about the spoiler…I thought you’d already read it. My bad. 😦

          KC & Co.

          April 14, 2012 at 1:16 am

          • np.

            April 14, 2012 at 1:25 am

  8. elmediat

    Very well done. Nice twist on the hunter-prey relationship.

    April 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    • KC

      Thank you! Like a lot of my stuff, “It just turned out that way” is an appropriate and oft-used description. The original story I had originally envisioned had a male knight, of an “order” of Hunter Knights in modern times, hunting a creature that once was the wolf that bit LRRH…I still may write that, as prose…but it wanted to be a short-story and the contest didn’t have room for that. On the whole, I’m glad it didn’t. 😉

      The ending of the piece-that-is was honestly a surprise to me. About halfway through it started to mutate, and by the end, by the long poem bit, I knew where it was going…but not till then. They sneak up on me like that sometimes. And thank goodness for that! 🙂

      KC & Co.

      April 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

  9. Pingback: Contest Winner! And cake. Of the cup and cheese variety « Anansi the Poet

  10. KC

    Yay! I got runner up in the contest! I’m buying myself a cup-type-cake to celebrate! 🙂

    My first win/runner up for my writing, ever!


    April 16, 2012 at 11:31 am

  11. WOW and double WOW–this is a masterpiece of Little Red Riding Hood turned wrong side out and upside down. I love the Nona! I love the ending–perfect.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    • KC

      *hugs* Glad you liked it! It was way fun to write. I’m fond of my twisty little mind sometimes. 😉

      KC & Co.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm

  12. George Weaver

    Congratulations! I’m fond of your twisty little mind too.

    April 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm

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