Thursday, April 30, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 30

I've always loved this line from the Count in A Night in the Lonesome October.

He's such a fascinatingly alien presence throughout the book, and Zelazny gets it across in just seventeen syllables here.

"I like the world just
the way it is," said the Count.
"Pray, let us begin.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 29

I love this one from Deus Irae. It's so impossibly prosaic. 

It rises into
the air by a process called

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 28

The senators had
no faces and their garments
were spattered with blood. 

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 27

A child of Amber
may walk among them, and such
was my heritage.

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 26

I liked the Millennial Contest series, even if the authors didn't.

Dragon's eyes cannot
see through the falsehood in their
own situation.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Seven Years of Egg Shows

Jen and Lily have exhibited at the egg show at the Forks Township Community Center ever since it moved to that venue, and this year was no exception. I really like seeing her grow up through these pictures.

2009: Year 1
2010:Year 2
2011: Year 3
2012: Year 4
2013: Year 5
2014: Year 6
2015: Year 7

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 25

Since DeVito thinks he's such hot stuff, maybe he can identify the story that contains this haiku.

To approach this near
the realm of death, its semblance
was necessary.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ye Olde Science Faire

I didn’t have especially high hopes for Lily’s first science fair. She wasn’t particularly interested in participating, but it was mandatory for kids in the school’s gifted and talented program, and on top of that, we only had two weeks to put something together in what was already a very busy month.

Each grade level was limited to a certain few topics. For Lily’s grade, it was ecology, astronomy and a third topic I can’t remember now. We went with ecology, because that seemed to offer the best chance to perform an actual experiment. Lily came up with the name “What Lights up a Worm’s Life?” and everything followed from that. She and Jen figured something out, and Jen’s moms picked up the worms they needed, as good grandmothers will, and things gradually came together.

The fair was held in her school’s multipurpose room. It was nice. Kids went in ahead of parents, and they were manning their stations when we came in.

I remember a time when Lily was a bit younger, where she studied her Pez dispenser until she figured out how it functioned, and how happy she was when she did. I wrote about it at this post, and I think it’s worth it to click over to read that one now, because this post builds on the themes of what I had written earlier. So go ahead and do that.

Lily still tends to play to us when we’re around, so we made sure we weren’t. I was working late that week, but I didn’t want to be the dad who missed the extracurricular because of work, so I made certain I got home in time to see it. I only had time to exchange my work shoes for sneakers, and, as I was a bit more dressed up than most of the folks there, I think a lot of the kids assumed I was a judge. Consequently, I got lots of explanations on static electricity, potato clocks and volcanoes.

I noticed that a lot of the participants were girls. Eyeballing it, I’d guess maybe two-thirds for third grade, and a bit less for the higher grades.

Lily carried herself well. She thinks things through very well, and she was able to explain the process she followed very lucidly. She did get a bit tetchy near the end, when, upon being asked “What does light up a worm’s life?” for the fifth time, she answered in exasperation, “I didn’t mean it literally!”

She was just there to have fun. (And, well, because it was mandatory) At one point, she and another kid were shaking their heads back and forth to whip each other with their ponytails. I asked her what her experiment sought to prove. “That it’s fun!”

She took second place in her age group. Until they called the winners, she didn’t even know it was a competition. Her grace in victory was probably the act that made me proudest. I’ve lost at contests I wanted to win. We all have, and platitudes about how “we’re all winners” are cold comfort at times like that. However, when I asked if she would pose in front of her display, she asked if her friend could pose with her. I said that I wanted to get a few pictures of just her, but that her friend could be in later pictures. When it came time for both of them to pose, Lily placed the medal around her friend’s neck and told her “You’re a winner too!” For her, it wasn’t just a bromide; it was something she really meant.

I’m happy that she did well, but I’m happier that she was kind.

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 24

This is another one that does a good job of encapsulating the theme of the work from which it's drawn, in this case, Eye of Cat.

you still cared to live?
The hunter did not reply.
The chant continued.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 23

One of my complaints about Damnation Alley is that I felt Zelazny's lyrical style and poetic imagery was rather unsuited for the brutal Hell Tanner. For instance, while it was an interesting choice to have everyone speak in haiku, I'm not sure it works for the story.

I wish you had died
in the Big Raid, that night, like
all the rest of them.

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 22

Can you guess where this one came from, fellow Zelaznians?

Then two hours' credit
for advanced basket weaving,
and that's twelve. Home free.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 21

I'm getting an unusual number of hits for Godson lately, something almost certainly attributable to the fact that Geroge R.R. Martin has announced that there will be a performance of it at his Roger Zelazny tribute.

Today's poem will be a work that always reminded me of Godson, Longfellow's The Reaper and the Flowers.

There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
  And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
  And the flowers that grow between.

5"Shall I have naught that is fair?" saith he;
  "Have naught but the bearded grain?
Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
  I will give them all back again."

He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of Paradise
  He bound them in his sheaves.

"My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,"
  The Reaper said, and smiled;
"Dear tokens of the earth are they,
  Where he was once a child.

"They shall all bloom in fields of light,
  Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,
These sacred blossoms wear."

And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
  The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again
  In the fields of light above.

O, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
  The Reaper came that day;
'T was an angel visited the green earth,
  And took the flowers away.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 20

I'll have some original stuff tomorrow, promise, but I'm still fascinated by the haiku finder. Here are all the haiku from Nine Princes in Amber. I'm kind of surprised by how many we got out of it, but I think it's the certainly the most noir of the series, and that style of prose probably contributes to the rhythm that gives rise to these haiku.

Before I arrived,
I'd already decided
on the tack I'd take.

He had a long strong
jaw and hazel eyes and brown
hair that never curled.

"She's not here right now.
May I take a message or
have her call you back?

She sprang to her feet,
half her drink spilling over
the back of her hand.

Maybe even you,
to get me here. Hope not, though.
You didn't, did you?

"Or Eric," I said,
suddenly looking at her.
But she shook her head.

She doesn't really
deserve to live, but that's not
for me to say, yet.

A gate occurred on
one side, and Random told me,
"Stop and blow your horn.

"I'm doing my best,"
he said, "and I'll do it all
the way, I promise.

"Good show," said Random,
"but you're lucky they didn't
go for the tires.

Beyond that, it seemed
there was another one on
the right, and so on.

The Veil had parted
before me, as abruptly
as it had occurred.

And more, so much more,
back to-- I took another
step. Back to-- The dead.

I knew that I had
done it before, so I knew
that I could do it.

The sparks reached as high
as my waist at this point, then
my breast, my shoulders.

How many hundred
do you think will remain when
we reach the city?

I want you to know
that Dad and I never got
along very well.

After all, there had
been so many of us when
the last march began.

We slept another
night and on the following
morning we set forth.

There were a couple
hundred people between us,
but my voice carried.

My beard was very
long and my hair fell across
my eyes, constantly.

I already had
the spoon tucked inside my boot
So what good was it?

"How is your father?
Have you seen him recently?
Did he put you here?

I had a command
for over a hundred years.
That seems long ago.

I felt that he might
fear mental contact with me
again. Julian, then?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 19

Every inadvertent haiku in Lord of Light. Some are prosaic and some are haunting (I especially like the one about Mara and the one about the seed), and I just think the process that brought them about was very neat. 

They did not focus.
Nowhere in the chamber was
there any movement.

"Whatever its source,
if your power says move, then
move we must. How soon?

Then it came again,
the howl, followed by three bright
flashes and the crash.

He raised it once more
and began the quivering
movement of the waltz.

He twined it about
his fingers and then about
his wrist. He stroked it.

For a moment their
eyes met, but the other did
not waver this time.

We priests have always
felt the two statues to be
well situated.

"He went willingly
to his martyrdom, unknown
to me at the time.

In fact, in a short
while I will instruct you how
to go about it.

The gods will know who
has done this thing, and they will
take steps against us.

Is it because there
is that within you which is
like unto myself?

Emotions oppose
the restrictions his fellow
men lay upon him.

When they reached its end,
they hurled the door wide and stepped
out onto the ledge.

Is that the center?
Open the seed and there is
nothing within it.

It was a nighttime
akin to blindness that had
fallen upon him.

When Mara gestured
there was magic and color
and music and wine.

A mighty cry rose
above the sound of the flames.
"It is Garuda!

It functioned for less
than five minutes, and then turned
itself off again.

Krishna put aside
his pipes when the messenger
was brought to him. "Yes?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Remembering Roger: Roger Zelazny Tribute at George Martin's Jean Cocteau Cinema

From George Martin's Livejournal. Click over, because the post is quite a bit longer than this brief excerpt. 

On Sunday night, May 31, the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe will offer a special one-time only night of readings and reminiscences we're calling "Remembering Roger."

Roger's son Trent, a fine writer in his own right, is organizing the event for us, and other members of Roger's family are also expected to attend, along with lots of us from the New Mexico science fiction community and Albuquerque fandom. I will be there, as will Jane Lindskold, Melinda Snodgrass, Walter Jon Williams, John Jos. Miller, and many many more. We have lots of folks coming in from out of town as well. Neil Gaiman is trying to make it, if his schedule allows. Joe Haldeman is flying in. So is Michael Cassutt. And many folks who cannot come to New Mexico in person will be Skyping in to join us, or sending video greetings and readings. Joe Lansdale, Steven Brust, Howard Waldrop, and others will be heard from.

 I had no idea and this sounds like a wonderful memorial.

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 18

I found Jonathan Feinberg's haiku finder online, and it's absolutely the best thing ever. Post a body of text into it and it will scan it for inadvertent haiku.

Can you guess the work from the haiku it contains? I removed two of the most obvious, but I'll post them in the comments section.

Up into the hills,
I suppose. Or the desert.
It does not matter.

They're the only thing
I can think of that you'd make
such a fuss over.

Why didn't you keep
your nose where it belonged, shut
your eyes? Your mouth?_ "So?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 15

Since I'm being a little more experimental than previously with this year's Zelazny poetry month, today I'll be offering a piece neither by Zelazny, nor about one of his works, but instead used by him to preface Jack of Shadows. It's just a two line rhyming couplet from the Merchant of Venice, but I always thought it encapsulated the theme of the story so well.

Some there be that shadows kiss.
Such have but a shadow’s bliss.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 14

Did Osiris have
surgery to sew on a
chicken's head? Crazy!

“And from what strain do you think you derived your godlike powers? Osiris? Cosmetic surgery might have given him a chicken’s head, and his own dubious strain an aptitude for mathematics—but you and I, shape-shifters both—are sons of Isis, Witch of the Loggia.”
I love Creatures of Light of Darkness, but man, is it bonkers in places. I don't even think the thing with the chicken head cracks the top five. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 12

S iddartha, Lord of Light.
A wakened One.
M ahasamatman

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 11

So many Amber
poems. Other years had some
more variety.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 10

If Brand was so smart,
then why didn't he use his
death curse, huh? Dumbass.

 This one always kind of bothered me. One of the ideas to which I tend to return on this blog is the concept that Nine Princes is a bit thematically off when it comes to the larger Amber universe. The Death Curse is first mentioned in Rebma, then comes into play big when Corwin pronounces his, and then, aside from a brief mention in The Hand of Oberon (". . . And you fear my blood on your hands," Brand went on, "you fear my death curse." "Did you fear Martin's blood on your own?" Benedict asked. "That bastard puppy!" Brand said. "He was not truly one of us. He was only a tool.") it's never really mentioned again. The obvious answer is that Brand was shot in the throat, and thus never had a chance to pronounce it, but I don't buy it. It seems too easy a workaround for such a potent ability, and there's little doubt that Benedict could have slit Brand's throat before killing him. If so, he'd have no reason to be concerned. (Also, Eric would probably have had the foresight to stick a sock in Corwin's mouth before poking his eyes out.)

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 9

Avalon: Silver,
shade, bonfire stars and the
green beacons of spring.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 8

There once was a demon named Strygalldwir...

Ugh, no.

There once was a demon named Melbriniononsadsazzersteldregandishfeltselior...

Writing limericks
is too tough. I'm sticking with
haiku for next year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 7

Benedict has mastered the fighting arts.
But in matters of love, he never uses those smarts.
He didn't know his girlfriend would do him harm,
Until she woke up and cut off his arm.
He's lucky he didn't lose more of his parts.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 6

Courtesy of my friend Tim

There once was a dude named Zelazny
And I fear that you might want to razz me 
But I've barely read three 
of his bibliography 
Though I oft hear from Josh that they're snazzy

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 5

Move over Conan.
There's a new pulp hero in
town. Dilvish the Damned.

I've been thinking about Dilvish lately, and I've come to the conclusion that Zelazny's style, as much as I love it, isn't a good fit for pulp heroes like Dilvish. I mentioned something similar with my Damnation Alley piece. To me, the sword and sorcery genre is defined by its crazy manic energy, and Zelazny's writing is very poetic and deliberate, and consequently, Dilvish is a bit of a square peg.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 4

Today's poem is an acrostic.

Magnificent douchebag.
Enormous tool.
Really lame.
Lame. Sooooo lame.Lamey, lamey, lamey.
Immesely idiotic.
Nattering nabbob.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 3

Googling pictures
of Corwin.  Holy shit! Is
he a pony there?

I believe he is!

The image is from the talented artist at:

I love living in a world where people make something like this.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 2

You may have noticed that the title for these pieces reads "Roger Zelazny Poetry", as opposed to the Roger Zelazny Haiku they've been in previous years. That's because I'm branching out to other forms of poetry, due in large part to the fact that I don't think I have enough material this year for an entire month of haiku. (I think the argument could be made that I didn't actually have enough material last year either...)

And thus, I give you the grandest, the most elegant, the most sophisticated form of poetry known to man, the limerick:

There once was a prince name of Corwin,
And the last thing he'd want would be more kin,
He and his brother 
try to kill one another
much to their father's chagrin.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Roger Zelazny Poetry Month 2015: Day 1

It's that time of year again!

This time, we're going to begin with a piece with a visual aid.

Mount Fuji from the
Offing in Kanagawa.
First, me want Cookie.