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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Potluck (Meal or Gathering) Deadline 7-26-12 @ 10 AM NY Time (07/19/12)

TITLE: Peste Noire
By Helen Curtis
07/26/12


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In heady hues of Summer’s dawn;
In dwind’ling darkness of heavenly morn;
As stars blink out, silent, forlorn;
So are the souls, who flicker and then perish,
Touched by Plague’s malignant hand.

A village, vibrant and verdant;
A treasure trove of life ardent;
Now lay in ruins, discordant;
So are the sodden pillars of their commune,
Torn down, broken and chaotic.

A black miasma, mocking men;
A fetid, forceful diadem;
Her wicked ways none can reign in;
Such is the venom spewing from her vile soul,
Wreaking torment on us all.

A rich man’s cry of anguished grief;
A pauper’s pain, a son’s relief;
The death-cart bell, oh cursed motif;
So are the sounds that rise upon the zephyrs,
Bringing wretchedness and angst.

Lo, in this time of misery,
When faith is straining, rickety;
When nourishment is far from me;
So sounds the trump of hope amidst the carnage,
Stirring movement in my soul.

A neighbour’s knock on wooden door;
A face that would unite the tore;
Rebuild the pillars strong and sure;
So comes the call to band as one together,
‘Gainst Plague’s fickle finger stand.

Yes, you are welcome at my door,
Be thee rich or be thee poor.
Nobleman, yeoman, farmer, slave,
Let’s be united on this day;
Please, sit upon my tear-stained hearth,
And share your mite from God’s good earth.
Though joy be stole and laughter sparse,
The luck o'the pot shall soothe our hearts.

We’ll honour those she stole away,
And shake clenched fists at you this day,
Cruel enemy, Peste Noire, oh blackest plague.



Author's note: It is widely acknowledged that the term "Potluck" was coined in 1592 by Thomas Nashe, the English playwrite and satirist. I chose to write on the Bubonic Plague as it was rife in England during much of the 16th and 17th Centuries, my intent being to tie the theme to the era.


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This article has been read 436 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mona Purvis07/26/12
Complex, deep, gripping, beautifully and masterfully written uncovering the topic in a creative and moving manner.
CD (Camille) Swanson 07/26/12
Powerfully compelling in all aspects. I am overwhelmed with this piece. Beautifully done. Thanks.

God bless~
Charla Diehl 07/27/12
A very stirring piece that reflects on a tragic piece of history. Your words brought this sad time to life for this reader.
Linda Goergen07/27/12
Masterfully done poem in all aspects. What a powerful and gripping vision having a pot-luck for that reason. Enjoyed the read.
Catrina Bradley 07/28/12
Dark, dreary, but with hope at the end as survivors come together to share what they have. Love this poem!
Allison Egley 07/28/12
Very creative take on the topic. I like this!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/29/12
This is a powerful poem. I think a lot of it went over my head and if not for the footnote I would have had an even harder time understanding it. Although my ability to comprehend some poetry, I still felt tingles at the descriptions you painted. The rhyme and rhythm were amazing and left me in awe of your talent. Though I do see the connection to the era and the variety of the different levels of people described, I think some might think it's weak on topic. It reminded me a great deal of Shakespeare-- though over my head, I can still appreciate the beauty of the words and the talent it takes to compose such a piece.
Noel Mitaxa 07/29/12
Very descriptive imagery of a dreadful period of history.
Laury Hubrich 07/30/12
Very creative.
Loren T. Lowery07/30/12
I think you set and maintained the mood of this piece beautifully. The wording couldn't have been more perfect for the theme and along the way not only was I entertained and challenged, bu was taught something I'd not known. Great job.
lynn gipson 07/31/12
WOW! I really got into this one, and I realize now I have never really written poetry....This is excellent!

Beautiful words and message.
Beth LaBuff 07/31/12
Wow! Beautiful wordsmithing, excellent form. I love it all (the subject matter may be a little "dark") :) , but I like how you presented it.
annie keys08/01/12
Wow. This is an incredible piece! The way it moves, the passion---this will place and place high. Well done, author, VERY well done!
Sally Schrock08/02/12
This is incredibly great poetry.
Sally Schrock08/02/12
This is incredibly great poetry.