January 14th, 2006

Egrets Reading

Short-Short Rhysling Proposal Ballots Due Today

Well, today's the day. If you are a SFPA member, it's the deadline for your ballots. Hopefully, you've sent it in (as well as the directory listing, which is also due today).

My final "short-short poem of the day" is "Candles" by Wendy Rathbone, which was published in There Is Something In The Autumn, the 2005 anthology by Pendragonian Publications, P O Box 719, Radio City Station, New York, NY 1010-0719. Since this was a print publication, there is no web link to the poem, but Wendy has given me permission to post it here:


Over the moonless hills
in the fine dark
of dead December
who has come
to guide me
with the candles of his eyes?

- Wendy Rathbone, There is Something in the Autumn, Pendragonian Publications, 2005

This poem is one of those "stealth poems" that sort of creeps up on the reader. At first, it seems so simple, and reads so naturally off the tongue. Then, the mind starts thinking about dead December where the trees are dead, and realizes the voice in the poem may be dead, too. Who is the guide with the candle eyes? A long dead lover? A saint? A mythological being from the underworld? Then, hope seems to dawn with the flickering candle light. If the person is dead, there must be something beyond this dead December, something beyond the dark of the moonless hills. I see hope in the candles, hope in this poem and it totally satisfies me.

Soon, we'll find out whether or not there will be a short-short Rhysling Award. I, of course, have the candles lit in the back of the church that there will be. If not, then my candle, my hope, is that I've exposed a few more people to the beauty of short-short poetry and it will become wider appreciated within the Science Fiction Poetry community.