The Woman of Fungan and the White Serpent God

This is a rewrite of an earlier poem I wrote for Wound. I’m fairly happy with the pattern I developed. I finished this version last night while working on that story and thought I’d put it up for criticism.

Weeping, the woman of Fungan
Came to the river of the White Serpent.

He appeared to her there from the river,
Upon his breast five opals.

I rested on the moon’s breast
In the day of a thousand white horses.

Fortresses of sardstone a thousand
I built in the ages before cold morning.

I have walked with the wind across ages,
And the secrets of the deep the dragons taught me.

I can grant thee the wisdom of the deep,
Ancient beyond man’s reckoning.

I can grant thee the wealth of the beyond,
The holds of the stars in the dark heaven.

I enthroned myself with the stars;
The chief of the gods is the White Serpent.

The honey-eyed deer like gods
Went over the waters and the pale meadwort.

Said the woman of Fungan, Dark waters
Lie twixt me and the Dim Briarwood.

Canst thou restore unto me
A soul that has journeyed to the black hollows?

Alas, even I fear to journey,
O woman of Fungan, to the Dim Briarwood.

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2 comments on “The Woman of Fungan and the White Serpent God

  1. salvageroost says:

    Although I didn’t quite “get” the form initially, it gathered bits of appeal along the way and, by the end, was quite spiky and shardful and engaging to me.

    At first I thought there were some redundancies in the language, but when I realized that you had repeated one key word from each couplet to the next in a manner that seemed deliberate, I was okay with it. The rhyme of the penultimate couplet is okay, I think, but the last one felt a bit forced. “Trow” sticks out a bit, although it matches the language here; I think perhaps the rhyme draws too much attention to itself.

    The indirect discourse in that last couplet also feels a bit disjunct after the direct discourse previously. I assume the list of I-did’s is the Serpent speaking? I did not realize that immediately, but once I did, I liked the way you began it without introduction.

    I much like the couplet about the honey-eyed deer like gods, but I’m not sure where they come from and what they are in the world of this poem.

    • The last couplet was actually the first that ever popped into my head. In the original all the couplets rhymed, but I felt it would retain more force did I leave the last two as they were. Since it obviously wasn’t working, I have modified them (see above) to fit the form of the rest of the song.

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