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Pentych

Based on an unpublished novel by Yoon Ha Lee


And coming then through pain and war
He found at last the five-fold door
There lay four chains, and one chain more,
All broken on the floor
But he'd just barely found the key,
Since loosing soul and memory
Who else would set the bound God free?
Had he been here before?

Within the memories he still held
The lack of conscience fretting prowled
A Soulless body lonely howled,
He knew he wasn't whole
For many deaths upon him lay
His fellow sorcerers did slay,
He knew was wrong, but couldn't say
Just why it should be so.

And here he stood, at last, again?
To seek an end to loss and pain
To loose himself from time's harsh reign,
Though all the world should pay.
Could he find himself at last
Within the mazes of the past?
Was this the first page or the last?
If only he could say.

Copyright © 1998 Michelle Bottorff



Berry, Thistle and Vine


Oh tell me laddie, whey do you plague me
With berry-berry, thistle and vine
You often come wooing and naught do you offer
But berry and thistle, thistle and berry
Offer me berry thistle and vine

Oh truly lassie, what could be nobler
Than berry-berry, thistle and vine
And naught else could show my passion clearer
Than berry and thistle, thistle and berry
Naught shows but berry, thistle and vine.

Show me then laddie, tell me the secret
Of berry-berry, thistle and vine
Truly explain the meaning of each these
Of berry and thistle, thistle and berry
Explain the berry, thistle and vine

Sweet is the berry, sweet is the berry
But sweeter-sweeter will be our love
I as the thistle protect thy flower
As berry and thistle, thistle and berry
Twine us together, forever, the vine.

Copyright © 1989 Michelle Bottorff

The Besieged Beauty


It's queer how all the laddies
Come knocking 'round my door,
Queerer still is how I wish
They wouldn't come no more.

For Bobby is a jolly lad
And mighty full of fun
And yet I find he's short a brain
When all my counting's done

For Joseph is a clever lad
His intellect is keen
But yet his is the homliest chap
That I have ever seen

For Charlie is an bonny lad
His face is wondrous fair
Yet so sad and solemn all the while
I wish he wasn't there

It's queer how all the laddies
Come knocking 'round my door
But queerer still is how I wish
They wouldn't come no more

For Johnny is a better lad
He's jolly, fair and bright
Yet he's not the one for me
Who'll fill my heart with light.

Copyright © 1989 Michelle Bottorff



Fickle, Faithless


Tra la la la, this derry down way
I'll find my love some day.

I thought I loved a bonny man
A bonny man was he
I thought I loved a bonny man
But fickle, faithless proved he
And now I know I loved him not,
For soon another man I got
Tra la la la, etc.

I thought I loved a great strong man,
A great strong man was he.
I thought I loved a great strong man,
Etc.

I thought I loved and honest man,
An honest man was he.
I thought I loved an honest man,
Etc.

I thought I loved a loyal man
A loyal man was he
I thought I loved a loyal man
But fickle, faithless proved he
And now I know I loved him not
E'en though no other man I got
Tra la la la, this derry down way
I'll find my love some day.

Tra la la la, etc.

Copyright © 1989 Michelle Bottorff



Round the Dairy


Here we stump and here we stay
here we work and slave all day

Chorus:
Round and round, the dairy goes round,
Round and round, the dairy goes round.

Water we splash and water we slosh
Floors we scrub and dishes we wash

Push a broom and dirt will fly
Shake a rug and dust goes by

Chorus

Hang the wash out in the sun
Bring it back when drying's done

There's water to haul and wood to chop
When it's all done then you can stop

Chorus

Copyright © 1989 Michelle Bottorff



The Ballad of the Drowning Sailor

This was written as part of a Science Fiction story I started and never finished. The setting is a water poor world with three moons, called Sahara.

Now I was raised on the desert sand
Like everybody else you see
I grubbed in the dirt and worked with my hands
Like everybody else you see
I paid my city for each drop I drank,
But I also thought that my city stank.
For water, water, water,
There wasn't any water
There wasn't any water there to see.

Now I heard a tale that's e'en told to you
Like everybody else you see
That tale I was told was perfectly true
Like everybody else you see
There was a place that was called the sea
With water as far as the eye can see
Just water, water, water,
A place with lots of water
A place with lots of water called the sea.

So I put on my boots, and grabbed my hat
Like everybody else you see
I bought an old nag and traveled on that
Like everybody else you see
I kept on going till I found the place
And cool moist winds blew in my face
For water, water, water,
There sure was plenty water
There sure was plenty water in the sea.

I signed aboard a sailing ship,
Like everybody else at sea
Then went on a most circuitous trip
Like everybody else at sea
For the waters follow a moon, but which
They never remember, so they switch
Oh water, water, water,
The so forgetful water
The so forgetful water of the sea

A ship is a wagon with a sheet hung so
Like every other boat at sea
It floats on the water, and wind makes it go
Like every other boat at sea
But when wind and water decide to react
And Storm and Fire get into the act
The water, water, water,
Moving dunes of water
Moving dunes of water around me

The boat tipped madly and I fell out
Like everybody else at sea
I landed in water and splashed about
Like everybody else at sea
But then the water over me poured
And I cursed the substance I used to horde
For water, water, water,
There was too much water
There was too much water there for me.

For the fish breathe water, no problem there
Like every fishy in the sea
But human lungs breathe only air
Like everybody else you see
If I survive, I thought right then
I will never, ever seek water again
Not water, water, water,
It never will be water
It never will be water again, you'll see!

Copyright © 1989 Michelle Bottorff



Sleeping Roses

This extremely sappy love song was written as part of a Science Fiction story I started and never finished. The setting is a water poor world world with three moons, called Sahara.

Oh how like the dawn's first flower,
Is my true love when she sleeps
More precious far than silver star
Or pearls from the watery deeps.

But now I must make my farewells
I know 'twill be my last good-bye;
The only way for you to live
Is that someone else must die.

Chorus:
Sleeping roses, in the morning
Sleeping roses, touched with dew.
Darling now that dawn is coming
I must go and die for you.

Just at dawn he will be waiting,
Fear, wearing death's own face.
I can't allow you to meet him,
So I will go their in your place.

Darling, I can't let you die
It would be the death of me
So I will go and take your place
And that will set you free

[Chorus]

But then the sleeping rose awakes
This to her lover she does tell
You could never die instead of me
If you die, I die as well.

Copyright © 1989 Michelle Bottorff



Trail of Fire


This was written as part of a Science Fiction story I started and never finished. The setting is a water poor world with three moons, called Sahara.

I follow a Trail of Fire, that springs from a starlit sky
A path moon-lain across the trackless sands.
When night is gone, like water, it vanishes away,
And there is never any way to follow back the trail you came.

Fire, sky and sand. These are a nomad's guides.
It matters not to us where they may lead.
Yet I followed the Trail of Fire once to where a woman was
The hour of fire, it soon approached, I did not wish to go
But even so my heart refused to stay.

Shall I follow the Trail of Fire, my love
As it crosses the desert plains?
Shall I follow the way of fire, sky and sand?
If I stay my heart will never rest, If I go my heart remains.
Fire, sky and sand my curse shall be.

I follow the Trail of Fire that springs from a starlit sky.
A path moon-laid across the trackless sand.
When night is gone, like water, it vanishes away,
And there is never any way to follow back the trail you came.

Fire, sky and sand, these are a nomad's guides.
My soul will always follow where they lead.
Though I would stay, I cannot break the hold they have on me
And my only hope for happiness is if you too come
Follow the trail of fire, give yourself to the sky and sand
See for yourself the magic Desert Moon
Only then shall my heart be whole.

Copyright © 1989 Michelle Bottorff



Dancer at the Gate


She dances in the open bazaar,
she has the eyes of the old Sultan's wife
When the sultan leaves his stolen palace,
she sees the man who tried take her life

With a thrust of her hip and the ringing of her zills
Can that slight form conceal a deadly hate
Shimmies and twirls to the ring of coins and bells
Why is she here, the dancer at the gate?

If the sultan would find the true missing heirs
He should look to the crowd about his walls
There hid but by the light veil that she wears
Dancer a girl who most surely recalls

With the wave of an arm and the quivering of her belly
Could she still know her younger brother's fate
Swaying half clad in her enemies full view,
Why is she here, the dancer at the gate?

How did they leave the seraglio
While the new sultan their father did kill
How was the prince and his sisters rushed away
How is it that the are living free still

Is there some purpose to the dancer's glamour
What does she want, for what sign does she wait?
Can she perform for only coin and clamor
Why is she here, the dancer at the gate?

Copyright © 1997 Michelle Bottorff