Category Archives: Challenges and Writing Prompts

Autumn – Stanza 14

Cries of horror surely wailed at William’s
messy burial beneath Abbaye aux Hommes,
his tomb, ‘twas found to be too small to hold
his corpse’s expanding girth; hence ensued a
gruesome scene…they forced him in, until he burst!

~kat

For Jane Dougherty’s August Stanza Challenge.


When I was in school I had little use for history with its dry facts and dates to be memorized, only to be forgotten once I’d barely passed the final exam. But as I have discovered a personal link with some of these characters I’ve had the opportunity to dig past the textbooks. Today’s story is about my 34th Great Grandfather William, the Conqueror, the Bastard King. He had a turbulent reign as king. Married Matilda of Flinders and  had at least 9 children, among them Henry, my 33rd great. But the story I found most interesting was his funeral. You don’t generally read this sort of thing in history books. Thanks to the internet and Wikipedia read on to learn the final chapter of William’s life:

“Disorder followed William’s death; everyone who had been at his deathbed left the body at Rouen and hurried off to attend to their own affairs. Eventually, the clergy of Rouen arranged to have the body sent to Caen, where William had desired to be buried in his foundation of the Abbaye-aux-Hommes. The funeral, attended by the bishops and abbots of Normandy as well as his son Henry, was disturbed by the assertion of a citizen of Caen who alleged that his family had been illegally despoiled of the land on which the church was built. After hurried consultations, the allegation was shown to be true, and the man was compensated. A further indignity occurred when the corpse was lowered into the tomb. The corpse was too large for the space, and when attendants forced the body into the tomb it burst, spreading a disgusting odour throughout the church.”


Dirge – Manic Mondays

DirgeManicMondays

darkness
i understand
dreams
grow dark
i go into
the night
of my heart
the flame
rises,
I desire

~kat

For  Manic Monday’s Three-Way Prompt: Word: Dirge, Photo above, and the Song: Aniron by Enya. As I do every week, the poem inspired by these three are a Black Out poem taken from the translated lyrics of the song below:

O môr henion i dhû:
Ely siriar, êl síla
Ai! Aníron Undómiel

From darkness I understand the night:
dreams flow, a star shines
Ah! I desire Evenstar

Tiriel arad ‘ala môr
minnon i dhû-sad oltha
Ai! Aníron Edhelharn.

Having watched the day grow dark
I go into the night – a place to dream
Ah! I desire Elfstone.

Alae! Ir êl od elín!
I ‘lir uin el luitha guren.
Ai! Aníron Undómiel.

Behold! The star of stars!
The song of the star enchants my heart.
Ah! I desire Evenstar

I lacha en naur e-chun
Síla, éria, brónia.
Ai! Aníron Edhelharn.

The flame of the fire of the heart
shines, rises, endures.
Ah! I desire Elfstone

 

 


Autumn – Stanza 13

kin can be elusive, notorious in fact with
legacies to be recalled by generations hence
more curious than how they lived, accounts
of how they died, some of causes natural
while others met the sword midst battle cries

~kat

For Jane Dougherty’s Daily Stanza Challenge.

I have found that records of how my ancestors died can be an interesting window into the times that they lived. I discovered the obituary for my 3rd Great Grandfather, Henry Orwick. Henry was born on the 2nd of July 1833 in Virginia. He married my 3rd Great Grandmother, Malinda C. Martin, in Indiana on 10 May 1855 and from census records it appears that they made their home in Indiana, where they lived for the rest of their lives.  Henry served in the Union Army, when he was 30 years old, in the 144th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. The 1864 United States Census records that Henry was a Hog Farmer, having slaughtered in excess of 100 lbs of the beasts that year.  Henry and Malinda had 5 or six children. My great great grandmother, Amanda was born in 1874. But it was Henry’s death that caused quite a stir. Here is the excerpt of his obituary,  found by a distant cousin (I assume) at the Cordyn, Indiana Library. It may actually be the most interesting thing about this common man who I call great, great, great…

Sudden Death of Henry Orwick

Henry Orwick, of Leavenworth, died suddenly at that place last Monday. He had been deputed to serve attachment papers against a steamboat tying at that place, and while holding the line attached to the boat, he was seen to throw up his hands and fall backward.  It was, at first thought he had been shot, but it was afterward learned that he had died of heart failure.

 

 


Mauve Martens – Case Study

Mauve had schooled her share of psych interns. As the longest live-in resident of Elmwood Sanatorium, she was a favorite subject for rounds and more intensive interview sessions. It was a symbiotic relationship. For her ‘performance’ Mauve got an extra 3 hours of tv access and the program of her choice. For their part, the staff gained valuable insight into an intern’s potential. Mauve had a way of weeding out those who weren’t cut out for a specialty in psychology.

She plopped herself at the table, with a gleam in her eye, and studied her next…victim. He shuffled several cards without looking up.

“Hmmm, a hard nut to crack,” she thought, “but I like nuts. After all I am the queen of nuts!” Mauve chuckled. “Humph…those bloody ink blots again. There are exactly ten of them. I know them well.”

And know them she did. She could spin a delirious show for each; one that left most interns disturbed at best. Ultimately they would fail their evaluation, only to be rotated out of the psych ward to the general surgery wing or some other safe corner of the hospital. Yes, Mauve was an expert in ink blots. “This is going to be fun,” she sniggled under her breath.

“Hello Miss Martens. My name is Dr. Stevens. Shall we begin?”

“If we must,” Mauve sighed, leaning back in her chair.

“Alright then,” Dr Stevens announced, as he flipped the first card face up on the table in front of her. “Tell me how you feel about this image, Miss Martens. Tell me what you see.”

“First of all, call me Mauve. I detest being called Miss,” Mauve hissed as she leaned forward to eye the ink blot. “Which one will it be…the bat or the dancing bears?” she wondered.

As she studied the image Mauve grew agitated. Something was wrong! Terribly wrong! She had never seen this ink blot before. Mauve pushed away from the table abruptly.

“Is something wrong, Miss Mar…Mauve?” Dr. Stevens inquired.

“Who gave you permission to call me that? You don’t know me!” Mauve shrilled.

“I’m sorry, Miss. But back to the cards, please. Tell me. What do you…”

“You stop right there! Is this some kind of joke? What do YOU think this fucking card means? Hmmm?” Mauve pounded the table with her fist, lurching toward the doctor, eyes bulging, face flushed red. “Go on tell me if you’re so smart. There are rules Doctor, and you are breaking them! How dare you come in here with your fancy white coat and bother me with your stupid cards!”

Dr. Stevens tapped the card he’d laid on the table and cleared his throat. “The card, Mauve…Miss Martens…What. Do. You. See?”

It was too much! She had nothing. It was a trick. She was sure of it. She started to rock maniacally, humming to herself, eyes squeezed shut as she clutched the arms of the chair.

“Miss Martens?”

The room was spinning growing darker, darker. “Did someone say my name?” Mauve’s thoughts spun. “No one ever calls me Miss…”

“Mauve?”

Suddenly, she collected herself, sat upright in the chair, and tilted her head to the side as she leered at Stevens. “Well, well, aren’t you a looker. What do you say we forget this silly game and get down to what you really came here for. I know what men like you like…” she slurred in a guttural tone, licking her lips.

“Miss Martens…”

She cackled, “Ha! That little bitch? Why waste your time on her, Doc, especially when you have me…”

“And you are?”

“Trixie, Doc. The boys call me Trixie.”

~kat

A short story for Mind Love Misery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt based on the photo above.


August – Stanza 12

tree strong, sure, with roots meandering deep
elusive broken chains, some stories silenced,
ever undisturbed, to sleep between the lines
of history’s pages, glimmers only glimpsed
by those remembering, distant reminiscing kin

~kat

For Jane Dougherty’s August Stanza Challenge.


I had a thrilling find on my father’s side of the family tree this past week! A photo posted on ancestry by someone who is likely a distant cousin of mine, of my great, great grandparents August Vilhelm Johansson, his wife, Charlotta Sofia and their children take before the family emigrated to America from Sweden in 1903. I’m guessing the young girl leaning against her mother’s knee is my great grandmother, Hanna Bernhardina Johnson (surname obviously Americanized). Along with the photo I was also able to discover another link in the root of this side of my tree: the names of Charlotta’s parents, my great, great, great grandparents, Carl Gustaf Giesche and Helena Sophia, née: Martensdr. That is where the story ends for now…to be continued. 😊


%d bloggers like this: