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Peace Offering

Peace Offering
by Shelly Bryant





a gift fit for the royal line
sent from his lair to her home
that seething tempers may be quelled
a gesture from her estranged son


sent from his lair to her home
wrought by the work of his own hands
this gesture from an estranged son
a throne from finest metals forged


wrought by the work of his own hands
and secret skills learned in the depths
a throne from finest metals forged
the likes of which have never been seen


secret skills learned in the depths
deliver to her this exalted seat
the likes of which have never been seen
with rich jewels and golden bands set


to her this exalted seat delivered
and she cries forth in her great mirth
rich jewels and thickest bands of gold
shine in the light from the hearth


she cries forth in her great mirth
a tear in the corner of an eye
shines in the light from the hearth
as into the grand seat she drops


a tear from the corner of an eye
falls onto the throne’s golden bands
for as into the grand seat she drops
they wrap round her in a tight embrace


onto the throne’s golden bands fall
mingled curses and cries for help
they wrap round her in a tight embrace
as she struggles against their hold


mingled curses and cries for help
melt a grief-hardened heart
as she struggles against the hold
of the golden seat upon her dais


his grief-hardened heart melted
he at last grants her release
from the golden seat upon her dais
its gilt covering divine in its grace


her release at last he grants
that seething tempers may be quelled
guilt covered by a divine grace
— a gift fit for the royal line


* * *
Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a teacher, writer, researcher, and translator. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Cyborg Chimera and Under the Ash, and a travel guide to the city of Suzhou entitled Suzhou Basics.  Her third volume of poetry, Voices of the Elders, and her travel memoir, The End of the Line, are slated for release in 2012.  Her current projects include writing an updated guide to the city of Shanghai for Urbanatomy and translating Sheng Keyi's novel 《北妹》 (Northern Girls) for Penguin Books.


Shelly's poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world, as well as in several art exhibitions, including dark 'til dawn, Things Disappear, and Studio White • Exhibition 2011.  You can visit her website at http://web.me.com/shellybryant.


What do you think is the attraction of the fantasy genre?


I think the attraction to the fantasy genre lies in the way it triggers the reader's imagination, even as it hints at (never exhausts) the ranges of writer's imagination. It gives us a safe place to explore issues in the "real" world — those hard realities that are better examined when removed from the here and now, if we hope to gain the sort of distance that gives us a suitable perspective for proper contemplation.

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