Deep Roots’ Poem: Redux


An update to the sad secret verse from old Deep Roots, Tabitha’s fiercest bodyguard. This didn’t find a place in Sky Queen, but it will make an appearance in Ghost.

The dark blue fury of storm-skies has left me;
I long for the perfume of struck sharpened glass.
No more the ice-blossom, nor the mothbirds’ song;
I pray to see Sacred Mountain again.

But the silver dawn brings deeper wisdom;
All that I long for lies within.
I must light Fierce-Hope in all others;
I will build Sacred Mountain anew.







Sky Queen: Prayer to First-Ancestor.

The First Ancestor walked in endless winter
He found Lost Spirits weeping on every hill and shore.
With holy hands he struck the first flame in the darkness
He taught Fierce-Hope, the Ancient Way, as they gathered round.



Rot-bloat gods lie bleeding
Drowned in death-green ancient sea;
Skywards their bastards forge dawnglass spires
Render old-sacred mere fantasy.

Music can flavour your writing.

Writing is an intensely introverted process. With enough practise, writers can live almost entirely inside their own heads. Sometimes the outside world can feel like another planet, where people don’t necessarily speak the same language.

To some people, the process of putting down black text on white over and over, all day every day, might seem like the dullest occupation in the world. But that’s not the whole story. It’s just code to express what’s going on in a writer’s head; the oldest coding language there is. And, with any luck, the code a writer puts down can cause the same ideas to spark and kindle and burn with the same life and colour and ferocity in other people’s heads too.

Or maybe that’s just a really pretentious, writerly thing to say.

Sometimes though, our ideas and imaginations just aren’t enough on their own. The thoughts don’t always leap out from the written code to infect readers’ brains with colour and emotion. Sometimes our best isn’t good enough, so we turn to shady alternatives. I’m talking about performance-enhancing substances.

Music. Music can put tints and filters on your mind. A mere clutch of lyrics can spark off enough inspiration for an entire book. A certain song can affect your inner mood so acutely that a chapter takes on a different direction altogether. The right soundtrack to what’s going on in your head, what’s going on in your inner movie, can stuff a gallon of rocket fuel into all those high-flying joys and dank rotten sorrows you’re trying to code on the page.

Music is a writer’s steroid. Their muse on demand. The battering ram for the locked door on their ideas. Sometimes, when a doubt infects you or your flow drops dead like a donkey in the desert, music can be everything that keeps you going.

Music-wise, I like a bit of everything, from death metal to cheesy pop. There’s only two genres in music: good and bad. So long as it gets the job done. What’s the job? To pull on your strings. To charge up the skies in your mind until lightning strikes and you have to write it all down. An example: give this song a listen, set your ideas engine whirring, and write the blue-saddest, most soaring-celestial prose you’ve got in you. Never stop loving music, and never, ever stop writing. Somewhere out there, someone’s been crying out for a writer like you.

The Climb

Asgard-ancient woodnails hammer
Cloaked in clockwork crumblerust
Split skin and slip slick through still splints
Make you more
Make you hard
Fierce-flamed and fired feral
Give you hunger enough to eat the world
To seek, to find and to devour
Your finest hour.

Learn German the Easy Way: Make It Up

Frauline, eine pinnten-mitter
– I would like a pint of bitter

Daschund ist ferr cheapen, yay
– I’m glad I bought this dog on eBay

Mein autovel ist spritzenfunken
– I crashed the car but left the trunk on

Das liebnitz ist dunkmunchen ayse-ze
– These biscuits are extremely tasty

Ich liebe mein frau, keine lezbein-ae
– I love my wife but I think she’s gay

Das frau eskapen, shitzen-bas kade
– My wife ran off with your attractive barmaid

Ich deprecht, com hund, uber-varr
– I’m going home with my dog and my brand new car.

The Asylum

They aren’t as heavy-handed as they are in the movies.
They escort me slowly, gently to the doctor,
Like a small child.
They hold my arms near the elbows,
Like handles on a fragile vase.
A vase full of problems.
Problems that swim and slosh and spill like dirty water.
Dirty water kills flowers.
Perhaps in time they can help me to grow flowers,
Like the ones I grow in the gardens.
They sit me down opposite the doctor and he asks me things,
But it’s only when you’re truly alone that things become clear.
Who is this person?
Who inhabits this pile of meat?
Is he asking me this, or am I asking myself?
Slowly rotting, slowly dying, alone from the start.
Searching for meaning,
Fighting the voices.
He asks questions, I nod.
I am but a fragile vase.
He is trying to empty the dirty water.
He is a good man.
I am taken back down the corridor.
They hold my arms near the elbows,
Like handles on a fragile vase.
A vase empty of problems,
Problems that no longer swim and slosh and spill like dirty water.
Now in my room, I fill my vase again with water,
Dirty as it might be.
For without water I cannot grow flowers.


Nobody loves Wasp.
He lives in fear.
His body, painted like a warning sign,
Incites prejudice and hatred.

His mandibles make kissing Mrs. Wasp
A sad impossibility.
His sting makes anything more intimate
A fatality.

It’s no surprise then that he searches out
A little something sweet to comfort-eat,
Or a little tipple
To drown his sorrows, or just drown in.

The Future Boy

Something landed in my kitchen
With a loud and smashy crash
A metallic egg, all bleeps and hisses
In a cloud of cosmic ash.

I munched my munchy crunchy toast
While the room turned white and cold
When the steely egg gave birth somehow
And its shell began to fold.

There came amidst the choky smoke
A cough just like my own
And a space-age version of myself
Stood in my very home.

He was a lonely clone of me
Though his skin was pleasant blue
Until he fiddled with some wristy watch
And turned a peachy hue.

He explained he was a Future Boy
And had surfed the waves of time
In his Hypometric Chronocraft
To trace his family line.

The milky smoke had filled the room
And though I strained to see
I muttered those immortal words
‘Would you like a cup of tea?’

So we sat and slurped our drinky drinks
Sprayed the pod with anti-freeze
Then he spoke about his future-world
And their cure for all disease.

We talked and laughed and slurped and munched
Though he was a troubled soul
He cried for all the long-gone trees
And how we burned the coaly coal.

He yearned to set the present right
And how I longed for something new
So I climbed into that poddy pod
In my skin of pleasant blue.