Nexus: A Poem

We are linked.

One species.

Sharing

A fragile planet.

Orbiting

One perfect sun.

Connected

By invisible bonds

Of light.

Threads

Silken and silver

Uniting chests

Tensile and strong

Our gossamer webs

Waft on squalls

Of an entwined and interwoven

Nexus

glaxyprtl

 

About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

 

Deafening Silence: A Poem

I plug my ears

Against the deafening silence

Of  forced isolation

Trying to bar screams from listless lips.

And the discordant phrasing of muted throats.

Have I become so jaded

As to find malaise in my own company?

Need I lament a compulsory isolation

As a petulant child might an elder’s chiding?

Or shall I unplug my ears

And let in the sound of

Birdsong, trees’ breath, and pelting rain?

This sublime orchestra

Invites me to perch at my conga

And accompany these tremors

For this is the time to exalt

And rejoice in

Each palpitating rhythm.

drum hands

About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

Precipice: A Poem

When you’re standing on the precipice

Lids squeezed tightly shut

And your arms hang empty at sides

 

When your heart is as dull

As a shitty cow pond

And your lips repel like barbed wire

 

When your breath is as jagged

As a broken glass cut

And your nipples meet only air

 

Open those eyes

Search for a fathomless river

And leap into the abyss.

 

(Photo by David Stroup)

The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

Burning Solstice: A Poem

With Winter Solstice looming near

And summer a long gone mariner

He finds power in the darkening malcontent

That traps a gaze this autumn

 

Above an umbrage of blazing ice clouds

Lucifer burns in the frozen star

Grinning as he weaves the death shrouds

For men’s hibernal coffins

 

Oh for a voyage ever southward

To a kindred hemisphere

Where azurean waves

Reflect the waxing moon

And ice surrounds no heart.

 

But setting sail is no easy task

In hoary waters

And dimmer skies

Where even the breath

Of mermaids’song

Hangs suspended

Like frozen desires.

 

For smoldering long

In the soul of man

Lingers the cryogenic star

Waiting for a time

When glaciation reigns

And the Arctic Age returns.

 

These celestial collisions

Bear fireballs

To illuminate and warm

A mortal sea

Eroding ice floes

That bar the way

 

For the long journey

Homeward.

 

(Photo by David Stroup)

 

The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Pale Mounds: A Poem

These warm pale mounds

Welcome the nativity of

Fledgling souls

Those seeking succor

From a tundra of

Frozen milk which is

Neither foisted nor ingested.

From this land of continual

Hunger they flee

Heavy milk laden

Breasts dripping yet

Quenching no thirst

Aching abdomens press them

Ever forward

Out of breath

They pause

Just long enough

And the dunes

Open before them

White liquid rains

                                                  in all directions

Mouths open,

                              latch on,

                                                            and suckle

Bodies expand

Diminutive becomes the land

Until the succor

And the suckling

Are indistinguishable

(Photo by David Stroup)

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Travel Tunnel: A Poem

Driving into darkness

The white lines blurring as

Artificial lights

In smooth stone ceilings

Glare overhead.

I grip the wheel tighter

Squinting into the opaque

Fighting against the irrational

Fear of

Something otherworldly lying

In wait at

The exit of this

Travel Tunnel.

 

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

Zeus’s Autopsy: A Poem

Zeus excises a cross section of the Earth

From his lab on Olympus

A shrunken landscape

On a morticians slab

A row of dirt caked boulders

Like so many shrunken head trophies

For the cannibal

To remember meals of gluttony.

(Photo by David Stroup)

 

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

Kidnapped Smile: Chapter One

While the smiling Mona Lisa strolls the cobblestone paths of this art-created world, dark forces wait.

“I’m perfectly fine. Now stop being so silly.” Placing a painted hand on The Thinker’s bronze arm, Mona Lisa patted it.

“But child. The attempts.”

“Failed. And now you and Father have me tucked away in this fortress. Worry not.” Without giving him a chance to argue more, Mona Lisa turned and glided down the stone steps of the castle.

Artania’s leader leaned over the parapet of the castle gazing at the renaissance city below. Florence. Red tile roofs topped sunflower yellow or misty white walls. Crushed granite alleyways and cobblestone side streets zig-zagged from one end of the town to the other. The Arno River snaked through this muted palette as gently as dear Mona Lisa’s smile.

Mona Lisa. Ever since the attempted kidnapping, she had stayed within these castle walls. Making the sweet child restless. Today was the first time he’d agreed to let her stroll along the river. Accompanied by soldiers in striped bloomers and metal helmets of course.

“Nicolo, you must be ever vigilant.  You know what will happen if the Shadow Swine capture the Smiling One,” he had ordered the guardsman earlier.

“Yes, as do all citizens, whether they be painting, sculpture or sketch,” Nicolo said.

“Keep her close. Keep her safe.”

“I do swear,” the guardsman said, bowing with one hand across his chest.

 

Nicolo’s presence should have calmed The Thinker’s fears, but for some reason he still felt uneasy.  All around, soldiers patrolled the parapet wall or stood guard behind the notched battlements in the rectangular towers.

The iron grating of the portcullis was down leaving only doors vulnerable. And after the last kidnapper had made his way inside, The Thinker had ordered them locked at all times. Even so he knew that in these terrible times anything could happen.

His bronze gaze rested on the river and the short docks built beside the walkway. The Smiling One emerged from the doorway below and gave him a short wave before turning toward the cobblestone path skirting the river. All was as it should be.

He thought.

He had just relaxed his shoulders when a flash caught his eye. He shouldn’t be there!

A man dressed in rags leapt out of one of the rowboats tied to the dock and began running toward Mona Lisa. But with her back to him, she didn’t notice

“Lisa!” The Thinker cried.

When she turned, the snarling man grabbed her by the arm and began pulling her toward his boat.

“Let me go!” Mona Lisa screamed.

Soldiers appeared and rushed down the embankment, Guardsman Nicolo in the lead.

Mona Lisa strained against the beggar’s grip. But it was no good. He was half a head taller and probably outweighed her by fifty pounds. He dragged her ever closer to the rowboat. A few more feet and they’d be on the river.

“No!” Mona Lisa cried, clutching her veil in a milk white grasp.

“Halt,” Nicolo cried, booted feet flying toward the dock. “Halt, I say!” He sprung over the cobblestone path and drew his sword.

The ragged man dragged her closer to the water. The Smiling One’s feet skidded over wood.

“Hurry,” The Thinker whispered.

As soon as they reached the dock’s edge, the beggar shoved Mona Lisa behind him. And turned.

With a snaggle-toothed grin, he bent forward and unleashed a tremendous kick. Crying out, the painted girl hurled upwards. She shot over pilings arcing toward the river below.

The Thinker’s bronze heart froze. He gripped the coping stone tighter.

Mona Lisa splashed and disappeared beneath the murmuring waters.

All eyes turned toward the river. Every Artanian from castle keep to the guard tower and down the stony walls held a breath. Waiting in silence.

But the waters remained calm.

“Find her!” the bronze man cried.

With a desperate leap, Nicolo dove into the River Arno. The Thinker scanned east and west for a veiled head but only the guardsman surfaced.

Nicolo submerged again, his booted feet kicking deeper. Only to break the surface for quick gulp of air before diving down. Twice. Three times. Seven.

When the exhausted soldier floated up after the twenty-fifth descent, he turned to the gathered crowd with a sad shake of his head. “She is gone.”

The Thinker fell back against the wall and sunk to the ground. “All is lost.”

Susurration: A Poem

Susurration of waves

Lapping against shore

Turquoise lungs

Breathing

While a reverent hush

Blows in.

 

(Photo by David Stroup)

 

 

Laurie Woodward is the author of  several novels including Forest Secrets, and the fantasy series The Artania ChroniclesShe also cowrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes her novels on the Central Coast of California.

 

 

 

 

Artania Writing Trek: Phase 1

When I first set off on a writing trek to finish Artania IV I didn’t know what to expect. I’d read about other writers who used solitude to create, setting off on adventures across the country while scribbling away at their yellow pads or pounding at ancient keys on black Royal typewriters.  The romantic in me imagined a Steinbeck, Hemingway,  Thoreau journey into the profound.

As I began driving down Highway 166 I could barely contain my excitement. I cranked the radio singing along  to “Are You Going to San Francisco”  and  “Free Fallin'” at the top of my lungs. I was in a twirling fantasy of whatever might come. I even stopped by the side of the road just to twirl in circles.

The further I drove the more beauty I saw. The hills grew softer, the sky bluer, even the cows were looking like sublime mythical creatures.

I was going inward to a place of my own making.