Quill Pen Prosody
She found the feather near her favorite oak tree near the river. The day had been hot, her chores around the house more tiring than usual, and she’d hurried to the river for a quick swim after lunch.
She wasn’t allowed to swim alone, of course, so Ellen had tagged along. But Ellen wouldn’t go into the water naked, so only Gayleen swung from the long rope, landing with a large splash in the middle of river. After swimming to the far shore and back, with a few deep dives for fun, she clambered up the bank by the oak.
And that’s when she spotted the feather, a bold, long silver-gray affair with a thick barb, perfect, she knew for a quill pen. She quickly dressed and urged Ellen to pack up her blanket and book. She would prepare the pen this afternoon and tonight she would finish the book of poems.
“Are you going to keep that dirty feather?” Ellen asked.
“You wouldn’t understand.”
Ellen rolled her eyes. “Give it up, Gayleen. Nobody will accept your hand-written poems. Everybody uses a typewriter now. How many rejections have you had so far.”
“I’m not a quitter. Besides, the calligraphy makes my book unique.”
“Weird is what I’d call it.”
Ellen trudged up the hill, while Gayleen raced ahead. Within an hour, she had her quill pen, crude compared to what people used to use, but she didn’t have time today to fine-tune the feather’s lines. She knew this pen held the qualities she needed to achieve the flowing, painted lines that made her unusual style stand out from other calligraphers. Applying that talent to her own poetic voice was a combination nobody else could match.
She only had four more poems to complete. The words were jotted on regular paper, she just needed to transfer them to the special paper she’d found at Quentin’s Stationery Store. With tongue tucked between her lips, she focused, became one with the quill-pen, paper, ink, words and hours passed without her awareness.
With the final stroke, she set down the pen, looked up, startled to see the stars outside her window. A shooting star flew across the sky, a sign, she knew, a reward for not quitting. Tomorrow she would assemble her book and take it to Quigley’s Publishing Company. She smiled, confident that her book, “Quill-Pen Prosody,” would become a star-studded poetry book.
** ** **
“Never a Quitter”
Fear pulsed, echoed
across rain-slicked alleys,
that broke the quiet
Quick steps pounded
a steady beat –
I’m not a quitter
they seemed to repeat.
One flame shot across the sky,
the shooting star caught
his eye, though he knew
not why, it was her voice
he heard, running, always running.
He returned to his den,
settled before black and white.
“Never a quitter,” his muse reprised,
as his fingers found the tune;
it was her voice he heard
running always running.