Multiliteracies in ELA Classrooms

I Found My Poetry and a Surprise!

December 5th, 2012 · No Comments

For my second creative post, I decided to write a found poem based on random status updates from Facebook. I think found poetry is a great way to make a poetry unit more engaging and relevant to students, since they are able to get inspiration from many different sources.

The following poem was made (with permission from my FB friends) and with a Wintery tone:

Seven new notifications

Six friends a-posting

Five minutes ago

Four chocolate chip cookies left

Three Little Pigs

Two more weeks

and one Starbucks coffee

Keep the “Twelve Days of Christmas song/poem” in mind when you read this. 🙂

And finally, for the surprise…if you haven’t had a chance to comment of my previous creative post (the wordle about my novel) you might want to do so before you read the rest.

And now…(insert drumroll)…for the FABULOUS excerpt of my novel. This is the first part of the first chapter of my novel and all the text I used to create the wordle. Please, keep in mind that this is intended to be a young adult novel, so the language and the scenarios are not as sophisticated as you might be used to…

Now, read on:

Chapter One: The Dragon of Delphi

As soon as Delphyne smelled the putrid breath of the dragon, she knew Apollo had lied to her. Again. Python, as the locals referred to the beast, would not be an easy kill.

The colour of trampled grass, the dragon was at least a hundred feet long. Its body was covered with impenetrable scales and horned spikes that made him near invincible. His eyes were large orbs of black, with a reptilian yellow slit for a pupil, that tracked even the slightest of movements. It was rumoured that the primordial goddess, Gaia, had created Python from the foul-smelling swamp waters that surrounded the region of Delphi to protect the oracle from invaders or those who sought to use its power for personal gain. In Gaia’s last attempt to hold on to the fleeting power of the original gods, she’d placed part of her own essence into the beast.

The once lush lands of the Delphic oracle were now barren, after an hour of hard battle. The ground was sodden with the poison that Python spewed from his mouth. The poison had eaten away at the grass and trees in the area. The trees that had survived the acidic downpour were uprooted and tossed asunder. The dislodged trunks now decaying, the bark wilting away.

“Keep it occupied and I’ll shoot it down from above.”

Her dark braid whipping her back as she dodged to avoid another of Python’s swinging claws, Delphyne dared a brief glance behind her. The movement made the strap on her sandal tighten awkwardly, biting into her skin. Sure enough, she could feel the beginnings of a blister.

Apollo was hidden safely behind one of the large boulders that surrounded the sunken ground of the oracle, the sunlight glinting off the golden bow in his hands was the only clue to his current location.

Coward. Delphyne scowled. It was easy for him to give orders. He wasn’t the one who’d nearly been sliced in half four times in the past hour.

“How do you suppose I keep a hundred-foot serpent preoccupied? Maybe I should just stand still and let it rip me apart?” The retort rolled naturally of her tongue, as Delphyne dodged another of the Python’s attempts to dislodge her head. “It seems to enjoy doing that.”

“She,” called Apollo from his safe haven.


“The dragon. It’s female.”

“Oh, really. Well, does that not just change everything.” She was beginning to sound like a hysterical fishwife even to her own ears. The pressure of nearly dying over and over again must be getting to her.

“Dodge left.”

Delphyne swerved left on Apollo’s command. A flaming arrow flew past her, only to hit Python’s armoured shoulder and bounce off harmlessly. The flame extinguished by the damp ground while the arrow joined its fallen companions – Apollo’s previous attempts at killing the dragon.

Apollo let out a foul oath.

“Perhaps you should distract it while I shoot it down,” Delphyne said. “Oh, pardon me, that’s shoot her down.”

“You can’t aim worth a drachma,” said Apollo. “With your luck, you’ll shoot everything but the dragon. Move right.”

Another arrow shot out. This one landed close to Python’s eye, but not close enough to do any damage.

“That would be different from what your doing how exactly?”

“I need to get a better angle, just keep dodging,” was all Apollo said in reply.

Apollo didn’t seem to understand that her strength was wavering. Her sandals were chaffing and the dents in her tarnished silver breastplate dug into her ribs with every move. Her under-tunic was soaked with sweat, the small sleeves clinging to her arms, restricting her movements. The metal wristbands on her arms also made her arms heavier and manoeuvring her sword that much harder.

Not to mention that Python had no intention of letting her avoid its spewing mouth for very long. Every time she twisted out of its reach, the creature followed her movement, ready to spit more of its acrid, green poison in her direction.

Delphyne heard the beat of wings behind her and knew Apollo had launched himself into the sky. The thought brought her back to the moment when she first met the young god, four years ago.

Delphyne was in the hidden glade not far from her home, practising the sword-fighting manoeuvres her Spartan father had recently taught her, when the god landed in front of her. He looked magnificent with his wings of light and flame, as if he had forced rays of sunlight to take shape at his back. His wind-tousled hair an array of shades between pure white and the deepest of gold. A laurel wreath snaked around one wrist, while the other was left bare by his sleeveless, belted white tunic.

      But it was his eyes that startled her, more than the soft golden glow of his skin or the perfection of his face – with it’s high cheekbones, and smooth skin that lacked her father’s scruffy beard – or his incredible height. The pale blue of the winter sky, they were like chips of ice in a torrent of fire. Those eyes stared at her with an intensity that scared her.

      Confused and afraid, she attacked – believing he meant to carry her off, as gods were wont to do. Her sword caught him on his cheek, cutting a thin line before he could react. He moved away from her so swiftly after that, a quick beating of his wings that launched him in the air. He hovered there for a heartbeat, his fingers tracing the cut in his cheek.

      And then he left, as silently as he had arrived.

      Delphyne stood in the glade, her heart thundering in her chest, until she finally came to her senses and ran all the way home. She thought for sure that the god would return and retaliate for the way she’d scarred his perfect visage.

      But he never did.

      A week later, Delphyne assumed that the god had forgotten about her and went back to the glade at the foot of the mountain. She’d thought about finding another spot to practice, but had been loathe to give up the secret place she and her father had found together. There she practised for nearly an hour, hidden from sight by the lush, green forestry that surrounded the area, before Apollo returned.

      She hadn’t known who he was, since it had been the first time Delphyne had been in the presence of a god, but she suspected he was an Olympian.

      He landed further away from her than the last time. And this time, Delphyne noticed the sword strapped corded, gold belt at his waist. Later, she would admire the ingenious craftsmanship and the perfect balance of the blade, but at that moment, she concentrated all her energy on swallowing her fear. The best way to intimidate an enemy was to not show fear, as her father would say.

      And so she forced herself to stand still, sword in hand, as he slowly walked towards her. She prepared herself for the inevitable fight and death – hers.

      But the god took her completely by surprise when he stopped in front of her and said, “Teach me.”

A sudden swipe of the Python’s horned tail jarred Delphyne out of her reverie. The spiked edge caught on her under-tunic and tore through the fabric.

Refocusing her attention on the creature in front of her, Delphyne swung her sword again and, again, for what seemed like the hundredth time, the metal glanced off the dragon’s mud-green scales. Her sword made not a mark on Python’s flesh; her slashing seeming only to make the beast angrier.

Python groaned, spitting poison that melted away more of the earth. Drops of the liquid landed on Delphyne’s arm above the wrist guard, burning her skin and eating through the cloth of her sleeve and leaving angry red marks. The attack unbalanced her; the sword falling out of her hand.

Python swung its claw again. Too slow to react, Delphyne slammed against the rocks as the blow landed. The back of her head struck the stone hard enough to make blood trail down her face, matting the dark strands of her hair to the skin.

“Zeus’s left heel,” she cursed under her breath. Had it not been for the ambrosia Apollo made her drink earlier, the impact would surely have rendered her unconscious. Even ambrosia, however, had its limits. Any more of the serpents staggering attacks and she wouldn’t be able to maintain her stance.

Python seemed to smirk with triumph, its gaze tracing the route of her blood as it soaked her once white tunic and tarnished her armour further, the reptilian slit in its yellow eyes contracting with anticipation. Moving forward, the creature opened its mouth to spray her its poison. Without thinking, Delphyne used her remaining strength to rush forward. Grabbing her sword with her uninjured arm, she stabbed the dragon inside its open mouth.

There was a spray of acid as the Python reared back, the still-stuck sword – protruding through the dragon’s chin and tongue – preventing it from closing its mouth.

Apollo took the opportunity to launch a flaming arrow inside the creature’s mouth. Moments later, two strong arms surrounded Delphyne from behind as Python was set aflame.

Delphyne wanted to shout in triumph, but she was unable to find her voice.

From the relative safety of the sky, Delphyne watched as the dragon’s flesh sizzled from the inside out. Its body writhing and thrashing against the boulders, as if the creature were trying to put out the fire that burned within. Chunks of stone flew through the air, less and less as Python began to weaken. Piece by piece, the dragon burned away leaving ashes scattered the on the barren earth. The remnants of the beast mixing with the fallen arrows on the battlefield, like dirt among twigs.

If it hadn’t tried to kill her just moments prior, Delphyne might have felt some pity for the dragon. But Delphyne was too busy trying to remain conscious. The blood still seeping from her head wound causing her vision to blur.

Carrying her gently to the ground, Apollo released her. After a heartbeat of stumbling about like a drunken sailor, Delphyne found her footing and made her way to the nearest boulder. Sitting, she bent her knees so that her feet rested on a second flat stone in front of her. She fumbled with the leather straps of her sandals, biting her lip when her fingers accidentally touched an open wound.

The straps had left little cuts on the pale skin of her feet – one of the few places on her body that remained untouched by the sun from her constant outdoor exploits. Though shallow, the injuries still throbbed with a prickling pain.

“Let me.” Apollo knelt down in front of her and pulled of her left sandal. The wound was worse than she thought.

“You lied to me,” Delphyne said. “That dragon wasn’t guarding any treasure, just land that Gaia had claimed for the Delphic prophetess.”

Treasure was the bribe that Apollo had used to get her to agree with his plan to slay the dragon of Delphi. By the time, she realized that there was no treasure, it had been too late to turn back – not that Delphyne could have gone back on her own, such a task would have taken her days or weeks without Apollo’s wings.

Apollo shrugged. “I didn’t lie to you. You just assumed that by treasure I meant pearls and rubies.”

It was true that her mercenary nature had gotten the best of her. After weeks of ennui from being trapped indoors with only her mother, the servants and the occasional visit from Apollo to keep her company, Delphyne had jumped on the opportunity to embark on a quest for buried gold.

“And you let me believe that,” accused Delphyne. “Exactly, what treasure is here? I see nothing but rubble and swamp water.” The same swamp water that was making her stink worse than cattle droppings.

“The oracle.”

“A useless slab of stone? A useless slab of stone?! You risked my life for a rock?”

-Kiran Heer

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