Tender was I, when angels painted red
First croon’d their pain into my grain of sky.
And as a mother holds her child just fed,
I cradle the cry in my memory:
I heed to war against misogyny.
Falling stars, victims of unwilling wish;
Fallen sisters, roses burnt in the snow…
My ‘yes’ is only mine to give, you hear?
My ‘no’ is not yours to force, nor mine to fear.
My skin is no canvas, my blood is no paint.
No sculptor may carve me by his own complaint.
No more shall there be angels painted red.
ANGELS PAINTED RED
A Dirge dedicated to all of us women:
you are your own hero.

Dear reader,
Did you ever learn about valkyries? Legend has it, these winged-maidens were the keepers of afterlife, in Norse mythology. On the battlefield of any death, they got to settle the fates to follow. ‘Choosers of the slain’; they got to settle who would once again arise as a hero by Odin, to face Ragnarok.

A hero- for that one had set forth their breath as that of a valiant heart already. Valkyries were the heroes of heroes: many had fallen with no choice, you see? at the mercy of an incident, a murderer, by their own hands. Many still do. Valkyries do, too. Guardian angels who didn’t fight fire with fire and, even so- even more- whose remembrance sparks fuel to our faith. Every face. Every voice. Every name. The victims of femicide. Our thoughts fly to them especially, on this day.

DATE: November 25th, 2021;
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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:

French class birthed the idea for this later soon-to-be article. A tale. A retelling of Romeo and Juliet, precisely. For the record, the teacher gave us carte blanche - and what nightmare in guise could be more of a dream come true for two poets in incognito, if not that white paper that’s so infamous for often inducing writer's block?

So each of us wrote - yes, in French; no worries, it’s translated - and the results were:

  • The French sonnet ‘Bouquin d’un amour vécu’, based on different literary groundwork. But no spoilers! Tune in on Commaful and find out just what that is about with our interactive poems;

LINK TO THE POEM: https://commaful.com/play/carillon_twins/----96/

  • The prose work ‘Au nom de Dieu’. The thorns of the desert harem and forced marriage intertwine here with the petals of friendship blossomed between two women, conceived as the beginning of a love story doomed to end in tragedy. Curious about the translation? Then keep on scrolling to find out the meaning, if you dare ;)

INSPIRATIONS: A LITTLE INSIGHT ON THE ‘BEHIND THE SCENES’

Women written by women for other women, on the example of women. Our short story is a crossover between the Arabian legend and the English lyric. The themes move from the roots of the Middle Eastern folk collection of the ‘One Thousand And One Nights’: we propose the characters of Alì Babà and the Forty Thieves in the shoes of the vicissitudes of Shakespeare’s tragedy.

Other important food for thought, that directly from our day and age paved its way to our heart:

  • Khaled Hosseini’s 'A Thousand Splendid Suns’, that highlighted the shadows in which women are still chained to exist in Afghan, while someone prides in being a man by taking away another’s choices to live;
  • Alwyn Hamilton’s ‘Rebel of the Sands’, whose trilogy relies on myths and magic, varied panoramas and the call to action of badass heroines and exemplary bonds;
  • Natasha Ngan’s ‘Girls of Paper and Fire’ series, that tugged at our heartstrings in the impressive execution it undertakes of vitally significant topics, such as homophobia and sexual assault.
  • To underline is also the symbolism of a noteworthy flower, which struck a chord with us. Le pavot des sables - in Latin, Glaucium flavum; in English, the yellow horned poppy, yellow hornpoppy or sea poppy - is emblem of beauty and jealousy. The Pavot plays a key role in our story’s meaning (whilst also recurring as the protagonist’s name).

WORDS FOR ACTIONS, WRITE TO CHANGE

“No matter what anybody tells you,
words and ideas can change the world.”

(John Keating; DEAD POETS SOCIETY)

This is a tribute to the slain rebels: no one has the right to choke another’s life, or rape her, or maim or burn her.

This is a tribute to Afghan women: we have the choice to care that they too may shake hands with freedom.

This is a tribute to all women. This is a call to equality, and it’s not meant to last for only one day. We do not have to ‘man up’. We do not have to ‘grow some balls’. We do have to stand up. We do have to grow bolder.

All of us - not as artists, not as politicians, not as teachers or parents - as human beings, rather, we must speak up for what’s right and demand change for what’s left of us.

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THE SHORT STORY: IN THE NAME OF GOD

The Golden Poppy Of The Sands

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A flower weeps, frail, on the sands. She waters and eats away this barren desert. Her sobs cry to the petals soaked in blood at her feet: Father, Mother, her brother- the Emir hadn’t just settled for seizing their kingdom. His sentence hangs heavy on their lifeless bodies.
The light of a lamp is dark and cold, for it is no thing conceived by Nature. So is a forced marriage. And isn’t that now the case of Pavot, or the New Juliet?
“Hear ye! Hear ye,” a young soldier preaches through the streets, “The Emir takes wife: no other than the spoils of war! Tomorrow, folks, at the masquerade! His victory is God’s will; hallelujah!”
Is God’s will, then, the death of the same people He created? And does the will of God not take into consideration a woman’s will? Aren’t, thus, to blame but the Sultan and his forty princes? The lovely Pavot is not made for their golden cages and locked-up towers. She’ll never yield. Her heart is a ruin. But, o’! At last, only a stray servant manages to take care of the princess’s withered roots.
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Masked Angel Of Love

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A waterfall of golden ringlets… the guardian angel of the sun makes her entrance. Mirror, mirror on the wall! You will never catch the beauty of the ray that she is: a miracle hidden in plain sight, who could deny it?
She eludes that intrusive, yet shallow stare of yours. The stars forged the glow of skin by the dances of the moonlight. A stranger of porcelain in body and soul. Black wolves, a sea that drowns her. They laugh, and spin, and surround her.
Pavot is lonely among many. Masks conceal the hearts in the crowd. To no avail, rather, hers can disguise the melancholy beating with each of her steps.
And, against all odds, another despairs too for the princess, and her doomed fate, and the violences to come: that servant we have already mentioned; Morgiana, the stray born among the castle walls.
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There is no Romeo here: this is not a love story. No prince charming for a court of poisons and daggers. If there was ever any, he’s long dead.
Pavot is all that’s on Morgiana’s mind, as she fusses beside the young soldier that we have already mentioned too, before. Here’s Alì - or Mercutio, as you best know him. Indeed, one might say that friendship, at least, resists through the test of adversities.
“The Emir intends to win again,” Morgiana rants, “He’ll corner her, like a snake to his prey: she’ll have no way out. Nothing’s going to stay in those eyes of thunderstorm without a scar.”
“So what?” Alì mutters under his breath. It seems it is not the first time they discuss such an eventuality. Let’s get married in secret at once! You’ll get to live with no worry. The imam is not going to help, though, that’s for sure: he’s a servant of the Sultan as much as we are. We must leave. We must seek. You know where to - or, better, whom we should reach out for.
Morgiana doesn’t say a thing. Her brown eyes and the grimace on her visage, barely restraint, are enough of an answer. They speak of the same ‘no’ as always.
For his part, Alì doesn’t pronounce another word either. And always in secret he follows his friend under the balcony of the new among the many Emir’s brides. The princess leans over the railing. “Who’s there?” She frets. The Golden Poppy of the Sands shakes visibly.
The soldier cannot comprehend more; the frantic whispers the two women are exchanging outrun him.
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Last Dance With Death

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“You can understand, Alì,” Morgiana tells him, when she returns. “You’re my friend. We can count on you- I’m sure that we can. You’re not like the other men.”
“But I am a man all the same.” Alì is stunned; without another word, he lowers his head. He’s going to wait for them on the doorstep.
“Come on, Pavot. All’s going to be alright, don’t worry.”
“We set off like this? Where are you taking us?”
“We’re going to the unknown cave of the known forty thieves, that’s where.”
“Excuse me, what? Won’t it be dangerous?”
“Of course. Just like remaining here.”
A glance of understanding passed between the two. “So, where’s this cave?”
“Well, so many questions, my lady. It’s impossible to know where one shall next find it; it’s an enchanted place! And to obtain magic, one must undertake a quest towards the unknown. Everyone knows that!”
The hint of a smile tugs at Pavot’s lips for the first time since she arrived. A surge of hope shines in her eyes of thunderstorm. “Lead the way, then, Morgiana.”
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There’s no trace of Alì when they get out. The loud stillness of the night spies on them. So does Alì. Blind jealousy cages his heart. “They want to leave,” he thinks, “they wish to be free. But what about my feelings? Does anyone care?”
Alì tracks the two women up to the place that had once been only his and Morgiana’s little secret. Before all of this happened. Before Pavot’s arrival.
O’, how everything changes in the blink of an eye! In that place, his brother Kasim had shaken hands with death at the mercy of the forty thieves themselves: no other than the forty princes, sons of the Sultan - whom we have mentioned already as well.
And no other than the Emir, who had married Pavot, had obliged Alì himself to hurry a choice: serve as a knight until death or die at the hands of knights too - right then, right there. They had bought his silence. They had stolen his freedom, in the same way they did with the wealth of their people: through the god in chains - the Genie of the Lamp.
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The Last Wish Under This Sky

The dunes of Afghan are just like the notes of the Pied Piper of Hamelin: he first lures in the hunter; then, he traps him in his venomous coils. The pleasures of the desert are like the last wish under the sky that the executioner concedes to the condemned: is there any pleasure to feel at all, when an immense suffering is going to follow right/ after, and no eye will remain a witness for the word given to be kept?
Here’s what happens when man worships man and puts himself in the place of God. And we pray for forgiveness, we wish for salvation - in the same way Pavot and Morgiana did, in front of the apathetic gaze of an immortal, ready to trick at the first opportunity.
Yet we forget to watch our own back from the one behind us in line. As a dagger, so prejudice sinks through flesh and bone. And a poison, the superstition that drugs mind and soul. At last, betrayal strikes from the one that reassured himself as a friend.
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Because to want, dear Alì, is not the same as to love, just like to concede is not the same as to offer, and to receive is not the same as to obtain; to agree is not the same as to consent, just like to know is not the same as to hope, and to hear is not the same as to listen. You forget, dear discriminators and assassins, that God bleeds with us, when you kill in His name.
The bomb shocks the wasteland. It shakes up the attention of the city: the forty thieves leap to aid, white horses and dashing shining knight armors all lined up. On Love’s grave, the Emir - or Count Paris, as he goes by, in the West - complains about the loss of the gold and he cries for the freedom of the genie.
One servant less; who would remember her among the one thousand wretches in the palace? Who gives a damn about his anonymous wife; she’s of no use: her face is ugly and burnt now. He shall replace her with another, nameless bride, tomorrow.
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EPILOGUE: To fight or not to fight; there is no question about it

Creators, warriors, protectresses… Us women are archetypes of both a hero and a lover. In any case, literature for and about ladies blends in an everlasting appeal. As timeless as that is, times are changing nowadays, for better or for worse, at the same speed that the world spins in. All that we know today may not be what we will know tomorrow.

Centuries and centuries of sacrifice to conquer the natural right to our own lives could be erased in the blink of an eye. Sirens may have wailed against those drunken sailors to ward them off their waters and guard themselves from their prying eyes. We may never know…

***

Are you looking forward to more content like this? Mighty fire, are you too Dusty Eyes to see? What are you still waiting for?

Join the Everblue family! It’s much more than a fanbase. Our community blooms its roots here on We Heart It, where you can find original collections of characters, themes and the world related to the first ever fantasy trilogy we’re planning to write.

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COMMAFUL PROFILE: https://commaful.com/play/carillon_twins/

INTERACTIVE POEM ("Angels Painted Red"): https://commaful.com/play/carillon_twins/---117/

The Carillon Twins
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♡ Maddie Hatter ♤
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