Saturday, May 28, 2011


A boar suckled me.
Hunters reared me.
I am not as other women.

My limbs are fashioned of wind,
my feet are flame-shod.
I have strong arms to stretch the bowstring,
a heedless mouth that laughs across my shoulder
as one by one my doomed suitors
fall behind me
exhausted in the dust.

I am a thrown spear.
I am an arrow shot from the bow.
I am death's handmaiden
whom no man outruns.

But Melanion, with your smile as innocent as orchards,
you do not come wooing empty handed.
You fling before me Aphrodite's
treacherous golden apples
burning like small suns in the white dust,
so ripe, so round that my palms itch for them
and each one a leaden plumb-weight
to hold me to the ground.

First published in Isis Rising, 2000
Photo  © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

Monday, May 23, 2011



At my birth, they say, the midwife
fainted at the sight of me.
Sweet mother, Pasiphaƫ, when you crouched
in the hot dust waiting for the white bull
to part your welcoming thighs, did you dream
then, what monster might be spawned
from your improbable lust?

Asking nothing, I have accepted what was given—
not human enough to spare the lives men sent me,
nor beast enough to remember them without shame.

If I did not exist, it would be necessary to invent me.

Mother. Stepfather. Sister. All who should have loved me
have betrayed me. Only Theseus has been faithful
to the destiny that binds us close as brothers.
Tonight I hear the echo of his footfall through the labyrinth.

I roar his name.
The thread unwinds.

First published in Paradox: The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction, Issue #10, 2006.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Living in the Past, Part 3

  a sampling

Jean Auel, Clan of the Cave Bear   YA to adult
Eileen Kernaghan, The Sarsen Witch  (Bronze Age Britain) YA to adult
Joanne Findon, When Night Eats the Moon (Iron Age Britain) 9-12

Mesopotamia/ Sumeria
Geraldine McCaughrean, Gilgamesh the Hero. ages 9-12
Ludmila Zeman, Gilgamesh trilogy (Gilgamesh the King; Revenge of Ishtar; The Last Quest of Gilgamesh) Ages 9-12.

Jane Lindskold, The Buried Pyramid. YA
Judith Tarr, Lord of Two Lands.  YA. to adult

Indus Valley
Eileen Kernaghan, Winter on the Plain of Ghosts: a novel of Mohenjo-daro  (Older YA to adult)

Ancient China
Wei Jiang, Legend of Mu Lan: A Heroine of Ancient China
Lloyd Alexander, Dream-of-Jade, the Emperor’s Cat. age 9-12

Ancient Greece
Robert Byrd, The Hero and the Minotaur. Gr. 3-6
Dave Duncan (writing as Sarah B. Franklin) Daughter of Troy. Older YA.
Mary Renault, The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea (older YA to adult)
Patrice Kindl,  Lost in the Labyrinth  Ages 10 to 14
Caroline B. Coney, Goddess of Yesterday YA

Rome and Roman Britain
Alan Garner, Red Shift. YA  (Time- Slip novel set in Roman Britain,
17th C. England and modern times)  YA
Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove, Household Gods. (Older YA to adult)

Madeleine A. Polland, Beorn the Proud . Age 4-8
Chris Humphreys, The Fetch. YA
J.B. Olofsen, Svipdag    YA

Middle Ages
Janet McNaughton, An Earthly Knight (12th Century Scotland)  YA
Simon Rose, The Sorcerer’s Letterbox and The Heretic’s Tomb. (Mediaeval England) Gr. 4 to 7
Connie Willis, The Domesday Book (the Plague Years in England) YA to adult 

Elizabethan England.  Susan Cooper, King of Shadows
 Susan Price, The Sterkarm Handshake
Eileen Kernaghan, The Alchemist’s Daughter  YA

Early explorations
Russel Freedman, author, Bagram Ibatouline, Editor,  Adventures Of Marco Polo .
Ages 9-12   (Whether or not some of  Marco Polo’s adventures were actually fantasy,  the exotic splendour of Kublai Khan’s court lends its own enchantment)

Renaissance Italy
Gregory Maguire, Mirror, Mirror. YA to adult
Dave Duncan, The Alchemist’s Apprentice.  YA to adult.

Seventeenth Century England
John Wilson. The Alchemist’s Dream * 9-12 (not a  fantasy per se,
but the presence of Dr. John Dee adds a touch of magic.)

Himalayan Kingdoms
Peter Dickinson, Tulku
Eileen Kernaghan, Dance of the Snow Dragon (18th century Bhutan) YA

Victorian England
Linda Newberry, Set in Stone (Gothic YA)

19th century Ireland
James Heneghan, The Grave YA
Roberta A. McAvoy, The Grey Horse. YA to adult

Historical Canada
Kit Pearson, A Handful of Time
Julie Lawson, White Jade Tiger
Janet Lunn,. The Root Cellar

First Nations
Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House

Comments are invited: add your own favourite titles!