Wednesday, June 17, 2015

One More Poem

When writing YA, sooner or later the writer runs into hormones, which is very problematical because the "rules" surrounding teenage sexuality are firm and unyielding: romance okay, but nothing more. (Which is totally realistic because I don't know of any teenagers who ever think or talk about sex.) So how do teenage characters be realistic without crossing that line? Every writer has to find their boundary, but I think a general rule of thumb is to remember that while teens think and talk about sex, they don't generally want adults as part of those conversations. I'm not talking about serious conversations like birth control, but the general talk that goes on with their peers. The key lies in hints rather than explicitness, such as these inner thoughts of the girl Wanyika as she contemplates Antwan washing in a river (Bagnosgura was a rough town where society's outcasts went to live):

Wanyika’s Smile

Give me him, god carved from coal
Concealed beneath the water’s flow
Drips run down tight chest to slow
At waist’s edge short of my goal.

Whence he came-young buck ‘pon my knoll?
Cause of cows to sound and low, O
Give me him, god carved from coal
Concealed beneath the water’s flow

With such a one I long to foal
But promised was I long ago
To Bagnosgura I will not go
Yet just once I’d yield my soul …
Give me him, god carved from coal
Concealed beneath the water’s flow.