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Beyond - Legends Proof - a Ben poem (Inferno); 7/29 Thank you

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Tahi, Feb 24, 2008.

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  1. Tahi

    Tahi Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Title: Proof
    Author: Tahi
    Genre: Poem
    Setting: In Inferno, in the scene where Ben is in Jacen's secret torture room.
    A/N: I've been playing around with this idea for a while, but it's been misbehaving. ;) Poems do that sometimes - slippery little critters.

    You may find the phrasing odd, but it's my attempt to capture the rhythms of Ben's thinking as he struggles with both pain and his identity while in the embrace of pain. I don't use traditional rhyme as such, but I do use half-rhyme and repetition to hold the poem together, along with parallelism. And in this poem the verb "to be" is very important. :) So here goes.


    [b]Proof[/b]

    [i]I am Ben[/i] . . .

    Nothing else matters
    but this,
    nothing
    but being
    Ben,
    human child
    of human parents;
    somebody . . . someone,
    although unity is slipping
    away with the blood sluicing
    down into pools at his feet, leaking
    out in saline streams of sweat
    and saliva. He thinks
    he might be dissolving.
    He thinks
    the poisonous barbs
    of the torture chair
    are to blame.
    He thinks . . .
    thinking might be proof
    that he is
    still
    Ben.

    And proof matters,
    proof that he is . . .
    who he says he is,
    proof that this body belongs to Ben,
    that the evidence is incontrovertible.
    He knows that process only too well:
    tick fingerprints, check blood type,
    match tissue samples ?
    and he is confident there is
    no lack of those here,
    no fear of counterfeit.
    The marks of Ben are clear
    in this room; staining
    the floor, glistening
    on the chair of thorns
    like splattered froth
    in shades of mucous green.
    He may be stretched
    thin, he may be racked
    until tendons scream,
    but he is
    through gritted teeth
    still
    Ben.

    Nothing in this room
    can prove otherwise.

    And the pain is merely proof
    that he is still alive,
    still breathing, still clinging
    to the stubborn legacy
    that can only belong to Ben,
    human child of Mara, now dead,
    of Luke, grieving.
    Nothing in this room,
    no-one in this room
    can bleed him of that.

    No, nothing matters here,
    nothing at all; just one simple,
    irrefutable truth that lies beyond
    the language of pain, beyond
    the shadow of doubt.
    The facts would speak for him
    if he let them, but he prefers
    to speak for himself, smiling,
    tenacious, unyielding,
    three words
    that mean
    everything:

    [i]I am Ben.[/i]

    ~Tahi~
    >
     
  2. Jade_Pilot

    Jade_Pilot Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 10, 2005
    My land! Just amazing... =D=
     
  3. kecen

    kecen Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 12, 2005
    The first stanza could easily be a nightmare recollection of being an infant...


    Hehe, I would like to add the poem with Vua Rapuung is most memorable, too.
     
  4. BrentusofGath

    BrentusofGath Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 12, 2005
    No, nothing matters here,
    nothing at all; just one simple,
    irrefutable truth that lies beyond
    the language of pain, beyond
    the shadow of doubt.


    Ooo, liked it very much. :)

    I am Ben.

    Not for much longer. [face_devil]

    Nice, very nice. I liked the whole feeling of that. [face_devil] [face_skull]
     
  5. Knight_Aragorn

    Knight_Aragorn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 15, 2003
    I love this poem so much it's kind of hard to be coherent. [face_love] The flow is perfect, because the rhythm conveys such a strong sense of straining, enduring, being stripped almost bare, down to just the basic thoughts. And I love so much that Ben is so stubborn. I can see powerful elements of both of his parents in that, in the way he will not let the pain win out, that he will hold on to who and what he is.

    Rambling a bit here, but I love it. Amazing work. :D
     
  6. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade VIP star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    I'm kind of speechless. [face_hypnotized] Not totally, because I'm going to chatter away anyway, but it might not be coherent. :p

    Honestly, I looked at the title and thought, "Yeah, right." Because it didn't seem possible that such a subject could be turned into a good poem. Then I saw the author, and thought, "Well, if anyone could do it . . ."

    I'm no poetry critic, but I wouldn't call this a good poem. I'd call it brilliant. I don't know how you did it, but reading this honestly made me feel that I was Ben, in that moment. The characterization is just perfect, the stubbornness that is Luke and Mara, but with something that is undeniably Ben's own. And the flow feels exactly right for how Ben must have been straining for coherent thought despite the Embrace of Pain. It's absolutely beautiful. [face_love] I'm so glad it stopped being slippery so you could post it. [face_love]
     
  7. FalconFan

    FalconFan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 25, 2004
    **wipes away emotional tears, trying to see to type**

    Wow.
    Just wow. I'm like everyone else so far--moved beyond words by these words, these images... I almost didn't look at this, as this scene in the book so horrified me--I'm so glad I set that aside to read this amazing piece. You managed to take those chilling images and distill them into what Ben purely is--his strength, his determination and tremendous heart--everything his mother and father have given him and all that he has become, and is becoming...

    It's astonishingly beautiful, and defines our young Skywalker. Thank you for posting this!

    FF
     
  8. star_writer24

    star_writer24 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 15, 2006
    =D=
    Fantastic!
    I have to admit Tahi I am not a big poetry fan,
    but if this is what I have been missing out on
    I might have to rectify that immediately.

    Great job!
     
  9. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    And the pain is merely proof
    that he is still alive,
    still breathing, still clinging
    to the stubborn legacy
    that can only belong to Ben,
    human child of Mara, now dead,
    of Luke, grieving.
    Nothing in this room,
    no-one in this room
    can bleed him of that.


    Wow. This is very rich in imagery, description, tone, and depth. I love that Ben is fighting with his very being to maintain his identity.
     
  10. Thrawn McEwok

    Thrawn McEwok Co-Author: Essential Guide to Warfare star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    May 9, 2000
    Tahi: =D=

    This is great! I like the... forensic emphasis in Ben's POV here; the detachment, the way that he's implicitly separating himself from the pain, from what's being done to him - but at the same time, he's retaining a real physicality, and also instinctively emphasising what he's learnt in his time with GAG, maybe even thinking back unconsciously to what Jacen did to Mara.

    One other observation: there's a shift between the first person I am of the title and the third-person of the narrative POV, which only kicks in clearly in the middle of the first stanza. It disconcerts, and demands that you go back and re-read from the beginning: whether it's deliberate or not, I LIKE that.

    :D

    - The Imperial Ewok
     
  11. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    This was marvelous. I loved how you began and ended the poem with the same words - to book-end and to emphasize just how tenacious Ben is.

    I especially loved the descriptions.[face_love]

    somebody . . . someone,
    although unity is slipping
    away with the blood sluicing
    down into pools at his feet, leaking
    out in saline streams of sweat
    and saliva. He thinks
    he might be dissolving.


    The marks of Ben are clear
    in this room; staining
    the floor, glistening
    on the chair of thorns
    like splattered froth
    in shades of mucous green.


    Such vivid images of things. Really beautifully done! Thanks so much for letting me know about it.
     
  12. TahiriSoloFan

    TahiriSoloFan Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    May 20, 2003
    Beautiful, Tahi! I had chills thinking of Ben's feelings and thoughts in those moments.
    Don't you know Luke's appearance would have seemed like a completely unlikely dream to Ben when he first realized Luke was there to rescue him?
     
  13. Tahi

    Tahi Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2002
    JadePilot
    Hey there. Thanks for reading, and for the kind comment. :)

    kecen
    Hello - and always nice to meet a new reader.

    The first stanza could easily be a nightmare recollection of being an infant...[/]
    I hadn't considered that, but it would be possible. And thanks for the nod to the Vua Rapuung poem. I actually have some backstory for that, which I must write and post. I couldn't at the time because it was for a specific challenge, and the backstory wouldn't have been relevant to that. So thanks for the reminder. :)

    Brentus
    Not for much longer
    Oh no - do you know something I don't!! :eek:

    Glad you liked the feel of the poem. And thanks for the feedback. [:D]

    KA
    The flow is perfect, because the rhythm conveys such a strong sense of straining, enduring, being stripped almost bare, down to just the basic thoughts.
    Thank you! [:D] That was the effect I wanted. This was Ben being stripped down in order to break him - but in the end it was his basic thoughts that helped him see that he was still very much Ben.

    And I love so much that Ben is so stubborn. I can see powerful elements of both of his parents in that, in the way he will not let the pain win out, that he will hold on to who and what he is.
    I love and admire Ben's stubbornnes, too. It kind of defines him and yes, it's his legacy. I could see that holding on to his Ben-ness was a major point in the Inferno passage, too, so I wanted to keep that but expand on it. The point of torture is to break one down until one loses that identity, and that is something that Ben knows and resists.

    Thanks so much for the lovely feedback. :)

    Gabri
    I'm going to chatter away anyway, but it might not be coherent.
    May I say that I love your chatter? ;) And I found it very coherent - and very kind. So thanks. :)

    Ah - the title. I had many working titles for this: I am Ben, Unbreakable, Being Ben etc etc., but in the end I realised that the poem really turned on the idea of Ben proving to himself that he was Ben. And it matched with the scene in Sacrifice where, despite his grief, he is looking for evidence of his mum's killer - and in fact it is that determination to find evidence and proof of guilt that IMO helps him cope. In fact it's almost his revenge on the killer, if that makes sense. An "I will not let this defeat me, but instead I will use my grief to motivate me to find you" kind of thing. "Unbreakable" might have worked, but it sounded too much like a song title - LOL - and also it was kind of passive, whereas "Proof" has a more active feel.

    reading this honestly made me feel that I was Ben, in that moment.
    Thanks. Poems are all about such moments.

    The characterization is just perfect, the stubbornness that is Luke and Mara, but with something that is undeniably Ben's own.
    Thanks again - that was a very important element in this poem.

    And the flow feels exactly right for how Ben must have been straining for coherent thought despite the Embrace of Pain.
    Ah - thanks. Rhythm is crucial, so thanks for that comment. I really wanted that straining to come through.

    FalconFan
    Hey there - I got such a lovely surprise seeing you here. :) Thanks so much for reading.

    I have to say that I am STILL moved when I think about that beautiful drawing you did of Ben's vigil in the cave, and it is that image of Ben that lies behind this poem.

    Anyone who hasn't seen FalconFan's drawing should go here now:
    [image=http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c29/Nilknarf48/Waiting_Sacrifice.jpg]

    I almost didn't look at this, as this scene in the book so horrified me
    Me too. There are a few scenes that have done that - not many but a few. They really make my stomach turn. But I'm glad you took a peep at the poem, too.

    You managed to take those chilling images and distill them into what Ben purely is--his strength, his determination and tremendous heart--everything h
     
  14. thusspakezarathustra

    thusspakezarathustra Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    May 30, 2006
    Good to see you back into the poetry again, girl. :) Are you over Hone yet? (I'm not.)

    I like this one a lot, especially the structure with those semi rhymes. I think it works well here because you get the feel of someone gasping a bit, not breathing regularly, except occasionally when he seems to get it together and come out with something decisive. Like in this bit

    He may be stretched
    thin, he may be racked
    until tendons scream,
    but he is
    through gritted teeth
    still
    Ben.

    Nothing in this room
    can prove otherwise.

    The lead up makes those last two lines really important because they are about his proof. That 'through gritted teeth' bit is cool btw. :)

    Nothing in this room,
    no-one in this room
    can bleed him of that.

    That bit was shivery, but really strong. It's like he doesn't care about the blood and torture as long as he can say he's still Ben.

    Really liked this one, and it does sound like Ben.






     
  15. YodaKenobi

    YodaKenobi VIP star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    May 27, 2003
    So sorry I'm only getting to this now :( @};-

    Poems do that sometimes - slippery little critters.

    [face_laugh]

    Wow, this is a beautiful piece, Tahi :eek: =D= I loved this moment in Inferno when Ben was trying to reason through the pain and came to this conclusion, and you've captured it perfectly :D I really loved the rhythm of it all, like you can feel him stuggling to think this through.

    The imagery was really stunning, touching on things from the book, and you described the Yuuzhan Vong contraption perfectly. I also really liked the way Ben relates it back to some of his GAG training.

    And the pain is merely proof
    that he is still alive,
    still breathing, still clinging
    to the stubborn legacy
    that can only belong to Ben,
    human child of Mara, now dead,
    of Luke, grieving.
    Nothing in this room,
    no-one in this room
    can bleed him of that.

    No, nothing matters here,
    nothing at all; just one simple,
    irrefutable truth that lies beyond
    the language of pain, beyond
    the shadow of doubt.
    The facts would speak for him
    if he let them, but he prefers
    to speak for himself, smiling,
    tenacious, unyielding,
    three words
    that mean
    everything:

    I am Ben.


    And a perfect closing =D=

    Though it did make me think of Jacen's time in the Embrace of Pain, when he asked, "What are you?" and Vergere saying, "I am Vergere. What are you?"

    Probably not intentional :p

    I especially love that Ben related it back to his legacy and his mom to bring him to the truth :_|

    Truly terrific =D= I'm in awe, Tahi :D
     
  16. Goruk

    Goruk Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Nov 16, 2007
    I just stopped in to take a peek and was really impressed. Beautiful writing Tahi. =D=
     
  17. Tahi

    Tahi Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Zara
    I'm kind of over Hone's death, yes, in the sense that I knew that it was on the cards. He'd been ill for a while. But always sad to see the passing of one of the really good poets.

    I think it works well here because you get the feel of someone gasping a bit, not breathing regularly, except occasionally when he seems to get it together and come out with something decisive.
    Thanks for that. That was what I was going for. :)

    Glad you think it sounds like Ben's voice, too.

    Hope all's going well with you.

    Yoda
    No worries - better late than never as my mum used to say. ;)

    I loved this moment in Inferno when Ben was trying to reason through the pain and came to this conclusion, and you've captured it perfectly grin I really loved the rhythm of it all, like you can feel him stuggling to think this through.
    Thanks. Yes, that scene really affected me; and it was the way Allston wrote it with that emphasis on Ben reasoning his way through it that I wanted to focus on here.

    Glad you like the imagery, and that you feel it's effective.

    Though it did make me think of Jacen's time in the Embrace of Pain, when he asked, "What are you?" and Vergere saying, "I am Vergere. What are you?"
    Not intentional, no, but a valid comparison in the sense that pain inflicted in that way is intended to break the person's identity.

    I especially love that Ben related it back to his legacy and his mom to bring him to the truth
    Thanks. [:D] That to me is a very important thing for Ben to remember his legacy - for that is what has made him what he is. I think Jacen is trying to make Ben think that HE has created him. To an extent he has had an influence - although I think the GAG training is more to be credited to Ben's GAG officer friends.

    Thanks so much for the lovely feedback.

    Goruk
    Lovely to meet a new reader. :) Thanks so much for the kind comments. I'm happy you decided to take a peek. ;)


    Thanks again, everyone.





     
  18. Mousie

    Mousie Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Wow I can't add a lot to what other people have said but this is really beautiful and very sad. But the feelings come through so strongly =D=
     
  19. THE_PIED_PIPER

    THE_PIED_PIPER Chapter Rep Knoxville, TN star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Quote=Tahi

    This was beautiful Tahi, absolutely gorgeous



    And proof matters,
    proof that he is . . .
    who he says he is,
    proof that this body belongs to Ben,
    that the evidence is incontrovertible.
    He knows that process only too well:
    tick fingerprints, check blood type,
    match tissue samples ?
    and he is confident there is
    no lack of those here,
    no fear of counterfeit.
    The marks of Ben are clear
    in this room; staining
    the floor, glistening
    on the chair of thorns
    like splattered froth
    in shades of mucous green.
    He may be stretched
    thin, he may be racked
    until tendons scream,
    but he is
    through gritted teeth
    still
    Ben.

    Wow, Tahi! And I mean wow! Powerful. You really bring home the Embrace of Pain there. Normally its not something that I like to think about, but you did a great job here.And



    the pain is merely proof
    that he is still alive,
    still breathing, still clinging
    to the stubborn legacy
    that can only belong to Ben,

    Aye so true. Ben is Ben. :D

    human child of Mara, now dead,
    of Luke, grieving.

    Yes, absolutely true.

    Nothing in this room,
    no-one in this room
    can bleed him of that.

    No, nothing matters here,
    nothing at all; just one simple,
    irrefutable truth that lies beyond
    the language of pain, beyond
    the shadow of doubt.
    The facts would speak for him
    if he let them, but he prefers
    to speak for himself, smiling,
    tenacious, unyielding,
    three words
    that mean
    everything:

    I am Ben.


    [face_applause] You really captured him here, as he was in Inferno You have Ben's speirit and Legacy down and what its like to be the only child of Luke Skywalker...how to at all cost keep your own identity.

    Great work Master,

    I hope to see more Ben work from you. [face_girn]



    ~Kick :)
     
  20. jacensolofangirl2007

    jacensolofangirl2007 Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2007
    that was very lovely:)

    very well done, reminded me a lot of Jacen's time in the embrace of pain as well.
     
  21. Tahi

    Tahi Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Hi Mousie :)
    Thanks for reading and for the kind comments. I'm glad the feelings came through.

    PP :)
    You really bring home the Embrace of Pain there. Normally its not something that I like to think about, but you did a great job here.
    Thanks. I don't like to think about it either. [shudders] But I imagine it would be a bit like some of that ghastly torture the enlightened Elizabethans used, such as the rack!! Horrible what people do to other people.

    You really captured him here, as he was in Inferno You have Ben's speirit and Legacy down and what its like to be the only child of Luke Skywalker...how to at all cost keep your own identity.
    Thanks. :) The identity issue is very important, and it seemed to me that the passage in Inferno focused on his bloodlines.

    Great work Master, I hope to see more Ben work from you.
    Thanks again. [face_blush] I'm really enjoying Ben actually and so might just write some more about him.

    jacensolofangirl2007
    Hey there. :) Thanks for reading this. Yes - Jacen, when he was Jacen - suffered horribly in the Embrace of Pain. It sure changed the poor guy!!!!!


    I appreciate the comments, guys. Have a great and restful, and possibly contemplative, Easter. [:D]

     
  22. -DDR-

    -DDR- Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Hey. Just noticed this. I didn't expect to see poetry here, but glad that I clicked. Interesting look at Ben, especially at the link with his parents, something he turned away from for a while there at the start of the LotF. Funny how you realize one day what family means. LOL I think you nailed him here. =D=
     
  23. Tahi

    Tahi Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Hey there -DDR- - glad you took the plunge into some poetry.

    Yes, Ben did go through a typically teenage phase of "anti-parentness" didn't he. It was all Jacen there for a while, but as you say, he's learned what family means - in his case the hardest way possible. Thanks for reading and for the kind feedback. :)
     
  24. Tahi

    Tahi Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Thanks so much for voting this poem to be best poem in the recent awards. :) It meant a lot to me as "Proof" is a response to a scene that really disturbed me. It's my way of dealing with the horror of Ben's torture - an effort to give it some kind of positive meaning. So thank you all. [:D]
     
  25. celine

    celine Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Wow! Powerful! =D=

    That's all I can say. The refrain of "I am Ben" becomes very powerful as the poem progresses. Nice work.
     
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