• Member Since 28th Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen Dec 16th, 2019

Fable Scroll


A collection of poems about Luna's growing discontent, her fall, and her eventual return and redemption. This is by no means meant to offer a narrative take on these events, though the poems are arranged in what may be considered a chronological order. Instead, they are meant to reflect on the emotional experience of the sisters during these events. The framing device should hopefully offer a little more insight into the idea behind these.

Thanks to Ponyphonic with the wonderful songs The Moon Rises and Lullaby for a Princess for inspiring this in the first place, and to Defoloce with his Six Deeds of Harmony for inspiring me to actually go through with this crazy idea.
Many thanks to Eustatian Wings on Ponychan for the invaluable feedback he provided on my first draft.

EDIT (12th April 2014):
- completely rewritten introduction
- rearranged poems to place the first framing poem at the beginning, rather than second to last
- major revisions to Sonnets 2, 7, 12
- moderate revisions to Sonnets 3, 6, 8, 11, 14
- minor revisions to all others

Chapters (17)
Comments ( 27 )

Very heartfelt and sweet. Keep up the good work.


Should this not be 'maim' ?

Okay, now having read through, I can honestly say that attempting a Double Heroic Crown Sonnet was incredibly badass, and you've made it look easy.

For people who don't know what any of that poeitical stuff is - The first sonnet is the first lines from the middle fourteen sonnets, the last is the same, but of their last lines.

And then you went and gave it a narrative progression, all neatly trussed up in chronological order.

In a word? Skill. Lots of skill.
I quake to consider what patience, editing, revision and rewriting it would have taken to make this become this.

I will say that there's much more in the way of evocation for me in any given sonnet here than there is exposition. What I mean is, emotion without full comprehension, but that itself is probably the better half of poetry, don't you think?

As I go back over them, slower and more familiar, I'm definitely fitting feelings to thoughts, and making sense of the story that unfurls here.

Anyone with a wee bit of learning into poetry-craft would do well to consider this.

As for you, Fable Scroll, whatever you care to tell me about the making of this art, do tell, I'm keen to hear it! :twilightsmile:

This last sonnet… Am I just piecing things together incorrectly, or is it about Twilight (or, rather, the position that Twilight now fills)? If so, there's a crazy layer of implication on top of an already pretty darn well-handled narrative here. Great work.


Thank you for your kind words.

I'm afraid this is nowhere near as grand as a proper Double Heroic Crown of Sonnets, as I did not connect the poems through their first and last lines. I wasn't quite confident enough I could manage that additional structural requirement, and I felt the cycle implied by having the same very first and very last lines to the main sonnets would be misplaced here. I do invite you to take a look at the structure of individual sonnets and consider what you may know about different types of sonnets, though.

You're quite right with your remark about evocation versus exposition in these. My original concept had been far more narrative, but I quickly realized that I was not actually trying to produce a faithful re-telling of the struggle between the sisters. The emotional weight of those events fascinates me far more than the progression of events itself. That is not to say that these events are not fascinating, and that I have abandoned the idea of a narrative collection of sonnets (or other customarily non-narrative poems). I believe this evocative approach also gives this collection greater accessibility and value to people who do not know the source material. For that very reason, I avoided their names and held back from making too many horse-related puns (and you will in fact find that the word "pony" is not used at all), which was probably just as difficult as everything else.

As far was what I care to say about the creation of these poems is concerned, you will find a rather wordy response below. If you find that excessive, I'd be willing to condense it, though I hope you'll find it interesting as it is.

The first spark of this idea probably dates back all the way to the first time I listened to The Moon Rises, and grew more distinct with every time I listened to it. However, that spark went largely unnoticed or ignored among the wild ride of life and the other ideas and projects zipping around my mind and turning my time into smoke as if they were the Grey Men.

In fact, another MLP-related project occupied most of my thoughts at the time, and still does, as it remains unfinished to this day. As I grew increasingly disappointed with my lack of progress on that project, I decided to take a break and turn to some of my smaller ideas. Unfortunately for me, ideas never remain small in my mind when I focus on them, and the single sonnet describing Luna's banishment and return quickly festered into a wild mass of ambition.

And I do use that word for a reason, as I never truly feel in control of my ideas. If only I had spurs to prick my intent, or could keep my ambition from overleaping itself... In any case, I soon had another massive project on my hands, but for once I was determined to see it through instead of eternally dawdling.

With projects this big, I always attempt to plan ahead and solve the big issues before I begin writing, which in this case meant finding appropriate themes for the different sonnets. However, I quickly realized that a straightforward narration is at odds with the conventional sonnet structure of thesis, anti-thesis, and synthesis, so I shifted my focus towards the emotional side. Without concrete events to describe, I found myself looking for appropriate metaphors instead, and quickly settled on light and celestial phenomena, royalty, and battle.

My first attempt at actually writing any of these sonnets was a complete disaster. Turns out that trying to write the framing poems first was a bad idea, as the became an incoherent jumble of half-formed ideas that belonged to other poems. So I scrapped that, and took a break of a week or two before returning to the planning phase.

As silly as it may sound, I then proceeded to go through several iterations of a table listing the different theses and syntheses for the various poems, always with an eye on keeping a coherent progression in the framing sonnets. Then I compiled a list of words relating to celestial phenomena, as well as several lists of rhymes, so that I would have easy reference material on hand when writing and could avoid

Writing the first two or three poems took me just as many month, and that slow progress frustrated me to no end. I tossed the poems into the corner of my desk for a few weeks or months, to return to them a couple of months later. When I finally returned to work on them, I for once managed to convince myself that I did not need to get it perfect on the first draft, and just had to get it done. After that, I forced myself to finish one sonnet a week by writing at least two lines per day. Sometimes, I would feel inspired and write half a sonnet in an hour. On other days, I would stare at the page for an hour in the morning, and another hour in the evening, thinking about it all day long while I went about my other tasks, only to just barely scratch out two lines before going to bed. I was bashing my head against thin air, willing a wall of text to appear for me to bash against instead.

Once I had those done, I took a break of a few days to clear my head, then went over them with a red pencil to mark all the areas that made my sense of language writhe in agony. After a couple of emergency revisions, I put all of them in a google document, shared them with a couple of friends, and placed a review request on Ponychan. Of course, I'd overlooked some phrases in need of fixing, and I really needed feedback on the meter and flow, as I'm not a native speaker.

Armed with that first round of feedback and several more colored pencils, I then proceeded to butcher my notes and drafts, marking different types of issues in different colors. By the time I had pinned down most of the sloppy meter, unclear images, weak words, and "Franken-syntax," my poems were a mess of color. I fixed a few of the most glaring issues right away, then went over it all again and wrote down a list of what needed fixing to have a better overview. Only once that was done did I sit down and finally attempt to fix all the minor issues, which took me about another two weeks.

TL;DR: Combine Twilight and Rarity when a deadline is looming over them, and you get a fairly accurate idea of my state of mind while working on this over the course of about a year. Something along these lines: :facehoof: :raritydespair: :twilightangry2: :raritycry: :twilightblush:

P.S. Thank you for spotting that typo.


Don't worry, you got that quite right. The last poem does indeed concern Twilight, as part of the prophecy on Nightmare Moon's return, and Luna's redemption, with perhaps a slight hint of her new responsibilities as a princess.

Here via 4224301. Goddamn, but this is ambitious. And it looks like you're sticking to strict Petrarchan structure, too. The poems seem like they paint pictures rather than tell stories, but that's fine when you've got such vivid imagery and the limitations of the overarching form.

:trixieshiftright: What clueless and/or heartless jerks downvoted this?

BRB, signal boosting.

Oooooooooh! A Shakespearean instead of a Petrarchan sonnet! You switched to a marginally less challenging form, you cheater! Cheeeeeeeeeeeeater! :twistnerd:

That's how it always starts. You think it's okay to switch to a rhyme scheme that has seven pairs of rhymes instead of five four, and then you start occasionally truncating the unstressed syllable at the start of a line, and then your so-called "editors" encourage you to work in some slant rhymes, and you'll just try blank verse once, what harm could it be, and by then playing around with the metrical feet starts to sound normal and natural — what's a dactyl between friends? — until one day they find you in an alleyway, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire; and as you thrash in detox, spread out upon a table like the evening etherized against the sky, you swear you can quit any time you want, it was just a momentary temptation — delicious, so sweet and so cold. So they let you go, creeping out on little cat feet, and that's the last anyone hears of you until the obituary next week mourns the best mind of your generation starving hysterical naked —

Shakespearean sonnets, fillies and gentlecolts. The gateway form.

My first reaction was to complain about the mis-use of "rein" in the first line (which is, admittedly, a far less common error than using "reign" instead of "rein"), but then I read it again and realized that no, it's exactly the correct word there. So, I'm humbled right from the start. :twilightsheepish:

:derpyderp2: Wow. Just... just wow. I can't imagine how long it took to make this work, but I'm incredibly impressed. Most writers on this site can't even handle writing dialogue for Zecora. Seeing this is... I don't even know. Figurative language fails me.

Suffice to say, incredibly well done. Thank you for it.

That was absolutely entrancing. :raritystarry:

Woah. I know more or less nothing about poetry, but that was impressive even without the details that ambion and horizon expanded on.

Thumbs up, a fav, and a follow.

Even worse, the final pair of sonnets in the main body are not even Shakesperian in form, but Spenserian. I am afraid I have heard the free verse singing, each to each, and before long I shall be covered in forgetful snow, yet still there will be time for a hundred visions and revisions, before the taking of a toast and tea.

I guess I might deserve that English degree after all, even if I'd rather draw the circles of my mind by measures of Pie.

Now that we have modernism and mathematical pony puns out of the way, I want to thank you for your supportive and amusing comments, and the signal boost, even if this sudden burst of attention was rather overwhelming to me. I'm still left wondering whatever I could do that would not fall flat after this achievement. Prose just feels inadequate after this effort.

Also, I can assure you that those two down-votes are from a time before I uploaded the revision, a dark time when the blood of butchered grammar ran in the spaces between the verses built with broken syntax. :pinkiecrazy:

Pretty much everybody I asked for feedback on my first draft shared that same reaction. A few did not figure it out without prompting. Glad to hear that you are enjoying these poems.

Writing good lines for Zecora can be surprisingly difficult. A couplet here or there is hardly heavy fare, but keeping such rhymes up for a whole story will many times leave the author quite sorry. In her case, it's not the complexity of the poetry, but the sheer volume required, along with how natural her speech patterns feel in the show.

I can't say I ever thought I'd read pony poetry of all things, but I am so very glad I did, because this is fantastically good.
I know some of the technical aspects of poetry, but not many if I'm honest - so I didn't try to read this from a technical point of view. From the comments, it seems you have already been praised enough about that anyway. While it is obviously written with great skill and patience, it is the emotion of these poems that really sells it for me. That you managed to capture this in what seems to be an incredibly strict structure is frankly astounding.
That's all I've got really. From a (comparative) philistines point of view, this is absolutely stunning, and I really can't think of any criticisms at all. I honestly can't wait to see whatever you do next, be it poetry or prose.

Very nice. Your sonnets are very effective at conveying certain feelings and emotions, all contained within fourteen lines and expressing ideas effectively. Wonderful work.

Current working hypothesis: one author, Celestia. Gives bonus pun value to "sun net".

By current data could also be Luna or even NMM, but if any where written during her absence that idea's busted. Or, could be a collab between the royal sisters.

I got this far, and realized reading them one at a time isn't doing it for me. I'll have to download the whole set, and read them all together.


You got that quite right. The original idea was indeed for Celestia to be the author of these poems, trying to cope with the events surrounding Luna's banishment, her own actions, and the prophecy of her return. And yes, this Celestia is a terrible punster. :trollestia:
However, far be it from me to proclaim this the one true way of reading these poems. Regarding them as Luna's or Nightmare Moon's work would add a new spin to them, and I'd be quite pleased to hear an interpretation on that basis.

Author Interviewer

I think that should be mirrors' or mirror's. :B

Author Interviewer

If you changed "and grow" to "growing", you'd preserve that meter.

Look at this guy. :V

Author Interviewer

I am hard to impress with poetry, and I am mightily impressed. :D

Alright, the third stanza to this one is where you really got my attention.

Oh hey, the rhyme scheme I'm used to. Not sure what's up with the other poems, since those schemes didn't seem standard for sonnets.

It's still more appealing to mine eye. Behold the novel Finnegans Wake for proof positive that the work which challenges the creator most is not likely that which strikes the audience truest.

I'm sorry, I'm having a little trouble responding to you right now. I can't get my tongue out of my cheek. :trollestia:

This is absolutely wonderful! Each sonnet is an evocation of an element of the dynamic between the two sisters in a way that resonates with emotional truth. Between them, they build an interconnected web of story told in metaphor that is immensely satisfying. I think I will print them out, each on a separate page, so that I can read them again in a less linear manner.

I'm not surprised that you were inspired in part by The Moon Rises. The song is not only a perfect bit of poetry, but it relates a narrative with a clear character transcension as well; something that a great many stories here fail to do!

That was just beautiful. Thanks for making it!

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