Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Snowdrop 7.2

Next section, newly minted and in need of rest and recuperation before I revise ...

The Shaking Lad

"I saw you arrive: you ran down the hill
and stopped like a rock - your eyes
went wide and your face rebelled and your hands
took flight to your mouth like flies
to shit! Were you scared to see the sea spill
and flood over fields? I saw
it too, how the sea grew up and the lands
went salty and muddy, all torn."

He speaks in stacattoes, a stammering voice
from a chest of ribs and chiselled valleys
that shakes in fits. A shawl of wool
hides the hunger, the hollow dips
etching the bones in his elbows, his knees.

"I dreamed that I saw a wall, how it stopped
the sea from the fields, a road
to town on its top. I think there were sheep
and horses and cows, and toads
in ditches that drained the fields; and crops
of cabbages, turnips, beans.
I think that I dreamed of sunshine and heat -
but that was not true, so seems."

He takes her hand in his and smiles,
stretching his neck up, assuming command,
and walks her away from the wooden docks.

"I know that the sailor's home with some food:
some cockles and fish, some greens
he found on the hill just now - will you eat
with us? I can smell he means
to make a good feast, to break his bad mood.
He lives in the keep above
the port, where he keeps us safe, a retreat
from devils and ghosts and stuff."

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