Sunday, April 03, 2011

NaPo 11: 3 April - Snowdrop 3.4: Below the Meadow

Snowdrop 3.4: Below the Meadow

Her shoulders sag as she shambles behind
the besuited man, her step as heavy
as her dazed thoughts - a thicket of words
and clauses chained into a chant for her loss.

He leads her across the cup of the glade
and down towards a denser patch
of gorse and bracken gathered between
a swatch of leafless silhouette trees.

"I once believed that after death we must
return to God: slough off our skins and lift
our souls to bask in love - and all was good,
just like the diver rising up to breach
the waves, to twist apart his copper head
and dump the weights that hold his feet and chest
to breathe the air of Heaven! He is saved!
Was that your plan, my child, to go back home?"
What was once white now withers on the spit,
his bushy antlers broken by the flames -
a spatchcocked king spun on his bar
by weasel-bodied dogs in their wheel.

A brace of cauldrons as big as a feast,
their bases buried in a bank of embers;
the steams from the pots purl together
like a tablecloth hung from the highest twigs.

"This is our prison, child, for we are trapped
within the mists of this foul hill, where time
has stopped. There is no day, just night and chill,
where trees will stretch their limbs but cannot bud.
No flowers come to bloom in these cold lawns,
and all that ever lights our path is that
repulsive moon! It stalks our star-tacked sky -
its circle never wanes, or dims, or fails."
Some children scream as they charge through ferns
and come to a halt at the hem of the pit.
In the skittering light their skins seem painted
in a camouflage swirl: one smiles at her

... and from somewhere inside her she discovers a ghost
of a grin: a movement of muscles across
the slack of her cheek; a charm of hope
that arrives unannounced, nervous and fresh.

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