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VII - Standing Stone
STANDING STONE POEM
After heavy light years
of tenacious trajectory
a ball of fire spat through space
spitting sparks and flames
at a new blue universe.
The rains came and came
and extinguished the livid flames.
A resistant hiss.
a sullen, skulking sulk.
Still air hung still.
Silent peaks were draped with mist.
A rumbling distant flash lit
rain-soaked slopes, and valleys
filled with long quiet lakes.
Still air hung still.
Soothed land lay damp.
Reflecting water skimmed the blue
it was hurled through.
Down low toes of ocean rock
streams of lava froze in shock,
round stone lover.
Wept sky swept and gray.
A rainbow bridge
cuts mountain tops.
Souped in pea green
a single cell bulb flicked
a shot blot page on time,
and grew to be
all living things.
He awoke startled
in sparkling imperfection.
Tingling delights of air's fresh rush
collide with grey cloud solitude.
On desolate hazy morning shore
the first person singular wanted
he didn't know what.
Clapping flash of lightening
illuminates far flat lines.
Velvet wind on dark horizon.
Sea of glass.
Then there was melody
made like a memory. A sprinkling of bells.
He sought the source.
Salt sea breezes quickened,
a shift of silver-lifted mist.
A crystal ship slipped and shone in sunlight.
Seduced, he swam
to stand on deck.
and sucked the boat to sea.
Soon land was left
bow fell onto swells;
A withering wind scratched the deck.
Shivering elegance slivered in splinters,
dissolved in dark as sun spat out.
Breathless lament in dissonant air,
chasms cough up chasms,
spinning wheels of fog.
Hope so hard to float it sank.
Until a crack of blinding light broke through
and hauled the boat along in a singing slipway,
towards a clear blue sky.
And as before, clear music led the way.
White birds silent over crystal bow.
The vessel sped through beads of spray
that slapped his happy face, and filled his soul
with glory song.
His nostrils snorted blasts of ocean air.
'In thanks for my survival, I'll put up a monument of stone
where I put in.'
Subtle colors, merged soft contours
stretched in welcome as the ship drew near.
His first bare step on mustard sand
was wiped by whim of wave.
A bank of grassy moorland rose to distant ridge.
Ancient olive, bright young lime,
and further purple mountain peeks
breathed echoes of the melody.
He stalked through swelling heather
to the ridge's tip to sip
the fresh world's news.
Flanked by juniper and birch
a long flung track strung out below,
and wound to smoky settlement
nestled in blue foothills.
Two natives drove a flock of umber sheep
along this burnt sienna road.
A beautiful woman, from whose throat
the haunting song had come.
A bearded man with snowish hair, her father,
who had witnessed his arrival in a ship of glass
that disappeared as fast as it had come.
These companions walked within his joy
towards the settlement and spoke
of how they'd long expected him.
Still as stones that lined their path
this shepherd's daughter listened to his story.
Her father sang of local life and introduced
each character and scene.
Farmer, warrior, milkmaid, thief,
shaman, housewife, woodsman, fool.
They made him welcome, and, before he slept,
agreed to help him hoist his stone.
On sun-smacked days they traced his steps
to plant a giant slab of sea-beat rock.
Rope and muscle, sweat and tackle
raised a weathered finger to the sky.
Soon this sacred stone bedded in its depths
the aspirations of their anxious souls.
A place of peace where he and she would meet.
But as their hearts rehearsed and played a set
of new found harmonies and chords...
black horse rider rode throughout the night
with news that set the settlement alight.
Off ragged northern coast
a rugged gang of bandits gathered.
Dark longships slashed with metal.
Thud of boot, belt, hull and oar,
a storm of fighters swarmed ashore.
Panic scampered through the people's veins.
Poisoned rats in a pot of grain.
The visitor fell still to seek an answer.
The shepherdess, his love,
to the standing stone and
poured an ancient potion.
A backward somersault of senses.
fruit blossom fragrance ripped air
chiming towers ran slow hours,
And drifted, drifted.
Long, spiraled colours twisted
sinuous dance of snake and vine.
She left him to his slab of stone.
He watched its towered rush
scratch at the moon.
Fanned flames flicked up tongues.
Lichen crawled with lunar cloud reflections.
As raging hordes rode tidal waves of blood
He was tossed and smackly landed
on the sudden floor.
He looked up and saw
a spirit force stretch easy into space
so powerful he trembled and believed.
Head bowed, he slipped in trance-wet sheets.
Slow whirlwind, silent thunder,
and breezeless hurricane. He cried out.
A wall of peeled black veils revealed
a face unlike another.
Vision, visage, gentle, genteel,
masculine mouth, female eyes.
A face to steal. The mouth spoke, slower than words.
'You were sent to help the people here.
Their invaders' greatest fear
is that the sky will fall.
Say you'll make this happen
and in two days' time, the moon will be eclipsed.'
Awake, he found himself
a crumpled scrap beneath
the upright stack of stone.
Black clouds rolled the moon.
As milkmaid warriors made futile preparations
to defend against attack
their newcomer was welcomed back
with skeptical acclaim.
He told those who would be told,
into the enemy domain.
Deriding scowls lined his arrival.
Wolf-eyed soldiers drunk, with stagnant breath,
press to hear his threat
to make the sky collapse
unless their troops retreat.
The leader's belly heaved; he laughed and spat,
"'Before I skewer and feed you to these apes,
go tell your tribe that within three days, they'll be my slaves.'
Thunder tore apart a sheet of sky.
Hard laughter swallowed dust
as hero sped to anxious settlement.
The villagers made crude defenses
huddled in a circle round the stone.
Lambs listened for the dog pack howl.
Long-blown hours scattered charcoal grey
above the rag-bag armies' quickened pulse.
A sudden moon illuminates.
They crouch with bucket, beam, and bench
in fortress ring until
jang of juggernaut's approach.
'I will make the sky collapse...' First Person sprang and roared,
'unless you take your army back.'
Some stumbled, stopped,
but most slunk on, shamed
by their leader's mocking curse.
The sky grew black magnetic.
Black air crackled electric.
A drape was dragged across the moon.
In howling darkness, some trampled, tripped,
but all ran, chased by children to the laughing sea.
Strings pluck, horns blow, drums beat.
Full-lunged songs sing enemy's defeat.
Sheep set loose, blacksmith's bench returned to use,
and milkmaid's buckets spilled with glory tales.
Planted seeds found time to thrive,
and farmers rose to reap their ripened wheat.
The warrior, at peace with peace
like thief, resolved to turn a leaf.
And lovers made lovers' plans.
Pebble games, daisy chains
and sub chin butter tests.
Kids peel sticks of birch to feel
slick moistured fingertips.
Blue sky laced with tight white webs;
fields of high rye tickled skylarks,
On contented drone of bee
musicians improvise a melody
fueled by fermented fruit.
Sun-cooked air blew through flutes
and around bright maypole strings
a jig in plaited time thrilled quickened hearts.
Birds and butterflies flit
from wayside bush and ditch.
The track from town to stone
soon jammed with revellers
inching chattily towards
their sacred site
where she and he
vowed their proud love.
No kingdom could have crowned him
with more joy than her.
An impossibly distant black bird
circled overhead and wondered why
so many bite-sized creatures spent their lifetime
running on the spot.
High above this overcrowded place,
A distant blackbird glides through space
And all he does is search for love.
Love is all around us in the air
Whatever time I have to spare be with you
Love is the oldest secret of the universe
Warm as the touch of two innocent lovers
When they discover that now is all we ever really know;
The past and future come and go;
Because they do, I'll stay with you.