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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.

Brooding underground,

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,

arms locked

round stone lover.

 

Wept sky swept and gray.

A rainbow bridge

cuts mountain tops.

 

Souped in pea green

a single cell bulb flicked

to life.

 

Cell burst,

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.

Wind spoke

and sucked the boat to sea.

Soon land was left

bow fell onto swells;

narcotic memory

untroubled thoughts.

 

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.

 

Flickering birdsong.

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,

took him

to the standing stone and

poured an ancient potion.

 

A backward somersault of senses.

Cool breezes

fruit blossom fragrance ripped air

chiming towers ran slow hours,

fluttering calm.

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,

then rode

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

night sang

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,

levitating stars.

 

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.

 

Celebration:

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

Forever true.

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.

 

 

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