spring

Spring has come.

It is afternoon. The sound of the flowing water which laps at the muddy shore mingles with the sighing of a breeze in the willows whose arms drape and sway languidly, covetously, in the gentle current. We eat sandwiches and chocolate croissants and make daisy chains. The emerald-crowned ducks float, serene, and a mottled goose honks his dominion over the swirling water. The bare branches of the trees are adorned with glistening green gems, and the thick grass is dotted with the bright yellows and soft clouds of dandelions. The car sings Louis Armstrong and Michael Jackson on the drive home, passing old stone farmhouses and field after field of lush green grass. The sky is wider than ever, and a thousand tiny silver trails scar the hazy blue, marking where aeroplanes fly incessantly, eternally homeward.

It is dusk. I listen to the children playing down the street, their shouts and giggles echoing along the almost empty roads. Accordion music drifts from a wide open window across the street, the notes rising and falling, dancing on the cool evening air. The gentle melody of chatter and laughter follows the golden glow smiling from a balcony two blocks down. The air smells of flowers and warm things and life, and a quarter moon smiles silver from its place amid the gently winking stars in an indigo sky. Behind the chateau on the hill a burst of pale yellow, closely followed by a shy green, shows where the sun sank not long ago, defining the roofs and towers which crown the village. 

It is night. Cars pass occasionally, sometimes with a dull burst of song or a heavy beat which seems to linger in the air for a moment. The sky is a dark, nameless blue, and a handful of strange stars remind me how far I am from home. The yellow street lights cast brown shadows on the dirty buildings, and the sounds of slamming shutters echo from every building on the street. Trains pass often, sometimes with the drawn out squeal of a heavy load, sometimes with the hurried whoosh of golden windows, a long day, and dinner going cold on the table. The wires rattle and mutter as they pass, disturbed from their restless slumber. The air is still and quiet, and people retreat to the comfort of living rooms, family and warm blankets, leaving the darkness to crowd outside, watching from shadows.

Spring fades beyond the horizon, waiting to return tomorrow, and leaves the night to winter.

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hands

I wrote a short piece; it’s quite rough. I’m not sure whether or not to go any further with it. I blame the sudden inspiration on too much Edger Allan Poe (who may or may not be be turning in his grave at my feeble attempt).

Hands

Old woman, I see a world in your hands.
A perfect globe of emotion past and wisdom most forgotten – except in those fingers. What gnarled roots of experience and life! digging deep into things unknown but by those who listen. The cracks along your weathered surface cannot penetrate the base mysteries of such gloriously closed an existence – these deep crevasses, so bursting with memory as to seem frail: sweet trickery! Your bones are brittle as the cold morning frost, your skin taut and sagging; these twigs abandoned as cruelly as a tree sheds the limbs who bore fresh buds only seasons ago. What burdens have been borne by these palms, sunken and depressed beneath what colossal woes and pleasures. Your knuckles, as smooth and weathered as pebbles lying dormant on a depthless shore; how they creak with the mildest of motions, as the timbers of an old ship must cry wistfully for the shore before taking their final place beneath the waves. Oh, these fingers; clutching pitifully at air dried with time and thick with dreams of a life before, straining to find the last threads of peace between youth and beyond. But these movements, which so betray long years of control, have no effect on the cold-hearted breathing of the world, on those whose skin shows none of time’s ravages and whose limbs obey with spirited pleasure. And all the wisdom of these hands, these books – these libraries of life, is gone: locked away in a chest buried beneath all the stones of a thousand other lives. The library sinks below the surging tide of the world, and creaks no more.
Old woman, I saw the world in your hands.