I watched the people through the glass
Their lives a mirrored reflection of each others
I stood apart
I cast no reflection
And was glad
Cambridge: March 2017
Also from February’s Allographic Workshop
Seasonal Hauki with the chosen word of ‘Zodiac’
The dark winter skies
Clothe the Earth in icy cold
Then springtime flies in
Sweet scents and verdant new growth
Summer heat, too hot
Desert dry upon the skin
At last Autumn comes
All is calm within the skies
“The Keeper of Scrolls”
The plain black envelope lay on the floor in the hallway; it had lain there all day undisturbed. Without a shadow of a doubt I knew who had sent it and yet I was still unable to open it. My mind was racing and my heart was thumping. I felt scared yet elated but why now, especially after the events of this particular evening? My actions, dormant for so long had once again taken me way outside of society’s norms and right back into a place beyond normal comprehension.
Still starring at the envelope, I recognized at once the familiar shiny black wax seal. It was definitely his seal, his sigil. Only an elite and chosen few had ever actually seen it for real, had ever been privy to knowing. I tentively picked up the envelope as I made my way into the tiny kitchen to make a much needed coffee. My heart thumping in my mouth I placed the envelope on the kitchen table and put the kettle on.
Trying to keep calm and acting as normal as I could; I ushered my ‘new companion’ into the sitting room and went back into the kitchen, thinking… It had been years since I had seen ‘him’ and yet I always knew we were destined to meet again one day, for one last time.
The kettle boiled. I rinsed out the cafetiere with the hot bubbling water before spooning in the very special dark coffee blend which I so loved. When filled with hot water I took the steaming cafetiere over to the table, I fetched two pretty china cups (I have always hated coffee in a mug) and sat down for a moment and simply stared.
I plunged the plunger of the cafetiere down into the dark, steamy liquid. Was it my imagination or did something plunge into my heart too? What ever it was, my heart was most certainly pounding. Pouring out the coffee and sipping the dark deliciousness before me, I reached out and touched the black envelope. But suddenly shuddering I put the envelope back down on the table while I drank my coffee… I had forgotten my ‘companion’ waiting all alone on my old comfy sofa; I offered him coffee in a cup, but my mind was racing; buzzing, was elsewhere…
I never fitted in, ever. Even before….
Thoughts now raced inside my head, my brain throwing up those feelings and memories of earlier times; long ago memories, it all came flooding back. A rusty old key in my Pandora’s Box of a head had been turned….
I had never found my place within so called society. I never played the game, even all those years ago before it happened. I was always a threshold walker lurking on the fringes of society pretending to belong; pretending to be human. Even way back in those distant times, in my early adult days when I was still one hundred percent human, I could still not find it within myself to fit in. Oh I tried, I tried to fit in, tried so hard to belong. Yet being a part of the human race never really cut it for me. I knew they mocked me from afar; my peers, some even to my face. All my contempories thought the same way; they despised me for daring to be different in an age when conformity was everything, when women were supposed to know their place.
I did try and play their silly games, I pretended for quite a while; pretended to belong. Pretended time and time again to walk the corridors of the mundane and thus I appeared to become whom they wanted me to be. It took its toll on me though, I was so naïve in those far away days and yet was still desperately longing, even way back then for I knew not what. I was unhappy, frustrated and sick of my life and my so called privileged upbringing. My calling then was always of a different kind
My so called given destiny as a ‘lady’ was in the Court of the then King, whom too had terribly lost his way; but that’s another different tale entirely. How could I play these games, be used and curtail to a King who used his misplaced power in such a way? Longing for a male heir he disregarded the women who were born to please him, they all became carrion of his quest; his Queens. I viewed all this in silence; the deaths, the beheadings, the betrayals, always as an outsider lurking even then, on the fringes of courtly society, safe on the edges, secure in the shadows. Yet always with eyes wide open.
However I often sought solace and kinship amongst the noble and brave knights of the court, both on and off duty. From an early age I had been trained in the skills of a healer and herbalist which was something that thankfully took me out of the mundane day to day confines and rules of the court and I would often find myself tending to the needs of the knights. At first they did not notice me, apart from having a need of my skills as a healer but over time I earned their trust and became a confidant and friend. They seemed to know the true ways of the world and knew and hinted of unspoken things that I did not fully understand.
One knight in particular caught my eye, though he hardly ever spoke to me and certainly did not notice me, or so I thought. But there was ‘something’ about him; his eyes burned bright with an iridescent inner fire and even when alone in my quarters I often sensed those piercing, penetrating eyes burning into my back. He always seemed to be somehow older and wiser than the rest, maybe from wisdom and knowledge gained on his vast travels and experiences of the world.
My own yearning and quest for knowledge would regularly take me out into the shadows of night-time, outside of the safety net of the court and away from the knights. I was free-falling. I would don men’s attire and slip out while the court slept, returning before sunrise. Each night I crept stealthily along disgusting dank, dark alleyways where rats scuttled as I walked by. I would wander alone seeking out other like minded creatures. Souls who thought like me. I would frequent taverns and would drink warm ale aside a bright glowing fire, talking hours on end to seamen and travellers, listening intently to the songs of minstrels passing through. Wanting I knew not what. Always searching, always seeking, always listening, until one night. Was it fate? Destiny? Or just chance?
I met whom I thought to be another traveller from a land afar; he was dressed in colourful flowing robes. Dressed in a way not of these lands, his face mostly covered yet there was something very familiar about him even though I could not see his actual face. We talked and he told me tales of a land unknown to me; his land, his homeland. A land of forgotten forests, of dark mists and mysteries, of castles where old souls resided; souls who never saw the light of day. And of Alchemy and Magic and he held me spellbound with his tellings.
Little by little he entered my soul; I became beholden by him and one night as I looked into his shaded eyes, he lifted my hand to plant a gentle kiss upon and in that instant I knew, I recognised those half hidden eyes, those fiery piercing eyes; those very same eyes that I had looked into so many times back at the Court. Nothing in this life is unplanned or happens by chance and in that moment I knew it for sure. I knew my destiny and I had finally met…
He told me tales of the Old Ones, the immortals who trod the earthly plane unseen, for it was they he said, who kept Guardianship upon the Earth; it was they who kept the secrets, it was they who really wove the affairs of man. Silently and secretly they trod the Earth, never leaving a clue. I was enthralled by his tales. And by him. Was he one of them; was he an Old One too, I wondered?
We would meet several times a week in that dark little back room away from the rest of the tavern; that dark smoky little room that smelt of stale food, musty drapes and unwashed bodies. Far away from the rest of the Court. My heart would beat six to the dozen when he spoke..
Just as it is doing now looking at that envelope…
He promised to one day take me back with him, to that mysterious land. That land that somehow I could never quite locate on the maps of time and yet I could never deny its reality either. Little by little he shared his existence with me and of whom he really was and yet like all good and true tales, talking is never ever enough. There comes a point in time when the talking has to end. Desire and passion can suddenly move a story on in a way no one can ever predict. Illusions are shattered or intensified by just one sweet kiss; one sweet tormented seductive kiss from a man with the Blood Rose on his lips.
All dreams and desires woven innocently in the daylight are forever torn to threads in the nightly hours. In one moment of a dark and silent embrace, life changes forever… Yet I allowed it to happen, craved it to happen. My future life as a human burned on the funeral pyre of immortality. And thus so it was; that was my time, my making, my raising, my becoming. The doors of my new world beckoned and I walked on through…
And so we left the safety net of the Court. For all the faults of courtly life it did hold us tight to its bosom and provide a cloak of normality that clothed us in a comforting glamour. The journey back to his world was long and ardarous. We employed many different forms of transport and help from many kind locals along the way. Always travelling at night we passed through lands I only ever dreamt of previously. I was still weak though and had not yet grown fully into my new persona, but as we travelled he taught me; showed me how to be me. He passed on all he knew as he guided me towards my destiny. And he taught me the Ways of the Blood; so that I too could live within the world of man; seen yet unseen, kKnown but not known. He taught me how to be gentle and that I need not kill to survive. He showed me how to gain the trust of humans and that if I was very patient they would offer willingly the sweetest of all gifts. And so it was, growing stronger everyday, we arrived together at his family home
Half castle, half cave, half hidden in an imposing cliff face that overshadowed a vast leafy gorge. And it was well hidden for I could hardly see it until we were almost upon it. When I looked more closely; it was not really a castle at all but just castle-like, formed out of the rock face and which in a certain light disappeared right back into it again. The décor inside his home was very sparse, though what was there was very well chosen and of the highest quality. There were artefacts obtained from many places, all over the earth, from different centuries even yet they seemed unloved, uncherished; almost as trophies. In hind sight, looking back now, I realise that some of his treasures were long lost from the world of man and some had even gained mythical status as never really having existed at all yet here they were. I wondered how he had obtained such items, many of which were holy, sacred items associated with biblical times. They all looked new.
No light entered our world for we were indeed well hidden underground, many of the rooms, if you could call them that, having no windows or doors to the outside world. We lived in peace. In seclusion and in darkness. We did make love and it was wonderful yet it almost secondary at that point in time to the real passion; the real fire that mapped our lives and that which would guide us through the centuries
Outside the cold walls of our fortress I knew that other creatures survived. Wolves in particular, who would hunt in packs and were very good at it; very good at devouring every morsel of their prey, leaving no trace. They always seemed to know when they would be welcomed at the castle; teaching us the lessons of the hunt they lived among us. We however did not always play by the rules. Passion and desire and an instinct that had to be released from time to time did take over now and again and the wolves saw to it that no trace of our dinning ever met the morning sun. But our ‘prey’ needed to be wined and dined and softened up beforehand. And worst of all we had to be nice to them! And as our broken rules went unseen in the world, time came and went and together we noticed nothing; safe and secure in a world of our making
Yet nothing stays the same for ever and while we ‘slept’ the world changed; wars raged, the Great War raged and raged again. The Cold War raged, modes of travel changed, communication changed, man even went into so called space. There was no longer any place in the world for a forgotten forest and as humanity closed in on us, as we always new it would, it became evident that it was time to move on once more. Time to go our separate ways; for our kind, our kin still had great work to complete in the modern world. Would we ever even meet again? Who knew? We did not. He had taught me well. I knew how to survive on my own now, in this modern world of mankind; i knew I had great works to fulfill. We could no longer survive as a pair, that i did know; the world had become wise, had shrunk and was far too dangerous now. Our world; our cushion of comfort could be hidden no more
The bitter sweetness of our goodbye when it inevitably came was overwhelming and tore me apart. I was his child of darkness, he was my father, my sweet Knight, my lover. We were bound in blood yet would always know the safety of the other and yet the demise also; our hearts now beat as one. And yet on that never to be forgotten damp grey day outside those castle walls our destinies moved us in opposite directions.
And so it was that I thus disappeared alone into the world. I became a spectre. I hid all that I was from this new world and I played their game. My true identity gone for I had other affairs to look after now. I could weave the webs myself now, i would change history, i would be the puppet master behind the puppets. I would guide destiny in the way that the Old Ones desired. My hand was indeed the hand of fate that tormented humanity.
Over the years, into the twentieth and twenty first centuries it was so easy to leave my mark; easy to see where I had been. Though of course, you had to know, to know. Skirmishes, uprisings, freedom fighting, discontent, wars raging between nations, world agitation on a vast scale, famines, deaths; that was all so me. There were a few time when I thought our paths almost crossed, mine and his, my Knight. For he left his mark too; a forest inferno, a blown volcano, vast earthquakes that caused so much havoc, death, destruction, tsunamis and chaos, and I knew, I just knew how much fun he was having with the global warming thing – so him. Whatever you may think my friends we were simply trying to awaken the world. Trying to get them to see the error of their ways before it was too late; to wake them up with a bang. But in my heart; my fear was that it was already too late. Far too late, for no one cared anymore, no one listened and no one saw the error of their ways. And so the years rolled on and eventually, I kind of withdrew from the world completely. And my love? He totally vanished too. No trace. No clues for years; it was too quiet, something was missing. Everything had become too easy and a certain kind of dangerous normality set in; a normality of death, chaos and destruction.
I had held my carnal urges totally in check for years for fear of discovery. was living a half life; until now; until that night; this night when I caught the eye of one very handsome young man. Totally by chance. I had decided it was time to be on the move again; to move to a different city under cover of darkness leaving all traces of my recent past right where they belonged, in another lifetime. Move on, re-invent myself. I was even thinking of maybe a bit of world travel again, maybe even a bit of old time fun; ah bring back the old times or try anyway. Maybe even give humanity one last chance, one final stupendous curtain call to at last awaken them all. I was having fun just thinking about it.
So here I was sitting in this little late night coffee shop just one turn off the main street and three turns from my cosy little flat, just starring into my cup of dark black coffee. Pondering on my future, making my plans oblivious to all around me; sitting, stirring, starring. Then out of the blue and waking me right up from my thoughts he sat down opposite me…
My eternal spirit, which I had to admit, had started to falter a bit lately, skipped a merry beat I can tell you and tonight I knew I could stand it no longer. My preternal nature, dormant for so long was once again taking hold, was mapping my destiny and giving me a nudge. It had been such a long, long time and he was so beautiful, trouble was he knew it so I played him along. Easy. I could glamour him and be anything he wanted me to be, such a beauty and putty in my hands. After so long denying I needed to savour; needed a saviour to rescue me from the world and the rut I had fallen into. I had worked so hard over the years and needed to taste the sweetness of all that had been forgotten. Once again I was ready. Let’s not beat around the bush; waiting upon that darksome compelling threshold in that little coffee shop, i knew there was going to be a culling tonight and nothing would ever be the same again; well not for him. Sadly, though happily for me, he was so up himself that he failed to notice the source of my desire, my passion and my true need. For me it was survival and renewal pure and simple and a re-acknowledgement of whom I really was. A long submerged truth was re-surfacing; was re-awakening, a rebirth of something that I had held latent for oh so long. And now my heart was beating so fast that I feared it would take flight and soar from my very chest.
I was reminded of the early days so long ago when I first encountered my own beautiful maker. I knew that if he did ever contacted me again it would be for very good reasons; the reasons of which at this time, I hardly dared to think about. We had made that pact, all those years ago before, before we had even parted, and we had signed it in our own blood. To bind, to hold, forever as one. Yet somehow as the years went by, after we parted and he had vanished from my life and thoughts, and even as i knew he would, from the world at large, time and tide took hold and dust settled upon my eyelids and the importance of our pact seemed to fade from me into distant memory. And so the centuries went by, until now that is…
So what to do I wondered? I will invite him, this eager, handsome stranger, home for a nightcap, take a bath and think about it. Ponder on it. Then decide what to do with him. Although deep down I knew I was only fooling myself, was just prolonging the inevitable. But events as they always do, took an unexpected turn, call it a twist of fate if you will, but here I was trying to drink this coffee with the mysterious, unopened envelope in front of me and my stranger, albeit delicious stranger, now falling asleep on my couch.
I never the less took a very deep breath and went upstairs, threw off all my clothes and ran a very hot scented bath and slowely breathed in the aroma of beautiful frankincense, that usually did the trick. I was tense and feeling very apprehensive now; he was waiting downstairs, sleepy but expectantly. I now had a heightened sense of anticipation and perception of everything around me. My usually blissful bath seemed like a minefield of unanswered questions; all just waiting to explode in my face with the perfumed bubbles. I tried to relax, yet all I could see in my minds eye, was that old rucksack; the tatty old rucksack that had remained hidden in my closet for years waiting for the right time; the right signal. A mysterious black envelope in fact.
If I never opened it, the envelope, would it still be true? Would the inevitable still happen? Would ‘he’ do it all on his own? Was the pact indeed still binding? I emptied the bath water. I climbed out of the bath and donned my fluffy purple bathrobe and with that special bath time glow all around me I went downstairs. I entered into the sitting room and ignoring my now slumbering guest, i lit the candles. No electrics; just candles. The warm flickering glow looked amazing and I felt suddenly more relaxed and open to all that life may throw at me. I walked back into the kitchen and picked up the envelope. I was suddenly aware for the first time of the very musty, pungent aroma that seemed to be emanating from it. It smelt of dank, dark places and of worlds untrodden or undiscovered by mankind. It smelt of his world; our world. It smelt of that long ago castle. But also it smelt of that little back room behind the tavern where we had met all those many, many centuries ago. I wondered if this was deliberate; planned by him? For the longer I held the envelope in my hand, the stronger the aroma became.
There was a heat manifesting from it too which was becoming unbearable to my hands. I sat down quickly on the floor of my sitting room and watched in amazement as the wax seal, ‘his’ seal, melted spontaneously before my eyes. Oh what a good trick indeed, I thought. You always were so very good at an effect or two. Yet before I had had time to see these thoughts completely through, the envelope spontaneously burst into flames in my now increasingly warm hands. Quickly I threw the whole burning envelope into the nearest candle base, just before my carpet could catch light. However as quickly as it had started the fire was out, gone, as if it had never been there in the first place. All that was left in my glass candle dish was a white, delicately black edged card; an invitation in fact.
It was as if he knew I would not open it straight away. As if he knew, all these centuries later that I would hesitate, so he had solved the problem for me. From somewhere, a very long way away I felt him grin. Yet also he had provided me with so much more. I took a deep breath, picked up the invitation and sat down once again in the middle of my sitting room floor. I looked hard at the card in my hand but there was nothing on it. Well nothing that even my eyes could see; Just an embossed black line all around the edge. Now what I thought? He certainly wasn’t making this easy for me. Maybe heat it again, as that seemed to be his thing? But no that was far too obvious, maybe water then I wondered? I went into the kitchen and filled a small bowl with cold water and bought it back into the sitting room. I once more seated myself on the floor; candles all around and the cool, clear water in the middle in front of me. Quick as a flash I dipped the card in and out of the water and laid it on the floor in front of me. I stared in disbelief as words began to appear before me on the card. As if by magic I thought, but then magic was certainly his thing too. And dam it, beguilement and he was beguiling me now, just as he had all those centuries before. I could scarcely breathe. The words appeared as thus and I read them out loud as they appeared:
It was signed in blood; of course it was. But yet it was signed in ‘our’ blood; the blood that was still binding and still, after all these years, held our pact within its ruby red secrets. So this was it then? The end game had finally come; the fall of mankind. Fate and destiny merging into one. All the relevant planets in alignment stacking up like giant bowling balls racing towards the final score and yet one extra one at the helm….
Yet why was he calling himself Lucifer again I wondered? I had known him by another name for years. Immediately I had this thought, i could see him in my minds eyes signing the invitation with a mischievous wink in his eye, knowing that only I would ever know and grasp the final truth. I glanced at the sleeping body on the couch. Oh sod it I thought; if not now then when? I reached over to the beautiful stranger and woke him just in time enough for him to realise what was about to happen before feeding deeply and irrevocally from his warm soft flesh. In his eyes bewilderment. In my eyes deep and utter joy…
Refreshed and renewed I went upstairs and got dressed. Warm, stout winter clothes, practical clothes. No glamour this time for me, not for where I would be heading or for what I would be doing for this was another kind of party entirely; the party to end all parties. The party before the fall. I found my old battered fleece, zipped it up tightly and then went to the closet to drag out that old rucksack; the contents of which had been organized and waiting for nigh on several centuries, the actual bags had changed over the years but the contents had always been ready. I slung it casually over my shoulder as I went downstairs into the kitchen to gather nibbles and a couple of bottles of water. I switched off the lights and looked longingly at the last drained cup of fresh coffee that I would probably ever taste. Popping into the sitting room, I glanced unemotionally at the lifeless body on the couch, also drained, then picked up the invite and put it in my rucksack and the very last thing I did before leaving the flat was to extinguish all my candles. I took a very deep long breath. It had been an interesting evening I thought.
I stood outside in the dark, on the kerb, the street lamp above me flickering slightly, just waiting in the darkness for I knew not what. But I guessed, when it happened, it would be something spectacular. I waited nearly an hour or more yet it seemed like a life time standing alone on that dark, damp suburban street. My brain was starting to ask me what the hell was I doing, yet my heart was beating six to the dozen and my soul was just soaring. I stared down at my chunky black Doc Martins I was wearing grinning to myself as I pictured myself in my sparkly red killer heels; those very same killer heels that now lay tucked in at the very bottom of my old rucksack – a touch that would make him smile to say the very lest…
Then wham! From out of nowhere it came; a faint rumble at first like a distant thunder, then building up to a crescendo of an almighty ear-splitting roar. Totally majestic and wow what a statement; what a bloody fucking return! What sublime style! My darling Knight atop a magnificently souped up motor cycle! This louder than loud revved-up, pimped-up motorbike engine was totally and literally on fire! And what was more; it was racing towards me at break-neck speed silhouetted against the vast black night sky; engines at full throttle, flames racing out of the exhausts as it flew thought the beautiful nightime! It was certainly no earthly vehicle I gasped. It came screeching and sliding towards me and stopped very abruptly to a halt only inches away from me. Then silence…
As the black-leather clad figure who rode aloft this all black, shiny beast of a bike stylishly and with great panache turned off the engine. He so knew my tastes. He could have come wearing anything. As anyone. Yet all this was staged just for me. He coolly ever so slightly tilted his head and lifted his visor. Taking off his black gloves and smiling enigmatically; he looked straight at me; holding out a hand… Dam it and fuck it; I so loved him whatever he was calling himself or dressing up as these days.
“Hey Babe, how about you and I rocking it up to the party of our lives; couldn’t do it without you kiddo.….”
I clamoured on board quicker than i had ever done anything in my entire life before and held on to him so tightly that my arms could have snapped right off there and then. And indeed my heart was doing just that. This was the fate and destiny that had been foretold for centuries and I for one was not going to miss it. Fuck it world! You had your chance! The Lord and Lady are back! So lets party!
Always the blood…
A selection of the month’s creative and earnest writings, making a connection to all the wonderful poets whom i share my creativity with…
So thus shall i depart
From the challenge poetic
Dear friends and true
Let me bid you adieu
I remember intricate ice patterns on the freezing cold window panes
I remember cold breath that froze instantly in the air in the bedroom
And slipping bravely between icy cold sheets that took my breath away
I remember laying in bed so ill for two weeks and writing my first poem
I remember feeling different and not wanting to be one of the crowd
And of escaping into my own world where books and art were all I needed
I remember always loving animals and the natural world
I remember long days spent exploring fen droves and rolling in haystacks
And fishing for stickle backs in steep banked ditches that no longer exist
I remember my pale blue bike and how we travelled around the fen lanes together
I remember the day of the gigantic white water spout over Ely
And how we all stopped and stared in amazement not knowing what it was
I remember rummaging for hours on end in the stationary and book shop
I remember the magic on every shelf as I discovered each treasure that revealed itself before me
And in the magic of my wonder I was suspended, floating in a spell of timelessness
I remember the harsh control at home; of being shouted at; just too scared to breath
I remember a sterile, aggressive environment and of just wanting to be me; to be seen
I remember vowing forever to break this curse for ever…..
A drop of pure love
Is all it takes to blossom
Yet true love blooms rare
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Upon a lost love gone for years; upon a life lost too
Why so young was angel taken?
Why so young was life forsaken?
Suddenly snatched from mortal realm
With ne’re a chance to say goodbye
With ne’re a chance to wipe my tear
That fell upon my cheek so soft
And so I pondered long and lonely, feeling weary seeking solace
To quest his long lost resting place
A place I knew ere in my dreams
For never in my waking hours his tomb would come to me
That churchyard old and dark I saw
In daytime nothing stirred at all
Why in my dreams and not on earth
I pleaded every night whilst there
In dreams of night his name I call
Through deaths dark door he whispers mine
I wander long, alone and teary, vainly searching, vainly seeking
For that which I am so unsure
A tomb maybe, a gravestone marked; a spot upon some barren ground?
In death and dreams he calls me home
My name he calls upon the winds
In waking hours my torment thrives upon my wretched life
My dreams are that which take my soul
To pleasures black tormented realm
Oh death, oh lover why taunt me so?
I beg you leave my dreams
Yet take me home to be with thee
For in this world I can not live
Yet can not die in yours
Sweet freedom free me from this curse
Of searching lost and lonely
For a love lost in the realms of men
In my dreams his tomb I find
In churchyard dark and dreary
And so upon a midnight weary I wander in that graveyard dreary
In deaths dark realm for evermore…..
(inspired again by The Raven)
Some days words don’t come
Some days words beget darkness
Some days words just kill
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Listening to an old scratched record playing tunes of old for me
Rock and Roll will never die; will live inside my soul; my soul for evermore
The heartbeat of my life and times; the music score of life
Every action a tune within; every thought a beat
Every dream a soundtrack written, a melody of life
Time and tide will march to music; all life’s a tune for evermore and more
My backing track of daily actions, my score of hopes and dreams
And so I ponder on the music; sweet harmonies that shape my life
Midnight weary, not midnight dreary as I crank it up once more
People come and people go, a very fact of life
But tunes endure and shape our world; I know that fact for sure
That old scratched vinyl forever playing will leave me nevermore
(thanks to EAP and his wonderful Raven)
Words from a past life
Enter my deamtime to mock
Silent tears at dawn
Inspiration arrives upon the dark wings of night
Stretching forth into endless blackness
Where only the soul survives
Yet upon these dark wings of night
Dawn’s bright hour comes upon a stillness
A stillness of soul that can only be answered by the heart
It is of a rustling of leaves upon a still summer’s day
The tinkling of water in an ancient hidden meadow
It is the call of the wild within us all
The stag, the deer, the fox
Yet it is of a falling backwards into dreams
Back to the Old Ones
Who knew how to fly
Those who have taught you
Yet you knew it not
Dark and as dangerous as falling
Eyes wide shut from the cliff edge
It is of a spreading of wings
Of a inner knowing that you can fly
It is of faith, of hope, of trust
Hold the darkness by the silken thread of life
Grasp the soft black velvet of night
And fall into sweet unsuffocating slumbers
Where dream become reality
And futures are forged in the fires of returning souls
Be the star
And the sun
And the moon
Be all and more
Sink then into the dark night of the soul
Become the night wings of inspiration
And know it to be your time
Into week two of this years challenge and finding this a very enjoyable experience; i am in some cases now following the promts as given on the NaPoWriMo website; but if not following as such then finding inspiration in them. There are lots of other wonderfull poetry to be found on the website below, along with numerous poetry writing tips and prompts:
It lay in my bloodied hand
The rose cut fresh
Velvet red and sensual
Deep scarlet blooms
Hiding the thorns
Blooms where yesterday
Tightly wrapped buds
Sought the sun
And tomorrow petals
Upon sacred ground
I remembered the kiss
I remember his perfume
I brush my face
With the scarlet
Hidden thorns strike
Brushing my lips
Memories bloom in shadow
Curses never leave
Unlike the crumpled rose
I stole just one kiss
A dark kiss not mine to steal
Dam it was so good
Running and running yet somehow not getting anywhere
I may be dreaming I thought; this is not real
How can it be and how did I get here?
And the ‘English Place Name’s I encountered
As I ran by seemed just so surreal; unreal
I was on a quest; that much I knew
Seeking ‘The Keys of Enoch’
But only ‘The Goddess of The Labyrinth’ could help me find them
Where was she?
So in I tumbled head-long into the labyrinth
In a rather Alice-like fashion
Yet not a white rabbit in sight
Just old tales, old myths that wove in and out of my mind
On a repeat loop within my head
Chivalry and Knights, of deeds fought and won
Of mystery and magic
Jousting for the hand of a mythical princess
‘The Legends of King Arthur and his Knights’
Spiralled in and out of my brain as I sought the centre
‘The Hero Myths and Legends of the British Isles’ were birthed at The centre of this labyrinth or so the story goes
But how would I get there to find that elusive key?
Or would it simply take ‘The Thousand and One Night’
That I was told it would
But suddenly I was whisked off my feet Dorothy-fashion
By a spiraling storm that plucked me from the centre of the Labyrinth just as I reached it
I held on in the storm as dark winds roared around me
And rain beat down upon my head
And then it stopped, ceased, silence
And I found myself in front of the fallen angel
In ‘Rosslyn and The Western Mystery Tradition’
Home again where I belonged
With heart and soul combined as one
Golden childhood days innocently spent on timeless Norfolk beaches
Sun shining twenty four seven or so it seemed looking back
The long endless summer days where dreams and adventures came to life
And everyday normal life came to a standstill
Summer by the sea yet only two weeks out of real time
But two weeks when time and tide ceased to exist
Bright coloured buckets and spades were all we needed
And an enthusiastic dad who knew all the castle building tricks
For our constructions were always the biggest and most complicated with the longest and deepest moat
Fed by sea water as we held our breath at each approaching wave
We took it seriously and made fantasy worlds amongst the sands
Where princesses, dragons and wizards peopled our minature worlds
At night we donned huge black rubber inner tubes to float dream-like on the warm whispering salty waves
Then kicked for life and for the shore when the sea floor sank away
Fun fairs and penny arcades were an evening delight
Donned in pretty cotton dresses, frilly petticoats and clean white socks
A far cry from the day attire of elasticated swim suits clogged with wet sand
And ninety nines were the latest craze then
So devour them we did
The skies were ever blue, the sand always warm, our hair and toes always full of this damp gritty delight
We ceased to dream for we knew we had it all…
A dark vibe gathered over Europe
Silk sheets and whispers
Passion flowing; fires building
Come the dawn; silence
Giving love to one
Forever in Shadow Land
Spirit tests the Soul
If I close my eyes tight and try not to cry
I can still see the blue waves on the shore
Washing over the magic circle inscribed
Upon the wet sand
Four poems you said
That was all it would take
A poem for each corner of the world
But the blue waves upon the shore
Seemed to pierce my heart
Breaking through the magic circle
I had cast tight around myself
A circle of hope
A circle of four poems
Squaring my circle
You were of this world you said
Yet I always saw your other worldy aura
The magic circle that surrounded you
With blue waves on the shore line; pulsating
I gave my heart
With four poems
But they took you home…..
So once again NapoWriMo has swung around and is in full swing. Always a great challenge to take part and yet at the same time always a delight; a delight also to see that i can still write a line or two and a delight to share and connect to other poets 🙂 So here are the poems of the first week. Please leave a comment if you like them 🙂
Time to write anew
April and poetry time
Words and rhymes all fine
Day two rambles on
Caught in random goings on
Plans all went so wrong
Silent hearts bleed red
For love lost and true love dead
Dead hearts shed no tears
What a stony old path this life is
What a bumpy old ride to be sure
Where are we going to?
What shall we do?
And who are we for heaven’s sake?
Are we who we think we are?
How did we get to this Earth?
Who came before us?
Did they leave any trace?
And where did they go when they left?
The answers are all inside my head
I go with the flow of my dreams
I know the Earth is not what we think
And neither are we for sure
I hear the call of another place beyond the Earth and the Moon
What is the point of being on Earth?
What is the point of life?
The point is to live
In this present time
In this transient world of matter
Some can ascend yet many can not
Many will never know
Most are blind
And bound in the blood
Of a mortal and human form
When all dreams have died
And time has run out
And we stand on the shores of time
Can we honestly say we were kind to this Earth?
Did we honour our Mother at all?
So go grasp and embrace
Whoever you are
But beware of the thorn in the rose
See the blood flow
Over the desolate land
Feel the pain of the thorn in your palm
We all feel the fear
Yet not many will act
As we raise up the chalice of life
To all that we are, all that we were
And all we are yet to become
We came from the stars
From beyond our dreams
Into a prison planet existence
We tasted the drops of blood on our lips
As we revelled in countless deaths
Are we all that we think we are?
Are we more than this mortal coil?
Or are we deluded and safe in our dreams
Thinking that we are the ‘ones’
Who will change the course of mankind?
Stay safe in your dreams
As the curtain falls
As the veil of illusion is shred
Go dream the dreams of the dark and the light
As you go take your final bow.
From unhappiness beauty springs
From deep sadness a poet writes
Taking the depths of eternal night
The blackness and tears
The screams of the night
The angst and the rage
As you turn each page
Yes a poet writes each word for you
But you must read them to know
What a poet can do
They were the days of wine and roses
Of the rivers not running dry
They were the days of endless summer
When we all could reach the sky
They were the days of daisy chains threads
Of playing in the park
The days of forgetting its tea time
And not coming home til dark
They were the days of fifties music
On a potable radio set
Of sitting outside on the wall
Of not lived to have a regret
We listened to Elvis and Buddy
Mourned when Marylyn died
But three steps behind them came Eddie
Our innocence was no surprise
They were the days of mascara and lipstick
Sling-backs and petticoats huge
Listening to jukeboxes in cafes
Where frothy coffee was all of the rage
Watching American movies
In Technicolor on the big screen
The latest Bobby and Sandra
Just really had to be seen
We stood in the aisles to see Elvis
G.I. Blues was the latest thing
Blue Hawaii was standing room only
But we simple had to get in
Then along came Billy and Marti
And all of the sixties hot crew
Hotly pursued by the Beatles
And then life started anew
Totally immersed in the music
Never missing a beat
We danced all the fads on the dance floor
Life could never have been so sweet
But nothing last for ever and youth and innocence fades
Tears dabbed the horizon like storm clouds
The day Buddy and Eddie were gone
But true love ways never die; Peggy Sue still echoes so loud
The days of innocent youth may be over
But the mascara and lipstick stayed
As the did the vinyl and music
Playing out till the end of my days…
Barefoot on the grass
Sensual and delicious
Cool stolen kisses
We have always been here
Have always wandered the earth
Some say we exist only in folklore
And we will not argue with that
Tis our safety net
Through the centuries we have watched you
Watched you as you tore yourselves apart
We saw you destroy yourselves
And your planet
But we always loved you
Loved our creations
But we had to let you be
Let you grow
And make your own mistakes
Every so often
Some of you would grow
Rise above the rest
So we took you back
Claimed you as our own once more
Over time to become one of us again
And thus the cycle began again
The Watchers watching over the earth
Just as it always was
Just as it always is
And just as it always will be
We are here watching
Over the affairs of men
You know us not
We know you well….
Am I a fake when I say I am a poet?
Writing poetry for nigh on 50 years;
Give or take.
So why that novice feeling?
I try and learn my craft
Yet my peers seem so assured and confident
Causing me to trip and fall down that clichéd rabbit hole.
Falling and fake
I am tiny and unseen.
I sip the glass of terror
That hides the secret potion
And shrink Alice-like
Wanting to hide in my own Wonderland.
Yet here I am reading aloud
To a sea of smiling, friendly faces
Greeting me behind Chesire cat-like smiles
I see no bodies, just huge, smiling grins.
What lies behind those smiles I wonder?
If Alice can do it – so can I
I will grow and grow and face the fears inside my head
And make the mad hatter brew me strong back coffee.
Away with his insipid tea!
So then here’s a start; my start
I take my stand
Yes god dam it
I am a poet!
Floating like a minute speck of dust in a universe of eternity
I suddenly realise how unimportant and tiny I am.
In a vast sea of time that is no time at all,
It just is what it is.
Here on earth life is so fleeting,
I am so fleeting and so transient.
I am the smallest speck in the blink of a vast universal eye.
My human ego wants me to be more,
Yearns to be more.
My journey is just beginning;
Can this be acknowledged I wonder?
By those who ‘see and observe’?
Can I go on?
Can I fully grow outside of the confounds of earthly time?
Do I need to be corporeal to exist?
Do I need to be corporeal to be me?
My thoughts float upon the shore of time;
They float up and away into the deep, deep darkness beyond our Star.
Me in spirit robes.
If I send my thoughts out
Far and wide to anywhere where I choose
Is that me in spirit form?
Can I fly forever free
Or am I always bound by the golden cord that binds?
Who is the real me,
The one within
Or the one without?
I send my thoughts out far and wide
Upon the butterfly wings of cause and effect.
In time I may truly follow
Or maybe in reality I am already in that other world of wonder
Where time, movement and matter do not exist.
Maybe I do fly free
And I always have done
And this reality I know as life
Is me within the world of matter
Taking a vacation from who I really am.
Screaming and Dreaming
There are those times in life when you wonder about life
Those days when there are many more downs than ups
Those days when the needs of others outweigh ones own
Today is one such day
And all one wants is a cuddle
But one keeps silent and maybe a poem or two can do the trick
Can come to ones rescue and let the silent scream escape
To travel upon the winds of the universe
To maybe hitch a ride on the back of a passing angel
On his way to paradise
For all the Animals Trapped…
Think about all the helpless animals crying in the laboratories
Think about their suffering; so many of them die a death of utter pain
For the testing is all useless; the experiments don’t work
They are them; they are not us, their bodies are so different
Their bodies, their systems, do not work like ours
But the Home Office, in its unwisdom degrees this to go on
All this torture, all this blood and all this death
Many other ways of research can now be utilised
Ways of testing all the drugs upon this earth
No longer do we need the cages; the innocents may roam free
All of us are truly beautiful, are gorgeous inside and out
We do not need to torture others to establish this true fact
For beauty comes from deep within, from the centre of our souls
The power to change, the power to love is right within our hands
Medicine has come so far with human tissue cultivated
To be used for us, instead of them, instead of all the torture
In freeing them, we free ourselves to walk as one together
No other species, only human does all this harm to others
Where is the right, where is the Order that we can do all this?
Who gave us all this misplaced power to justify our acts on others?
Be brave, be strong and take a stand; shout the message loud and clear
Love and Light is all we need so set all creatures free.
In future days, in future times; if we ever get to that
What will be the legacy we leave upon these pastures green?
In future times in future worlds the truth it will be told
What is our chapter in the book – it does not look good to me.
Is it too late to change the ways of a species gone to waste?
Who knows – not I, but I live in truth of my own personal philosophy
To spread the word, to heal the hate, to set all creatures free
To live a life of pure intent; to be the best that I can be
For to spill the blood of innocents is not my game and will never, ever be.
Her Spring Gown
Cambridge put on her best spring outfit today
And looked resplendent
A fascinator of fluffy white clouds adorned her hair
Pink blossoms and white draped over her shoulders
Gently cascading to the ground in the gentle breeze
Every footstep lushly echoed the vibrant green
And green velvet moss became each footfall
I wandered in wonder
Opening up my heart
Following her every footstep
I was becoming me again
Floating without care upon a pure blue sky
I was the dancing blossoms in the warm air
Finding my song
I was Cambridge in the spring today
And felt resplendent
Beauty Deep and Light
Peering out long into the void
Reveals that there is no void
On the outside
For the outside is magic
Is beautiful, unending
Deep into the darkness
On the out side
Is where the magic and mystery lie
It is where the unending truth resides
And where the search for truths begins
It is the quest we long for
It is the yearning of the soul
On the darkest night
Calling all home
For those who seek the Light
May cross the void
So the void is no more
We are starlight and endless
We are above and beyond
All that is know
We can go on and on
Until the world is just a speck
A tear in the eye of the multi-verse
No the void is not out there
For it is bound by blood
It is the darkness deep within the flesh
One never hungers
At the altar
Of the written word
Words and thoughts
Pray for release
To be eternally recorded
Scribed into history
Time lost in scribblings and writings
Whole days devoured by time
Vast worlds of illumination
Is it a real world?
But it is my world
And as real to me
As yours to you
I the creator
Of a world of words
A living sacrament
Bleeding on to virgin white
Words that drip like life-blood
Upon my thirsty soul
A constant flow
Upon my life
To my sanity
My flow of love
Within my life
I am blessed
April 8th 2015
I can’t remember exactly when
The skeleton got in the cupboard
But I must have put it there
Otherwise how did it get there?
Secreted under killer heels never worn
And black boots that are
Rattling bones of life
Draped in yesterdays clobber
Old bones, new bones
Hidden behind mountainous ironing
Destined for the charity run
Slumbering in the knowledge
That they are buried safe and sound
Hidden ominously in my cupboard
Brittle bones of memory
Yet clattering’s of present times too
In the safety of the closet
Bare bones of truth hidden
One long spiky digit
That used to be a finger
Hooks itself under the door
F**k this I shout
And kick shut the door
April 9th 2015
One single kiss
It was only a kiss
One single cursed kiss
A wanted kiss
A craved for kiss
A kiss of life
A kiss from death
One single beautiful kiss
Simply a kiss
That was all it was
Just a kiss
A doomed kiss
A forbidden kiss
Just one kiss
A bloodied kiss
A twilight kiss
From velvet lips
Heavily ruby stained
Such a kiss
To the one
With rose nectar smeared
Upon blood-rose lips
In blood ties bound
By life as now by death
April 10th 2015
A ‘word a line’ poem birthed from insomnia…
Night, Dark, Sleep, Rest, Pain, Hurt, Withdrawn, Yes, Hurting, Hide, Night, Dives, Panic, Endless, Swimming, Drowning, Headless, Sighing, Dying, Living, Crying, Surviving, Strength, Strong, Life, Long, Deep, Wonder, Hunger, Found, Love, Group, Hope, Hunger, Faded, Jaded, Heart, Soul, Live, Forever, Human, Never, Lips, Kiss, Hidden, Forbidden, Bound, Binding, Living, Dying.
In the cradle of Night
Dark thoughts become palpable so Sleep eludes
A world of fleeting Rest, snuggling with Pain and Hurt
So Withdrawn and Yes still Hurting
Nowhere to Hide in a tragedy where Night Dives in Panic
Questing for you is an Endless cycle
Swimming in the hope of finding you
Yet Drowning in the reality of not
Diving Headless into truth
Real time thoughts Sighing into Dying
But forever Living
Yet Crying for freedom
Somehow Surviving with Strength unknown
Strong with the blood of Life
Yet the Long soul search
Of a Deep soul connection and a Wonder
Is the Hunger not Found
The Love that exists in spirit; above and beyond
Group Hope into Hunger
Never Jaded in this land of eternal midnight
A Heart and Soul can speak, can Live Forever
Cast into a Human shell
Never once were scarlet Lips
Satiated by one sweet Kiss
Worlds Hidden, love Forbidden
Hearts Bound in a Binding
Call this Living?
I call this Dying?
12th April 2015
The White Rose
I gave you a pure white rose
You held it in your hand
And stared into space
The sun moon and stars bowed down
We were children of the universe
Caught in time
The path twisted and turned and spiralled in
We couldn’t loose our way
And yet we did
We were children of the universe
Lost in time
Still grasping one white rose
April 13th 2015
In the Blink of an Eye
In the blink of an eye
Everything can change
In one fleeting moment
Life becomes death
In a twist of fate
Light become dark
And the sun no longer shines
Blood upon the knife
On the tide of eternity
Thoughts become deeds
The ebb-tide kisses the shore
The wind screeches cruelly
Between the heart beat
Of knowing and unknowing
A chasm of reality extends
The moment is captured
Upon the tip of the sword
The secrets of blood flow
Bleeding into a vastness
Of human unknowing
When the key of time
Is broke in the lock
And the seals all opened
The sword is the final word
When death stamps its seal
With its hardened hand
Mourn for that which is lost
That which never can be
In the blink of an eye
The universe spoke
The unspoken word
April 13th 2015
Who am i?
Only I know
Only I ever will
But each day that I write
A tiny part of me reveals
April 14 2015
In the long endless night
When I cannot sleep
I yearn for the solace of the daylight hours
I would rise now in darkness
But others annoyingly lie silently sleeping
Unaware of my nightly battle
Of my silent screams
Good for them
(I think not)
Yet I fear my movements
Would wake them
They innocently slumber
While I resist prowling
The dark and creaking house
So I lie awake
Listening to music
Not the soothing kind
Usually Meat Loaf
Or Guns and Roses
Funny how that sooths me
While the ‘soothing’ type just irritates
When dawn arrives
I finally enjoy a hot black coffee
Then slumber comes mockingly
And I steal the night time back
Or was that the cat
Wanting to go out?
April 7th 2015
When angry or riled I quench my passion in a poem
Like an arrow fired at the cause of my dark mood
Seething words freed into the universe
Now I am at peace
Now then tell me
Is it my words that have soothed me so
Letting free, letting go
Or was it my deadly witches’ curse that surely found its target?
And does it matter?
April 6th 2015
All that I love
I love the dark & I love the night
I love the beauty of a dragon in flight
I love the shadows and I love the hidden
I love all secrets that are forbidden
I love the draw of a demon’s lair
To live with the vampires
And not having to care
I love the seas when the tide is high
I love the heavens when a storm is nigh
I love to roam where the wild ones roam
To live with the old ones
I would love it so.
In my dreams of the darkest night
I embrace all that I love with sheer delight
The Time of Light
The time of the light is here!
But I am a creature of the dark; I cry.
Spring is here in all its glory!
But I hold the winter deep within my frozen heart
Rise up and sing the praises of the re-birthed light!
But I yearn the soul comfort of demons and spectres
Yay! The days of unending sunshine are here!
But I crave the doomed secrets hidden in the shadows of flickering candlelight
Bright beach days are ahead; don’t you know?
I plead with fingers clenched for the forgotten forests of my nightmares
The days ahead are sunshine days; days for play you know!
Please, please go away and let me be
Leave me in my darksome, sunless lair
And dare not to wake me from my eternal slumbers
Til winter comes again…
April 4th 2015
Something silly played on telly last night…..
Like an old scratched shellac record
Going round and around
Getting nowhere in a dusty old groove
Round and around
Over and over again
Echoing, empty words
Sounds of a bygone age
A cacophony of sound
That blanket ones ears
Out of time, dusty and worn
Yet round and round it goes
Same old notes
Same old song
Cajoling us to dance the dance
To play the song
To learn the words
To sing along
Round and around
A blunt needle spinning at high speed
Spewing out the white noise of inharmonious harmonies
I can no longer hear the tune or dance the dance
For my tune; my music is of a greater sound
Walking over to the record player I turn off the switch.
In another room
In another universe
The composers play on…..
April 3rd 2015
Steps on a Journey
Each step I take is unique
Each different from the one before
A small step that will never be again
And yet each step is life to me
Taking me to where I need to be
I cannot stand still within time
For my feet ever march on
My road is bumpy, stony and less travelled
Yet it is my road
I tread it as best I can
For only I know how
Am I going or coming?
Am I travelling in or out of the labyrinth?
Is destiny to be found at the centre?
Or at some yet undefined compass point?
It’s my road though
Through my life
Ancient steps trod before
With wisdom gained from wise ancestors
Whose own roads are forever etched in their time
I pause and decide which way now
There is no past
Only now and me
Time does not exist
The road is me
I am the road
The steps are mine
The road pulses as it twists and turns
Fresh and new and exhilarating
Spinning me around
Throwing me off kilter
Awakening me to my journey
I hold on to my life
Feet upon the ground
One small step
Unique and different from the one before
April 2nd 2015
I love to sit in silence
To surround myself in it
Envelope myself from the day
My bubble of silence is my world
And yet is a world so large, so expensive
That I am beautifully lost in the enormity of it
A silent world unending yet complete
Adventures begin and end in silence
As do dreams
The silent hills of destiny beckon
And who am I to argue….
The dark silhouettes of the bare willows were a stark contrast against the warm glowing orange of the winter solstice sunset. The barren fenland landscape had come alive with the burning, golden tones of burnt sienna and yellow ochre and the cool dark waterway slicing its way through the ancient land was suddenly transformed into an underwater fire. It was cold though, yet I hardly noticed the teasing chilling winds on my face, hardly paid heed to the cold icy soil beneath my feet.
I had come to this silent lonely place beside the waters, surrounded by the willows, as I always do at this time of year; the time of the winter solstice. I had silently walked along the winding riverbank for three or four miles to reach the place of my choosing, the place where I would cast my circle to celebrate the solstice and to pay homage to my gods. The day had been stunning, so warm and sunny for this time of year. The winter sunshine had uplifted my soul and warmed my heart with thoughts of brighter days to come. I had bought with me warm homemade soup and a flask of freshly made black coffee. It would be a welcome treat after the ritual, a treat I would relish.
When I had arrived at my chosen spot I had sat and meditated on this special time of year and on the ritual I was about to perform and where I now was, on my own inner, intimate journey through life. The mood had started to build; the energies usually well hidden in the fens had started to rise and to fill my soul with expectation and wonder. I gazed around me, wanting to remember the scene, to etch it on my memory for all time.
In front of me was the grassy riverbank, still fresh and green and verdant, sloping gently down to meet the hypnotic lap lapping of the water’s edge. Behind me grew a line of three fully mature willows, old and craggy, gnarled with age. Behind them the land dipped slightly onto a freshly furrowed field. On the grassy bank in front of me two sapling willows had grown up and together with the mature willows behind, had formed a natural circle, enclosing me, encasing me in their world. And of course the river itself, serene, dark and mysterious; the lifeblood of the fens, providing sanctuary to numerous species of ducks, swans, dragonflies, herons, water voles and many other creatures.
I sat in silence, meditating for several minutes, breathing deeply, and gradually letting go of my everyday life, soaking up the energies and tuning into the atmosphere around me. I had sat like that for some time before noticing a slight breeze, the wind rustling on my face; reeds and grasses whispering, calling. The voice of the wind I thought, till suddenly, another sound came to my ears, a sound from another place; of voices not know to me. I shivered involuntary and startled I opened my eyes and looked around me.
Eerie otherworldly sounds seemed to echo in the breeze, calling to me on the song of the wind; sounds that came to me from afar, from another realm, from a strange and different world, filling my head with dark whisperings and shadowy illusion. Or was it just my imagination intoxicating me with wondrous fantasies?
I wanted to get back to my rite, wanted to re-focus, wanted to drink in the full beauty of the scene, wanted to remember it, wanted to be there forever, wanted to become part of the magic itself. I never really wanted to leave this place, I thought and I thought it time and time again.
And “They” listened….
I had cast my circle, had called the directions and welcomed the Elementals into my world. I felt at peace, felt at one with the world and with nature itself. Water was part of my nature; I had always been drawn to its ever-changing fluid form, always wanting to dive deep into its hidden depths, to unlock the mysteries to be found there. Now here I sat in the middle of my circle in a trance like state slowly going deeper and deeper in – into the depths.
The bare willow branches creaked in the wind and from further up the river a swan flapped its huge snowy white wings and called out to its mate. I felt small and insignificant, a tiny part of a vast ancient landscape. I felt mesmerized by the energies here, gradually becoming a part of this watery world. Then suddenly from somewhere afar, another whisper on the wind; surely not my imagination this time, surely no disguising those whispering voices now. But how could it be? No one else was here and certainly no one from my world knew that I was here.
The Elementals knew…. hadn’t they joined me in my rite; hadn’t I invited them in?
I instinctly felt alarm bells ringing in my head and although I wasn’t really too concerned at this time but I knew it was time to leave. The sky was darkening now and I realised it would be nightfall before I reached home. I concluded my rite, dismissing the directions and closing down. I did not hurry but I was aware of the rapidly glooming sky overhead, the closing in of the landscape and of the night-time spirits dwelling just out of my vision.
But still something wasn’t quite right…a voice…a whisper.…a chill…a cold hand laid on my shoulder? I tried hard to take no notice as I made to leave, picking up all that I had bought with me, ready to depart. As I started to move to the edge of the circle, a realisation was slowly taking shape in my mind. I felt trapped, sluggish, paralyzed, was totally unable to move an inch. I glanced down and to my utmost horror my feet were somehow sunken into and embedded in that cold, dark earth, they were heavy, leaden, were a part of this dark landscape.
What was happening? It was getting dark and very cold and panic was starting to set in. Then, those voices again, nearer now. Whisperings on the breeze and in my ears.
“Listen… listen… listen to the voice of the breeze and to the sound of the waters, listen to the song of the Sylphs and see the dance of the Undines. Do you not remember, have you forgotten how your wish was granted?”
I looked down at the ground, looked to where my feet should have been and saw roots, gnarled, woody, thick roots. I felt my arms outstretched over and around my head, falling gracefully around my body as bare winter branches. My body, heart and soul were now the heartwood of the willow.
It was then and only then that I started to remember. Started to recall what really happened on that riverbank, on that winter solstice all those years ago. Yes, I do remember now, oh so well; my memory lost upon that riverbank, when I once belonged to another world, is starting to clear again…
….and so I had finished my rite, had packed up in readiness for my journey home along the towpath, along the riverbank. Looking upwards I noticed that the skies were already darkening and a chilly wind was starting to rise. As I went over towards the grassy slope leading down to the waters edge, to say my farewells to the water creatures, I somehow tripped, skidded in a furrow and twisted my ankle. Acting quickly and instinctly I plunged my foot into the icy waters hoping that the coldness would keep any swelling at bay until after I had safely made my journey home.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere and taking me completely by surprise, cold, icy, waiting, wanting hands reached out from below the water’s surface and grasped me, oh so firmly around the ankles, hands I knew belonged to beings far older, far more ancient than any I had ever known before. They wanted me for their own; they desired their offering. Wanted what was rightly theirs.
They held me tight, they hurt me, their muddy, filthy talons dug deep into my flesh, ripping and tearing. Faces confronted me from below the icy waters; faces belonging to other worldly beings that no human would ever wish to encounter, let alone see. “Be careful what you wish for” echoed inside my head as I struggled for survival, for my very own life. I had summoned the Elementals and they had come, I had wished to stay there forever, hadn’t I and they had listened. They were not kindly, not protective; definitely not what I had previously envisioned calling to in my rites. They were ancient, dark and fearsome. They felt and stank of damp, decaying death; they had, over the centuries consumed the hapless souls of all who they had ever caused to drown in these cold lonely waters. Their darksome faces wore the expression of a greed, a hunger, a desperate need born from an eternity of luring and feeding on human souls. They were the Undines, the elementals of water and I was theirs and take me they would. Of that I had no doubt.
I struggled, but to no avail until a kind of tranquillity started to engulf me, that kind of drowsiness that comes before the moment of falling asleep when one is still just awake. Sleep, how I wanted to sleep, to rest, to dream and then to awaken safely at home, for this surely is just a dream, a trick, a nightmare. Mortal consciousness started to slip away from my body. In that dark, cold, lonely place, I started to accept my fate, I knew this was it, knew this was the end. Knew that what would be would be. I would be found in the morning, bloated and lifeless in the river, tangled in the reeds.
Then suddenly just as my mortal life was slipping away, just as I had given in to those ancient beings of the fens, a wind, a breeze began to play on the watery surface of that loathsome river. Sharpe, biting razor blades of icy air slashed into my body. Malicious whisperings of the Sylphs who should have been beautiful, should have been graceful, should have been inspiring, but in reality were loathsome and nasty, they spat out lies with hot rasping breath, they rid the lungs of its very life force and they fed tirelessly on the thoughts, the souls and on the minds of humans, of mortals. Our thoughts, our ideas had fed and inspired them over the centuries. They had caused the demise of hundreds and thousands of lost and lonely souls. They had ripped out the minds, stolen the ideas of those folk who had dared to enter their domain, dared to wish for the breeze on their face or for the wind in their hair, dared to wish for freedom, dared to let their spirit fly on the winds.
Now they had me, were tossing me between them, were having fun with my limp lifeless body. They were cutting me to pieces, were inside my mind, had hold of my intellect, had filled my lungs till they wanted to explode…
….until… until from somewhere deep inside or maybe from a long way away, at this point I really did not know, did not even care, but questions, I heard questions, a bargain from beneath the icy depths, from out of the frenzied winds. I was being offered an alternative, a way out
“Stay here they said, become immortal, become one with the willows. Dare to enter our realm, dare to enter our domain, you will pay the mortal price, you will become the Willow. But for one day a year we will set you free to live as you did on the day you came to us, the day you wished for your never-ending life with us. That is our bargain and in return you will serve us, you will become the guardian of the Willow Grove. Real nature is cruel, we are cruel. We have no conscience. Take it or leave it, the choice is entirely yours”
………and so my friends that is how I became destined never to leave the willow grove, destined to spend eternity by the riverside, encaptured for all time by the soulless elementals who dwell there, upon that river bank, playing out my last day as a mortal every winter solstice, until the setting sun, the darkening skies and those whispering voices claim me once more as their own.
Darkwillow April 2005