It was the time of Sennei again. We stand in our lines, along the avenue known as the windwhistle corridor, males to the left, females to the right.
We all lean forward holding our magnificent freshly green head-dresses steady. Having practised our lines for many days we bow low and whisper our self-composed love sonnets in the allocated ear of our chosen intended.
Each of us males has a rival with whom we stand shoulder to shoulder facing a selected female, hoping that the young future brides would choose us. If she cannot make a decision between the two beaus chosen for her then duels will have to take place. The prize, a bride with whom to mate and procreate.
For now, while the breeze is gentle the only sound that the people walking between us would hear is the familiar, soft rustling of the leaves. All oblivious to the seriousness of the ritual taking place above their heads.
If a duel becomes necessary then the pair have to wait until there is a gale. Each tree is lashed against his opponent till one gives way. Some of these duels become quite violent with the occasional loss of limbs, even death by uprooting but this is rare as it would not gain anything for the species only the victor.
Most of the time the females are able to choose the strongest of the pair and accept the gentle brushing of their pistils with our anthers containing the fertilising pollen.
Now the wind plays another important role as the seeds may be carried far away from the avenue to land in another inviting area of ground, take root and at the mercy of the grazing deer or rabbits attempt to start a new plantation of trees. In time they will have their own Sennei in their own avenues.
For most tattooists
the body is their canvas
Weary after the strenuous afternoon hike through the hot Greek countryside David and Julie lay down to rest in an effort to escape the relentless Mediterranean sun. David heard his partner’s shallow breathing slowly turn to a gentle snore. He found that he couldn’t sleep, he had the nagging feeling that they were being watched.
Warily he sat up and scanned the valley below. Sure enough, he thought he could see movement. He realised it was an old woman slowly picking her way through the undergrowth. She appeared to be carrying a bundle or basket on her head.
He reached out his left arm and shook Julie gently awake. She remained lying as he pointed out the old woman to her. David thought he would call out and see if the old woman was ok, it was very hot in the afternoon sun. Both of them called out, peering in her direction. There was no reply but they watched her as she started to get closer.
David realised his mistake when he noticed the bundle on her head appeared to be moving. His last thought was disbelief when he saw that her hair was in fact a writhing mass of snakes.
Instantly I saw
my cat was obsessed with you
a menage a trois
The cries rang out in disbelief and exasperation tempered by apprehension.
The United Nations security council had only agreed on one thing. Each ambassador had discussed the crisis in monosyllabic tones painting a monotone picture of the situation. Of the five members, after monotonous discussion and argument three had agreed to disagree and it was left to the French and the Russians to persuade their joint members one way or the other. Eloquence in speech was required which could only be guaranteed by harmonic tones from either side. Only this would decide the fate of la monde.
At four o’clock that morning the stags on the hillside had commenced their belling. The eerie bellowing echoing all around the valley. This morning however Abel was more interested in the loud gasps and cries from behind the skins hanging from the line, forming a curtain which divided the single room in his hovel. Pacing up and down the room he was anxious to know what progress, if any, was taking place with the birth of his second child. Continuously stroking his beard he strained to hear what was happening. At last there was a loud gasp from the assisting nurse followed by the sound of a slap and a loud shriek accompanied the sound of crying. Abel turned then stopped and watched as the nurse raised the skin and silently with sad eyes, looking at the floor, held up a white bundle. Abel knew what this meant and with tears in his eyes grabbed the bundle and turned to the doorway. Outside stood three elders, ready to perform the customary baptism. Taking the rudely wrapped child from Abel’s hands the three started the solemn procession up to the ceremonial site at the head of the Tor. Amidst the granite blocks there was one which formed a natural basin, it’s waters continually replenished by the frequent, heavy Exmoor rains. For long centuries this had been used as the villager’s font where all baptisms had taken place. Abel watched them depart then returning inside, retired to a stool in the corner, where he sat with his head in his hands, the grief he felt for the abomination he had witnessed so great that he had no heart to go in and try to comfort the mother of the newborn. Meanwhile on the hillside the elders arrived at the site and gathering around the stone they held the child up to the rising sun before placing the white mewing parcel into the water. This was to be no ordinary baptism for instead of a brief immersion in the icy waters the child was held under the water till there were seen to be no more bubbles rising. The body was then laid on a bed of grass on the large flat boulder adjacent to the basin stone. The child had been chosen to atone for the tribal perceived sins. The raven and the buzzard would help to consign the child’s spirit to the all-seeing God, where forgiveness may be obtained. Though the only sin this child had committed in it’s brief life was to have been born a girl. A crime worthy of death in the patriarchal society in which she had had the misfortune to enter this life.
(photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Neath the smooth white roofs,
dripping fingers of glass, point
climate messages heeded
in spite of the deniers
A sneak in the night
his nose and whiskers twitching
I stood at the side of the lake looking up, “yes, it’s almost dark, I thought, so I can get this awful clammy suit off, I have collected what I came for, ” suppressing a slight giggle at the unintentioned pun. Reaching between my legs I released the carefully concealed catch and the smooth, velvet-like, false skin peeled all the way around. With a little effort, due to the tightness of the fit I was able to pull the head and torso over the top of my scalp to hang like a deflated balloon around my waist before rolling the lower half down my legs to the gound. It lay on the bank, a shapeless porcine, sluglike mass. My whole body shuddered, “Yuk, ” I thought, “how do they look at themselves in this, it’s creepy. ”
The air felt cool against my scales and once more checking that the shore was deserted I picked up the bundle and walked down to the water’s edge. Slowly, eagerly, slipping into the cold waters I prepared to swim down to the bottom to meet up with the rest of my clan. Once again I had completed my task and my ever-growing family would continue to expand.
I thought about my encounter the previous evening with the one who said his name was Brian, “he must have thought that his luck was in when I started coming on to him. Well, he did look a little lonely sitting in the corner. It had been hard work trying to convince him that my intentions were purely to have a good time. After I had established his capacity to satisfy my needs by having once been married with a family but now alone and in need of some company. He could never have guessed the real reason for my eagerness. If he could see me now he would swear that it had all been a bad dream, very bad, after he had stopped being sick of course. Even the funny video camera he had used, for reference purposes, his words not mine, would have been thrown away I’m sure. I had been a little worried at one stage, wondering if the sample I needed could be collected from where he suggested but we soon sorted that problem out. Now I was able to carry some more of the human sperm back to the colony where it would help in our next spawning. Not too many more trips and there would be enough of us to break free from the waters and start our slow colonisation of the land.”
antennae held aloft,
she lays a single egg,
in this act, the meaning of life,