Category Archives: Inspired emotion
Colleen’s Weekly 2018 #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge, No. 70: “DESTINY & CHALLENGE” #SynonymnsOnly
The old department store had been standing at the junction for over a hundred years. With it’s tower and four storeys it had been hailed as the building of the century. The tenement buildings on either side with small shops and craftsmen’s dwellings on the ground floors and over-crowded apartments above looked sadly on when the doors first opened on the bright, electrical illuminated concourse. But it was a foretaste of the nightmare to come. Thirty storey and higher skyscrapers now filled the skyline. The incessant drizzle only added to the mood when news of impending demolition was made public.
singe deep furrows in my heart
a burning passion
It was the third moonrise since the elation of the first arrival. The seas had remained calm, the large shoals of fish had moved back out of the bay to continue their journeys along the Eastern coast. The return of the first three boats had brought joy but this was replaced by sadness at the realisation there may not be a fourth. There was now only sadness mixed with hope for the watchers on the shore. Women, their heads covered with woollen scarves, shawls wrapped over their shoulders, their once gaily decorated smocks replaced by the black clothes of mourning. Sadly they turned away from the falling tide, retiring to their tiny whitewashed cottages to sit in front of of the open fire in sadness and contemplation. Two with babies slung at their sides felt a worse pain for the children who would never know their fathers. Already the families had known hunger, the times when the shoals of pilchards had bypassed their small cove and other boats had been able to reap the harvest leaving little for the inhabitants of this one remote village, where crops in the field were scarce and prices in the markets high.
One young woman, childless, stayed on the beach in hope, her eyes, though salty with tears, scanning the blue, darkening horizon for any sign of the boats’ return. With no husband or parents to care for she could only wait for her fiancée, the crewman on the smack Louisa. They were betrothed but had decided that marriage could wait until he was able to be master of his own vessel. Then they could hope to move from his parents home into their own property without the expense of paying rent to the Lord of the Manor who owned all of the houses which doubled as the fish-processing works. Gathering all the driftwood and rapidly drying seaweed at the top of the beach she started to make up the fire in preparation for her lonely vigil.
Each slow syllable
dragged over broken crystal
where once was humour
a now regretful greeting
turning to a sad goodbye
Alexi watched the snowfall with narrowed eyes. It seemed as though it always snowed here. At least it had for the past three months. Three months, it was hard to believe but it was as nothing compared to the fifteen years that he expected to spend in this hellhole. No chance of parole, no retrospective appeal. All for a crime that he had committed without realising that it was a crime. He had known it would be risky when he had first mooted the idea of standing for election as Prefect of the Novosibirsk ward. The party was strong but they seemed to be in the pay of the mafia gangs and the people were clamouring for respite from what they saw as the extortion and corruption slowly insinuating into everyday life.
He should have realised that everyone was under the influence of a higher authority. Since the revolution his country had been controlled by a select band nicknamed the Nomenclatura but even this elite group had been usurped by a more powerful fraternity with absolute power now vested in the hands of one man. Someone who had once been his friend when they attended the academy in Petrograd. Rivalry had matured into a form of hatred and despite Alexi’s business assets and connections his intrusion into local politics had forced his rival’s jealous hand. The komitet gasudarstvo bezopasnoctee, still loyal to their former head had managed to assemble a catalogue of charges which they had kept on file until they could be used against him. When the Party realised he had gained popularity and there was a chance of him winning the position it was time to act.
Without warning the arresting officers had paid a visit to his office and without ceremony he was escorted to the police station. The prosecutor had a list of charges and he was politely asked to sign his confession statement in order to avoid any unpleasantness. Upon his refusal he had been led to a cell where he spent the night before he was taken in chains to the courtroom. The judge handed down the predetermined verdict and when sentence was passed even Alexi was astonished but was stoic in his acceptance. The only surprise was the destination of his prison for the next fifteen years. A penal colony in the wilds of Siberia. Each morning at five-thirty he would arise from his bunk and filing out of the long wooden hut with one hundred and fifty others make his way to the canteen before the work parties were dispatched for the day. Only when the names were called and the areas of work allocated would he find if the snowfall was a friend or foe.
Immediately I saw the word contrast an image sprang into my mind. An instant reminder of classic adverts and Xmas delights from the 1960s. I refer of course to the the fantastic Cadbury’s contrast chocolates. The enticing tightly cellophane-wrapped package packed full of expectation of the delights to come. A great name alongside Roses, Terry’s Allgold, Black magic and others of which only a handful now remain. Oh what sweet bliss these memories conjure.
Each night the sun’s flare
is baptised in red oceans
but no steam rises
I replaced the lid on the pot and taking my wooden bowl and spoon chose a place to sit cross-legged on the blanket laid on the ground by my kindly hosts. Their droning chants added a taut background to the calm, warm evening. I started to spoon the broth into my mouth, it was lukewarm and although not unpleasant tasting it had a faint wooden smell infused with how I imagined raw, wild mushrooms would taste. I was eagerly look round and watch the expressions on my companions’ faces but my eyes were drawn to the six totems that surrounded the slow-burning fire. The smoke drifted upwards seeming to form humanlike, silent dancing figures. The owl God totems in order from right to left started to turn to face me. I placed the now empty bowl upon the ground and tried to clear my mind in expectation of my promised message from the Gods.