tone and pitch, inducing moods,
tone and pitch, inducing moods,
As green shoots appear
in the springing of the year
Gaia is reborn
We sit before the screen, our eyes intent. A soothing voice, as familiar to the viewer as their own is guiding the scene; explaining the misty grey image. We make out the lumbering shapes and follow their glowing white tusks as they pick their way delicately over the rocks into the cave mouth. A journey repeated many times over the millennia and now diminishing with the shrinkage of the herds. The craving for salt that can never be extinguished.
nose to tail they climb,
with matriarch in the van
the herd in pursuit
Donovan had committed the unthinkable. Whilst being groomed ready for the North of England livestock fair he had suddenly gone berserk. With a furious snort he turned and kicked Old Bill, the farmhand and groomer. While he lay winded Donovan had stamped upon his heaving chest then thrust his horns directly into Bill’s stomach. By the time they had controlled the bull, poor Bill was dead through shock and loss of blood. These countrymen were superstitious, Donovan could not go unpunished. Custom decreed that Donovan must die and the punishment had to be hanging. There was one problem, gallows had not been used for many years and the wooden beams would never hold his weight. At once the solution became clear. The old railway bridge. The central girder was strong enough. That evening honour was satisfied. Later in the evening the unexpected ox roast went well.
Rope around her waist
they will test her by the swim,
please don’t let her float.
At nine o’clock Joshua stirred. Feeling apprehensive about the coming battle he walked out to take one more look at the recalcitrant city. His army, having been camped in their siege positions outside the walls were becoming restless and many were now unsure if they were strong enough to defeat their mighty foe.
He was the only one with true faith and so far they had been unquestioning of his power but he suspected that his officers and men were becoming bored with the inactivity. He stood lonely, leaning upon his staff, gazing silently at the towering walls. The mighty walls of Jericho whose stalwart defenders had so far resisted any efforts to induce them out from the safety of their fortress, secure in the knowledge that the walls had never before been breached.
Lights glowed at every window and he imagined the citizens, although nervous, going about their business unperturbed by the shadowy danger that lurked in the night. They felt sure of their ability to withstand any length of siege and would not risk leaving the city to join in battle with the enemy.
Joshua turned and slowly walked back to his tent. With a half-smile he decided to sacrifice and pray to his one God. He knew that the answer would come to him before daybreak.
Circe raised the cloth covering the sphere, there, though indistinct, he saw the screaming face of his wife.
Long Meg stood alone,
where had all the dancers gone,
no posy to hold,
just one solitary tear
rolled slowly down her cold cheek
Near the top they stopped. The sun was dropping rapidly in the Western sky. As if lost in their own thoughts there was no need for words. Each knew that the other was thinking of the days to come. It was deserted now but tomorrow this sacred place would be crowded with people; men, women, children, friends, relatives, all gathered for the last farewell. Nyruda had passed, her body was laid on the bier ready for the ceremonial transition.
At sunrise a procession would wend it’s way from the village to this rock, “The seat of the winds,” with their light load borne on the shoulders of six men, while the monks, women and children followed. There would be chanting, age-old mantras sung in a low drone, while the incense-burners twirled and their fragrance drifted over the plain at the whim of the breeze. It was not a lament but a celebration of one stage of her old life completed in preparation for the new.
A breeze was starting, exposing its presence with a twitch of Gana’s sleeve. In the distance he heard the lone cry of the lammergeier. He smiled, recognising the significance of the call, as if in reassurance that the wild eagles knew they were soon to be summoned and would be ready to help in the sacred task.
Tomorrow there would be many, wheeling and turning, carried high on the updrafts as they circled in readiness for their feast. The flesh would be stripped from the body leaving the white bones exposed. They would not be left long. The more experienced avian attendants would climb high in the sky their bills stuffed and ungainly with stiff, long, bristled moustaches. Like sharp but muffled drumbeats the sound of bones dropping on to the stones below would reassure the departing flock that the ceremony was being fulfilled. It would not be many days before the larger bones could be discreetly removed in accordance with their traditions ready for the final stage. Life would go on.
Following the ox
in a cumbersome progress
over rough pastures,
he wears, but we share, the yoke
as from dawn to dusk we toil