It was frustrating. For two days we had been sitting down in the hot, humid cellar. Our wine was warm, our food was cold. At least we could breathe down here, unlike in the street above. The choking fumes clogged our nostrils, the tiny wind-blown cinders got into our throats. Everyone was coughing and the stench was unbearable.
From what they said it seemed to be getting worse outside. Last night only a few of us had come down but today more and more people started arriving. Most had not brought anything down with them in their panic. They were just concerned with getting away from the ash cloud that sat like a dragon atop the hill. The very ground had started to groan and shudder as if all the denizens of the underworld were on the move.
My father had told us that we need not worry as this had happened many times before.He stayed in the villa thinking that it would soon pass but the Gods appeared to be really angry this time. No-one was sure how to placate them. Even the priests from the temple had decided to join us.
As the daylight, what there was of it, due to the sun having been smothered by the dark cloud, began to fade for the second day we heard a strange noise. It was like a low moaning and it seemed to be getting louder.
I shouted for everyone to be quiet and as our babble subsided we realised that the sound was coming from a great wind that was flowing through the passageways. Some of the women started to wail and before long both men and women started to sob as we realised something terrible was about to happen. Strangely there was no panic and I could hear my companions starting incantations. Before long even the chanting ceased.
Wrapping my cloak around my shoulders \I took my wife and daughter in my arms. We huddled against the wall and the stifling air grew steadily hotter. I can write no more. I will sleep and hopefully return to my beloved Pompeii home in the morning.
Brown, leaf-laden air
wild geese calling in the night
Autumn, time of change
yield to the healing powers
of quartz and crystal
with just one touch of the stone
regain peace and harmony
There was no reason
for the charge brought against him.
Pardon came too late.
“Navigator’s yeoman to the bridge at the double,” the pipe was loud and clear and I could see the panic on Able Seaman Ralph’s face as as he raced across the mess to the forward ladder.
“Looks like old Ralph is in for a hard time,” I thought.
I decided to follow as it could be something everyone could have a laugh about later so started to make my way up to the bridge.
The navigator was pointing the finger at the chart on the table at the back of the bridge and saying to Ralph, “Now are you sure you haven’t missed an alteration to the chart, do you how serious that could be? ”
”No Sir, I heard the siren but thought nothing of it.”
”Well have a bloody look up ahead, is that or is it not a starboard buoy when all the rest are port?”
”Navvie, you’d better have a look at this,” the Officer of the Watch, laughing, interjected.
”What is it now, “ irritation in the Navigator’s voice apparent.
”Well, that so-called buoy is just a couple of idiot holidaymakers with a bright green umbrella , we’ll radio the harbourmaster to go and pick them up.
True love will ignore
the obstacles encountered
regrets may follow
Atop the grassy mountain
stands a stark grey silent ruin
in clearer air black ravens soar
high above the mighty tor
below, the marshy vale sits
in a sea of swirling mist
clammy moss-lined battlements,
leaning, long forgotten remnants
no bright, wind-blown flags unfurling
beating drums or trumpets sounding
gone the soldiers, all their followers,
the tourney ring bedecked with flowers,
trapped in the stones just memories
fading over long centuries
sympathy follows wonder,
The great stone edifice had been standing sentinel for over a thousand years. With it’s tower and four storeys it had served as the seat of all authority, it’s imposing presence casting fear into the hearts of some; security in the minds of others. Providing a home, and employment for the servants, the garrisoned solders and a ready market for the market-traders who had seized the opportunity to set up their stalls in the shadow of the high walls. Eventually was formed a thriving community, nourished and encouraged by the needs of the Lord of the Manor and his retinue. All unaware of the nightmare to come. On the third Sunday after the Feast of St. Joseph a travelling fair had arrived in the town. Their wagons loaded with with hawkers, jugglers, dancing bears and a hidden cargo. On their second day in the town the performers realised that they had brought a legacy that would be remembered only as swift, deadly and disastrous. The plague was relentless, reducing both the village and, despite locked gates and armed guards, the castle itself, to an empty shell. The survivors, believing the land accursed, moved away to the towns that had escaped the catastrophic events. The thatched dwellings and the limestone battlements gradually eroded, their stones carried off to build and repair houses far away. It did not take long for the tower to remain only as a home for bats, owls, spiders and beetles. In time, visitors to the district could find no-one who knew when it had been built or who had lived in the ruin on the hill. Folk memories suggested that something bad must have once happened. Hence the reputation that the old stones were haunted by some unknown entity, but despite no-one having seen or heard anything supernatural, the rumours of ghosts persisted.
but hoping to do their best
for their gifted child,
they sacrifice everything
for a prosperous future.