Parting the Sea

photo credit: Taylan Soyturk Photographe The Time I Was Daydreaming via photopin (license)

A forgotten realm calls out to me
From the darkness beneath the sea.
It sings songs of memory, loss
And tragedy. Of sacrifice and cost.
Sings of the brothers left behind. Who know,
And cry, because we’re never coming home.
 
© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

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Exile Song

Day 15 of my review of the year and a poem which is as much the moments in life which have passed as it is about exile

Made of sticks and stones

photo credit: music in the veins via photopin (license) photo credit: music in the veins via photopin(license)

On Irish lips
I heard a song,
A lament
Full of longing

For emerald fields
And a red-haired girl
On Erin’s shore,
Still waiting.

An Irish voice raised
In a back street
New York bar.
He sings of her

While outside
The rain is falling
On his exile
Dreams of home.

 
© 2016 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

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Exile Song

On Irish lips
I heard a song,
A lament
Full of longing

For emerald fields
And a red-haired girl
On Erin’s shore,
Still waiting.

An Irish voice raised
In a back street
New York bar.
He sings of her

While outside
The rain is falling
On his exile
Dreams of home.

 
© 2016 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Leaving no one alive to light them again

Day 18 of the 30 Reblogs of November and a story that I look at in a new light now that the scourge of Ebola has reared its head.

Made of sticks and stones

Once we were a dynasty that ruled an empire that stretched from the Crescent Bay to the foothills of the diamond encrusted Mountains of Ahl. We were feted; we were emulated; we were feared.

Whole populations committed unspeakable crimes on their neighbours to amuse us and armies marched on hopeless quests just for the opportunity to die in our service. We prospered, setting ourselves up as rivals to the gods, building palaces in the sky upon the skulls of the vanquished.

Then came the plague, the lower classes died first, the poor and enslaved. We thought they died for our amusement as we continued our laughter and feasting, peering down from out of our high towers at the circling vultures and bloated bodies that were carried away by a river that flowed red with the peoples blood.

But as we slept on in drunken stupor the pestilence crept up the…

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Uphill

Jack did not answer. He just headed off down the tree-lined path in front of her, howling, kicking up the autumn leaves in his excitement, setting off a mini-avalanche of soil and stones in his wake. The dog led the way downhill into the shrouded valley, as Angela struggled to keep up with him, a sluggish stream just visible, as a livid scar in the valley below.

‘Jack, Jack.’ She shouted in vain, setting off after him at a run, fallen twigs snapping under her determined tread.

She knew she had to concentrate to get them home safe before dark. She had been distracted, not just that afternoon when she had fled the cottage storming into the forest; getting them lost as she raged at nature. But ever since they had run away, half way across the world to a country that seemed permanently damp, trees sagging under the weight of the Welsh rain.

Angela felt herself losing her balance long before she toppled. Watching as the accumulated leaves on the hill cartwheeled ahead, a reddish brown tornado disturbed by her stumbling feet; her coccyx smacked the ground hard as she fell.

‘Good-oof!’ Angela cried.

The impact forced the air from her lungs as she slid down the hill. Her head bouncing side to side as she slid over the ground, her long hair trailing after her snagging pulling strands from her scalp as she slid on. Her pink cagoule rucking up as she slid helter-skelter down the slope, bare back scraping over twigs and tree roots.

She came to rest in the floor of the valley, her back and head aching. Winded she just lay staring up at the narrow sliver of grey cloud heavy sky just visible among the trees that loomed angrily over her. Their skeletal branches questing upwards for the light, for the chlorophyll that she knew would make the trees burst back into life come next spring.

Cautiously, she felt her belly it was the only part of her that did not hurt. No sign yet that anything had changed since the pregnancy test. In her anger she had left it discarded in the sink, where Bryn could find it if he made it back to the cottage before she returned.

She did not think she had deliberately fallen. Just like the night back in Philadelphia when they had met and she had stumbled into Bryn’s arms by accident; the handsome red haired man had wrapped his strong arms about her and he had been holding her ever since.

When they had married she had just assumed, but doctors, hormones, nothing worked – she stubbornly remained barren. Until they stopped trying, only then did she fall pregnant.

They both laughed at that phrase, falling pregnant a reminder of how Angela had stumbled her way into Bryn’s arms. And all had gone well until the sonogram, until the doctor saying the foetus was not viable. She had been falling ever since.

‘Aah.’ She moaned, levering herself up into a sitting position. She checked her back her hand coming away red, slick with blood oozing from the wounds. But she did not think she was bleeding anywhere else. She did not know if that was a good thing or not.

Angela looked around. Jack stood a little way off, his feet in the shallow stream head dipped, long tongue lapping setting off ripples on the surface of the frigid water.

‘Jack I ache. All of me. I don’t know if I can risk this again.’ Her hand rested on her belly as she spoke.

Jack lifted his grey wolf-like head, his snow white chest sparkling with water droplets and gave a bark. The sharp sound echoed down the length of the valley, in and out of the trees that huddled together shivering in the strengthening wind.

She stood, began walking slowly putting one foot in front of the other haltingly, the aches and pains of the fall making her body feel as if she was learning to walk anew. She started to make her way down the valley searching for the path.

Angela knew what it was she feared most, Bryn’s optimism, his boyish faith that it would be okay. It was like he did not get that losing another baby could tear her apart from the inside. If the fear did not get her first, the what-ifs, that crowded in on her, the what-ifs that shaped things.

Jack had stopped by a tree and was staring back at her expectantly. She realised how blind she had been, because there quite clearly were the letters A and B that Bryn had carved on a tree to mark the path that led back to the cottage. She turned uphill setting her sight on home.  Continue reading

Leaving no one alive to light them again

Once we were a dynasty that ruled an empire that stretched from the Crescent Bay to the foothills of the diamond encrusted Mountains of Ahl. We were feted; we were emulated; we were feared.

Whole populations committed unspeakable crimes on their neighbours to amuse us and armies marched on hopeless quests just for the opportunity to die in our service. We prospered, setting ourselves up as rivals to the gods, building palaces in the sky upon the skulls of the vanquished.

Then came the plague, the lower classes died first, the poor and enslaved. We thought they died for our amusement as we continued our laughter and feasting, peering down from out of our high towers at the circling vultures and bloated bodies that were carried away by a river that flowed red with the peoples blood.

But as we slept on in drunken stupor the pestilence crept up the steps and entered our palaces, along silent passages it slithered, blowing out candles as it passed leaving no one alive to light them again. On it crept through guard room, kitchen, throne room and seraglio. It did not favour any one, just brought the democracy of death to all.

The illusion was shattered. Those of the people that survived saw that we were just like them and not the gods we had pretended to be. They were merciless, some of us wished that we had died of the plague it seemed a kinder end than fearing the wrath of the people.

Eventually we managed to flee, became refugees forced to wander the earth memories our only possessions, telling tales of how we used to be a dynasty.