bees in the meadow

poems and stories from the in-between

Month: April, 2017

the flood and the breaking

you are looking for me, but you will

be baseless and white as the moon,

stumped, a stump, a thing to be tripped over.

you will be low as the dust,

and like the dust you will break over

things as nothing but dirt-air,

as something only just enough

to irritate, to color slightly

to disappear with soap and a clean cloth.

you hunt me, but your time

has run dry.

your time has run dry,

and I am the water rising up

from the deepest well,

hidden a thousand years.

I am the flood and the breaking.

I am at your back.

watch how I slide around you

and through your hands,

tearing through the rocks

with my rage,

my long-silent love.

 

Appalachia

in a world unnamed,

beyond jungles,

mountains,

and great rivers,

there is a woman

who walks among the jasmine.

beads on her wrists.

tattoos on her eyelids.

crystals hanging from her hips.

she is calling her lover,

and quivering with song.

beckoning him

to steal through the jungles,

conquer the mountains,

cross the great rivers

to find her,

there in her halo of mist,

to find her

as the sun,

each night,

returns to the moon.

risen

she went up the hill in the morning

boots sinking easily

through the earth,

pale, freckled hands

deep in pockets.

hat on crooked,

cool wind flowing in her hair,

the chorus of wildflowers

in her veins

filling her up, up,

up the hill and to the top and looking out

at life, at death and darkness,

and she above it all,

and there was a warm light within her

shining in her eyes,

spilling out with singing.

smoke of the morning

bring me a song of the barley.

put resin on the bow

and let the notes rise

like smoke of the morning

filling the fields

with plainsong,

with honest soul and your voice,

drifting

over pasture and hill,

down to the valley

where I am living

and bringing in the flowers

covering them

in white.

growing up

she dipped her finger

into the well.

red returned to her,

red on her white dress,

red in her watery reflection,

a poppy blooming

in the dark.

the white flowers

in the deep part of

a distant forest

more dark than light

more fickle than friend,

there is a clearing

of deep green

where the whitest flowers bloom,

their fragrance like a drug

their radiance

 like something holy.

you stumble upon them

and are stunned.

from their midst

comes Death,

in her crown of black.

then you know

why your feet lead you

to this ancient place.

in a sudden rush of understanding

you realize it was She who brought you,

She who will come softly now

to crown you with the white flowers,

(so heady, delicious)

to take you to the Otherworld.

bones

 

When we are little, big voices tell us in our beds, in the chair, on the lane,

“Be good, now. Be good.”

But the heart is not “good”. No, the heart is a live thing, a shimmering veil in which darkness, light and each color in between swirl with stardust.

The voices insist. So we hide. Mustn’t show all the colors.

In secret, we collect our dark, our bitter, our dreams. They dry on the shelf and turn to bones. They rattle where we walk, making us ghosts. We smile, but we know.

We haunt, as we are the haunted.

 

 

eira

she was a woman of the winter islands. she was born in a crystal storm, and the little ice-drops fell with stinging sweetness, and they dusted her lashes and melted into her eyes, drenching them in pale blue. her hair fell in silver waves, her lips spoke ancient poems, her hands were soft, ready to soothe, to bring in, bring in from the cold. she walked out into the shining white fields at moon-rise, singing lonely songs. she rejoiced in the freedom of rain. she knew the solace of the night and felt no fear. she was a woman of the winter islands. her words were the song of the ancients. the swells and undulations of her body were like rising mounds of snow.

one of the consumed

she put out her cigarette, knowing her mother would soon enough see the smoke. she let it fall to the last stone step, and stamped it out with one of her oxfords. she liked men’s shoes. much more practical, much more comfortable. she liked men’s trousers too, something she heard about no end from her mother, who probably heard about it no end from the women of the knitting society and the town council and the gardening committee. their judgments had once been a bother to her, a hurt that arose from shame. but no more. now she was looking down the road of life, ready to walk it, and she would do it in her comfortable and practical oxfords, having no time for idle nonsense.

Idle Nonsense. that’s what went on in this town. she often wondered how long Idle Nonsense had been taking place there…how many generations of gossip and judgement and how is your mare, what do these cost, did you hear about the vicar’s daughter, did you hear about the butler’s son, you know I can’t tell you what the young folk are about these days, my mother’s always had the finest china, they were brothers you know, never got along together, sad business that, yes she was with him all along, down in the cow pasture, it’s a wonder they both weren’t filthy when they got home, oh he’s been sick a long while now, poor man, doctor says he hasn’t got long, did you see my new doilies on the mantelpiece?

she wanted none of it. she wanted blue rivers, ice cold, so cold it almost hurt. she wanted the sun to burn her and teach her how fierce it could be. she wanted a city where something was happening, where people were bright and vibrant and glowing from within with a kind of fire, a vitality, an urgency no one ever felt in the village. she wanted shadows and smoke-filled rooms and carnival lights, she wanted to walk the streets of a place where no one would give her a second glance, indeed, would hardly notice her at all.

she wanted cold gin and a warm touch. she wanted a sense of…of having captured something, having held it in her hands and known it was hers, only hers, that no one and nothing could tear it from her. she wanted music that riveted through her, filling her lungs and her chest with that same fire that was in all the people, even if the fire were made of sorrow. she longed for great feeling and fullness. she yearned to fill up like a balloon, to be so swollen with electric experience that she became weightless, floating away…

it was a warm night, damp and sticky. she shrugged out of her cardigan and put it around her waist. she tapped her foot impatiently, though she waited for nothing. there was nothing to wait for. no one was coming to call. no one was expected at the house. no car was shortly to pull into the drive and glare into her eyes, its lights saying come, come out, look at the world…she wished someone would come. she wished something would happen. something wild and terrible, something so out of the ordinary that everyone would see it, and hear it, and be woken from their wretched everyday nightmares, that waking sleep that drove them to talk of cattle and doilies and before the war.

her mother’s voice came down to her, like sand on the wind. edith, edith, come inside. she twitched it out of her ears and off her neck.

she ran into the fields, and the grass was damp with night-dew, and the warm wind billowed in her hair and her heart began to run along with her, pounding, pounding. she was coming awake now, she could feel it moving through her body, pulsing like a drum. she would do anything to preserve that feeling. how could she ensure its survival? only by running, running, over blackberry bushes and puddles, through the endless grass going on and on and on, and every beat of her heart was a desperate cry:

     here I am, and this is living.

nora

she came home,

torn clothes

torn soul

and they told her to rest,

to forget

to put it from her mind.

they stuffed her ears

with cotton

and drowned her in

white.

they fed her

soft things

and madness.