bees in the meadow

poems and stories from the in-between

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.

mother, believe me

she saw it

when she tumbled over

the garden wall.

saw it spilling

and creeping

beyond

the borders of the woods,

and when she ran home

she ran with wings

chasing her,

beating,

beating

in the mist.

~mother, believe me

pearl

in the night my lid-dark vision was filled

with a woman swimming.

she was lit up like a pearl,

a cloud of soft feathers floating

on the water,

swirling in her own luminescence.

limbo

we are in that place

which is like

a sacred grove.

a misty circle

within a circle that only we

can see

where visions swim before our eyes

and there is a drumming,

a sound more ancient than the deep

roots which sink down

to the very beginning.

it is the beating of your heart,

reminding you, telling you

that you are here, yet far away,

where worlds and lives and

bodies and souls are possible,

where you are near and far together.

this is where we are, now.

that is where you are, reading this,

in the silent world between

waking and dreaming.

can you feel it,

how your heart is soothed

by the rhythm of the words?

or is it racing, quickening

with new birth?

here, in this place, we can rest awhile.

we can return to the possible,

and when we’re through,

we can shoulder the difficult, the wretched,

and the terribly mundane.

we will be alright, our lights

will not go out, for

we carry in our pockets

a symbol, a thimble, a talisman,

ink-stained and quivering,

relic of the in-between.