A Living Thing

panoramic landscape

The chalk path like an old scar ran jagged through the hills. On either side the rivulets made suture marks where flesh, millennia ago, was torn aside. At least, that's how I saw it then. Now looking back, I see a living thing, a serpent writhing in the clutch of stunning views. That day, a dozen goddesses invited me to walk their breasts, to fill my eyes from skirts they'd spread below my feet a hundred feet, skirts they had laid with fruit and cereals of every hue: ochres, greens and oranges, deep wells of blue, impenetrable blacknesses and reds as fresh and vivid as new wounds, I saw. Silvers were there where sequined rivers ran between deep banks of pewter, apricot and tan. On days like that, one's more alone the nearer one approaches bliss. And so, my loneliness was like a moorland fire: slowly it had smouldered in the grass, caressed the air - and seemed no more than if a furtive lad had lit a fag behind the woodhouse door. A backpacker, she'd packed a punch to spread the flames across a continent. Our bodies, tinder dry, ignited in our bed. The landscape changed to mourn the deed. Dead trees became the norm. For days they lined our path like flightless arrows fallen from oppugnant skies. If they were Cupid's, they had missed their mark. But we strode on, took all the mountains in our stride, then strode on down to where a cowpat landscape lay with dunghills at its back - And there we whispered our goodbyes. Alone again, I came upon the lake by night, looked down upon it from The Devil's Tooth, saw charcoal waters imaging a mouth that feasted on the sky. Regulus, I saw, Denebola and Leo and the moon. Beyond them, wet with rain, a glass town shimmered from a distant shore. She called my name. How had she come to know it? Who was she? - And from where? M87 is a black hole, man, three billion times as heavy as our sun. The beetles rule the world: two hundred families, each one with thirty thousand species to its name! Did you know that? She kept it up until we walked into the glass town hand in hand. Our bodies were a strange irrelevance. We overcame their gravity. The lake - its lightness - gave new meaning to our lives. How natural then, that we should overstay its welcome. And as love gained in strength, the great lake shrank and took on the dimensions of a glove.
the lake
But still I pulled it on each morning and gave thanks. It had become for me what life had always been: a detail etched upon a detail, a patch of light, a soft complexion borrowed from a bank, a ripple or the movement of a fish. The lake no longer held the universe; Denebola and Leo and the moon were gone. Just one small detail (in her kidney) grew; just one much larger detail died... and all the skies that ever were came down into the lake, and the lake dried. D.K
Last updated 14.8.2006