Strangely I submitted this to an online literary magazine and it was accepted. Unfortunately I can’t remember which one; shows how important it is to make a note of where we send pieces!
Remembrance & Redemption
Apologies to St John of the Cross, George Herbert, George Barker, George Macbeth, Edward Lucie-Smith, David Holbrook and Jack Clemo.
In the darkness I crept out, my house being wrapped in sleep.
I am the man who has seen affliction. My enemy has driven me away and made me walk in darkness. He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.
I leaned into the driving sleet. I found them between far hills by a frozen lake on a patch of deep snow. How could I have been the only witness? Whoever lived in that house must have seen and heard what I saw and heard. So severe the black frost that it bent the white burden of the bracken. Only one red shoe and a discarded glove showed through the snow. I had a vision of the world’s dark deeds. I could smell incinerator smoke; I saw bodies shovelled into dark pits. Children buried in a frozen lake. How long must I bear the unbearable; how long in this shadow of death? I retraced my steps but only succeeded in going round in circles.
It goes, the fever leaves me – my clumsy tongue no longer bursts my lips. I wore a black band on my arm. I thought they’d crucify me; I heard howling throughout the dark night.
Two of them came like bears out of the white forest; one held me in his arms. Dead wood with its load of stones brought to life again. He touched me lightly on the cheek. I lay quite still. I threw away my care and left my fear and trembling behind. Bright sun flooded the forest floor.
I rose up from my ancient grave. Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright!