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CROWLAND

By @TEFlash

Section Three

There was a person,

Bright and calming,

Skin like river mud and eyes like flecks of foam

With whom the bairn had welcomed

In the dead of winter’s night.

She still remembers the day,

When razor wind cut frost crusted leaves

Off trees

And the ground ached with frozen wounds;

When Ra had first come knocking.

They claimed to have been running away,

And saw the warmth of light in the sill

And decided to ask for shelter

That invernous night.

From what their feet were fleeing,

She had answers none.

But Ra’s hands were warm despite the chill

And their eyes a hearth.

They had spoken of hot river steam and

Lands free of ice,

Of a landscape of ash and dreams, where

Black, matte feathers decorated branches

Instead of leaves,

As a crow watched below, her eyes cold and

Wary.

They described her Crowland,

A place, thought she, a mere dream.

Smitten, as they say, are the two.

So enraptured was the bairn with the stories

And the comfort

That she forgot the wild’s claim

And grew to love.

How strange is the feel of barrenness,

Even ensconced amongst wool,

Aware of every prick of the nerve

And touch of the skin.

She had only felt whole wrapped in wilds,

But the encircling of arms about her

Is a safety she loves to taste.

Ra,

Asks she, wicked in the dark,

Have you been to the land of ash and wings?

I dream of it still,

I had those sights you described

In my head

Since before you had come.

It floods my nights with vividity and sorrow,

And blood and battles, never won.

Is it true what they say,

That the crow still flies?

Have you seen her, Ra, have you seen?

A solemn nod came answer.

Of course, lovely Mur,

She told me to run.

Run from my house in the cold, feet bare

She was right, I had to run.

I saw the fire in the distance

A fate I’d been saved from.

I lived in the ash, with my wretched home

Sitting fresh and new between two hills.

Alone, were we,

The land a sacred thing

That scared the feet that walked

And me, as well.

But she, oh Mur,

A wonderful bird,

Her voice like soft yearning but

Hard like stones.

You must come to see her, if only for

A conversation.

I would like to come too, and thank her.

So the days come and go, every golden cycle

Of the sun a distant tick of Fate’s waiting.

Older, they grew, now woman and elder,

One knotted like bark,

The other smooth as snow.

Mother and child, under the glare of time

Coming into and coming out of

Miraculous things, respective.

But time does not forgive nor spare,

Goodness an illusionist’s wave

And time is immune to it all.

Her mother is grey and sick,

Now barren of color and light,

Each retch of her stomach a cold reminder

Of life’s brutal end.

Mur,

Whispers mother,

Beckoning her daughter close,

There is legend that tells of a wish granting

Bird, of black silk wings and beetle eyes.

Starved were her kind, under our locks,

But one still flew, unclipped and free.

You remember,

Dear Mur,

The day she flew by.

When I fade you must go, flee with those feet

And look for her, please,

Ask your wish for me,

For I am too late to try.

You dream of it; it is your land,

Dear Mur, my beautiful bairn.

Go see that crow, as you’ve wished for years

Alone or with company,

As long as you arrive.

This is what I wish of you.

Look under the floorboards, lovely,

Under the boards.

Rivers fall from the lashes of her lovely eyes,

Mourning tithes, precious as gold,

As the gnarled hand she holds so dearly

Greys and falls cold, cold

Cold like winter, cold like snow

Cold like the ground’s aches

And cold like northern breath.

And she promises, she swears on a wild heart

That she would see her crow once,

Like her mother desired

And revel a question, a wish at journey’s end

To ask for the warmth of a mother’s

Young hand again, even as it grew to dust

Beneath her fingers.

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