Serene amongst the cold of earth, frost sank into the hollow. Mist shrouded the morning fields, biting the feet of those who worked the dawn meadow grass. Uncanny for its timing, the cold made the farmers shudder. They pulled their shirts and jackets about them, shielded their bodies’ warmth with thin insulation. Buds of May, white on hedges. Winter white on fresh laid bitumen. Steam billowing from hot coffee. Throughout the land blankets were pulled high whilst those who must sought the warmth of stoves and searched the heavens for premonition. A gentle breeze blew the slink stillness of morning. And confusion reigned, for in the sky the sun rose and dimmed and the clouds roiled and grew immense, and lightning struck, a forked tongue of divine accusations and heavenly demands.
She slept, tranquil, limber, her legs stretched fluid around the sandbanks of scattered pillows. Geese and curlew climbed and circled and nestled again, sent from her dreams by her shudder. She shifted on the worn cloth of her bed, her tidal urge rising and falling, her soft cheeks lapping against her gently kissed shore. She dreamt of the land. She dreamt of its soft caress and constant presence. And in her dream she rose, a breath of water uncoiling over the delights of earth, a bosk of shrub and lichen, loam ploughed naked, exposed.
Where she was, no matter. A thin-walled mobile, a wide bend in the river. A place where she would soon sleep. She stretched, her body curving against the tangent of her dreams. Her eyelids twitched. She gasped but didn’t wake. Rain drops: slow exulting taps sweeping steady across the land, the vanguard of a fury. Altering tempo. Lashing globular knots striking leaf and soil and slate and tile, and then stronger still. A deluge so dense it seemed all at once and fluid, a stole tracing the skin of earth from its vestments. She felt him beside her, reaching for her breasts, clumsy, hands fumbling as though swimming amongst a swell, which rising and falling pushed him clear with ambivalence. “I’m not in the mood,” she muttered, half sleeping, shifting to her side, her buttocks bare against his eagerness. His hand sank low on her hide, a slow teasing slither along her contours towards the hollow. He was concentrating, cooling his rash haste, letting his fingers run as a wisp of silken lace on tinted skin. She groaned, her reluctance loose and running. She groaned again, a refrain in the dark, colour charging the air with a moment’s brilliance. Everything slowed, everything turned and the rain threaded soft amongst earth and arboretum. Lightening peeled. Thunder rolled. Distant now. The sky cleared of charge.
She woke, startled. Despite the morning warmth she shivered. She reached for the robe draped over her feet before turning to the curtains. Light flooded through their russet weave. They rustled as she moved about. And with rising, her dream faded and became memory and her memory diminished leaving but an ache. The sun arched higher. The wind whispered to her. The day was exotic, consecrated, for her Gods were of an infinite multitude and their discovery coincided with the rising of the sun.
From The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone
by Liam HowleyWish to read more? (pdf)