A canopy of words and paper leaves
They all of them fall at once into her breast
Being dyslexic led her to read them backward
And interpret their meaning forward
Deeply into her pillows did she sink
To give thought to a mode of delivery
Something that would make sense to that one person
The one who would lay shoulder to face
And weep the tear that would change her life
But when thought was placed in this task
She found there were far too many words
Far too many letters, far too many
Climb the trees to seek the root
Maybe it will make sense there
Atop the world she was able to look down
Sight to the horizon, unabated
No truth remained hidden, no lie covered
And even though the harvest had come
There were yet words left to be sown
Extending her palm to embrace a passing cloud
A piece she did take from deep inside
Upon it she pressed gently her lips
First a kiss, and then a lick
Looking at it straight, she began to sing
First a subtle humming, then a vocal piece
It wasn’t a song like you’re maybe to hear
Full of structure and notes that come and go
A song that might penetrate your soul
Or one to invoke the memory in you
To an ear, one of ours, it was incomprehensible
A best, a slur of utterance and sound
To an ear, one of the trees, it sang of life
To an ear, one of the wind, it sang of motion
To an ear, one of the water, it sang of rhythm
To an ear, one of the earth, it sang of bounty
To an ear, one of you, it sang of unity
But it was evident that you didn’t understand
And of reason was she quite ignorant
Sing as she might, her voice never carried
Into the places it mattered most
When at song’s end, a single tear did she loose
To descend into your hands and cup it close
But it fell instead to the earth
Next to your feet
On a street at night, surrounded by black
Illuminated by a single street lamp
You stared toward the sky and embraced the snow
Deep inside welled a yearning, a craving, a longing
Outstretched was your tongue to taste the flakes
Instead they landed on your nose
When at last one struck your tongue
Awash, became you, with innate memory
The first felt all too familiar, the second did too
The third started to drift and so did the fourth
The fifth, as it should, sailed you adrift a river
A gently ride, the softest breeze, the bluest water
The greenest trees, the purest grass
It looked to be the craft by brush of a master
For the longest time did the boat coast and sway
Until at last the street returned to you
Two of you saw the same things
Felt the same emotions, ate the same snow
Sailed the same boat, saw the same scenery
As a car passed by, the headlights bring you home
Pushing you in a direction that seems to fit
They and you say it all makes sense
That the righteousness is too obvious
That your children have yet to experience
At least until you give it to them
And then you hear something in the distance
Your vision is clear and your heart is in tune
And you’re reminded of the snowflake
The single one, out of an infinite lot
That showed you the river and the trees
The colour of the horizon that felt so inviting
That now looks so dismal and distorted
Do you share that with your children?
Or do you share the former?
These people do not tap their feet
They do not read and do not sew
But you decide, instead, to hum a lullaby
A canopy of words and paper leaves
Round now the table were those whom we trust
Decide the fate of the knave; we insist they must
Lost all he did when the storm came and went
Rebuilding on eggshells was his energy misspent
Odd it should be that he now stand trial
When it was he alone who avoided their guile
Streets run full with the sad, cold and hungry
A sign on their chests reads “I will work for money”
Law backs turned on the crimes of the state
Liberate you we will by propagation of hate
Scream for yourself, but never for the many
Prosper on alone; easier controlled to the last penny
Feed up the rich and feed little to the poor
Make mark of and kill alike those who ask for more
A shepherd to the sheep are they now to we
And a blindfold used that we may not see
The knave has the courage to look at the fog
And to question the mist; much more than a cog
Question it all, leave none with no answer
Purge from the world the crux of man-made cancer
But the sheep do not like it, he who sets free
The grass here is greener – eat more and you’ll see
Pile atop the knave the seed sown of rhetoric
Keep him just alike; plain, stupid and dysphoric
When at last had his crimes become too great
Heretic! cried the sheep – Burn him! Be that his fate!
They spit and moaned and hissed and snared
He said List to me, please! You’re all just scared!
At podium he stood as sentence passed down
On his face they had painted the dress of a clown
Of high treason, they all say, you are now convicted
To speak as you do is no longer permitted
What say you, knave, who are soon to perish
Speak now or speak not – your death we will furnish
Not a word was let go from the edge of his lips
And off he was led; to his back they loosed the whips
A passerby, female, he saw, knelt over and wept
Why do this? he asked, the charity I cannot accept
Of wisdom and courage have I partaken of too
Please, of my own, may I not weep for you?
Aye, said the knave who scolded his kin
You can cry for me, but you should cry for the sin
Cry for the act and cry for the hold
O’er all of your life that you were at once sold
The grey clouds washed above her head producing the lightest hints of rain.
She laid back into the cold earth to take fill of the pour.
The articles of clothing soon became as one with the water that fell.
Darker were the shades of colour that enveloped her.
Her mouth slides open and tongue extended; tasting the freshly made earthen tears.
The battered song of exhalement made real by the mist.
Too full did her mouth become and yet close it she did not.
The water overflowed and fell down her cheeks.
Staring into the grey ocean before her, traveling through the liquid stars;
Tensed muscles relaxed and broken dam let water flow.
Into her lungs did water replace air.
A gasp or two for the oil of life did she try for by reflex.
Settle yourself, she said, as the life water returns you to whence you came.
Tides receded and waves came no more.
Into the sea she went as she intended to from the start.
Swimming upward through a rush of canopy and light.
A momentary release of gravity revealed the weightlessness of the world above.
To her eyes were painted a most sensuous landscape.
Hills of vapor concealing rays of effervescent light.
Dancing aloft the gales were the trails of cloud.
At one point she thought she could touch them, eat them.
One reminded her of a shoe. The other of a train.
Another looked like a cat. Yet another looked like a brain.
She waited until the stars shone brightly through the thick of the night.
Their all too dim glimmer reminded her of their height.
Arranged in a way that made puzzlers go mad,
Diagramming them all made her feel far too sad.
Nay, she said, this is the one who should have feet!
And this is the one who shall sit a kings seat!
Lives of their own did she start to create
Leaving not a one subject to debate
These too became the friends of she
A skywhale for all eternity is what was meant to be
For time and time again was this all there was
Friends who had not met but were already spoken for
As happy as she tried to make the situation
Inside baked a swell, a yearning, for more
Fly higher, she cried, I want to go higher.
Higher into the sea of black; so that I may see the friends of old
Preparation, she said, prepare for the journey ahead
Foodstuffs and drinks did she not need
Not for that of a skywhale like her
But to grow again wings of a creature not yet imagined
And sprout them she did
And grow again the lungs of a creature not yet imagined
And grow them she did
And grow again the teeth of a creature not yet imagined
And grow them she did
Away sailed she, the skywhale of old
Off to a new sea of old friends
When arrived she was not as prepared as she thought
To distance she was baffled
To constitution she was awed
To time she was ignorant
But forward on did she sail
Eventually she met a friend from some years ago – the king
How are you king? It’s finally good to meet you!
As I am to you skywhale. Tell me why have you come?
What do you mean why? A face to a name do I seek!
A voice to an imagination must I connect!
To those ends I understand, dearest skywhale.
Sadly, I have neither this face or voice to which you desperately seek.
Surely you jest for you speak to me now, intelligently too!
Aye, I do but not with the voice you expect and not from the person too
Why? What are you then?
The rain, skywhale. The water and the mist. The vapor and the cloud.
Complete the voice, skywhale. Complete the person. Complete the king.
Eat of the stars did she, one after another, as commanded.
Some tasted like berries, others like melon.
All but the last star in the sky had been consumed
To which she looked on with distress, unable to eat another morsel
Why hesitate? asked king, why stop now?
I can’t, said she, there’s no more room
In your stomach?
It doesn’t exist
Then why do I feel full?
Because you really are, or at least almost are
I’ll get sick
Nourishment can’t make one ill
There won’t be anything left!
That’s not true; move forward and take of the last bite
And bite she finally did against all rejecting reflexes
When at last, she opened her eyes.
Of air did her lungs fill once more
To expel the weight of the skywhale
Out came the water, out came the stars,
out came the crown of a king from afar
A shadow loomed above in the shape of a ship
One with the wings of a bird
Standing again, with her own two feet, she rose to the occasion
Waving her hands to signal it down, the time had finally come
The one hand greeted her saviours, the other clinched a blade