The rain drowned their songs
and filled their boots with water,
cold as a dead man’s bath.
Braced on horseback they rounded
a hill webbed in weeds,
and suddenly the land unfolded before them-
a tower, standing solid and stout,
like an iron coffin;
a village, sunken in mud,
with long abandoned fields rolling across
the flattened land,
like brown patchwork on a falling apart quilt.
And beyond the empty pastures,
past the cold walls that threatened to scrape the sky-
was blackened land,
torn up by spiny weeds and husks of trees.
The sky was neither cloudy nor clear;
but a shimmering mist swelled the rain.
Some remembered this land,
and their breath hitched in their throats
as they pulled back the reins.
A gust of wind,
the flapping of cloaks,
raindrops clinging to eyelashes-
this was not the land they once knew.
This land was dying,
its fields spotted in flood water
and farms bare of cattle and mountain sheep,
with thatched roofs caving in,
and bone trees snaring the land-
they could almost see the ghosts
that, pale as fish,
dragged their feet across the earth,
acting through their endless day.
“How could this happen?”
There was no answer, of course.
They dug their heels into their steeds,
and then reared onward,
as the wind bit their necks.
I extracted this piece from my current work in progress, and tweaked it into a poem. It might seem kind of lazy, but I’ve been overwhelmingly busy lately, and I did have some fun adapting it.