Friday, October 16, 2015

PREVIEW: the Last Selection from "Patrick's Path"

W.B. Yeats by George Charles Beresford
from Wikimedia Commons
(Public Domain)
Patrick’s Path (Part 5)
By Judith Cullen
© 2015

“…I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore,
Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more;
Soon far from the rose and the lily, and fret of the flames would we be,
Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea!”
Pat paused and looked at Declan as he sat beneath the tree with his eyes closed.  There had not been a single “Crap!” uttered through the entire poem.  He waited silently for his teacher to respond.
“Well, you know the words sure enough, I’ll give you that.  The recitation was not without merit, and you’d not have embarrassed yourself at a poetry gathering. Look at the poem again, as if it were a story.  Look for the images in the words and try to bring them to life using only the sound of your voice.”
Pat reached for the slip of paper in his pocket.
“No, don’t look at the words!  The words are in your head, boy.  Find them there.  They are ideas, not printed type.  Take a moment.”

Pat began to pace back and forth, the sheep in the next field watched him lazily as they munched on the autumn grass.  Pat muttered, “white, birds, foam, sea, flame…”
“And don’t shut your eyes!” Declan shouted, “You’ll just see the printed words in your head and that’s no good.  You’ll only end up looking over the heads of your audience like the page is floating over their heads.  Eyes wide open, Pat!”
Pat continued his muttering, forcing himself to not visually imagine the words in his head, “weariness . . . you got that right! … dreamers, lily…”
“Try again, now,” Declan called out.
Pat moved back to the tree and took a deep breath, beginning the poem again.  He listened hard to what he was saying, tried to infuse some energy and expression into the words, and even used a gesture or two, at which his teacher was secretly proud.  Pat had been still as a stone in his first crack at the poem.
“Well, that was better Pat.  You can still do more. Take a few laps around the field and recite it to yourself.  Just say the words over and over again.  Now run! Go!”
The Seanchai clapped his hands together hard and Pat took off at a loping run around the field.  The sheep watched him, unimpressed.
Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes ...”
What on earth was the old man getting at?
Pat rounded the field and began a second lap, saying the words of the poem aloud like they were the pounding hooves of a thoroughbred.
“And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky, …”
Pat’s brain began to numb as he poured the words forth again and again, rounding the field into his third lap.
“Has awakened in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that may not die…”
Pat’s mind cleared from the relentless pounding of the words suddenly, and he saw a vision: he saw the sea and the stars and twilight sky, he saw a pair of white birds taking flight and he saw Daimhim. That was it!
He ran over to Declan, his eyes on fire and his breath still short from running.  He took one huge breath to steady himself and unconsciously one foot moved forward slightly as he leaned into the poem a fresh.
"Children of Lir" by P.J. Lynch
(from "The Names Upon the Harp")
 His wonderful artwork can be found
atwww.pjlynchgallery.com
“I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!
We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can fade and flee;
And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky,
Has awakened in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that may not die.”
Pat’s voice soared with a sweetness that was filled with the innocent purity of new love, and a touching sadness. 
“A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled, the lily and rose;
Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes,
Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew:
For I would we were changed to white birds on the wandering foam: I and you!”
There was the beautiful splendor of nature and the desire to soar free in its wonders together, to be free of conventions and expectations, bound by nothing but tide and winds. There was love moving past the first bright flame to something that might, or might not, last much longer.
“I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore,
Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more;
Soon far from the rose and the lily, and fret of the flames would we be,
Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea!”
Pat ended in almost a whisper, his voice filled with longing, hope, and love.  Everything seemed still and quiet as if the air, not just Pat, were holding its breath.  There had been nothing over dramatic as Pat had spoken the words.  They had seemed to come from somewhere inside him that was honest and genuine.  Even though Yeats had written it over a century before Pat was born, he’d found a way to inhabit the poem and to find the truth that they had in common.  He waited quiet, but expectant, for Declan’s response.
The Seanchai was no longer leaning back casually against the tree.  He was sitting upright, his eyes filled with admiration and pride. Pat watched a single tear form in Declan’s eye and slide down his cheek.

“I think you’ll do, lad,” he said, “I think you’ll do just fine.”
Glencar Waterfall by Bob Embleton from the geography.org uk
via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Share Alike, Generic 2.0)
##

"Patrick's Path" will be published as a part of A TRIO OF IRISH TALES II, Coming to Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback this November.

NOTE: This is not the conclusion of the story.  To find out what happens, you'll need to wait for the  the collection to release in November.  Patrick's fate will be waiting for you there.
You can read Part 1 of "Patrick's Path" HERE
 Part 2 of "Patrick's Path" HERE
Part 3 of "Patrick's Path" HERE
Part 4 of "Patrick's Path" HERE

No comments:

Post a Comment