Grey, bleak, fogginess floods through summer light. An icy breeze whipping hair in my mouth, as the gulls chirp overhead and my last bottle shatters; no more messages in a bottle, carried in the waves. Paper airplanes glide in the breeze, one after the other. Will the breeze carry these words far enough? To the next island, the next ship? Or will these bottle–less messages be pounded in the wild storm, in the coast? Will they be understand? Will they be heard? Or, will it be too late to say the words that are never easy to say, never were: “I need you anyways.”
“This will get us there, you’re sure?” Avery asked the Captain. Her hands shook and sweat beaded on her forehead.
” Yes Madam, as I’ve told the other passengers, who are equally as persistent, this will take us to the first step.”
“The Stairway to Heaven? I can’t believe it. It’s for real, isn’t it?”
“Well, Madam Avery, that’s what you paid all your money for. This is the only ship that can take you there. We’ll arrive shortly. Ask a flight attendant to give you some pills to calm you down. Soon, you’ll never need medicine again.”
“But, what’s at the top of the Stairway? Streets filled with glitteringgold? No more crying and no more pain?”
“When we’re there you’ll know. Have faith, Madam.”
Avery looking pale and feeling dehydrated suddenly fainted. The whole idea of reaching Heaven by space ship seemed unimaginable.
When she woke up she was lying on a soft bed. There was a gate formed of pure gold and silver. Two regal guards stood nearby.
“You there, both of you, where is this? I was supposed to be in Heaven I paid a great deal of money to get there, ” Avery said.
The guards chuckled, “Madam Avery, don’t you know the Stairway and Heaven itself cannot be bought by humans.”
“But what am I doing here?”
“Quiet now. You’re in processing, they’re trying to decide about you,” one guard said.
“If somewhere deep inside you know Heaven was purchased for you long ago. If you know who bought it,” the second guard replied.
Avery stomped her foot, “I deserve what’s coming to me.”
The first guard shook his heads,” Wherever you end up, Madam Avery, you can be sure of that.”
Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting last week’s #100WordWednesday flashfiction prompt. Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art.” The A to Z Challenge GoodRead’s Prompt begins with the letter U.
“To write is to forget. Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. Music soothes, the visual arts exhilarates, the performing arts (such as acting and dance) entertain. Literature, however, retreats from life by turning in into slumber. The other arts make no such retreat— some because they use visible and hence vital formulas, others because they live from human life itself.
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet”
(Sorry finding a Q name for this piece impossible but there is Q in Disquiet!)
The photograph is lovely at first,
A brilliant blue sky, soft winds of cool breezes,
The Atlantic still icy, but forgiving.
Trees rise and guard the home, the lighthouse,
Ancient ones in slumber as spring yet approaches.
Rock walls prevent a fall below, to the unforgiving chill.
Hypothermia comes quickly here,
But the scenery makes up for the inherent danger.
Bright pink of the house stands out and the tower above matches,
Glows in the night when the boats pass by,
Protecting and guiding ships.
The long grass still waiting to be verdent,
Not dry crumpled straw.
And the owners of the house are silent, keeping to themselves,
Their only sense of existing, is the light that glares, when outside the tower is dark.
Spring is slowly birthing, but the ocean’s still freezing,
And the danger is too real for ships too close.
And a stranger walking watches from the dim,
Holding back a dog barking in madness.
The bulb has burnt out, now disaster is unhinged,
The ship clips the cliff, the house crumbles and the ship sinks,
Screams in the night, in the Atlantic’ waters cold numbness.
And when all is said and done, only the lighthouse stands,
With a burnt out bulb of fault.
How can this photograph be a work of art?
Is there art in dying?
Or is art and death as a perception, to ambigious to be real?
Darkness was stealing the light of day, taking my weary breath away; I prayed while the cold, careless ocean ripped my feet from the pathway of stone I stumbled down, attempting to reach the lighthouse door.
The storm raged and the sound of thunder, a giant drum rumbled and the clash of lightening frightened me; but above me the lighthouse torch glimmered, a shining beacon glowing in the dark for any passing ship –in my heart grew hope dimly.
I wondered how the Captain of the grand ship approaching, could see when the night was black and the shadow seemed to overcome us both; but I, as was the ships Captain, was blind to think darkness could swallow light; as the gleam of the lighthouse blended with the dawn, I was thankful to have survived a dreadful night, stuck outside the lighthouse door, no one to hear my quivering knocks; the storm surrounded me and roared while I witnessed the grand ship barely miss the rocks — the lighthouse torch grew brighter, just in time.
“Sweet,” eleven-year-old Edward exclaimed to his twin Ethan. “A ship from the eighteen-hundreds with canons. It’s like a ship from Pirates of the Carribean but it’s nicer.”
“Yeah,” Ethan added, “There are benches. Maybe, this pirate was rich?” Ethan was trying to gode his brother Edward and it worked.
” Well, I think pirates were rich because they worked for the state as Privateers or Corsairs and raided ships full of cargo,” Edward gloated to Ethan.
“It’s called ‘commerce raiding’ idiot!” Ethan remarked.”Privateers had to have ‘a letter of marque’ from the government or King to raid the country’s enemy’s cargo ships. Often, they took cargo from ships their country was at peace with, they didn’t much care whose cargo it was because they would sell it on the black market either way.” Ethan said smartly.
” Well, the Pirate Black Beard,” Edward said, trying to one-up his brother, “wrecked his own ship The Queen Ann’s Revenge. He ran it aground at the Beaufort inlet in North Carolina. When they found the shipwreck in 1996, it had twenty-six canons and and two-hundred-and-fifty – thousand artifacts.”
“Clearly, you don’t know much about Blackbeard whose real name was Edward Teach.” Ethan said.”He was a privateer who became a pirate in the carribean later on, but his home base was around North Carolina.”
“Blackbeard had a party for his pirate friends located on his favourite hiding place, Ocracoke island. The Governor of Virginia sent Lt. Robert Maynard and the Navy to finally capture Blackbeard in 1718. Maynard trapped Blackbeard and his pirate friends on Ocracoke island.” Ethan taunted, but Edward interrupted him with his own knowledge of Blackbeard.
“Maynard eventually shot Blackbeard who was still fighting him until another guy came up behind Blackbeard and slit his throat.” Edward mimed slitting Ethan’s throat and pushing him. Ethan frowned, trying to finish his story.
“Black beards head was cut-off and hung from Maynard’s ship as a warning to other pirates. Blackbeard had hidden treasure, but no one has ever found it…beat that stupid!” Ethan growled ready to tackle Edward.
“Boys, stop it!” the twin’s Mother yelled,”clearly you both know too much about Pirates, no more Pirates of the Carribean for you two, no Google either…”
The pantoum consists of a series of quatrains rhyming ABAB in which the second and fourth lines of a quatrain recur as the first and third lines in the succeeding quatrain; each quatrain introduces a new second rhyme as BCBC, CDCD. The first line of the series recurs as the last line of the closing quatrain, and third line of the poem recurs as the second line of the closing quatrain, rhyming ZAZA.
The design is simple:
Line 5 (repeat of line 2)
Line 7 (repeat of line 4)
Continue with as many stanzas as you wish, but the ending stanzathen repeats the second and fourth lines of the previous stanza (as its first and third lines), and also repeats the third line of the first stanza, as its second line, and the first line of the first stanza as its fourth. So the first line of the poem is also the last.