WWW.DISSERTATION.XLIBX.INFO
FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials
 
<< HOME
CONTACTS



Pages:   || 2 |

«Nymph Eley Williams No books, Ma. This time I want a made-up story. What would you like it to be about? Birds. You seem very sure about that. ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Eley Williams 105

Nymph

Eley Williams

No books, Ma. This time I want a made-up story.

What would you like it to be about?

Birds.

You seem very sure about that.

What’s wrong with a story about birds?

Nothing. Birds, got it. Do you want to be in it? Can I be in it?

Birds!

By a bus-stop on a road near an entirely ugly city there once stood our large horse-

chestnut tree. This is a true story: the tree is on the drive to school. It is not the largest tree by the roadside nor the broadest and by appearances alone it might easily have been confused with any other horse-chestnut tree. Such misperception would be more than a little unfair, however, for this particular tree was once a woman. She had been the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world.

To answer your next question, she fell in with the wrong crowd.

Where are the birds?

Our horse-chestnut could make all kinds of tree-noises - hisses and moans and creaks and whistles - but all really human sounds were denied her. She had possessed such a sweet voice in her youth too - the sweetest song in the whole wide world. It was this that came as perhaps the greatest loss, that a stillness of tongue came with the stillness of her form.

We have been with her throughout the process and so have observed that she has become Revenant 1.1 (2015) Eley Williams 106 increasingly stoical about her situation. For example she has allowed the pulses to stop beating quite so hotly within her ticking sap, stilled her silent weeping into the soil and come to understand there will be no more falling timbres to her voice. Timbre is a French word to do with sound; you spell it like a jumbled-up timber. ‘Le timbre de timber tombé’ is a meaningless French phrase that is fun to say, don’t you think? Our tree learned to present a wooden performance to the knottiest of problems. She accepted, as the years went on, to never go against the grain. Best leafed alone. To log out. These are just some of the little jokes our tree used to make with herself over the centuries; when the mood took her we found she could be passably funny. The mood took her fewer times the longer we knew her.

We are birds.

The story is being told by birds?

Will that work, do you think?

Go on, Ma.

Some of us are pretty, most of us lustily-lunged and a few of us from the ugly city have horrible ugly feet. These last ones had to cluck daily apologies for every scrape of stump and awkward scramble they found themselves enacting in her arms. Out of respect, we tried to be dignified when around her; we would not allow the magpies any hanky-panky in her branches, for example, nor let the cuckoos kick any eggs down from her hair.

–  –  –

We birds sought only to sing and entertain our tree. We slowly became a chorus, we collared-doves and blackest of birds, committed to committing her tale to sound. We passed her history onto our chicks from throat to throat, blurting it out like food for our fledglings all the way down the generations.

We did not always know how far to believe her history, of course.

‘You can’t really be one thousand years old,’ a pigeon from the city objected one year, swaggering at the breast. ‘Horse-chestnut trees didn’t even exist in Britain back then.’ Around these parts, city pigeons are regarded as exceedingly pedantic. Pedantic means irritating. Ask Daddy about that too.

The tree explained that she had not always been in this exact tree-form. Whenever she addressed us it made our feathers pick up as if with cold.

‘A bower,’ she had said. ‘A bough, a dowry: do you know what that is? A dour arbour I have become, with my doughy flesh once plashy, then pliant, now barked and doughty.’

Is this a riddle?

We asked, ‘Is this a riddle?’ ‘I am riddled,’ the tree answered. ‘And I am dappled.’ ‘Right,’ we said.

‘A broken oak and a stunted beech. Ashen and elder and elderly was I,’ she said, ‘and now like this.’ She laughed then with a dry rattle of leaves. We indulged her whenever she spoke in this way because we knew she missed using words as she wished. In turn, she indulged our presence because we taught her all the new words we encountered and told her about all the new things to see in the world. She, sweetly, tried to seem interested in paving-slabs and balls of lard hung on window ledges, in heated rooftops and feral cats.

She had fallen in love: we understood at least that this lay at the root of her transformation. When the land was young and she still had her two legs, her two quick hands and

Revenant 1.1 (2015)Eley Williams 108

on her lips the sweetest song in the whole wide world she had fallen in love with a handsome young man. Almost as handsome as you, in fact, but a good deal taller.

That is, she fell in love with someone who looked like a man: someone who looked like the most handsome young man in the whole wide world.

As he had explained to her at their first meeting, he was not actually a man at all but made of earth and stars and godliness.

‘Hot stuff,’ said one of the city-pigeons. His feet were pink clawed blurs fizzled down by the ammonia of his droppings. He flew off to chase a toffee-wrapper dropped at the bus-stop.





‘This young man,’ continued our horse-chestnut tree, ‘lived in the woods and was as one with the woods and he was the Green Man, and he was immortal, which means he would live forever. He had fallen in love with me and would have me be his wife.’ She had said yes to him and they had held hands and so forth all summer long.

‘He loved me as deep as loam and as clear as rain,’ she had explained to us. We clapped our wings.

‘But when Autumn came he grew grave and told you that he had to leave?’ we supplied, we who knew the story well.

‘I’m telling this, aren’t I?’ she said and flicked us gently with her twig-ends. ‘But yes.

His beard became hazy with thorns as the days grew shorter and his eyes mottled over with orange and brown sadness. I cried into my lovely hair and covered his face with tears and tried to pull the crown of twine from his head so that he might stay.’ ‘And then?’ ‘And then, when I knew he truly had to leave, I promised I would remain constant to him until he returned for me.’ ‘And then it happened?’ we asked. ‘Then you changed into a tree?’ There was a shrugging hiss from some of her higher branches.

‘Was it magic?’ asked a blue jay, enthralled.

‘When will the Green Man be back?’ asked a coal tit, aghast.

‘What a bastard,’ said a motherly thrush. ‘Let me tell you, love, if I ever see him around these parts, I swear I’ll go right for the eyes.’

–  –  –

We all muttered in loyal agreement with the rude-but-fair thrush. We could get no more from the tree on that particular day; we had heard it all before, of course, so did not press the point. We demurred. We roosted in her shaking shoulders and chirruped our lullabies into the folds of her flesh.

Fungi pouted out from her trunk over the following years and her skin grew a trifle deeper a grey. Sometimes she fell silent for decades on end and we wondered whether she had forgotten how to communicate and was in fact trapped, standing, shut-up and mute inside her bark. She passed into myth amongst our chicks with her silence and they took to calling her a nymph in their first squeaked, tonic triads.

‘Do you miss him?’ we would ask her, at least once a decade. Individually we lived and we died, but there were always birds of some sort alongside her.

She would pause and then say, carefully, ‘I stayed up drinking the darkest water, whittled by wind alone upon a bank-side.’ ‘That’s a yes, then?’ ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘I miss him all the time.’ ‘You’re very patient.’ ‘I suppose so.’ We huddled closer together and murmured to her, tentatively, ‘And you’re sure he is worth the wait?’ ‘Of course! And it’s not all so bad. I can feel heartbeats in my arms every day, for example. I never could before – there are five starlings, today, and a sparrow?’ ‘Quite right!’ we said after a headcount, delighted.

‘I miss having teeth,’ she added after a while.

‘Teeth are rubbish,’ we say, immediately, to comfort her. We are a little biased in this of course.

Revenant 1.1 (2015)Eley Williams 110

‘They were painful to lose, I mean. That’s all.’ She meant, we think, that one should always look after one’s teeth and brush them before bed-time.

On another day we would ask her, ‘Will you ever forget him?’ ‘Impossible,’ she said, and a smile busied itself about her core deep within her. ‘You see, we two were the first to understand that hands can hold other hands and that eyes can meet other eyes; the very first to understand the importance of hands not touching hands, too. Of eyes not meeting eyes. You cannot just forget things like that.’ ‘That’s what every person in love thinks,’ said a city-pigeon. We tutted and fretted and drowned out his voice with a hasty dawn-chorus.

We mentioned earlier that from the outside our tree might easily be confused with any other large horse-chestnut. Let us emphasise the size of her; she stood so broad and proud we sometimes wondered whether the clouds might be one day snagged upon her fingers. It was not just birds and clouds that gathered to our tree. Other plants, for instance, often vied with us in our efforts to distract her: every June, dandelions swapped jokes with her until they grew fuzzy-faced and their heads exploded. Daisies played with her rootlets until their faces were snatched away for necklaces by children. Mistletoe came in the winter to warm her outstretched arms with mufflers - this struck us as a particularly nice touch. Other creatures also took an interest in her, too, with yearly deer rubbing the velvet from their head-twigs against her legs while red and then grey squirrels chased one another in spirals about her waist. They tickled her with their clawnicks and gossiped with her about the new world.

We also remember centuries later when the road was newly trickled in tar beside her roots and a boy climbed up into her arms. He was wearing a shirt and a purple sleeveless jumper over his chest that was not made of sheep or cow or cotton but a new material that had come with the new world. He had small sticks in his pocket that he chewed upon, blowing them out of his mouth into tacky pink circles. Our horse-chestnut tree had never seen such a thing and leaned in a little closer over his head to watch.

He had a box filled with paper. Paper always got her attention; we jumped up and down

Revenant 1.1 (2015)Eley Williams 111

as he approached with the box, whooping, teasing her: ‘Your filleted, pressed sisters, sitting sliced-up in his hands!’ Swinging up into her lower branches, the boy began to read aloud from these papers in his halting boy’s voice. He looked at a photograph, then the boy shut up the box and cried. Our horse-chestnut tree stroked his face with her softest leaves and cried too, for the youth of him.

After a while the boy squeezed his face dry and read a comic.

He stayed up with her all afternoon and we could have sworn her foliage turned a brighter green because of his company for those few hours.

This boy grew up and became a graphic designer for a boring company in the ugly city, catching the bus every week to get to his office.

Like Dad!

Yes, I’m afraid my imagination is only up to so much.

You’re not doing too badly. Dad’s stories have more lasers, but birds are cool too.

Thank you, sweetheart.

The man passed by our horse-chestnut tree twice a day and it did not take long before she recognised him. It was at around this time that we became aware of a change about her; the lines in her skin plumped out by degrees and black liver-spots upon some of her fingers fell away to be replaced with thicker, fresher surfaces.

‘I do so wish that I might speak again,’ she sighed one morning as the man’s bus drew away from her. ‘But my chords are scaled over with lichen, my lungs tasselled with fronds.’ ‘We think it suits you,’ we would say.

‘But I miss how I used to be.’ We said, ‘You look beautiful.’ ‘Do you really think so?’ She shook out some loose leaves. ‘Am I really beautiful, still?’ ‘Yes. And we love you,’ we said, but she did not seem to hear us.

Revenant 1.1 (2015)Eley Williams 112

We caught her paddling at the man’s bald head with her outermost leaves when he waited for the bus every morning. She shaded his eyes; she allowed spiders cinch down their flossy guttrails into his coat pockets; she let children catch her fallen hair to burn on bonfires so that the motes of her ash might hit the sides of his tongue and trap inside his nose in the winter breeze.

‘Do you see how his ears glow in the cold when the light is behind him?’ she asked us one day.

‘Like stained-glass windows made of skin,’ we said, craning our necks to see.

‘You’ll never know how much you miss the chill and the glow of your ears until they have gone.’ ‘Is that right?’ We, forever earless, were annoyed that she did not acknowledge our attempt at poetry. We sulked a little and fluffed-up against the wind.

‘He runs past me on the weekends. Have you noticed?’ she went on. ‘His ears are banging with little wires coming out, like rhizoids.’ She sounded concerned; we all felt a tremor run up her trunk.

‘Mankind do that nowadays,’ we told her. ‘In the same way seagulls glide up and down the currents just for the hell of it, people choose to jog around in circles with wires in their heads.’ ‘Just for the hell of it!’ she whispered. Her leaves flushed a shade redder.

And we recall how later that month the man stumbled towards her in the night in quite a departure from his normal routine. We could see he was drunk and we did not like the way he was waving that bottle so close to our dear horse-chestnut tree.



Pages:   || 2 |


Similar works:

«Verkiezingsprogramma 2014-2018 PRO Sliedrecht PRO Sliedrecht viert in 2014 haar 40-jarig bestaan. Het mooiste verjaardagscadeau? Deelname aan het college. Elk onderdeel van dit verkiezingsprogramma is gebaseerd op: Hart voor je dorp! Algemeen bestuur en organisatie In het kort: PRO Sliedrecht zorgt voor een bestuur dat dicht bij zijn inwoners staat. Met PRO Sliedrecht in het college van burgemeester en wethouders werkt dit doelmatig en efficiënt. Het college PROfileert zich door openheid,...»

«CS200706216 ITES GLOBAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ENABLED SERVICES INC. CS200702909 PAUTANG BAYAN LENDING INC. CN200703000 (DREO) DASMARIÑAS REGION EIGHT ORGANIZATION INC. CN200719682 (MTTGCCDJ) MESA LAND.TERELAY.TECHNO PARK GREEN FIELD CAN.CALTEX DON JOSE CN200716518 (PAWIKAN) PAMAMALAKAYA AT WASTONG INGAT SA KARAGATAN NG AGPANABAT NA CS200702249 *BYTES 88 SPECIALISTS INC. CS200719852 *MARKBILT CONST. INC. CN200718087 1.I.2 RIDERS CLUB BAGBAG CHAPTER, INCORPORATED CS200702183 10 EN 1 TRADING,...»

«Flip2Freedom Podcast How To 3x Your Income & Slash Your Marketing By 5x Mailing Niche Lists Hosted by: Sean Terry Featuring Special Guest: John Harcar Sean: Welcome to the Flip2Freedom podcast. I am your host, Sean Terry. Hello, this is Sean Terry from the Flip to Freedom Podcast. And we are on episode 127 and holy cow I just got off an amazing interview with John Harcar, the senior sales executive for REBO Gateway. So if you don't know what REBO Gateway is, you will if you listen to this...»

«Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13, 9069-9080; doi:10.3390/ijms13079069 OPEN ACCESS International Journal of Molecular Sciences ISSN 1422-0067 www.mdpi.com/journal/ijms Article Decidual Macrophages Are Significantly Increased in Spontaneous Miscarriages and Over-Express FasL: A Potential Role for Macrophages in Trophoblast Apoptosis Sabine Guenther 1,†, Thomas Vrekoussis 1,†, Sabine Heublein 1, Birgit Bayer 2, David Anz 3, Julia Knabl 1, Iordanis Navrozoglou 4, Darius Dian 1, Klaus Friese 1,5,...»

«Batman The Dark Knight Rulesheet By by Daniel Bradford and Michael Spiegel This is a Rulesheet for Batman: The Dark Knight by Stern Pinball, based on factory settings, originally written in German by Michael Spiegel aka Spiderman of the German pinball forum http://www.flippermarkt.de/community/ It was translated using Google translate, and rewritten by me in a different style but using lots of Michael’s photos and layout. If you find errors, please let us know so we can change them I’m...»

«                        !     ∀                      ! ∀ ## ∃ %&∃ ∋  ∃ ( ∋∃ ) ∗+,− %   .    !  /# # ∗  −/  /#    ) 0# 1 2 31   1  # 4 5     6  ∃  ∗+−   7389 /((: ,,38,++    #       ;           Journal of Risk and Governance 2008, Volume 1, Issue 2 ISSN 1939-5922 Editor:...»

«THE PREDATOR PROBLEM AND PARA-AMINOPROPIOPHENONE (PAPP) Predators adversely affect New Zealand’s native biodiversity threatening the survival of many of our endangered bird species. Consequently New Zealand needs effective predator control programmes. This short publication provides answers to commonly-asked questions about PAPP in the context of it being developed as a poison for predator control. It is intended to assist those wishing to use PAPP for predator control, allowing them to...»

«CLINICAL VALIDITY Question 18: How often is the test positive when the disorder is present? Question 19: How often is the test negative when the disorder is not present? Question 20: Are there methods to resolve clinical false positive results in a timely manner? Question 21: What is the prevalence of the disorder in this setting? Question 22: Has the test been adequately validated on all populations to which it may be offered? Question 23: What are the positive and negative predictive values?...»

«Annali di Chimica, 97, 2007, by Società Chimica Italiana 541 PROVENANCE DETERMINATION OF VINICA TERRA COTTA ICONS USING SELF-ORGANISING MAPS Vinka TANEVSKA, Igor KUZMANOVSKI, Orhideja GRUPČE(°) Institut za hemija, PMF, Univerzitet Sv. Kiril i Metodij, Arhimedova 5, 1001 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia Summary In the Vinica Fortress, Republic of Macedonia, 50 undamaged terra cotta icons and 100 fragments, all dated 6th–7th century, were found. In order to determine the provenance of these...»

«Charles and Guillaume Boivin at Sainte Marie aux Hurons The first Boivins in the New World were three brothers—Charles, Guillaume, and François— who left no known progeny but who were uncles to my direct paternal ancestor Pierre Boivin. Fernand Boivin introduces them in his three-volume dictionary of Boivin marriages, Les Boivin.1 The translation is mine. Charles Boivin Charles Boivin is described as an architect or master-carpenter responsible for construction of the...»

«MAMS – Country and Regional Applications www.worldbank.org/en/research/brief/MAMS The following links are to studies based on MAMS, carried out by the World Bank and its development partners (including UN-DESA, UNDP, governments, and other institutions in developing countries). Regionwide Studies Africa/Asia/Middle East Latin America/Caribbean Country studies A-E G-O P-Z Afghanistan Ghana Pakistan Argentina Guatemala Paraguay Bangladesh Honduras Peru Benin Jamaica Philippines Bolivia Jordan...»

«SWC Walk DRAFT Kemble circular: the source of the River Thames. The main feature of this tranquil walk is a visit to the source of the Thames (the Thames head) which is in a field just 3 km from Kemble station Beyond the source the route continues along a section of the disused Severn and Thames canal which is not a typical towpath walk but more like a trail through dense woodland as the canal is completely overgrown and has become an important wildlife corridor, particularly for butterflies....»





 
<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.