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Sunday, 6 February 2011

I be witness.

Yes, sure I saw it coming down, but now
you want to know my thoughts on it, young man?
They's rather scrambled just at present, but
I'll tell thee what I saw: first off, a clear
blue sky, as blue as ever was, the sun
an eyeball that you wouldn't look straight at -
not unless thee wanted to go blind. And
then it all goes dark, all sudden like. A
big black shadow spreads across the fields. Well,
bugger me, I thought. Big thing between me
and the sun, there was. Not far off, and not
far off the ground - a bloody great Noahs Ark
up in the sky. No wonder it's gawn dark!
That's what I thought. Well, I could see the crew -
or some of 'em maybe - and animals.
Them's in the hull. The men - if that's the word -
they's one deck up. Great picture windows they
be looking out. Yes, sure I watched it as
it dropped. I couldn't look away, and that's
a fact. It rocked from end to end, as if
the pilot was not steady in his hands
or like the sea was getting rough. Summat
like that! It knocked me sideways - fact nummer
Two! The crew looked much like us. Not green, no,
not in the least like that. Bit leathery,
like they had hide for skin. And then their arms
reminded me of lobsters... then pads where
we has fingers. Stuff sticks to them or not,
just as they wished, it seemed to me. And then
the beasts, they too was much like ourn, jist
diff'rent breeds, you might say. Breeds I'se never
seen before - and that's fact nummer three!

An' then, Gawd knock me sideways once again,
the thing was gawn. I means it. Jist like that.
Plain, bloody gawn it was. But not the beasts.
There they all was, large as life, a-grazing
and a-chumping at my corn and trees, like
there was no tomorrow. Like they had jist
been rescued from some great disaster and
then dumped there on my land for now, whiles Noah
and his crew are away to save some more.
And then... I have to say... I wondered - could
it be that there's a planet out there, much
worse off then ourn? That they be making us
their refuge for a while... Could that be it?

15 comments:

Gwei Mui said...

I love this piece Dave it reminds me of Chaucer - does that make sense?

Dave King said...

Gwei
It makes sense, yes, but in making it it make one helluva compliment!!! Thanks for thinking it!

120 Socks said...

All good Dave, loved the lingo, and funny I was just thinking of Noah's Ark with all the rain flooding down here!

Dick said...

I love a view from the future looking back. A captivating piece of poetic sci-fi, Dave.

David Cranmer said...

Some very fine writing, Dave. Your working is calling out for a collection.

JeannetteLS said...

Okay, so what happens next? Huh, huh? I want MORE. I'm greedy. I understand the Chaucer reference. I was thinking of an epic tale like "The Odyssey." Dave, I am collecting my favorite poems as I go along. Rest assured I shall not publish them, but sometimes I just want to read them. Does that not say something about like Mr. Cranmer's comment? I dream of illustrating it in my little pen and inks and sending it to YOU!

Kat Mortensen said...

I found this really interesting since I've just lately been reading Canadian ghost stories and one is the Spectre of the Sea which has to do with "The Flying Dutchman". You might wonder why I mention this, but it's the first thing that sprang to mind. That and I'm getting some midwestern- state farmer experiencing a UFO, of course. I have to say, you nailed that colloquial tone and dialect. Loved it!

Kat

The Weaver of Grass said...

I shall definitely look out for the Ark now in our flooding. Very well written Dave.

Adrian LaRoque said...

Very good Dave!

Titus said...

Loved it Dave, especially as it didn't go where I was expecting!
I was firmly in Somerset for the duration, and particularly like the narrator's tone of mild bemusement throughout.

Madame DeFarge said...

I imagine this recited by Stanley Holloway for some reason. Marvellous.

Windsmoke. said...

When i started reading this story i thought it was about Armageddon the end of the world where a giant asteroid smashes us all to bits but it wasn't. Fantastic sci-fi story anyway :-).

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Love this! Where's the followup? The next chapter!!?

Dave King said...

120 socks
I can understand your thoughts, given our present climate. After I had written the poem and was reading it through, Seamus Heaney's poem came to mind that begins:

The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayer inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.

I can't recall the title for sure, but I think it might be Airiness
He says that the two realms, monks and ship, represent two orders of reality, the practical and the poetic.

Dick
I've been taking that as a starting point, of late - from the future looking back.

David
The thought has occurred of late. Must try to stir myself and have a go. Thanks for the observation.

Jeanette
That is another wonderful comment, for which I do thank you. If it ever comes about, and if it gets to be illustrated, I'll give you first refusal.

Kat
As a boy I was for a long time obsessed by the myth of the Flying Dutchman, which I first encountered in the opera of that name, but it did not occur to me once whilst I was thinking about this poem. Not until I read your comment, in fact. Thinking about it, I find that very strange. I did think of UFOs, of course, and the various testimonies I have read about them and their voyagers. I tried to make mine very different, but found it almost impossible. Imagination ran out at that point.

Weaver
It's out there somewhere - I's sure on it!

Dave King said...

Adrian
Thanks. Good to have the reassurance.

Titus
Somerset was just a memory that set it going. Thanks for the feedback.

Madame DeFarge
Thanks for that. It would never have occurred to me, but I think I see where you're at.

Windsmoke
Nope, I've left that one for another time, when I'm feeling destructive. Thanks, though.

Trish and Rob MacGregor
Wow! You want more? That's something else that never occurred to me!