Tuesday, 24 August 2010

'The Contest', by Thomas Williams

Thomas is Aishalton's best carpenter, and a multi-talented man.

At dusk he came,
Young, shiny black and fleshy strong.
He lingered awhile,
Staring arrogantly,
Balefully eyeing the old front gate, there.
But an oath
With a stone
Trailed him down the rocky rutted way.

A monstrous shadow blocked the gateway;
Flashing beams pinpointed him,
And raining missiles did not miss him.
Then the challenging bellow
And weighty footfalls
Like the slowly receding tide
Gradually faded down the misty roadway.

At grey dawn,
Ah, my dears!
The slip bars no guard now,
But forlornly laid, like slain soldiers
In the gateway.
Surely, in the most sleepy hours
The stubborn young bull had returned.
Wreaked havoc with the gate,
Cropped the lusty grass,
Seasoned with thyme.
Then before first light
Made his getaway.

Thereafter, in an afternoon
Or many afternoons,
Leisurely, he idled past.
Maliciously, in long sideways glances,
Looked at the hated reinforced front gate,
Biding his time,
Calculating his next move,
For sure, that’s for sure.

The young one,
Hidden under the giant mango tree,
Immobile on the ancient rock,
Whispered desperately, “At the gate- the bull!”
Through the door I flew,
Hatred brimming,
“Death”, I’m thinking
Shouting crazily “Stone him, stone
The wretched bull”.
But already, shoving like the express train,
He was distant on the plain.

Then again,
In the small dark hours,
When sleep was most deep and dreams pleasant,
While roosters everywhere
Flapped and crooned wakefully,
The blunted index poked the ribs,
Then hoarsely she muttered “Cows”.
Lazy movement,
Serious munching, just outside.
Surely, most impolite.

The final assault had come.
The rogue had returned.
I looked at the barb.
I looked at the “x”.
Neither was disturbed.
Where had he made his gate?

The young ruffian
Sneaked around the wall.
Instantly spotting me, he charged.
Lightning he was,
Pushing, twisting,
Snorting angrily,
He forged through- then bolted.
And the bars?
Oh, how they cracked, ear-splitting cracked,
And loudly broke,
Real fast. In an instant/ in a flash.
All twisted in the dust
On a fresh dark moon.

The bull?
He had come and was gone.

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