By Paul Hetherington
Read or Download Blood and Old Belief: A Verse Novel PDF
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Additional info for Blood and Old Belief: A Verse Novel
The evening’s a wave of heat, then haziness, while nearby a homestead waits where no-one’s lived for years. She walks towards it, scared of something silent in the dark. ❧ She pauses in collecting fallen fruit, shoos away the clacking geese, looks at sky through leaf and branch. The bruised fruit softens in her hand. She sucks and spits. Remembering herself, she sits and writes. Gathers herself in words, scores them out, gathers herself again. The sky so large, the shadowing of trees so small a haven, turns a black stone in her hand, walks towards the homestead where the pictures are that she believes must be her ancestors.
I smooth my dress and wipe the benches, wash the dusty cloth. All seems watched, as if God’s staring eye lights up the house and radiates the crops. I’d wipe them clean of earth, too, if I could, wipe quite clean the dusty, dirty world of all its rough and blemished wear and soil and make it shine, and hold it at my heart— cleansed, it would at last be Godly-strong and I its matron, gathering it in arms. 50 Thirty-one: Katherine Katherine lifts the bread bin’s lid and finds the crusty loaf. She gouges with her fingers into the moistness, pulling free a handful, pushing it into her mouth, and the taste shivers in her as a small ecstasy.
47 Twenty-nine: Jack Jack shelters under willows near the creek, their dense cascade of underwater roots like the flowing scarlet-orange hair of some woman who has drowned. He walks where property line and creek line join and part, hemmed with river stones and trailing shadow near a group of boulders. Here he waits while midday glares with thirsty yellow heat. Old dreams welter in his troubled mind. ❧ In keeping myself apart I suffer change until I lose the names of days. Dragging a bag of wheat I bang and twist a knee and, waiting for pain to slow, I see the wide, brown river that was boyhood’s pleasure— pushing a twine-tied raft in water like a million rushing threads of light and darkness joined.