Today’s featured poet is Nicola Lindsay. I’ve chosen her poem “Requiem” for today for two reasons.
First, today is Good Friday, a day when many people the world over observe the crucifixion of a political enemy, a man deemed even by his worshippers a sacrificial animal, a figure whose primary defining life episode led to the coining of an entire literary archetype. Even if you don’t participate in the religion he perches at the center of — and there’s nothing wrong with that — it’s a fascinating story. My favorite part of it is probably the numerous other literary characters who have followed metaphorically in his metaphorical footsteps: Aslan, Sydney Carton, Harry Potter, the list goes on.
Second, I am currently in a state of revision on a short story I wrote many years ago (and then left alone for many years) about an experience I personally had in tenth grade on a geology class field trip, when I and my classmates and teacher stopped by the side of a Texas Hill Country highway to free a young deer dangling by its back foot on a wire fence. I hope I finish editing that story and that it sees the light of day some time this year.
At first, glanced from the corner of my eye
I thought a piece of cloth flapped in the wind
But when I turned to look, I saw a hind
Back leg savaged by twisted strands of wire.
Pupils large with pain and fear, she struggled.
At each twist and turn the barbs cut closer
To the bone. She made no sound. Resolute,
Fighting the metal spikes, she tore and pulled.
To her, my soothing words could well have been
A killer’s hungry growl before the feast
Making her pitch more wildly to escape
The awful menace of my outstretched hands.
Blindly, I stumbled down the hill for help
Wondering how many desperate hours
She’d passed, denying death in that cold field
Hearing the fierce, wild cries of circling hawks.
When I came panting back, sweaty with haste
She lay, draped on the forest fence like some
Forgotten garment, spirit spent, throat warm
To my touch, dark eyes staring at the gorse.
Beside her hanging head, bent grasses, splashed
With sticky blood and spittle. Deep scratches
Grooved the dust, marking her last defiance.
And Hoody Crows croaked a brief requiem.
Nicola Lindsay started writing in her late fifties and has eight novels, two children’s books, and a collection of her poetry published. Two of her novels have been published in several countries, including the US. This month, Five Minute Dips, a collection of poetry and prose that she broadcast on Ireland’s national radio, RTE, has been published on Amazon.com. She also works as an actor and voice-over artist and has just been filming in Northern Ireland in The Frankenstein Chronicles. She lives in County Kildare, Ireland with her husband. More details can be found at www.nicolalindsay.ie