Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Itch Unexpected

The man arrived at the start of the day
Sat at his desk and worked hours away
He took no morning tea nor ate any food
And he never played music to brighten the mood
He arrived each morning and sat there at work
He never called sick and never felt any hurt

He wove every day with threads from a sack
That he arrived with each morning over his back
He spun threads into patterns with focused intent
Reaching into his bag until his materials were spent 
Then in the darkness he left for the night
Looking up to the sky and the absence of light

For years he had worked and said not a word
He never hummer or sighed and nothing was heard
He wove and he spun and he created the pattern
Letting time pass as always had happened
For years he worked and knew nothing more
Until one day his thumb twitched and became briefly sore

He dropped a thread for the first time ever
And he stopped abruptly, taking no pleasure
One thread there lay as long as his chin
There on the floor curved like a grin
One thread he dropped and let fall away
One thread unwoven for the first time today

He reached down and lifted the thread to his face
Breathing out softly as it wafted in space
"Hmmm" he sighed softly hearing the sound
"Hmmm" he said staring at the thread he had found
He held between fingers and looked at his work
Then tucked the loose thread in the cuff of his shirt

The next day he worked hard as he ever could
Watching as each thread went where it should
He wove and he focused and toiled all the day
He neither sighed nor spoke and had nothing to say
He worked until sunset then noticed one thing
The thread now circled his finger as a ring

He looked at his finger and the thread tied right there
Sighed and yawned and scratched at his hair
He looked at his finger where the thread was wound twice
And oddly he found that he thought it looked nice
It occurred to him the thread looked yet longer
And thicker and darker and very much stronger

The next day the thread had looped round his wrist
And when he saw unthinking he gave it a kiss
He sat at his work weaving the threads from his sack
But stopped now and then to stretch out his back
The thread it hung loose until he stood up at last
And he saw something remarkable had passed

The thread was now something quite else
The thread was no thread but now was a self
A baby, a newborn, sleeping and warm
A baby, a child, a sapling, a fawn
“Well now’ he said for the first time in life
Then lifted the child and walked into the night

Each day from then on he arrived with the child
And as he worked through the day often he smiled
He sat at his chair and wove with attention
But he now sung songs and found stories to mention
He warmed milk and filled bottles and changed nappies as well
And each duty bought joy - except for the smell!

The baby grew bigger and started to grin
Releasing its personality from somewhere within
The man realised one day the babe had no name
And he frowned and he blinked and then heard the rain
He reached out one hand and touched the babes cheek
And he let his ancient cracked voice slowly speak

“Raindrop” he whispered and the baby fast blinked
Accepting the name like a contract fresh inked
“Raindrop, my daughter” he said and stopped at his task
Lifting his daughter to kiss her at last
“Raindrop” he said and the baby cried out
“Raindrop” he said this time with a shout

Raindrop grew fast and soon learnt to walk
She stumbled and giggled and started to talk
She stretched into her body and flexed at her toes
She chewed at apples and picked at her nose
Raindrop would sit drawing or sleeping or watch
As her father wove fabric with no thread ever dropped

Then one evening at the end of the day
As her father stood and they both walked away
Raindrop turned to her father as they looked to the night
And asked him a question as the moon shone full bright
“Where do you go while I’m sleeping in bed?”
And her father stopped walking and scratched at his head

He looked back at the shed when he worked every day
Looked into the distance with no words to say
He looked down the old path to the house where she slept
He looked into the night not knowing what’s next
He looked to his daughter and his heart filled with hope
And he lifted her to him and still never spoke

But that night he took her with him far from their home
That night he went walking this time not alone
That night he had company as he filled up his bag
And though she was frightened she also was glad
She watched what he did with silent eyes
Never speaking or sighing or showing surprise

The first place he walked her was an old house by a lake
Where an elderly couple sat eating this year’s birthday cake
The old man was gumming sponge into submission
While his wife sat knitting in a familiar position
The old man stopped and frowned and reached to his neck
Scratching at an itch he did not expect

Then he coughed and slumped forwards and his wife cried out
And Raindrop watched her father soft move about
The old man was dead that she could tell
As the old lady started sobbing like the clang of a bell
Raindrop watched as her father reached for the man now dead
Stroked at his neck and drew back a thread

Then they walked on to a road in the city
Where a girl walked and talked so dazzlingly pretty
She was watching her phone and striding along
Mouthing the words to a buoyant pop song
When she stepped in the road and reached to her neck
Scratching an itch she did not expect

Again Raindrop watched her father stride in
To where the girl lay waiting for her end to begin
He reached to her neck and pulled back the thread
As Raindrop watched the girl, all words unsaid
The car that had hit her sat silent and still
The driver inside it looking shell shocked and ill

Then to a plane sat keen to depart
Raindrop watched her father watch for the start
There were hundreds of passengers sat all in rows
All in their happiness and holiday clothes
The engines purred and then built to a roar
And the plane hurtled the runway determined and sure

And as it arose every passenger there
Reached up to their neck to an itch suddenly there
They waved fingers on skin as the plane suddenly exploded
And their lives in one beat were swift eroded
Raindrop floating watched as her father
Gathered the threads with his bag growing larger

The night was long and speckled with death
Raindrops father there for every last breath
He stood silent witness and reached for the thread
As every new person became newly dead
Raindrop walked with him, this man, her Dad
And felt unchecked love as he carried his bag

Then the sun came and they came back to the shed
Both awake and alive and in no need of bed
The bag was bulging with the threads now to weave
And Raindrop handed them one by one with such speed
They worked together and smiled and shared
Knowing and showing how much that they cared

That night they went walking with the bag once again
Watching and witnessing love and such pain
Grandparents died and her father collected
Each thread that curled from the itch unexpected
From adults and children and all who died
Her father caught the thread that sprang from inside

One night in a hospital ward they both awaited
A heart torn mother as she sadly dilated
Raindrop stopped her father as he walked to the bed
Holding his hand and shaking her head
Raindrop walked in and stepped to the child
Lifelessly laying all moments un-smiled

Raindrop reached out and plucked at the thread
Turned to the mother and silently said
“I’m sorry this happened truly I am
But I’m here with my father and we understand”
And the mother she wept and the nurses stood by
And Raindrop and her father walked to the sky

For years they walked as Raindrop grew older
Gathering the threads from plumbers and nurses and soldiers
Gathering threads from pilots and surfers and sons
From lives long lived and lives just begun
For years they gathered and wove daily together
Believing that this would be this way yet forever

Then one night her father watched a building slow burn
As more lives yet to death took their final turn
And as he stepped forward his step caught a hitch
As he felt a sudden strange, and unexpected, itch
And he turned to Raindrop and looked at her there
This girl that his life had found room to share

“Is it my turn?" he asked and Raindrop reached a hand
Knowing he knew but could not understand
Raindrop stepped in and wrapped her arms at his neck
Where his skin tickled from the itch he did not expect
“I love you,” she whispered as her father died in her arms
Safe and beloved and kept far from harm

“My daughter” he sighed, the final breath in his chest
Feeling relief from the itch that no one expects
Raindrop found his thread and held it to her heart
Crying in moonlight as time pulled them apart
Then slowly she went with all the threads gathered
And she sat at the loom and worked at what mattered

That night the sun set and her weaving was done
She stepped to the darkness in the wake of the sun
And before she went walking out into the night
She looked to the sky and the absence of light
And she pulled out the weaving and threw it on high
Where it swiftly unfurled and became the night sky

Every memory and moment from every thread
Every promise and betrayal from every word said
Every passion and parent and dream ever dreamt
Every moment and opportunity, wasted or spent
It all spread far in beauty and became the night sky
Added to daily as time passed swift by

And that night as Raindrop threw out the stars
A brighter one shone in distance afar
A shimmering diamond woven that day
Woven with everything there was no time to say
A sparkling perfection of light and of love
Raindrop looked to her father as he sparkled above

And that night as she walked and gathered the dead
She stopped by the grieving and softly she said
“They are not gone, look to the sky every night
Their love shines there still in every stars light”
She gathered and witnessed and returned to her home
Working each day, working alone

Raindrop works with her fingers so swift
And each thread she weaves is a thread she has kissed
She works knowing one day a thread will slip free
Fall to the floor and slow come to be
She knows as she weaves the threads she’s collected
That one day she’ll to feel the itch unexpected

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