Alan often has poetry challenges and he administers the site with encouragement to the poet whether they are new to writing or seasoned. I recommend his site for any poets or poetesses.
Thank you Alan for writing this poetic thoughtful story.
I think you will enjoy the imagery in each word he chose to tell this enchanting account.
I found myself stuck in traffic and was going nowhere fast. As I looked to my left I noticed a bookstore, on a street I drove down everyday and never noticed. An empty space right up front, as I found myself parked and out of the car before I had time to think. A prim and proper older lady, no ring on her finger, as spinster came to mind. A younger woman with librarian glasses, was dusting off books and rearranging them. They exchanged glances with each other, one smiled and one didn’t. The greeting was less than warm from the older lady, but then I was intruding into her world. An odd little place, none the less as I looked around I noticed that there was no new books, just old books in good to very good condition. A couple of very old fans turned back and forth, making very little noise despite their age. they helped to move the dust as the smell of old manuscripts, and handmade paper, clearly lacking the acidic smell of new paper and ink.. I noticed a few authors I had in my collection and others I had never heard of.
I came across one book, a very old book from the looks of it, no title or name anywhere on it. It’s cover was made of hand tooled leather, a pattern extending around the entire volume. Which may have been goldleaf or perhaps just a gold colored paint, the binding was handsewn. Very well preserved, the pages were written by hand in what appeared to a quill pen. The way the were letters formed, stood out in a manner that was very unusual for a book of this age. As my knowledge and experience began to tell me that it was written by a woman and perhaps several different women. Very few if any man would make and form letters that are distinctive feminine. It was written in a language I did not seem to recognise. I would later come to believe it was more of the book having come across me. As I went to pay for this very rare old book, my gut began to imply that they were very happy to be rid of it. I made a point of making eye contact, the older lady’s eyes. I found disturbing, she had that look as if she knew me, or of me. And I knew I had never seen her before. As I stepped outside of the bookstore, I noticed the traffic jam was cleaned up and looked as if nothing had ever been wrong. Looking at my phone I realized I had been in the store for several hours, and not what seemed to be a few minutes. I hurried on to the market and then home.
I set down with it at my desk, with a cup of tea. And began to examine at each word, each letter, slowly covering each page with a magnifying glass. Hoping to come across a word or two I might recognize, and then begin to understand what was written in these pages that smelled of musky old paper and of herbs and oils. As my tea began to grow cold, I settle on some form of old Celtic, perhaps even Druid as the possible language. A few of the words reminded me of some very old an early English words, by the way the rolled around in my mind and off my tongue. I set back in my chair with cup in hand and closed my eyes. Began the process of thinking about each word in hopes of finding some commonality. When they began to dance within my mind, as if moving through time. Each word began to change as is they were being rewritten, truly they were some form of an ancient language, perhaps pre Druid. I was experiencing the evolution of the English Language, as each word formed an image, some so old they seemed to be turning into dust. Animal Skins and Skulls gave way to Flowers and Herbs, strange Crystals. Feasts of meats and ceremonies gave way to more Fruits and Vegetables, Gourds. As the Nature of celebrations evolved as well. Sounds made from the horns of animals, and seashells, gave way to flutes and stringed instruments.
Hard and gruntled sounding words were softened and mellowed like the instruments now being played. Strong drink and ale was being passed around the seasonal feasts like water. While potions made with great care were given to specific men. Bloodlines were established and births were planned, not by men with primal urges. They were done by women who knew and understood, precisely what they were doing.
The images played on, generation after generation, century’s passed. Throughout the ages they were drowned, burned or were hung, even beheaded. They were given names, by those who feared them, cursed by those who could not control them. They fell in and out of favor, as fewer and fewer practiced the ancient ways. Just as there are few who pray to God’s as they once did, and now blame a loss of values on the godless. They have turned away from the God of their fathers and mothers. And have once again turned to the ancient ways, fantasy’s of old. The flock has scattered amidst the herds of man. The time of the gathering is closer than they think, and their time grows nih. The images I was being shown were from a dying breed of believers. Who hope I would keep their way of life alive through my words. And as the decades turn into century’s my words will introduce them to the remnants of their children who have yet to born. And the Ancient ways will live on, as will a sect of women. Who know and have learned the ways of nature in a manner that few men will ever understand.
The chill of very early morning found me still a sitting at my desk. The Ancient Book upon my desk, and me wondering if I had dreamed it all. Except for one image I seemed to know, and for some reason knew very well.