Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Five Senses of a Moor at Midnight

With your eyes, picture a moor at midnight – the moon affording the only light as it hangs motionless to the human eye in the cloudless, dark autumn sky. The creature that lopes silently through the darkness picks its path carefully over the damp scrub as it makes its solitary journey to its destination, its hot breath spouting forth from flared nostrils in unison with its silent breathing. Its dark form treads purposefully and it knows exactly who will see the terror of its eyes, and feel the fatal grasp of its gaping maw.

With your ears, hear the rhythmic marching of a thousand feet and the sound of low voices singing into the night as figures make their way across the desolate land, shielded by the shadows of the barrows. It soon becomes apparent, as the figures move out of the shadows and into the pale light of the moon, that this is an army of men. Does it march to victory or to death? Banners flutter in silhouette against the dark sky, and the ashen light catches the muddied metal of the helms, the bosses on shields and the cold metal of swords slung across strong, upright backs.

With your nose, smell the ancient scent of wood smoke as it billows across the scrubland from the campfires in the distance, the glow from their hearts slowly growing as they gather heat. Smell the food as it reaches your senses and causes your taste buds to salivate with expectation. Forsooth, an army marches on its stomach, whether to glory or beyond.

With your hands, touch the moss covered stones on the grave that lies in isolation at the crossroads, and trace your fingers across the ancient inscription etched upon them. Feel the cold metal of the gibbet cage as it swings to and fro and creaks in the cool night air, whilst its occupant sits slumped inside its confines, legs hanging lifeless through the bars. Feel the iciness of the taut skin across the feet as they dangle in death, the cloth of the shoes that once protected them hanging in tatters; muddied and faded through time.

With your tongue, taste the salt on the air as the breeze moves inland from the sea. Hear the faint screams carried with it become louder as it brings the sound closer to your ears. Hear the mournful groan of smashing timber and the toll of the ship’s bell as she is taken into her watery grave, her hull and spirit broken by the rocks.

Sunrise will bring tomorrow and tomorrow there will be nothing left of the night before; the moor will return to normal.

This was no trick or treat, this was but the moor living her past through your senses.

This was All Hallows' Eve.

2 comments:

Richie said...

I loved this piece!

Corinna Downes said...

Thank you Richie :)