Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Bee & The Butterfly

A Sea Shanty

A boy stands feet together before his Majesty, sand sinking up between his toes. The string from a balloon dashes above and around his head, begging to be let go as the many fingers of the wind clutch at it. He smiles softly and shares his attention between its wild yellow thrashes and the crashing waves that gain momentum, threatening licks at his ankles and lower legs. His thinking softens, the larger part of his mind already immersed and occupied within the ocean's fiery gemstone blues and crested white kisses.

Hours go by, perhaps a decade or so, perhaps no time at all. He will only dare to reason again once the strange trance subsides and recedes. For now, the singular yellow balloon tosses in the curling gusts, like a young shark urgent to gain over its prey, conducting a slippery rhythm from the excited wind.

Barely perceptible crystal stars of salt dust the boy's lips, like early spring pollen on 2 petals of a red flower, and he moistens them with 3 considered licks of his tongue. And did he just miss the sight of a dolphin...or a whale, revealing its muscular form between triangles of water? He resumes his focus, promising by a slight frown not be distracted again. He even pledges not to blink. He wants to become the dolphin, if only for a second. He wants to know what it sees, and where will it sleep tonight, and how. Is the dolphin's vision the same as when the boy is submerged and attempts a glance through the wobbling glass without the defiant tilt of his head allowing his ears to drink the water?

He doesn't like to hear what they teach at school. Numbers and facts about the sea bed, the rocks, why there is water and from what matter it's composed, when it evaporates, or might flood low places. It matters much less than these naked moments of ragged wild silence.

Existing in 2 worlds as the coast line relentlessly defines itself, his feet enjoy the impression of the collision. Rather than a line, it is just a restrained spill of the waves, teasing... like the vagueries of the poet, feeding each other like lovers at a banquet, marrying and separating, relentlessly. The intimacy of the sea is not diminished  by the 1,000s of pairs of eyes that have soaked it in. It belongs to no-one, it doesn't need to. And still, it is not unlike a hopeless animal caged in a zoo... gazing sadly at the shore, and menacingly, with a dark primal heart in its blue twinkling eyes, capable of swallowing buildings, continents, promises.

For now, its loose invitation apparently extends to the boy and his yellow balloon, absorbing him into its private circle. The still boy, the exotic tango of the balloon, the sea busying itself  adorning them both, baptising them perhaps, with illusory eternity or some more beguiling gift. The sea and its many blue pencils draw boundaries around definitions of freedom, isolation, of tremendous union that the boy has heard about in handed-down fairy-tales.

Suddenly, he laughs absurdly. This blue watery soup before him seems silly, unknowable. The balloon seems to nod in agreement then continues dancing idiotically, its yellow hips at odds against the tulip blue sky. He looks at the end of his finger, bloated and pale as the string has tightened. Ah...and another glistening metallic lump diminishes as he turns to look...has he missed the dolphin again?

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