Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Prairie Flowers

Her David lay on his back in the prairie grass, staring up at the sky

Where there was just one cloud

Shaped a little like a wagon cover without wood or wheels;

The blood was already pooling

In his back

And inside his boot heels

And anything he might have said

Or seen

Or been

Was over,

Because David was dead

And by the time the raiding party got close enough to start shooting her goats for the sport of it,

She was down into the little ravine

With her precious Hannah Rose in her arms

And her heart in her throat,

A prayer on her lips

For the two of them somehow, please sweet Jesus, not to be seen

Down the crack in the land where the crick had been

Last spring

When the prairie flowers bloomed.

Her David lay dead in the prairie grass,

And her pretty Hannah Rose,

Last winter's baby,

Started to cry when they fell from her catching her broken-soled shoe on the uneven stones and clods

Down the gully

Where the crick had been,

Where the circuit-riding preacher had baptised them both

Just a month ago;

And now,

Oh God, oh Jesus, Lord and angels,

Let my child live

Let my baby live

Let my darlin' live

Because my heart and soul would turn to dust and scatter across Hell itself

Without her.

Her David lay still and dead in the prairie grass behind her

As she cut her hand on a stone pushing herself to her feet again,

Running, stumbling, holding her beautiful Hannah Rose to her full and terrified heart

In the moment she heard the hoof beats behind her

Coming closer,


She couldn't look back, she kept running,


They say it is better to die than to let the Comanches catch you;

But I will run

Until I cannot run

I will love

Until I cannot love

I will kiss my baby's face

Until I can no more,

Down in the little dry ravine

Where the crick had been

Only this last spring

When the prairie flowers bloomed.


for One Shot Wednesday 25


Kay said...

oh man! What. a. read.

Anonymous said...

Very good read. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Great narrative poem

hedgewitch said...

The uncaring flowers. The peace of nature and senselessness of man, life and death, the uncuttable bonds and the will to survive. This one's not about individual lines so much as the inexorable progression, the tension of terror, and acceleration of adrenalin and instinct to the final gasp.
Chilling beyond measure, Shay.

Cloudia said...

This is channeled from the soul of America!

Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral



Anonymous said...

What an incredible story you've told here. Very gripping--I can feel her fear as I read it. You really got me when they went for the goats!


Beachanny said...

Tight tense narrative; thrilling, real, the story of a woman, courageous and daring. I like this very much. Merry Christmas to you.

signed...bkm said...

Wow, I felt that I was running myself...caught or die....the history of this country you captured a piece of it here...and the praire flowers still grow.....you are definitely back Shay...thank you..bkm

ellen abbott said...

well, that's pretty terrifying.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

So glad I turned on my computer one last time tonight! Such a tense, taut piece, what a story! I so love "because my heart and soul would turn to dust and scatter across Hell itself without her." Love what Cloudia wrote about it "being channeled from the soul of America." Amazing writing, as always. Another story to slay them in the aisles......keep 'em coming.

La Belette Rouge said...

You bring David to life(even though he is dead). I bet he appreciates that you released him from the marble and allowed him a romp before his untimely death.
Brilliant, Tiger-friend!

Lisa said...

It's not like there isn't A LOT of lovely bits I could comment on, truly, there are.

BUT, (and I know a very special seat has got my name reserved on it in hell, not that I give a rats ass) the WHOLE WAY through, well, as soon as I knew he was dead in the grass...I just kept seeing my ex-husbands face!! Another exhilarating read :D

Keep up the good work,
on behalf of the little people


Tess Kincaid said...

Wow! This one needs some music, Shay. Lovely lyrics.

Anonymous said...

The blood was already pooling
In his back

These two lines gave me such a jolt, not at all what I was expecting from the first few lines of the piece. You utilised the element of surprise to great effect here and kept my interest right through to the end of this moving story.

Something about the pace of the end of this piece reminded me of Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman. Nice write.

Lynn said...

I hope they didn't catch her.

Daryl said...

I hope she lays down, pretends to be dead ...

Claudia said...

yep - what a read
..I will love
Until I cannot love.. i like!

dustus said...

Holding onto the only thing left, protecting perhaps the truest human connection (amor matris) her own flesh and blood, through the panic of imminent death following murder... striking depth, awe inspiring.

Hannah Stephenson said...

I'm enjoying your little stories! Very full of intensity.

LauraX said...

you fully held my heart, my attention through the end of the piece and of course now I'm longing to know what happened next! Beautifully written!

mac said...

Thank Isis you're back!

mel said...


that had me in it's grasp the whole way....still does.

i would do the same...for my own babies.

i really hope they didn't hear her...


Mama Zen said...

The repetition works perfectly and communicates her terror so well.

Anonymous said...

What a powerful story you have her. It's tragic and beautiful and stays with you. The images are spot-on and the emotions grab hold of you and don't let you go.

Steve Isaak said...

Intense, solid use of repetition.

Vesper said...

My heart hurts... intense and tragic... in beautiful words...

PattiKen said...

This is stunning. I love it. It tells such a vivid story, capturing a slice of our history and presenting it in a personal way.

You are GOOD, Girl.

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers and Artists said...

first of all...i was captivated and urging her to run..such was the power of the tale..but secondly this is a timeless tale...i could see this in so many backdrops throughout the worlds history..a marvellous post...on a last note have a great christmas..all the best pete