A PLAY OF THE WORD

Rating: 4.3

Something was done and she ran from a town
and I'm glad it was done or she wouldn't have come,
but she wouldn't have gone and she's long gone now,
so I'm wondering why and remembering how.

Her hair was the various colours of leaves
in the fall in a heap as we watched her asleep
and we stood there like words with the ink still wet,
as reminders of something she'd likely forget,

or read in the morning and scrunch in a ball.
Her eyes were so wide that they had a seaside
and a faraway sail in one eye then the other
till I envied my brother and I've not got a brother.

Her mouth had his shape that it made and you can't,
we tried it all week and our lower lips ached
as we pointed this out and she didn't know how
she was doing it. I'm sort of doing it now.

Her hands were so delicate delicate things
were careful with them and the length of her arm
was an hour when I saw it at rest on a sill
with a twig in its hand that's in my hand still

Her body was everything nobody knew
and discussed in the dark till it wasn't that dark
but her feet were so callused they made it clear
We two will be getting her out here.

Something was done and she ran from a town
and I'm glad it was done or she wouldn't have come,
but she wouldn't have gone and she's long gone now,
so I'm wondering why and remembering how.

You all have your tales and we too have a tale
in the form of a play that we stage in the day,
it's a play of the Lord, it's a play of the Word:
if it had to be written it has to be heard.

And we opened the barn for the costumes and sets
that have always been there and the dust on the air
would set us all sneezing and telling old jokes
of old times and old shows in old years with old folks.

And one was the Maker and one was the Man,
and one was the Angel and one was the Stranger,
and all the old lines were as fresh as cold beer
in a morning in March in that field over there.

But she was so puzzled her mouth did that thing
and her eyes were a mist and her hand was a fist
that she held to her chin till our play was complete.
Then she started to laugh. She was right by that gate.

It isn't for laughter we play in our show,
it's not at all funny. It isn't for money,
it isn't for love. But she laughed and her eyes
were the fog as it shrugs in the face of sunrise,

and her ribs were the sea in the shirt she wore:
we were sickened to follow its suck and its swell,
she was out of our reach, she had always been,
but that was our choice, if you see what I mean.

Something was done and she ran from a town
and I'm glad it was done or she wouldn't have come
but she wouldn't have gone and she's long gone now,
so I'm wondering why and remembering how.

Why are you laughing, we wanted to say
till one of us did and wanted to hide,
and her glistening eyes had no answer to that,
so we waited like birds for her swallowing throat

to be still and it was, and she stared at the ground
like a book of her own to be counted upon.
Everything here is made out of card.
Take light from the World and you're left with the Word

which she seemed to be trying to show in the dust
as we crowded to see and could never agree
what she said after that - that our Maker was sick
of his word? That our souls could be drawn with a stick?

That our Man was a rainbow, our Angel should hang?
Or the other way round? But whichever way round
there was nothing to do but the next thing we did,
which was take it in turns to repeat what she said

having tiptoed unnoticed away on our own
to the elders and olders who had to be told
what a creature she was and how little she knew
and how hard she was laughing and what she should do.

But I was among the ones crowding her light
so her shadow was gone but I wasn't the one
who asked her to tell us what should have been done,
in a voice with arms folded and uniform on.

Something was done and she ran from a town
and I'm glad it was done or she wouldn't have come,
but she wouldn't have gone and she's long gone now,
so I'm wondering why and remembering how.

And she asked her to say what the Maker would say
and a few ran away. I did not run away
but I want to have done, so I sit on this gate
where there's nothing to wait for at all and I wait.

And she looked at who'd said it and looked at who'd not
and she stood and she started to speak from her heart
what the Maker would say. I can say this to you.
For who lives in this shell of a town but we two?

The elders assembled like stones in a boat
but it sailed as it could, while it could, when it could,
and then I saw nothing and now I see all
and I wait and there's nothing to wait for at all.

And the wind caught the fire with the last of its strength,
the fire they began for what had to be done,
but the fire caught the town and it burned in my eyes
till my eyes were the desert an hour from sunrise.

And I talk of we two, but it's me on this gate,
with an echo of wind when the song has an end,
but the wind didn't do what I too didn't do,
and we won't breathe a word till there's reason to.

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