Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Penelope's Song

Across the curving horizon, the voice of the ocean boomed.

She stood on the sand. Toes curling to the biting chill. Foam prickled her bare legs, and her skirt snapped behind her knees.

A storm wave exploded on the jetty. Seagulls wheeled.

Still, she felt him.

In the tumbling shells. In the scampering flocks of sandpipers. In the way darkness in the water drained away the day.

She prayed for anyone out there.

Until her legs gave.

She sat until the gales consumed her and drowned his whispers to stay.

(Inspired by this performance of Penelope's Song by Loreena McKennitt. Although the song was inspired by the Odyssey, I only hear her singing to her fiancé, Ronald Rees, who was lost on Lake Huron with his brother and friend. The body of Ronald was recovered, but the other two were never found. This album was Loreena's first after withdrawing for several years after the tragedy.)

Long as the day in the summer time
Deep as the wine-dark sea
I'll keep your heart with mine
Till you come to me

--Loreena McKennitt, Penelope's Song


Terri said...

A tragic story; the song certainly captures her sadness.

Your first line is my favourite. You're very good at setting the scene with few words :-)

Naxcz. said...

The story is highly visual, and to me it's like even nature around her was sympathizing with her loneliness. Really good.

Aine said...

The last line still haunts me this morning....

And, I must say, I love what you did with the photo! Very nostalgic, very atmospheric. Your instincts with visuals are unparalleled, truly!

Thanks for another beautiful, melancholic verbal painting.

Joni said...

Wow, incredibly haunting. The song, photo and text marry very well. Why is the potential for beauty in tragedy so great?

Sarah Hina said...

The tide of her internal landscape swells and merges with the external. I can only wish for her longing to be answered.

The imagery is just spectacular.

And Loreena's song, and story, are almost too much to bear.

SzélsőFa said...

Touching and utterly sad. You captured it well.

Jaye Wells said...

This gave me chills when combined with the music. So sad.

JaneyV said...

So tragic! The music was haunting, reminiscent of Celtic laments.
The desperation of waiting for someone who will never return is palpable. Deeply moving Jason.

The photo is fab!

Geraldine said...

So beautifully written Jason. You have captured the sadness and solitude so well. Excellent!

Anonymous said...

Terri, I wanted to describe the scene more, but it just fell flat when I did. There is only so much the reader can take.

Naxcz, a great way to put it! There was a communion between the character and scene.

Aine, haunting, yes. I suspect that the most unsettling kinds of hauntings do not occur in dark places.

Joni, my heart bleeds for Loreena and the sentiment in the song.

Sarah, I wanted to do so much more with it, but the storms would not be swayed, even by me.

Szelsofa, thank you. I hope I did it justice.

Jaye, water is such an intimate, yet overwhelming world. To fall at its hands is a timeless death.

Janey, Loreena is such a unique talent. It was a relief to see her re-emerge.

Geraldine, thanks! I liked the marriage of the image, prose, and music.

ChristineEldin said...

Jason, I'm glad you kept it short. It's somehow more haunting that way. Beautiful, all of it. I think it's the saddest song I've ever heard. And I agree with Aine about the photo. It matches the song and your poem.

Bernita said...

I was too near that moment Tuesday night.

Thank you, Jason, and your lovely Aine, for your concern and good wishes.

LiVEwiRe said...

That image is incredible and fits so well. Haunting for certain; when you feel a pull and give yourself to something you have no answer for, it tends to make an impression.

Anonymous said...

Chris, at the end of the day, I have to let the piece make its own rules. You're right. This one needed to be short. Somehow, that made it all the more huge.

Bernita, you're very welcome. I hope he'll quickly mend.

LiveWire, so true for the character in this piece. It's also true to me. If an idea shoves into my head, I trust it. In a weird way, it seems like a gift that shouldn't be squandered. Like it came from outside of me.

Vesper said...

What a sad and eternal story, so beautifully told in the sure touches of your master brush...

Miladysa said...

"Foam prickled her bare legs, and her skirt snapped behind her knees."

Wow! That one line took me far away Jason and everything before it and following it was fantastic!

Another favourite.

Anonymous said...

Vesper, thanks, my friend. :)

Miladysa, thank you. I really felt this scene.