by Thomas Davis
The snow kept falling for a second day.
Wei looked at wood piled up inside the bin
And thought about the difficulty facing
Her if the wind kept growing drifts of snow.
At times the wind died down as giant flakes
Came drifting from the skies, and, looking out
The frost encrusted window by the door,
She saw how deep the drifts were piling up.
Each time the blizzard winds died down, they started
Again, ferocious, constant, howling rage.
As evening darkened skies, her nervousness
So great she felt half sick, she pushed the door.
It did not move, the snow too dense to move.
She strained to open up a crack. She stopped
And tried to force the panic rising up
Inside her chest to calm into her thoughts.
What could she do? She had potatoes still,
And onions. Though she needed meat for strength,
She would not starve, but wood! Beside the shed
Her daily work had built a high, square pile,
But if the drifts imprisoned her inside,
The fire would turn to ash and cold. What then?
She put her back against the door where cold
Seeped in. What then? The question froze her arms
And made her legs as heavy as her thoughts.
She had not cried since burying her mother,
But now she felt as if she was a little girl
Who needed comfort, needed mother’s love.
Her body heaved from sobs that made her shake.
The fire would die without more wood to burn.
She wailed aloneness, fear into the night.
She forced the sobs to end. She could have walked
The mountainside to stone built houses, walls,
But living in her dreams she’d thought her strength
Could let her stay beside her mother’s grave.
She got up from the floor and put a log
Into the embers red with dying flames.
And then, behind her and the fire. . . She turned.
The firelight dancing on the wooden floor,
She saw no source for noise. Her skin crawled, tingled. . .
Beside her mother’s empty bed the darkness
Seemed solid, like a pool that shimmered substance
Into a place where substance could not be.
Wei stared into the darkness, opened up
Her mouth and tried to scream, but silence swallowed sound.
Inside the pool of darkness, small, intense,
A light began to grow. Wei held her breath.
Her mother’s body, lined in pulsing light
Upon the narrow bed where she had died,
Began to weave her graceful arms and hands.
Wei gasped, her sudden grief subsumed by awe.
Her mother here? The storm outside so fierce?
The light glowed like her mother’s gentle smile,
And then an unreal darkness swallowed light;
Then darkness was the darkness of the night.
The sudden disappearance of the light
Hit Wei as if a fist had slammed her stomach.
The fire behind her felt as if the dark
Had fed its flames and made the cabin bright
As just before the day’s last light fled sky.
Wei straightened, looked into her hands, and saw
Her mother’s motions as she’d moved as light.
Wei walked, entranced, toward the window.
She made the pattern from her mother’s hands.
A web of burning light flowed from her fingers
Through window glass into the howling dark.
Her hands felt warm, as if the light she webbed
Through glass into the night was more than light.
The crusted frost upon the windowpane
Evaporated in the freezing dark.
Wei stopped the movement of her arms and hands.
Her mother, buried under snow, had given her
Survival from the storm, she thought. Her life.
The door would open as she moved her hands.
She’d melt a path to get more wood come dawn.
She had to think about the webs of light.
Her skill had uses she’d not understood.
She felt so tired she wondered if she’d stay
Awake enough to keep the fire alive.
The Heat of Light audio file
Note: This is the seventh installment of a long poem. Inspired by John Keats’ long narrative poem, Lamia, it tells a story set in ancient times when dragons and humans were at peace. Click on the numbers to reach other sections, or go to the Categories box to the right under The Dragon Epic. 1, 6 to read other parts of the epic. Go to 8 to reach the next section.
13 responses to “7. The Heat of Webbed Light”
Thomas,This has had me spellbound from the beginning and to hear you read it out loud,well I must say you have gifted me in ways you could not know! I have been reading this to a blind friend of mine and now I can play this for her to listen to as well. With humble thanks ~Selena
Selena, most of what I write is created so that it sounds strong as an interpretative reading. I am so glad that your blind friend can listen to the poem. That is your gift to me. I find that really exciting. Thank you so much.
In my home there were no books but at my grandparents they had a library !This brings back wonderful memories of sitting on my grandfathers knee as he read to me. I lived with my grandparents for a time as a young child and my love of the written word comes from my grandparents nurturing my budding interest. I became a voracious reader as a result,even reading cereal boxes at the table.It mattered not what I read only that I read!! .I was hungry for the written word and that hunger has remained a constant throughout my lifetime.Thank you seems so inadequate for this gifting you’ve presented to myself and others who hang on your every word.
Oh, Thomas, what an incredible feast for my senses this morning – WOW, I loved your audio version! You transported me right into the world of Wei, as much as you’ve done since I first began reading her story in your written words. I am entranced by both; and so hope that you create audio versions of all your preceding chapters as well. What a wonderful gift you have, Thomas. I’m truly honored to have met you and to have this opportunity to experience your words … and now your voice. Thank you so much for such a beautiful gift. ~ Julie
Fabulous about the realization of heat in her own fingers, brought by that web of light. I did not listen to the audio, but was brought into that room behind that wall of snow with that little girl. Amazing writing with such incredible power and conviction behind the words.
Thomas, I have so much to say about this – but for now just a quick note: hearing your voice is simply wonderful. You have such a dramatic, poet-voice. This has been a pleasure and a treat – the way the story is playing out, and actually HEARING you!!!
Hi Thomas! Thanks for another dramatic reading–your voice is so soothing, reassuring as you continue the story for us. I hope you are doing well, feeling stronger–our prayers continue for you, my friend. God bless you and the family abundantly.
Papa Thomas (that’s not an “age-related” affection)– I just learned from Betty about the news. I know I should say all kinds of positive things that reflect my very sincere and devout faith–however, I’m stunned with pain. I’ll get that under control, though, so I can pray effectively and fervently. Just letting you know I’m here–caring, loving, needing you. Love to Ethel, as well. God be near to you all.
I can see the scene, what detailed and wonderful descriptions!
What a beautiful, mysterious and spell binding description of Wei and her discovery of the heat in her hands and its uses which she has yet to understand. I am, once again, drawn to the stone, the fire, the wood, the storm and the knowing that dragons are just up the way, and that the spirit of Wei’s mother is so near…and the lurking danger of the villagers and hunters. I love it! More soon, please.
I hope you create more audio versions dad.
Sending you my prayers, positive energies, love and light, Thomas xox
Very impressed by this continuing saga Thomas and a great idea to record the audio file.