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THE ICE MAN OF OTZVAL VALLEY

No dignity afforded in this new found fame
unsought but won through chance encounters,
high upon the snowy plains.

Heading not those soulful eyes which gaze across the vales of time,
on they probe, take scraps of skin once soft and vibrant,
sampling bone and tissue, parts of manhood long ago much prized
by one whose bow and arrow gained him fame among his people.

Vigilant, waiting, puzzled by his non-return
they hungered far below.

Their village fires glowed on in hope,
the mighty hunter late beyond their wildest nightmare.

Seasons changed and new moons ushered in the grim reality.

His loss they mourned.

His name soft woven through the legends, passed from son to son.

The warrior, frozen, lay among beloved slopes,
his dying thoughts flew home to those he loved,
for whom he died.

His pride and gentle nature earned him more than he has now.

Ignoble end, his naked form displayed among uncaring fools.

Their cool room holds his body;  they care not for his Soul.

(c) Jennifer Richardson


ROWALLEN FOSSIL

In the valley of living death and dying life
they stand bound up in continuity
and transformed beauty
of the soft decay
where life gives up to life
the surety of it all

and see through this rare gap in the chain
as levels drop,

revealing
for one sweet breath of time uncounted
where drying mud gives up its treasures
and a tiny creature gazes out
through all Eternity,

turned to stone.

A living death,

a long dead eye that gazes still
o'er rocky shores and drowned hillside

and sees as clearly now as long ago,

draws upon the warming hand
as gaze meets gaze
and thoughts entwine as twin souls meet

roaming the long drowned valley
for one sweet breath of time uncounted.

The one condemned to stone,
the other to dust.

(c) Jennifer Richardson


PATTERNS AT HIGHFIELD HOUSE

Stanley, Tasmania - April, 1997

A handful of shards glints in the sunshine.

Peer through the hard baked mud and see
a splotch of red, a red so deep, so bold
yet quietly elegant
lying still in the trembling hand
that reached out through a barbed wire fence
and drew the shards across the vale of time.

Swish!  Another window of history opens slightly.

See the edge of the old blue pattern
slip through the window of yesteryear,
fall to the cobbles then slowly ease down through the mud
to lie in wait for the seeking hand.

Slowly the hand approaches,
reaches out through the wire strands,
trembles with delight,
folds around the unknown piece, wills it to life
and sees the window ease further up.

A cup perhaps, followed by a ridge of thick blue ware
that graced a table long ago.

Swish!  The long frocks swirl in the mind's eye.

Blue on blue, a splotch of red so deep, so bold.

No longer quiet the shards move again,
free of the hold of yesteryear
free of the fear know to the maid's hand
from which it slipped,
free of the loss felt in that land of isolation,
free of the servitude of yesteryear.

Blue on blue and splotch of red so deep, so bold.

Out through a window of yesteryear they came,
a handful of shards to glint in the sunshine.

(c) Jennifer Richardson


WHERE WENT THE DRAY?

There was no sign

Nothing but the weathered stone
mossed and lichened

likened to something I once knew
now long forgotten

No sign to jog the memory
fighting the swirling mist and fog
within and without

Yet something somewhere called
softly something stirred

Some small ray of light
from a fading moon
fell upon the weathered stone

Slipped silent soft across my hand
to lie in the dewy grass

A darkened patch
now brought to light

And there to my delight
a rusted bolt long long forgotten
lay

But where the old grey horse?

Where went the dray?

There was no sign.

(c) Jennifer Richardson

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

In Jennifer's words: "To stand amid the ruins and dream of what was, to find a rusty old bolt and wonder where the carriage went, or to walk the wilderness revelling in the power of Nature - for me that is the very essence of poetry, and I write because I must."