Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Settled Dust, Part 2

A Continuing Haibun Cycle

The runner stank of sweat. Mud from the road coated him to the knees, and there was blood dried on his face and hands. His eyes rolled white in his sunken face, and he collapsed to the earth, holding his stomach as the breath ripped in and out of him. One of the woodcutters dropped his bronze axe and moved to the man’s side. The woodcutter, a big man with only the wisps of hair remaining on his wide head, listened to the runner’s rasping, an ear close to the blood-flecked lips. After a dozen breaths went by, the woodcutter’s eyes grew wider. He leapt up from the earth and bellowed out a single word.


The village burst into a panic as the noise of his shout rolled away toward the broken hills beyond and to the west. The boy watched all of this, his small hands clasped before him, his pale eyes taking in the frantic movement of these, his captors.

He didn’t know what the word meant, but that was not unusual. These folk had a strange dialect, and he had only been here a few turns of the moon. The woman who kept him as thrall went careening across the road, gobbling like a giant, wounded bird. The boy thought of how she gave him short rations at night and made him sleep outside in the chill darkness. Her frantic behavior continued as she grabbed the dirty shirt front of the bread baker and yelled into his face. Spittle flew from her lips and hung in his straggling beard.

He slapped her hands away and pushed her. Her worn boot heel caught on a stone and she sprawled to the muddy ground. Her face went red, and a new tirade of unintelligible nonsense spewed forth. The bread baker did not stand by to hear it, ducking inside his cooking shed and coming back with a massive cooking knife. The boy smiled slightly.

“Dolgur,” he whispered to himself. He moved behind the pile of deadfall kindling he’d brought back from the forest’s verge. He was not tall enough to easily peer out from this shelter, so he set to work, laboring to pull a chopping block into a good place. He pulled with all his strength, hoisting the fat log, though it weighed nearly as much as he did. Dropping it behind the woodpile next to a natural peep-hole space in the kindling, he settled his narrow hind end and watched the growing mayhem.

These folk, my captors
Make them mad, consume them all,
I bless this Dolgur

Give me a good seat
To watch the coming mayhem
A view to their doom

Bring me the next dawn
Free, whether escaped or dead
A thrall no longer


Bill said...

Patrick... I like the new look... I've got to clean up my template and make the move..

I'm late into the series here, but I need to come back and catch up!

As usual your writing grabs me!

Patrick M. Tracy said...


Thanks for coming by! You're only two poems into this cycle, so it won't take a lot of digging.

As far as the look, I haven't done that much other than upgrade to the new Blogger and add some content. I've been pretty busy with adding more sites and so forth, however. I'm up on Myspace, Wordpress, and have a Google website up, as well as another journal for my fiction writing pursuits. A little web empire, if you will.

Seems like you've been pretty much up to your eyeballs in work, so it's great that you could free yourself up to come by. Hope to see you around again soon!

swiftboat said...

Hi Patrick,

This is a new and different thread of the story from part 1. It'll be interesting to see how these seperate stories intersect. So now Now I'm doubly primed - a female killer, a Dolgar, and a small inslaved boy. Keep em' coming.

Patrick M. Tracy said...


I'm glad you like it! I hope it turns out well. I think the threads of the story will come together in an interesting way. I'm still not sure how it'll all work out in the end, but I think it'll keep people reading (the few that come over anymore, at least!)

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