Sunday, 18 April 2010

Cadences of Grief (#fridayflash)

No one had asked me before, not even Bettie, my wife, but when David, my grandson, said he wanted to know about the war for a school project, I could only remember one thing, and I began to cry.  David apologised, and said not to worry.  He'd find out what he needed from a textbook, or from Grandma.  He went to see Grandma in the kitchen.

All I could remember was your limp and bloody body in my arms, and the music I heard as I held you. 

I have heard it in my dreams all these years, and have woken up many mornings, knowing I have heard it, but forgetting its melody.

I hold you as you scream, raging against death, who is coming to take you.  Blood is streaming from your body.  You have no legs.  Machine guns rattle, shell fire booms through the air.  But as I hold you, all I can hear is music, the symphony we planned to write together.  I see the melody in your contorted face.

After we buried you, dumping your body beside hundreds of others as a uniformed priest murmured a blessing, I tried to recall the music, but it was gone.  The smell of rotting bodies and the twisted harmonies of men laughing and swearing in the trenches while a few of us stood solemn in the rain pushed it from my memory.  The harder I tried to remember, the more the music faded.

Now I hear the music, our beautiful music. I see its streams of bright colours dancing in the air.  You have come alongside death in his mission to call me home.

You are calling me to forsake this life, and I will not rage, as you did.  You are calling me home, and I am coming, I am coming.


  1. That was quite sad. Very well written. Nicely done!

  2. Beautiful. Really beautiful. Almost speechless.

  3. Lovely and real, and as always, respectable.

  4. Really well done, David. I read this aloud to my family while we were driving and the kids actually quieted down and grew sombre and all my better half had to say was, "wow."
    I completely agree.

  5. What Cathy said - Wow. Very well-told story David.

  6. Really beautiful David, one of your best yet I think.

  7. Just beautiful. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

  8. Awww :-(
    Sad but lovely piece, David.
    The grandson's reaction was so touching as well

  9. Sad and beautiful and the same time, a moving piece to be sure. Gillian