Jump to content

Poppy by the River.

Guest Brandon T.

Recommended Posts

Guest Brandon T.

So! You guys have probably noticed the presence of nature in some of the stuff I've posted. No surprise in being from Alabama and being inspired and influenced heavily by nature. I dunno, it just tends to creep up in everything I write so here we are yet again, something else about nature. From time to time, I get inspired to write about things from an awkward point of view. And here is another example of that. Dashed off quickly in WordPerfect, I think it's the start of some bigger project so... I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, enjoy Poppy by the River.


A single poppy bloomed beside the river. It was tiny and red and its thin stem seemed to bend under the weight of its color, but it was a bold little thing stuck among the tall shoots of white-tipped grass that seemed to shoot feathers out of their stalks. Beside the gurgling water, taking in the whisper of the river rocks, the poppy sat with its oversized petals, just passing the gossip back and forth with the stones, letting the envious thatch of dried old crab grass wither beneath the sun. As for the white-tipped tall plants, for their part, they were mostly quiet and kept to themselves, whispering and cackling among themselves, too beautiful to associate with the wildly colored thing there by the river. But the poppy didn’t seem to mind too much, just sat among them all, gabbing with the river, singing with the rain, drying its large, voluptuous petals in the sun when noon came. And then, at night, it whistled a sweet melody to the evening tide of the river, right when all the rocks emerged and basked in the moonlight with gleaming bellies turned up to the sky.

There came a time though, when the poppy grew lonely and the river’s gregarious chatter grew into a rancorous old tune that stung its stem and jostled its petals. A single drop of red in a sea of white and gold, invisible when the wind blew from the east and then from the west as if lost in a snowstorm. No other colors to be seen except for the pale blue sky reflected in clear water and its sloshed white froth that bubbled near the river bed, where the rocks were larger, fatter, and therefore too lazy to swim along the bottom as they should have and sent water skittering up the sides of the sodden earth. And at night, when the river song faded to give way to the poppy’s song, it spot black and the white freckles that dotted the sky’s face. But no other colors, aside from maybe a little indigo or blue. And so the poppy’s petals drooped and its stem bowed back. Her evening song lamented and rocked like sad grey water in the river basin, like that time when sky had turned dirty white and the grass dark brown, and for a moment, it thought that it would break and wilt like the jealous grass at its roots.

And then out of the east, streaking and flitting in all the showiness of its color, a leaf came across the sky. It was frenetic and painted the wind in artful strokes, unsettling the dolor that had come to rest over the field. The white-tipped grasses hissed and spat, careful not to let themselves be settled something else so forward in its plumage, but the left kept coming just the same, unbothered by their sputtering protests, guided to the river by the wind. A funny thing, the wind. It changed directions the minute you made up your mind about which way it would turn, left you standing there, flat-footed and dumb with your jaw hanging open at the slack, confused. As much as you stood there wishing for a cool breeze to tickle your brow, it blew in the opposite direction, taking your wish elsewhere to dance through swaying trees and moaning old oak things, to fill wind chimes with lilting songs of some faraway place, and to whip up through houses and make front doors slam. The wind was playful and teased you, but in the end, it brought you exactly what you needed. Of course, this may have been after you stopped asking for it. Then again, just because you stopped asking didn’t mean you stopped needing it. And sometimes, you didn’t have ask to know you needed it.

The wind answered silence with its whispering footsteps as it came prancing through the field beside the river, with a single leaf and a mind to place it just so. Everything just so. Everything neatly tucked into place, a new arrangement that no one had ever thought of before. With all of its cool humor on display, it made a show of the leaf’s arrival; up it spiraled, twisting about in a wild, chaotic ballet before slipping down some invisible slope, free-falling into quiet nothing and then, yet again in movement, spinning, spinning, spinning, red burning a hole in the sky. The white-tips slashed at the leaf, vehement in their protest. Not here, not here, not here! Not while they already had a poppy trapped in their midst, they didn’t need a leaf coming along to further clutter things. Arcs and lines and crazy shapes came out of the leaf’s course as it gave up spinning to drift down like a snowflake in Autumn. The white-tips bristled and whipped their long bodies to and fro, a hissy fit if there ever was one and the wind, the wind hissed back. In violent, sharp notes painted gloriously furious. Working its voice through their thin, shaking bodies and wrenching them apart, breaking up the cage they had made around the poppy.

And down, the snowflake came, an angel from heaven. In the profound silence among the still white-tips, red settled against red. The poppy’s petals perked immediately and it cast its voice to the river. A friend, a friend at last! Someone new. Someone full of color and life! The gurgling river and the fat stones laughed, the wind crept out of the field giggling to itself, and the leaf. The leaf with its deep, rich color nestled itself against the poppy’s stem and hummed to the river. The river, finding a different voice, a voice it had never known to inhabit its body, hummed back. Suddenly it was filled with the blurred, distorted images of many leaves, spinning out of the west, where the trees were, where they formed a barrier between the old house on the other side of the river and the old quarry on the other side of that. The poppy lifted its petals high to the sun, thankful, so very thankful.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...