Tristan Hazell lives and works in the shadow of the Westway on Portobello Road. What follows is a collection of observations, reviews, social comment, fiction, poetry, art criticism and more. Much of it is fiction and some of it will offend someone somewhere, I hope.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Boiling Water.



I walked away from it and headed north.

Towards evening on the second day the snow came, 
two hours later I was seeking shelter. 
Without snowshoes my progress was laboured and awkward.  
I came across a cave in a narrow ravine; 
a drift of smoke and footprints in the snow 
from someone coming from the north; 
small footprints, 
a woman or a child.

The cave was lit only by the fire 
enough for me to see the woman, 
dressed in grey, 
sheen of her hair like a well oiled gun, 
a woman from an unknown tribe, 
sitting, 

heating water. 

The makings of some ritual tea ceremony 
laid out on a rock.

Startled but unafraid she silently watched 
I found myself a place to rest opposite her, 
the fire between us. 
In perfect English she said: 
'We will wait for the water to boil. I will make tea'.
A shoulder gesture indicated the paraphernalia on the rock beside her. 
'Then you must leave'.

We sat in silence but for the fire 
as something foreign to us both crept into the cave 
settled within us. 

As the water in the pot trembled close to boil 
she she added a ladlefull of ice cold snow-melt. 
We sat on in silence.

As the water in the pot trembled close to boil 
I took up the ladle and added snow-melt to the pot. 
we sat on in silence.

Into the early hours we sat watching that pot never boil. 
Finally, having covered me in a blanket, 
she lay nearby. 
We slept.

I awoke to find her making coffee. 
We talked; 
each to the other brought magic.

On the second morning we departed, 
heading South.

In the cave on the fire rested the pot of water. 

Singing as it boiled.

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