The Fallen (Bardo)

The Fallen (Bardo)

In the village of Fromelles, we had trodden through apples, a deep cider smelling carpet of rotting fruit. Trees, once born from nature’s womb now weep as broken limbs lay on bloodied ground. Their tutelary bark rendered charcoal black by pounding shells.
An enemy soldier’s shadow moves behind a morning haze, and the once indomitable frame spins like a child’s top, and time, that earthly illusion evaporates into an eternal kaleidoscope of colours.
The wall is high, old brick, bright yellow, each scored with numerals of past millenniums. The mortar between, flows as lavender blue lather to a wooden floor, where an old woman in red shawl and cap polishes on creaky knees.
A young boy of auburn hair sits naked in an ornate chair. A chain of gold adorns his neck. I recognise them both. He speaks, but his lips do not move. ‘You have to throw it over.’ Fingers tighten on the familiar fruit.
He gestures to where a wave of pure white light breaks upon the crest, and the apple, that final remaining symbol of time spent on earth is cast.
A bridge of web woven to a stranger’s soul spans waters wide and wild. Yet calming still, to eddy at the buttress edge. Reflections; hardly recognisable images fragment into a hundred karmic segments, each illuminating conception to demise.
Sunbeams brush auburn hair as the boy runs his kite of swallow’s cross sands wet from ebbed tide. Laughing, he waves. I follow, leaving my greatcoat from this incarnation neatly folded on an algae stained rock.
A balloon belongs in the sky. Shorn of earthly ties to slip gently away, meandering silently over unruffled seas and vales lush with nature’s hue. Swept away in ascent on a vortex of rhythmic waves.

Mike Simmons