13 Oct

A Final Chapter by Peter Rogerson


Fog all around. Clinging. Blinding. Cotton-wool with no substance and no texture, but hanging there, penetrating, all around, lying like a shroud cast by a careless hand onto everything.

Or mist. Yes, maybe mist.

But dry mist. And fragrant. Flowers … are those flowers on the mist? Maybe roses with the breeze rustling through them and breathing the fragrance on me… Flowers winding round an almost-place with almost love?

Onto us.

Yes, on us, and the mist slowly lifts. No. Not lifts. Disperses. Becomes thin like air, and goes nowhere, just goes.

Shapes. There are shapes. Incredible shapes crafted by artists from the very stuff of death… and it had to be death because there was nothing but death in here, mist and death, flowers and death, fragrance and death. Can’t you feel it? Can’t you smell it? Can’t you see it?

I see a candle flickering its light for ever upwards, a flame like the tail of a dying phoenix, then dying because it is death, guttering, a wisp of dead smoke adding to the mist, and nothing. One candle, and oblivion. Death.

And my urn. I always saw this urn in thoughts of death, Grecian and pretty and turquoise-green. I was a child once, and steady in my head the Grecian urn, the dusty container where death lurked. It was my very own fanciful image of eternity, and it’s here again. A single, solitary urn. Unbreakable. Solid. And crafted, like everything else in this vacuum-place, of death.

This is my eternity, Bernard. This is my Afterlife, but where are your Heaven and Hell? Where in all of the misty chaos of now is your Beelzebub, your Satan, your horned Devil? Where your God?


That’s me, floating … in a sea of fragrance, sweeter than roses, sweeter than perfection…

Naked. I see now, I’m naked, like I was once, like the young woman I was, with a firm bosom and perfect limbs. Me, standing by the mirror falling in love with me like I did, cupping my perfect young breasts and teasing my rosebud nipples. And proud … I was so proud of this solid flesh … where was the boy next door when I was so beautiful? Where was his hand, gentle, caring, reaching for each sensitive breast … Will you touch me, Bernard? Where are you to touch me? I need you to touch all of me, to run your fingers like delight over me, to tingle me like you never did, not even when I wanted you to.

I need to tingle like I once did, by the mirror. My mirror, not yours. My good mirror, not your bad one. And with you, not daddy… No, not daddy. Never daddy.

Bernard! Bernard! Bern…

The man with a scythe brought me here. Why, by all that’s scented did he need that scythe? And in church, too? Where’s the hay to be cut inside a dusty old church?

Is that him over there? Is that grass he’s standing on, sweeping that great steel blade at, hewing it from the misty ground?

Is he Death? Is that what we call him now that we’re here?

And the rainbow reflects from the shiny scythe, shoots its myriad colours my way, bathes me in hue and shade, almost clothes my nakedness with light…

…and dust…

…clothes my nakedness in ancient life-old dust. Dust that turns to ashes. Ashes that blow away like so many atoms on a fresh breeze from nowhere. And once the young woman loved her own nakedness, touched it with shocking fingers, discovered her own shape…. Loved it: yes, loved it like nobody else ever would.

Bernard … where are you?

He brought me here to meet you. Your man. Your Mr Death with the cowled head and blind eyes that see… You painted his image in my mind, and here he is….

And look! Pretty little flowers in the trickling stream, daisies to pick and daisies to suck and daisies to … blow away! And daisies to plait into chains of love, white and yellow and green. Circlets for your head and a necklace for your manly chest.

Is that you with the sharp scythe, Bernard? Push back your hood, let me see you, let me know you…

It is, isn’t it?

You’ve brought me, it was you, I see it all now, … but where are we? I don’t see the places of your dreams or the people, the footballer and his demon ball with its satanic moustache or any old bus ready to take us to nowhere.

Did I never tell you that I love you, Bernard? Surely I did! All that long life I loved you inside my head and inside my heart. The teenage boy at the fish shop, nervous, weeping inside, I loved you and love you now…

You might have saved me….

Stop scything the grass, Bernard … stop sweeping your steel around in that huge circle of rainbow light… I need someone…

I need someone…

Someone to hold me tenderly, you can be tender can’t you, hold me in this place…. in this place … is it Heaven?

Surely it’s Heaven …

And you’re my God. Aren’t you?

Or my sin … the endless nightmare of my sin….

© Peter Rogerson 13.10.16


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