Mercury in Clay


Bowed, he cannot stand. Heaviness drops him to his knees like stone. The weight he carries imprisons his heart and soul, bound in silent screaming. He steps from his shoes, hoping to cast off the leadening drag of them – but free from him, they are winged and light as air. It was he who weighed them down.

This vagabond bard, condemned to death by life.

He will not sing of it, cannot tell. His mouth stays shut and he plunges into a universe of bottomless silence.

But always the image returns to him. His bones, long buried, singing words he refuses to say in life. Always creeping closer. He can’t bear the weight of those words, the heavy clay of his bones.

Faintly, from afar, he hears the ocean calling the river back home. The lulling dance of it beckons him. He feels the pulse flow through him, animating him with the fluidity of life again. The familiar thrill of a story leaping from his lips finds the listening ear of a conch shell, and he sets his words adrift like little paper boats on the stream of life. His soul drinks deep, tasting liquid freedom.

Dancing towards death, he is struck by the wonder that everything is singing in harmony with him.

These words are my offering in response to this wonderfully rich and intriguing image: ‘Everything is Singing’ by Hazel Lightfoot (@HazelsFables).


One thought on “Mercury in Clay

  1. Beautiful contextual interpretation Sally: I am, to use the vernacular, gob-smacked… Roger PS did you know a new cafe/bookshop + artefacts has opened in Carlisle Road sea-end next to Little Italy -it’s called ‘Food for Thought’ and offers a selection of free books with cake & coffee or a variety of teas (second-hand books but hand picked according to theme and are also on sale). May see you there some time? R 🙂

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