Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Needful Things

A portion of an old lithograph that hangs above my printer.

We stood together in the cool, billowing, autumn wind.

Gentle George and I.

In the stretched and pointed shadows of the gables reared against the sky. The moon was full.

I remembered, after, that the moon was full.

George, old and tired, the successor to Sarge, sniffed the air and stiffened.
I heard it then - the rushing, panting pad and click of feet and claws.
Dark running shapes swung round the corner and charged us.

One timeless moment, or a moment out of time.

One moment when an atavistic part of my mind, in cold certainty, said wolf pack.

Because dogs must be leashed in my town.

I shouted "Go home!" My voice the only steel I had.

The shapes slid to a stop, wheeled in tandem, and rushed off in the wind, the shadows, the night.

And George and I sought the yellow sanctuary of the porch light and solid walls.

Write what you know, they say.

JLB has begun an interesting series on Artistic Voice. Part I is about listening and awareness.

I know the sounds of a night hunt.


Erik Ivan James said...

What can I say?
Well done, Bernita.
Not quite, but almost, in the voice of your Minor Annals. And, aren't we about due for another of those wonderful pieces?

Bailey Stewart said...

I'm going to echo - well done dear lady, well done.

Carla said...

"My voice the only steel I had"
I like that line in particular.

December Quinn said... my Faerie would say, "Shibbers!"

Lovely as always.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Erik.
You do realize that this is not fiction, and is not even fictionalized?

Glad you like it, Bailey!

Thank you, Carla. A last minute addition. Odd how some concepts combine.

Bernita said...

Thank you, December.
I didn't have time for them, until after.

Sonya said...

Whoa! See, I can really see this. Reading this gave me the shivers, Bernita! We've got coy dogs around here, not wolves, but sometimes I hear them.

Fantastic piece. Very strong imagery.

kmfrontain said...

That's lovely, Bernita. :-)

Anonymous said...

Beautifully constructed atmosphere.

And I love the lithograph.

Sam said...

Love the 'my voice the only steel I had'. Lovely!! (all lovely)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sonya.
The thing is, they were just dogs, loose wolf hounds, actually, huge things.
One can extrapolate such moments, though, beyond the civilization of pavements and indoor plumbing back to the primeval.

Thank you, Karen.

Happy you approve, Jason. The other half of the lithograph shows a heavy cauldron over a campfire, and an empty tent!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sam. My second thought was how I was going to protect my poor George.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading it. Not fiction. Sounds like a time to think about packing some steel. Like a pistol.

Anissa said...

Beautiful words, Bernita. I can see it so clearly.

I had a similar incident once. My boy was still a pup, though he grew to 140lbs. At five months he was big, but still so young.

A couple bulldogs charged across the street at us. I stepped forward, arms up, and like you, shouted, "GO HOME!" It's the steel in the voice. Authority.

My boy always idolized me, but I think that day I became the alpha in his eyes. I miss him.

Thank you for sharing.

Bernita said...

At the time, Steve, I was think of more primitive protection, like a spear.

Thank you, Anissa.
"I miss him."
You always will. I know.

Jeff said...

A "goosebumps" moment well described, Bernita.

Bonnie Calhoun said...'re the only person I know that can make chasing off a dog sound literary...LOL!

Good job!

Bernita said...

Thank you,Jeff, "goosebumps" is too palid a term. More like that moment of clarity when you expect a fight to the death.

"sound literary"
There you go, Bonnie, offering me deadly insults again!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bonnie.
Nicely done.

(Blogger is being weird.)


raine said...

The painting is beautifully atmospheric, the imagery absolutely lovely, and you are one formidable lady.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ric.
What I am trying to say is that even a brief incident can open the door to the understanding of things beyond one's experience, if one recognizes the moment.

Raine, thank you.Your good opinion means much.

Savannah Jordan said...


Oh, Bernita, how I have missed reading your writing! I'm been so immersed in the print publication of my 'other name's' book that I've let things slip.

I'm glad I decided to come back today. This piece is wonderfully written, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Thank you so much, Savannah, have missed you too.
Don't miss Sonya's fabulous news, btw.

Frank Baron said...

I'll echo the kudos. The piece (and lithograph) evoked a Baskervillian feeling.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Frank. Appreciate it.

Gabriele C. said...

You have a gift of seing the extraordinary in normal events, and bring it to life.

My mind doesn't work on the psychic level For me nightly noises in a misty, moonlit wood is a boar, not the Wild Hunt. :)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Gabriele very much!
Finding the words to share a sense of bi-sight is often difficult.
If I saw a boar, I suppose I would first think pig - unless it were white.

LadyBronco said...

The print and the title and the story - all such a perfect combination.

Nice post, Bernita. :0)

ScaramoucheX said...

Damn that's a nice illustration, Bernita; looks just like my place, these last three nights...just missing a few blue raccoons.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Lady B.Glad you enjoyed it.

Strange thing appear when the moon is full, it seems, Scaramouchex.