Three Candles by David Ian Bickley

However long hung the thread,
Who tied the knot that bound the web?
That pulled the tide, beyond the field,
Beyond the farm, into this time.

Yet far from the barn and byre,
In a city, drawn from fire,
Here slept a turning greed,
That called the man from his home,
To sit, to stand, to watch,
Then tell —

Who or why it was not known
What was, was deeper,
Where the thread ran,
And who was bound to its sickly charm.

As he walked back to the land,
The thread had grown,
Was now a rope, a cable,
Deep and dark and purple full
Rattling in the empty cavern still,
Where there is no hope…
Where promises had fled.

And so he stood, back on the sod
On the old land, the same land
Yet changed.

A strange wind blew that night as he turned in his bed
Any food he may have tasted was as rope,
And wood,
And stone —
Not of human hands.

So again he stood,
In the small round field below the house
And looked at the river that wound mechanically
Through the deepening valley.
The forest wrapped tighter around his heart,
And a sob deep within,
Murmured to his worried brow.

The river now called,
It called of peace,
Of cleansing,
Of untying the rope,
And releasing man
From his senseless prison.

They searched the small round field,
The river and the marsh,
The wood and the sea,
But no corpse was found
And the river was quiet,
Was listening still,
And watching the men as they swung lanterns,
And called echoes across the water.

Then someone came
With a miniature boat
Like a fairy craft made of straw
Someone else had a candle,
Freshly blessed in the stone church beyond the hill
And in the gloaming it was lit
And set upon the small ship,
They pushed it out,
From the bend in the river,
Below the small round field.

The men were now joined by women
And a gentle breeze lifted their hems
And the candle gutted softly
As the boat turned,
And turned,
Three times,
then stopped.

All eyes marked the spot,
And come morning he was found
Tangled in the arms of a sunken ash tree.

All now strung upon the rope
The man in the noose,
The man in his grip…

And the man in the river.

David Ian Bickley is an award-winning media artist whose body of work spans the primitive technological of the 1970’s to the digital cutting edge of today. His media work has manifested as television, installation, electronic music and video art.

His work has been shown in many major museums, galleries and festivals around the world; including the CICA Museum, Korea; Science Gallery, Dublin; A & I GALLERY, LOS ANGELES; HAUN TIE ART MUSEUM, BEIJING; The Electric Picnic and the Glucksman, Cork. 

LUX London distribute his video art along with [S]edition online. In the early 1980’s Bickley’s video work won 1st prize at the Sony UK Festival and after a move to Ireland in the early 90’s he was fundamental in the evolution of Irish electronic music, earning a Hotpress award in the process. Besides producing video art Bickley has also made important arts documentaries including The Man Who Shot Beckett and the Celtic Songlines. His themes reside in mythic and folklore motif and often use landscape as a form to reflect and process these ideas.

Posted in C19

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