Nymph

old_norse-1

This is a dream from a couple of nights ago. It is a family occasion. We are in a plantation of some kind. Perhaps a camping ground – there are pine trees. Anyway, my sister, who really did do the deed, years ago now, has gone off to kill herself. She has failed once before (in the dream) and is now making another attempt. I am with my sons, who were born in the nineties, long after her death; but still – this is a dream. Suddenly I know where she has gone! We run off together, along a line of trees, down to the end and then back up the other way. Boustrophedon, perhaps; the border recalls the northern fence line of Rookwood cemetery. There’s a kind of linear mound, with furrow along the top, running next to us and at the very end, there she is, lying in a slight depression, a shallow grave, half-covered in leaves and sandy soil, hands crossed upon her breast, dying. I can still recall how stiff her limbs, how recalcitrant her soul, as I bend down to try to pick her up and bring her back to life. I see her eyes: watery green and faded, just like our mothers were in the months before she left us, so vulnerable, so hurt, so much afraid of further pain . . . I persist and my sons, full of animal life, witness! Encourage! She wakes, she comes back, her eyes go blue and her limbs all limber. The dust, the leaves and the dirt, fall away and the four of us, like revenants, hold hands as we walk back to the entrance, which isn’t very far away. But it’s strange, because my sister, who was always, obviously, a girl, now seems to be one of those chunky, blue-eyed, blonde-haired boys you see – well, where do you see them? In dreams? She resembles another of my sons. It is as if she has come back as someone else. And yet she is herself. And we are so happy to have her with us again, we don’t mind what form she takes.

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