Friday, 22 November 2013

Clearing Leaves

the leaves come down in orange droves. you might push them on and herd them together but around you is a rain of the freshly falling. their colours are as bright as phoenix cartoons, burning like royal robes.

we sweep in a constant fashion. it's a better exercise than you can imagine. works many muscles and gets you sweating in no time. sometimes you find your forehead tingles and your temples sting. we work systematically, like clearing paths through snow. once we're done on one strip, though it's already dotted with leaves that weren't there when we started, we move on to the next patch. great piles of leaves are quickly made. carting these off is the most back breaking part of it. the sweep of the sweeping, the repeated movement like, that feels like a dance, or an art, but lifting tonnes of sometimes already mulching foliage, that can hurt.

we work round the clock, with fifteen minutes in the morning and twenty for dinner. our work is never done. when the procession comes through we must stand to attention and you can imagine we see all too clearly, with more than a little annoyance, every single leaf that drops just then. the ceremony goes on, while the orange leaves of autumn sink through the air and onto refined shoulders. they are kicked up by blessed feet. we can't move a muscle but once the passing flares are fired and the back of the procession's been seen, we get back to work with doubled gusto. we might know that they know that a completely clear courtyard is an impossibility, but we still feel we want it better, and why do they have to come just as renewed gusts of wind bring greater scatterings of leaves. still, we are told that we are doing a good job. one superior has told another that we are doing a fine job. we're a credit they say. we shine with the pride of it, despite ourselves and only later though, since our first thought is that we haven't been keeping up with it that well.

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