Thursday, March 18, 2010

'Cultivation': a short story

Shortly the latest edition of the Library's 'Submarine' mag will be published, and we'll post it online here. Meanwhile, a preview: an outstanding short story by pupil editor Fiona Boyd written as practice for her Leaving Certificate. Called 'Cultivation', it evokes shades of John McGahern or William Trevor in its confident delineation of the thoughts and feelings of an elderly farmer:-

'Cultivation' by Fiona Boyd

The light of the dawn broke over his shoulders as he moved across the crumbling earth. He was walking, as he walked every morning, around the land he had bought almost fifty years ago. The soil from the path clung to the sole of his boot and moved with him to the further field, where the sheep grazed under the awakening sky.

Pausing there, he breathed deeply, pulling the birdsong, the smell of the animals and hundreds of colours into his body. He bent, suddenly, and using his thumb and forefinger picked a single buttercup from the grass. He held it safely, in his warm and weathered palm.

He called the collie to his heel and turned to head back up to the hill where the buildings were coming back to life. The men were moving about now; they would milk the cows before eating. And one would come to him and tell him how things were going, but that would be much later. The hill grew steeper each time as he forced his stiff body up the grassy slope (his stick lay forgotten beside the stove). Again he drew in the morning air heavily, hoping to find strength from the energy of the new day to push himself the last few steps.

... continued here...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A beautiful piece: understated, closely observed and very moving. When I read writing like this from fiona it reminds me why I loved teaching English.