image borrowed from bing
“Death in itself is nothing; but we fear to be we know not
what, & we know not where.”--John Dryden
1(cut to a medium wide shot) the past: a family cemetery, with
a tall white picket fence surrounding it, with one fresh grave.
2(sound cue) sad strings, violin & cello.
3(wide shot) the throng of mourners, with the late afternoon sun
on their backs--Bear Woman holding the newborn infant; young
Roddy Buck standing close to her, one hand clutching her leather
skirt & the other stroking the collie sitting by his side; a tall minister
holding his bible, saying a prayer; a half dozen ranch hands holding
their hats, their work shirts starched in the sun, their hair plastered
down with rose oil; several rancher neighbors & their wives, and
William Buck on his knees, his red-rimmed eyes matching the
crushed red flowers held to his heaving chest.
4(sound cue) soft wind, flute & clarinet, an infant crying, the minister
5(close-up) young Roddy, face stained with tear trails, mop of
dark hair partially in his face, silent, staring at the grave.
6(medium close-up) the minister: almighty God, take the hand of this
fine woman, wife, & mother, as you love everything you have made,
and judge us with infinite mercy & justice.
7(close-up) Bear Woman, eyes glassy, staring into the sky.
8(sound cue) piano, cello, & harmonica.
9the minister: we rejoice in your promise of joy & peace to all
that love you, that worship you.
10(medium close-up) William Buck, weeping copiously, devastated,
lost, heart torn from his chest.
11the minister: in your mercy turn the darkness of death into the
dawn of a new life.
12(close-up) William Buck: Sarah, Sarah, noooooo, too soon, love
is gone too soon!
13the minister: and the sorrow of parting must turn into the joy of
heaven, the peace of forever.
14(sound cue) cello & accordian.
15(medium wide shot) the present, the stranger dismounts, ties off his
spirited steed, and stands spread-legged, his hands folded on his chest.
16(sound cue) young boy’s voice: Mama, Mama.
17(close-up) the stranger’s eyes moist, then closing.
18(cut to wide shot, the ranch house dining room) the past:
Bear Woman is feeding porridge to infant Jack, age 9 months.
young Roddy is picking at his plate of ham & eggs, mostly
staring at his father, who is sitting at the head of the table
with a plate of untouched vittles in front of him, eyes fixed
on a half-empty whisky bottle by his elbow, at yesterday,
19(two-shot) the Indian woman & the infant. the little one
looks up, reaching toward the woman, & mutters:
20(sound cue) a broken man’s growl of pain.
21(medium wide-shot) the father striking the table with the
bottom on one wide fist, making his plate & silverware jump--
then grabs his bottle of whiskey & storms out of the back door.
22(sound cue) saloon player piano roll.
23(hold on the wide-shot) as the boy grabs a thick slice of ham
off his plate, stuffs it in his mouth, & traipses after his father.
24(medium close-up) Bear Woman closing her dark eyes
25(sound cue) infant: ma-ma, ma-ma
26(cut to medium wide-shot) the present: the stranger looking
down at his clenched fists
27(crane shot) pulling back until we see the panorama of the
abandoned ranch, the stranger a small figure.
28the stranger: coward.
Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics
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