The Sunrise for Lady May
Gregory De Feo
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While knocking on the tree, her hand that had gestured the sun to finish its course motioned that it not rise, as she had adjudged it guilty for a hollow tree with, "And it had a fine sound before you spoiled under the bark what let it stick!"
There was calm when she thought that the bark over a withered trunk made the tree seemly enough from the ground to through its branches that she said it stood "for Ireland that endures" Then to the sun again, "If God was indecisive or insensitive while you wreaked, the words I spoke that condemned you for your victims' sakes and in their stead stand for Him!" There was not an idle instant; May's thoughts juxtaposed English words it seemed she had translated from Celtic ones, yet she heard the distant farewells of her kin and thought that those who did not strike on the activity did not trespass. Her fist to the sun, May turned her head and waved to these who, with the rest, were going to mix politics with business, with worldliness she had declined involving herself with, even when it had been perfunctory, before her kin had honed it on their rough deliberations. Past her shoulder, she saw that they had walked to the end of the darker land beneath the less dark sky on which appeared only their waving hands, then returned to the light that had filled the sky as her fist became the hand that shaded her eyes.
May cursed the light with Gaelic that sounded like, "Damay! To if-rain!" as it adjusted them slowly that she squinted longer than she had ever past a return, and swore saying that she could not see to don her shoe. She was not affirming what those who had gone west for the day had told her had caused the blight, and while blaming the sun's heat said, "It's you!" and giggled till it became the wheezing laughter of an unclear throat, her head barely nodding its opened mouth and narrowed eyes. After some deep breathing, a composed May smirked beneath the hand she used to shade her eyes; the fingers of the other repeatedly pressed the bark that repeatedly squeaked the 'e- ou's she was imitating to belittle the sun, which rays bounded over the hand that could not keep her eyes in the unendurable light. May placed her fists atop her head, crouched, and bowed.
May feared that the light would reveal her ordinary looks as it had the worn parish saint statues she thought had looked as ordinary; and though she said, "Ay, but the answers they give me prove they pray as powerfully to God as I pray to them," she fretted recalling her "triumph of a veneer" of her well-featured kin.
Although they had titled her with "Lady" at her birth and had never hinted at the differences, she put her hand back to push at them who had been long gone. There was not the least chance for the first word of what one could have cleverly said "that it was her own who she had snubbed" before there was excessive pain when her palm had touched something, pain that had felt like a blow from an unusual use of a bat as a weapon. May was screaming and shaking her head, paused to look at the sun without shielding her eyes and screamed again. Someone who was calling "May!" with a woman's voice held May's wrist. May shook her head to rid the sun's afterglow from her sight and she heard her name when it vanished.
The woman had stood May, who faced a still dark west from where something stung her eyes shut, and she stopped her ears at a droned "May!" she felt spreading in her head. When May opened her eyes, she saw as if blood was mixing with water and nearly fainted, but the hand kept her. She straightened up and brightened when she saw that the move made her as hungry as whenever she had finished a day's work in the field, though she had not distinguished the woman who faced her. The west had lit up, but May saw the woman non-rendered, who could have been clearly seen had a splendor that looked hardly contained in her outline. The woman said something that ended, ". . . Jesus." That the name sounded well spoken it must not have been May -- she was thinking in brogue, arranging her reply on translating many Gaelic words for what an English phrase she knew could have done, but the woman, when May clearly declared, "There they be: God's words spoken by me to whom He had given His tongue!" May saw that the blurry red remained and thought the woman, who was silent and silhouetted, spoke contemptuously so that May settled on her as one who had arrived from the long gone clan.
The woman said, "Why don't you---"
"---Ask!" May shouted, the latest burst of what had swelled again since her clan had ventured a talk with her, and screamed for the pain she felt increasing with what she saw was the action of the woman's countenance, light that was washing the blurry red, but neither existed.
If you thought that the source of May's air was her mood that was like bath water your toe must sample repeatedly, you felt her pain subside and saw the red become an opaque swirl, but heard her ideas as if they were disjoined. That way you timidly entered the tub, though you had cooled it with the conviction that what May told the woman was her resolve to take care, if not show deference, for no painful recurrences: "Lest you been praying my words to saints who answer you with light that cause me pain -- I have erred." By entering blindly, though, one had learned that with what May had said, that the greater light had been the powerful reply of the saints to a powerful petitioner as herself, she had tried accommodating the woman, and that she had purposefully added the concluding words that had checked the returning greater light for her.
From now on, the bold commanded what they whose fear had measured them unfit could not -- all that May knew. Their fear had placed them outside her, as if to the temple's outer court, where those who had distinguished themselves diffident in other matters ought to trample them unrecognizable, this unmistaken conclusion from a heavenly splendor one had clearly seen, and no splendor allows what can't even be its stay. May feared again, declaring to the woman, "You be not a Slone!" where fear had caused her another right turn of mind, seeing the woman had said or done nothing, that May ought to stay settled on her; instead, she had the peace that comes from the inability to conclude about anyone who it is not possible to consider anything.
May's rational state that resulted from her decisions engendered one's amity as her guest and though the woman was talking, a guest is obliged to be concerned with only what the host prompts, at least ignoring the outsider to uphold agreement if not following the host, who closed her ears. The woman's countenance increased with a developing pain. Though a guest need not remain with a host now, the one who befriends her with it, not stepping out to say that, really, it was not as bad as she felt it, but enduring it even to death, clinches rising over the status of a mere guest. From there are seen all the timid in this matter looking at the one who sees that if anywhere is highest is confident for another win to achieve the tier: an ability to see with everyone at once and not only with a May, and not what the timid see if they were placed there.
The woman was cajoling May, whose fall in a seizure happened when she heard persuasion as the coup de main -- suddenly, that the timid can't escape and someone says that the brave one who writhes with her longer and longer is taking from the next win and shaking off the trace shivers in the highest seat. Whatever May had said, that the woman's aura had developed pain with heat, she had been considerate for her guest. For her best hospitality, one will confess to having a great ambition, and slyly promise her a cut to feel her agony in what she tricks from the woman, but May was exhausted that it must have been one's own ears heard her clan approaching from where she had seen them wave to her. The woman was gone and without her one saw the western sky was as red as it had been at today's sunrise. All May had was what they ran to give her; they must have seen her down -- but whatever they give is to when she becomes conscious, and doubtless runs off again to give one another go for the top.
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In "The Sunrise for Lady May," the ambition of the narrator becomes apparent -- what excludes any humane consideration of an actual person and any exploration to confirm the identity of a mysterious presence.