A.J. Walker


An Ocean Apart (the Giants' Lament)

‘An Ocean Apart’ (The Giants' Lament)

The most beautiful song in the world is one few have ever heard. Developed over geological timescales each time sung it is made more beautiful than the last. It is the song of love and lamentation between the giants Benn McDuinn and Mòr Morne, who were separated by a growing ocean and who yearn for tectonics to one day bring them back together.

Benn McDuinn stretches out and yawns the yawn of a giant who has slept for a thousand years. It is his time to wake up and to sing. The golden eagle, whose favourite perch happened to be just behind Benn’s left ear, was not aware of this and was currently perplexed at seeing its perch some distance away from where he’d left it. Wheeling high above the mountains he saw his tree topple down the face of Benn McDuinn. It had never been aware that the foothill had covered a giant and was vaguely unsettled by the idea. She decided that her new favourite perch would be several miles away, one in a nice low lying valley, maybe one above a river.
The ground shuddered as Benn creaked up showering first pebbles, then boulders, down the slopes into the soft peaty foothills below. He wiped the remnants of the accumulated soil from his chest and rolled back his shoulders. Apologising to the surprised ptarmigan, which he’d sent flying from his shoulder along with a clod of earth, he then set his sights west. A low rumble began to echo through the Highland mountains and valleys as the giant started to hum, as he always did when on his walks.
Simultaneously, on the bitter windswept coast of Newfoundland, it was the middle of the night as Mòr Morne began rising. She slowly extended up to her full height sending heather and sodden soils down her suddenly steep slopes alarming several caribou. They were roused from sleep and bounced away in shock at the noise and at what they thought they could see in the moonlight. The old black bear glanced at the commotion but showed no concern. He had heard the ancient tales of giants and felt blessed to actually see one for himself.
Mòr strolled, as nonchalantly as a giant could, eastwards through the night towards the High Cliffs. Trying to step as carefully as she could, dozing birds and mammals were still scattered hither and thither some unconscious, some just pretending, hoping they were in a bizarre collective dream.
Benn sat down with a thud onto the cliffs on the west coast of the Atlantic and for a while watched the waves nibbling away at the rocks below, enjoying the westerly wind play against his face, a feeling he’d forgotten. Gannets and skewers soared through the watercolour grey skies about him without paying much heed. His low rumbling hum slowly gave way into a new song. If truth be told into the world’s oldest song.
It told of the love between Benn and Mòr and was sang in languages long disappeared from the world, no-one else but Mòr could now understand its words. It described a primal love as old and solid as the oldest of rocks, as beautiful and vibrant as any sky and as deep and enduring as the oceans.
Across the water Mòr echoed back the verses and sang new ones she’d worked on in the centuries since their last song. Her heart ached but also soared with each verse, their love deeper and stronger than ever. The new twists and turns Benn had added to their song excited her and she thought they fitted well with hers. She was soothed.
At the end of the day Mòr and Benn returned to their wilderness homes with new ideas for verses, ones to make their song more beautiful still. They would need work, but they had time.
The parted giants were separated by an ocean that had not always been there and they yearned for the day when the seas would close again, as they thought one day it must. When the Atlantic becomes but a ghost of a memory, then the giants would sing new songs. Joyful songs. Together. That’s what they told themselves.
The reality of tectonics would continue to grind them ever further apart for millennia to come. But fate one day would deal a different hand and start to play a new game.

(733 words) Original was submitted to MWBB Week 25 based on the song ‘Eireann’ by Afro Celt Sound System. Story slightly modified since.