archive

Monday, October 23, 2006

compline

He sleeps every other night. After his daily sojourn in the land of light, and after his passage through the half-light, he peers from the cavern behind his eyes to gaze at stars. He does not find the heavens enwrought with gems and silver flecks. The stars are feeble and flat, and may not be there at all. The world beyond his hands is dim and dull and dark, and weariness blurs his vision. Perhaps what he takes for light is just color within his eyes, and he stares into an unending depth of blackness thinking it somehow full. The hours mount up, or he shrinks within them. What will fill this universe? Everything is too small and unfit for the task. Time and gravity pull equally at his limbs, and mass becomes destiny.

On the odd nights when sleep finally comes, its surly repose is a shadow-walled caravansary of taunting phantoms. His nights are full of dreams and their unkept promises. They are not sweet. When the burden of a living carcass is shed for a time, yet his spirit does not find its grace and dance between the flowers and the stars. He cannot find the stars even in dreams. He spends that time crouched by a fire in a cave, as if remembering the nights of a thousand thundering storms. In such dark visions, the poet becomes a butcher, and his fire is fed with bones. His soul is so used to noise that silence wakens him.

Where is that oblivion he recalls from former years? Where is that strange and beautiful stillness so foreshadowing the grave that even the atheist in waking might have hope? He has come to fear that dreams are just in preparation of Purgatory. And if it should be that God takes no notice of this place, eternity is dreamless. But even his dreamless sleep is fitful, and he rises aching and unrefreshed. He finds each day slightly more unraveled than the one before. His mind has found no balm.

For years it has echoed in the back of his brain, deep as where the serpent curls. Sometimes it rises almost to his lips, as an unspoken prayer. To sleep is good. To die, still better. But best is never to have been born at all.


J

4 comments:

imp said...

Wow!

Jack H said...

Yes, he is very dark. Poor fellow. What is to become of the boy?

J

imp said...

Exactly what I was thinking.

Excellent writing, Sir!

ELAshley said...

Perhaps loneliness is the greatest killer of men. It certainly leads to despair, and despair to what sane men would never dare consider.