A Hundred Gourds 5:2 March 2016

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Jonathan McKeown – Australia

In the lowlands

Then Cain went away from the presence of Yahweh, and settled in the land of Nod (that is Wandering), east of Eden.

Genesis 4: 16

Tonight the reverie follows that soaring sound again, through labyrinthine alleys, carless corridors of a dreaming city. No mortal breath may release the timbre of the heart’s reed. Where it comes from? Drunk – or bizarre – enough for wondering: a piper’s haunting call searching . . . Too vivid: my own footsteps scuffing the street, my own boots on my own swinging feet, the cold fingers of wind drawn to my blood-warmed skin, the thumbed serrations of the key in my pocket. Seeming – close – swept away. Suddenly I come upon him, standing in a shadowed alcove – penumbra of an unremembered dream, the solitary, vigilant, tartan-kilted piper, gazing beyond me, letting out that proud, mournful, bracing sound into the soul of a sleeping city.

single malt
the circle cast
by firelight


God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1: 10

“...amor fati: that one wants nothing to be other than it is, not in the future, not in the past, not in all eternity.”

Nietzsche, Ecce Homo

I saw him for the first time through her eyes, reliving holiday impressions, holding them up like negatives to a thin-curtained window of light. She came to mind, and without really meaning to I followed the trace of her through convoluted passage ways, taken back to a moment when, as if moved by an overwhelming affection, she got up from the rock where she’d been watching, came close from behind, looping her arms about his waist, she placed her chin on his shoulder and for a moment they looked out together toward the same horizon. Something in that. . . seemed beautiful. Something. . . like a mother whispering into the dreams of her sleeping child. . .

“The love I feel for you this moment I cannot withhold. . . it belongs to you as much as me.”

cloud drift
the rubble-footed prow
the land shows the sea

What she loves: when I saw it, it also seemed beautiful to me: the fisherman in his element, the heavy bodied ocean heaving, rising, lunging at the podium. If the force of its battery moved that rock it was imperceptible to me – or the fisherman standing on it, relaxed, attuned, patient in expectancy, with the relentless sea snorting and fuming at his feet. How unperturbed he seemed, how sure at the elemental limit of its reach, with rod and reel, and the fine neural line between: his barbed hook feeling for some sudden promise in the deep, yielding flesh; a barnacle on the rocky carapace – segmented with veins and blades of tempered iron, pocked with perfectly transparent pools.

Although it is not completely true to say – the blazing sun goes down for the day – at the interface all elements behave the way they do.

a distant sail on the brink
of an other world

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