I inched forward, holding my breath. Don’t look, don’t look. My eyes flickered downward, and I gave a little lurch. I was falling.
Get a grip! a little voice inside me growled. People are staring! I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. Everything’s fine, the voice breathed.
After a while the idiocy struck me of standing by one of the most spectacular sights of the world – with my eyes screwed shut. Come on, the little voice coaxed. With an effort I opened my eyes: first one, then the other. I looked at the cliffs opposite. Breathtaking.
Suddenly I was soaring.
enlightening the understanding
by the sun of reason
which will dispell the clouds
of superstition and of prejudice.
– Adam Weishaupt
The Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination. Playing with the filters on my new camera 🙂
No Idle Gold
No idle gold – since this fine sun, my friend,
Is no mean miser, but doth freely spend.
No precious stones – since these green mornings show,
Without a charge, their pearls where’er I go.
– William Henry Davies
Forget Not Yet
Forget not yet, forget not this,
How long ago hath been and is
The mind that never meant amiss
Forget not yet.
– Sir Thomas Wyatt
From the Depths
A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who’d never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.
The thin-lipped armourer,
Hephaestos, hobbled away,
Thetis of the shining breasts
Cried out in dismay
At what the god had wrought
To please her son, the strong
Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles
Who would not live long.
– W.H. Auden
From The Shield of Achilles.
I’m on holiday, and away from the net. I’ve scheduled some posts, mostly poetry. I hope you recognise some old favourites, or discover new ones.
The End Is Nigh
The End is Nigh! the man shouted.
Is there still time for hot chocolate? Riley asked.
The-End-is-Nigh guy blinked. Ah, maybe, I don’t know.
― Jana Oliver, Forbidden
Why, thank-you, dearie. I never say no to a biscuit. And what’s your name, young lady? Louise? The old face cracked in a smile.
Do I believe what? That the dragon is coming and the world will end tomorrow?
Now, when I was your age, the world was always coming to an end. Left and right people were predicting disasters. I think it’s because they want the world to change. And right they are! But no, I don’t think the world will end tomorrow.
The dragon, now, that’s a whole other story. The old eyes twinkled. I’ve seen it myself, you know…
* * *
T.Mastgrave’s story challenge: the End of Time.
Up in the Air
It was a beautiful day; clouds drifted lazily overhead. Jack and his Grandfather were lying in the grass.
– See the dragon? It’s turning into a duck! They laughed.
– Look, those two have joined. Are they still two clouds? Or is it one now?
Jack frowned in concentration. Over the meadow, the clouds seemed to peter out.
– What do you think happens to the clouds when they get there?
Jack pondered. People were always telling him things. Only Grandfather asked what Jack thought.
It would be the last time the two were together. Back in school, Jack’s teacher commiserated.
– It’s alright, Jack reassured his teacher. He’s in the air now.
* * *
T. Mastgrave’ philosophical story challenge: What is the soul?
The secret of all victory
lies in the organisation
of the non-obvious.
– Marcus Aurelius
Always an early riser, the leading counsel for the plaintiff had made his way to court at the crack of dawn. He could barely keep still as he surveyed the place where only hours from now the historic hearing would begin. Steadying himself on an ancient tree, he suddenly realised he had spent almost 20 years – nearly all his professional life – preparing this case.
They had carried the point that the hearing take place in the plaintiff’s presence, hence the unorthodox venue. The motion to banish wooden furnishings from the court’s temporary residence had also succeeded. But only yesterday the decision had come through that would almost certainly clinch the case: as the plaintiff was suing for recognition as a full citizen, his full name was to be read out in court in an English translation.
20 sonorous pages, a few lines for each decade of the plaintiff’s life:
I am the tree who stands on the hill…
* * *
T.Mastgrave’s philosophical story challenge: “What does it mean to be equal?” A prequel to Neighbours.
Hope Springs Eternal
He had known the conversation would be difficult, and, as always, He had been right. He let His mind drift.
In his young godding days, things had been easy. Thunder, it had felt good. They did warn you. Creating a world was fun, but if you started to take an interest, if you let yourself become enmeshed with its history, it would change you.
And he had become enmeshed: he had fallen in love. With a perfect soul, a warm and wonderful human being. The warmth of her smile flooded Him with joy, and when she was in pain, so was He. And He had begun to change. Unthinking cruelty towards His creatures was impossible now, as it would hurt her. And when she talked of humanity, how could He not listen?
Slowly, He began to understand. He had given them knowledge, but not control. They were still at the mercy of every instinct and impulse. Teaching them to judge instead of to accept had backfired, creating conflicts and hatred, blocking their ability to cooperate.
How could He punish them for being what He had made them? She had asked, and He had found no answer. To understand all was to forgive all. He wrenched His mind back to the present.
“Rehabilitation?!” The devil’s ears were quivering. Hell wasn’t more than an eternal naughty step, anyway. He simply didn’t have the staff. But this was going too far.
“If a King orders a General to fly like a bird and the General fails, whose fault is that?”
Luce snorted. “Another one of your son’s little parables, huh?”
No, ” He said patiently, “it’s from a book, a human book.” And He began to explain His plans.
* * *
When Luce left, his tail was twitching nervously. He gave himself a little shake. Early retirement didn’t sound too bad. Relax. Take some time off on a hot beach. Leave the job to someone else.
A smirk spread on his face.
Good boy Gabe, perhaps?
* * *
T. Mastgrave’s philosophical story challenge: Omniscience and Free Will. I couldn’t resist writing a sequel to The Devil Is in the Details.
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Il y a un spectacle plus grand que la mer,
c’est le ciel;
il y a un spectacle plus grand que le ciel,
c’est l’intérieur de l’âme.
There is one spectacle grander than the sea,
that is the sky;
there is one spectacle grander than the sky,
that is the interior of the soul.
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Evil under the Sun
For every evil under the sun
There is a remedy or there is none.
If there be one, seek till you find it;
If there be none, never mind it.
– from Mother Goose
You know when you look everywhere for your glasses, and you can’t find them? And then they turn up on your head? Or the book you hunt for high and low? That was on your bedside table all along, lying the wrong way up? You get so annoyed while you’re searching, and then a little embarrassed…
No, it’s not age. You see, something I’ve always been looking for. One day I realised, suddenly, it was in my hand. It always had been. But I couldn’t see it because it didn’t look like I thought it did.
What I was looking for? Didn’t I tell you?
I was stumped by this week’s 100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups (…suddenly it was in my hand…), but when I saw the weekly photo challenge it suddenly fell into place.