Edward and Bishop
The Bishop passes a paper scroll to Edward
What do you think of that?
I see a trigger realm.
Bishop understand I need a certain space:
A sphere within a sphere: a recreation
Explicable to our existence
Yet impenetrably woven. Inert.
For Him to admit us
Into this mystery of how we live, I think
Is the greatest gift that may be given.
Yet you would lie in wait, as your people
Emerge from their abode of prayer
To come towards you? To enter this garden?
The people run about, tasting the fruit
The Word discarded-
It falls alone about the body
Like an ill-fitted garment.
Then we shall see whole choirs bowing for confession
A public confession, and they will mean it
To confess not a sin against the Father's word
But a sin against themselves only.
How can that be ?
How I choose to govern, that is my word.
And you would place yourself
At the centre of this life space?
To rule within it?
Your word be a sword fold across your heart
No place for any surgeon-
Only for a true word put there.
But the physician with an over eager hand
How much life will he strip away
To install some monstrous pump?
Nature is politic, not inviolate force.
It would be a place to rest until
My speech is heard in living things
So that it be their ripening
For I am like the tree before it blossoms
Or even before it strikes roots
I am not wholly visible
Nor may I assert my true position
Until I have learnt to feed myself:
I must search for a stronghold of knowledge
An initiation into simple things
How my legs implant me
How my sturdy chest gives life.
All this knowledge has abandoned me.
Does man balance on the very petals of the flower of God?
I knock the vase and the petals disembark:
I have long since fallen from grace.
The Father is enthroned, unapproachable.
He whirls the planets with his slingshot
In dizzying circles around my head.
The Mother is lost, separated by this fire.
Many messengers are sent, but none return.
The world no longer comes to me as long ago
To fill my sleep with dreams.
Instead a voice arrives
As a flame hissing in each ear
Trickling hot wax into the canals, drop by drop
Into the ears and into the nose and mouth and brain
Slowly filling the ears, then the eyes, then nose
Which altogether lose their sense…
I fall dead within sleep as a waxy mold.
For Self only speaks a few vital words, and only these
When united with full-blooded Desire
Who never pretends truth, whose all-seeing eyes penetrate
The dark dreams of half-crazed Self, to help and comfort him.
Thus does my wife, Phillipa, visit me in sleep.
She gave me a child, a child like a warrior sent
To search my weakness out. A tiny plant rising in darkness
Saying: 'This tree has only one blossom and it is mine'.
I am the demon trapped beneath the Navelstone
My child the victim I pushed into the Labyrinth
Whose unfolding seemed a strange dumb show
Before which I would silent sit and enact my truest wishes
Just in dreams, we advise ourselves without knowing, in images.
But Bishop, know this. The little dreams are like our valets
Whose job it is to explain, expel, delight and we soon forget.
Whereas the big dreams follow large displacement: they are meant to lead.
Such is my son Edward, of himself unafraid: he shall be King!
I should waver on the tremulous life of all this
My words given for the wind to blow them all around
And the dust left to settle on my unseeing eyes.
Strange, he thought. Nevertheless, a stunted trace of doubt flicked across his presence. It was now or never as he drew his weapon from its holster. Stirring the underneath of all the branches they came. He wipes his sweaty brow. The salt tastes like the rocky deposits found on the crest of mountain ridges. A whole flock of mutant ravens was approaching the gang, threatening to disembowel the party. The leader mobilised defence which retaliated in the form of a laser ray which crisscrossed the undergrowth that was crawling with the monsters to leave them charred and smouldering. Amongst the ambush of these large birds had been a small platoon of wild savages comprising a few rabid women and men, their faces bowed and backbones contorted. These half-people had been dispatched in the first laser fire which had ripped across their filthy bodies to instantly tear them apart so that now the gang watched as their corpses began to disassemble, as if the atoms had never agreed to stay together in the first place. The atoms themselves were noted then obliterated in the second wave of laser fire which was more discriminate and this time tracked down each bastard particle and smashed each individual solar system out of orbit. All evidence of the renegade pack was dispersed. The gang dug a burial pit in which was placed certain items of weaponry that had managed to find its way outside the scene of the bloodbath and into the zone of the gang. Before burial, all items were quarantined in a bath of lethal half-life waste so that any heat-seeking atoms could not survive. This done, the weapons of the raven squad were laid to rest…
Ten days march brought the gang to uncharted territory. Here lay fifteen miles of desert left over from the last tests. For as far as then line extended, the sand covered the horizon and the ground merged into the sky. The whole scene was relentless: you could not tell if the sun had come up yet-it might have and might not. Still, in two days the map said city and the men knew this meant a rest or a least a change in the terrain. But now they had to cross the empty square on the map page-empty square that was fifty millimeters or fifteen miles.
Edward is lying on the ground.
Enter Phillipa and 2nd Chorus.
Where are you?
I am here.
Phillipa lies down beside Edward.
Do you see me Edward?
What is that?
Do you have me here, yet cannot place me?
I see a cold black empty space.
You face yourself alone.
Behind this screen, that is true. My vision is twisted, as if I were carried across this land to search rather than to find. Grinding the land into a realm of parts or trained to reflect a dull tract of sky. Then you are a flickering that never forms together, aloof; a guide.
Patience. The time has not come. You are too expectant, hence you are always sad. Wait quietly even if you must wait in pain. Your time comes. It forms itself within you for years and you will find it. You speak too softly. You are bold-then show this boldness. You are an adventurer-then set off on journeys. You are weak-then be restful. I can escape from this place but you cannot. Don't rest too long. But you cry?
These gaps sadden me. This place frightens me. You will leave and I must remain. All this saddens me and I cannot rest.
You will rest-rest with me. Dawn is not far and your men will arrive soon. This atmosphere forces me to flee. Rest with me. Strength now-we have many times like this to face. Strength now and don’t think of me. As yet you don't know me. How could you exist where we lie now? God, I am in pain. Stay here for now, Edward. Lie with me.
I love you and have ever only loved you.
So early you came and so late to leave.
This thought keeps me. I will rest with you.
When I was a girl-I remember this place, remaining here all alone, left behind. This house has kept me. Sometimes it is too cold. But it was from here you first went away. It was inside this house that I first saw you Edward. It was restful then. I did not mind remaining. But who will look after these rooms? That dusty bedroom, then that darkened sill. You will not forget me? Don’t forget me even if perhaps I will pass on. But who will remain here and tend to this old house? It is a sacred place now-as a shrine and I will never leave these rooms or their sandy perimeter because you are the only one I have loved even if now I pass on. I must sleep. I will see you again.
I wish sleep would come.
Sleep will come when I am gone away.
Wait a moment
I need you just a while longer
Worried am I for all stronger
Waking now, he cries hard
Of woman gone, his intent scarred.
Strange how far off things come near
A flickered memory close to sear.
Now that she was six years distant
Away to east across sands twisted
But just then with awesome clarity
Came her to here to talk with thee.
'What shall come of this ?' he said
'I shall measure all that's dead.'
Down into the place
Enter Old Man and Young Boy
Men you know now that we cannot make it to the city.
There is nothing to stop us resting here
Until the sun rises again
And heats up this frozen earth
Which the long day cast off
For us, my lovers
Afraid, as I
To travel on, finding nothing.
What brought us here men?
Do you feel sad and tired now?
The blowing tree hides a message
Of us and our journeying.
I love you men
Served me well
On our kindred always dwell.
Edward you speak true
The men can see your knowledge
For one so young.
This place frightens me
Now that I have nothing to do.
That mountain range
I see as a giant fulcrum
The force on the blowing tree
To prise change
I love you Edward
Like a father a brother a friend.
But this night shall end
And another day shall pull itself
Across these restless hills.
And the force on the blowing tree
Will signal another.
I am said to go
A boy I am and ought to know
Of other things but to coming a man.
I am uneasy now
Sing me to sleep
As my memory try to keep.
My body pulls itself tight before it shuts down
It waits but tells of the end near
Now it feels old then restless
Then again it is waiting
Across the sky storm clouds pulsating.
They look up to see sky dark
A blank silhouette
The sky flashes and begins to rain
That great silence between things
And is buried.
Exit Edward, Old Man, Young Boy
On that high ridge was a small cave
That had been hollowed out by a man's hands.
I crawled inside-
The space was only large enough to fit one person.
What I found there was not alive
It was already a week long dead
A young child's carcass an old man's head
It had been stripped by hungry animals
Half buried by sand
On the side of the cave
A design scratched in
Of a tree
And above it this saltbush
The body recovers as a seed. The head nestled like a finch's egg inside the nest. Its tiny hands and arms folded under its chin, its legs tucked over its stomach. The latent corm is restful; the husk is like a shield; the fluttering tassels are singers and dancers. Inside these layers the body grows. Its health soon springs out across the earth.
The stems of life that rise in candelabras
Out of the earth's hardness
Each shall melt with changing colours.
That renegade, let him come
Let him slice through the living swathes.
He tries to come closer but the frogs drop silent
As he approaches, his heavy steps become their song.
The newborn must learn to break free from the middle
The yawning pull of the womb
Then pass through the father's mass.
The Mother and the Father:
The twitching life and jelly sphere
The child moves beyond that their sphere may be seen.
It moves outside to hear the frogs in the sedge grass
The spawn in the reeds and the life going within.
A boy or a girl but always a child
That moves us out to see all this.