Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Wayfarer and a Woman in the Way

I was on my way, perfectly alone; avoiding the shade because the wind was starting to turn. I listened to the song made by the gentle percussion of the leaves flapping and clapping. As I cleared the nearest hill, where the way veers west, a cry pierced this fluttering song.

A woman lay in the way mournfully wailing. So I went sailing to the spot almost falling down the slope to the violently moaning woman. I stood frozen in horror for moments. She was holding tight her chest; on the left side and right below her shoulder. “Who did this to you? Who could have left you this way?”

It occurred to me that she was extraordinarily beautiful. Even as she wretched her face was docile and her wild glaring eyes widely implied a most unsaintly martyrdom. Offering her some of my water-flask I ask, “What happened to you?”

She winces and weakly squeals. “A wild animal came out from the woods and tore a piece out of me.” She lifted her hand and indeed, there was a part missing from her torso. I used my own shirt to dress the wound and gave her my jacket to wear.

“Come with me, I’ll take you on my back. You need help. You look like you’ve been here a week, dying slowly. I can take you out of these woods alive.”

She told me she was beyond saving.
She would for nothing survive.
She would for nothing, ever get up again.
She had conceded.

I left everything I had there with her. I left grudgingly, helplessly resenting the whole sentiment. Total disillusionment.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Wayfarer Awakens

I awoke by the way, down in the high grass that covers this stripe of Earth. But everything seems wrong. The sun is surprisingly low in the west. My head pounds with dull waves of blunt pain. I have the hazy, partial recollection of a tumultuous last night. I walk to the way and sit on a fallen tree. I see on the tops of my hands, scabs and dried blood. There are purple bruises on my elbows. I am horrified.

I look back down the way, to the city, where I had been last night. The city is miles away now. I could not remember how I’ve gotten here but just grateful to be out of that wolves den. The people in the city had been starving for so long they would tear eachother apart in the streets. At this distance the governor’s tower compound stood the only visible part of the city against sprawling chaos.

When I went to dress and found my clothes spattered with blood, pity for the man whose blood it was overwhelms me. I can almost remember the narrow glare as the slits of his eyes stared at me. I can remember his face. I can remember drinking in the biggest bar I’ve seen; thinking I might have to murder this man without blinking. I remember hating him.

I went to my canteen to get some water and found I’d filled it with wine. The noxious tonic nauseated me, but it was all I had. I sat on my grey logbench drinking wine and eating bread and cheese and I nearly fell off when a tall, slender woman native to the province rose and stood in the tall grass exactly where I had. “Would you like some water?”

My head clears. I look up to the sun setting on the confused city. “No, but I still have some wine. Would you like some?”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Wayfarer and the Lady in the Glade

“O, to be on my way again,” I cried with such exuberance that I couldn’t hide if I’d of tried. Mollifying a mind weary from the city’s blaring terrible noise.

From men in vicious packs.
From women in cheap hats and whores in burlap sacks.
From the shade that begs for a nickels worth of acknowledgment.
And from the delighted moans of the decadent.
And from the tax man spouting alms for the king.

In the long view I could only distinguish the largest tower in the city. Athwart that, there was only a faint, alabaster haze. I let my gaze wander and there in the glade before me, a dervish whirling, there she was. Arms spread and flailing, she went sailing upon the wind. Like a cinder, only slowly. And wailing, she did croon the tune by which she was moved. And she, so immersed in the hard, ardent, green garden, she never stopped. Never dropped this silly game that she played; alone. I stayed on the far side of the glade, but still walking.

Stepping to the rhythm of her song, I could not stop edging forward, like I was being pulled a rope knotted around my gyrating hips. I called to her, now closer. I tried to tell her the importance of what she did. And what she did to me. But as soon as my words had passed I grasped her horror completely. To be found in such a state.

She gasped and ran.

I called, “Stay, stay, there is something great here that you have made. We could spend eternity dancing here in the suns rays. Will you stay with me here in your own glade? Or ponder with me that dusty way?” But by then she was gone from sight.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Wayfarer in the Town

I had been on my way nigh on three weeks when I arrived at a loud little town. The buildings all tall, with pointed ceilings and the ways all wide and clear. The men must have all been off at work because only women peopled the streets. As I gawked I was shocked to notice that all the women who passed seemed to be identical people, ad nauseum. Each face was painted to feign sameness with the rest. Each women’s hair all tied and died alike and it was really very boring there. I was all set to leave with out even getting supplies or even a shower. I felt deceived; this hamlet was to be my momentary reprieve from hermitage.

Just before I left the gates to the long way, I saw a woman whose face shone among all the others. With a kind of natural, revolutionary beauty that was entirely unembellished. Her frailty was severe to the point of vanity. She was clearly the model by which the other women had mutilated their faces and bodies to emulate. She created by merely existing: beauty’s own pretense.

I tried to tell her why she was different, what that meant, “Heaven-sent to show such heights exist.” But she seemed perplexed and eventually vexed, as I spoke faster to coax some understanding. She finally broke my flow saying,

“Why the hell are you so damn dirty?”

The Wayfarer Waits

I saw her in the exceptional stillness of a vagabond. By her severely immodest beauty I was frozen in wonder.
I blinked and she was gone.
So I waited in the knoll by the way, where I prayed she would return again.

Once I had awoken twisting in the winter, sure that I had heard a figment of her song on the wind. I screamed to a pale silhouette that did not turn. So I went back to my camp and packed full my pipe again. And drank sleepily. And I waited.

Spring turned with the dolence of winter.
With no more hope I shruged to the next town and left the meadow with a pile of stems athwart wilted, brown pedals. And hers was among the very first faces I saw entering town.
I cried to her, voice boyishly cracking, “How long have you been here? I saw you on the way, and called to you. I stopped my journey for a season waiting for you to pass again.”

“I know,” she said, “I’ve often seen you, sleeping through the morning.”