Friday, September 28, 2012

The Intricate Line that Spans War, Power, Sexl Love and Death

To be immortal is commonplace; except for man, all creatures are immortal, for they are ignorant of death; what is divine, terrible, incomprehensible, is to know that one is immortal.

…he fell in a slumbering; and dreamed how a dreadful dragon did drown much of his people, and came flying on wing out of the west parts and his head, him seemed, was enameled with azure, and his shoulders shone as the gold, and his womb was like mail of a marvelous hue; and his tail was full of tatters, and his feet were flourished as it were fine sable, and his claws were like clean gold. And a hideous flam of fire there flowed out of his mouth, like as the land and water had flamed all on fire. Then him seemed there came out of the Orient a grimly bear all black, in a cloud; and his paws were as big as a post.  He was all wrinkled with lowering looks, and he was the foulest beast that ever any man saw. He roamed and roared so rudely that marvel it were to tell. Then the dreadful dragon dressed him against him and came in the wind like a falcon, and freshly strikes the bear. And again the grisly bear cuts with his grisly tusks, that his breast was bloody, and the blood railed all over the sea. Then the worm winds away and flies upon high, and came down with such a sough, and touched the bear on the ridge that from the top to the tail was ten foot large.  And so he rends the bear and burns him up clean, that all fell in powder, both the flesh and the bones; and so it fluttered abroad on the sea.

You invaded my sorrowful heart
Like the sudden stroke of a blade;
Bold as a lunatic troupe
Of demons in drunken parade

A man can only begin to understand the depths of woman’s nature when he surrenders his soul unequivocally.  It is only then that he begins to grow and truly to fecundate her.  There are then no limits to what he may expect of her, because in surrendering he has delimited his own powers.  In this sort of union, which is really a marriage of spirit with spirit, a man comes face to face with the meaning of creation.

You in my mortified soul
Made your bed and your domain;
     Abhorrence, to whom I am bound
As the convict is to the chain,

He participates in an experiment which he realizes will always be beyond his feeble comprehension.  He senses the drama of the earth bound and the role which woman plays in it. The very possessiveness of woman takes on new light.  It becomes as enchanting and mysterious as the law of gravitation.

One day when he’d gone out to hunt, after fasting and painting his face in the proper way, he felt the leaves moving not far from where he was. He sensed a shape and halted, saying: A big animal!  He approached slowly, heedlessly.  Not taking the time to make sure what it was, he boldly shot his arrow.  He ran to see.  There is was, lying on the ground, dead.  What had Fallen?

He was frightened, 
of course.  
Some evil 
would befall him now.

As the drunkard is to the jug,
As the gambler to the game,
As to the vermin the corpse,
     I damn you, out of my shame!

And I prayed to the eager sword
To win my deliverance,
And have asked the perfidious vial
To redeem my cowardice

It was almost as if I had suddenly discovered that she was a cripple.  That happens now and then, when two people fall in love.  And if it is love which has united two people then a discovery of that sort serves only to intensify the love.  One is not only eager to overlook the duplicity of the unfortunate one, one makes a violent and unnatural effort towards identification. “Let me carry the burden of your sweet defect!”  That is the cry of the lovesick heart.  Only an Ingrained egotist can evade the shackles imposed by an unequal match.  The one who loves thrills at the thought of greater tests; he begs mutely that he be permitted to put his hand in the flame.  And if the adorable cripple insists on playing the game of pretense then the heart already open and enfolding yawns with the aching void of the grave.  Then not only the defect, but the body, soul and spirit of the loved one are swallowed up in what is veritably a living tomb.

Alas! The vial and the sword
Disdainfully said to me;
‘you are not worthy to life
From your wretched slavery,

You fool!— if from her command
Our efforts delivered you forth,
Your kisses would waken again
Your vampire lover’s corpse!’

When the end draws near, there no longer remain any remembered images; only words remain.  It is not strange that time should have confused the words that once represented me with those that were symbols for the fate of he who accompanied me for so many centuries.  I have been Homer; shortly, I shall be No One, like Ulysses; shortly, I shall be all men; I shall be dead.

This piece is my attempt at a Cento, which the work of other writers are reassembled, into a collage of sorts, with the intent of creating something original and unique.  For more about this form, stop on over to D'Verse, where Sam Peralta is hosting Form For All
, and has gifted us all with an incredible article, which includes a detailed discussion about this form.

A Breakdown of original Text:

I.  & XI.    The Immortal, Jorge Luis Borges

II.            Le Morte Darthur, "Arthur and Lucius Emperor of Rome",
               Sir Thomas Malory
III., V., 
VIII & X.   The Vampire, Charles Baudellaire

VI & IX      Sexus, Henry Miller

VII.           The Storyteller, Mario Vargas Llosa


  1. haha absolutely fascinating...some radical jumps there but they play well together...and i like how the long verse is interspersed with the short...fits the season as well fred....smiles.

  2. dang..what a wove this into quite the story..left me speechless..some deep philosophical thoughts that need some thinking...well done fred

  3. Very exhaustive and great supplements provided. It enhanced the beauty of choices!


  4. Such diverse authors, such a common theme, such that the sources meld themselves into something new and organically whole. You've also taken the cento one step further here - the typography, versification and positioning of the various passages even feel like a visual collage somehow.

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  6. Wow, she sounds like an absolute monster, something between a changeling and a vampire. That the speaker in Baudelaire's poem would kiss her again, knowing it meant enslavement was so sad. Potent and hard to bear. I was unfamiliar with a couple of the sources but enjoyed the research.

  7. Hi Fred, This is complexly and intricately woven. My favorite section is XI. Ending in death seems a logical end to the saga!

  8. Wow Fred. You took some epic stories and turned them all into an epic of your own. I was totally gripped with it all.

  9. Complex, indeed, but very well done. :)