|The Marble Dream
||[Feb. 25th, 2007|07:52 pm]
The New Bible Project
You knew it, fair madam. Knew it as he rode over the cornfield, his armour blazing gold in the sun; an angel of death with a burning sword down his throat. You have sewn your hair into the loom, you have tried to weld yourself to the future your beautiful destroyer rides towards: and it is to no avail, for how can even the greatest creature stop an ant from entering its mouth when it is paralysed? |
The man rode along the shaded river, and the swiftly moving gilt of the water swept past his full-throated song like gossamer against silk. His hair was black as ash, and for his eyes you sewed the purest blue, crushed from the berries that hang on the overgrown windowsill. You were cold as you pushed the threads about - the old mechanical grace was in you as you weaved unlamentingly, as you had for countless years. You were artist, you were seer; and sometimes you fancied that a dot of scarlet here and there would make it so, as on the red lips of the fair and troubled queen.
Then, as you absently wound another face into the fabric, you were caught in the wonder of his features, the flushed cheeks fleshed out with the strands of your long hair. Entranced, you looked into the moving tableau, and your maiden heart began to beat strongly within your chest. You looked into the mirror, out over the cornfield, swaying in a gentle haze of yellow beside the green banks of the river. You saw yourself: O eternal companion, that beauteous face in the mirror, the exquisite features suffused with the strength of wisdom. Blood rushed into those pale cheeks as if through marble: the white rose of your face was blemished for the first time.
Oh lovely goddess, oh girlish witch, did you see in your downfall something like completion, as tender emotion brought tears to those immortal eyes? You watched him sing, atop his brown horse, and your genius flew before your passion for him. When he rode over the cornfield, you saw him in the mirror. Your eyes met; you turned towards the window and the tapestry broke - your beautiful locks that covered the floor were torn and your shortened hair fell around your shoulders as you crossed the room.
The gallant knight, hearing your cry, and also being amorous, rushed up the stairs. He entered the room, with the leaves and flowers spreading across the floor, seeing the magical tapestry furl and its threads unravel around you in a cloud about your freed head: seeing you there, how could he help but take you up in his embrace? And you, on the eve of your doom, gave yourself to him, as a new consciousness pierced you. We are nothing without desire, and we are husks within it: it filled you and was gone, and you heard it singing along the way as it went.
Calmly and collectedly you rose, and followed the stairs down to the bottom of the embowered space. You had never been this far before: Lancelot had broken the statue that guarded the door, and its white brow was hidden in the dust. You had never seen the trees and tower, nor the birds that flew with ragged grace aross the sky. Yet you knew the names for them all, speaking them as you blindly fumbled with the moorings to the ancient boat, its carvings faded with time.
You looked around and no walls answered your gaze; the loss of the mirror-face at the extent of your gaze was like a ghost-limb in your consciousness as you gazed around the world that was the reflection of your world, locked within the overgrown tower on the isle. Your eyes saw the world, and hated it for what it was, no longer pure threads but broken strands tangled in arbritrary fate. Lancelot rode along the way, and so you died; not for love of him, but as the restoration of divine rest in the night-world of your daydreams. You climbed into a boat, and died singing, floating towards the centre of all that you had ever loved and could not reach; ethereal, as if from another age, incomprehensible to those along the banks of the river in your dead beauty, my poor lady of Shalott.
(kicked off computer before could reread)