So a few days ago I was listening to the audiobook version of Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier. What a beautiful thing. It begins:
There is no scatheless rapture. Love and time put me in this condition. I’m leaving soon for the Nightland, where all the ghosts of men and animals yearn to travel. We’re called to it. I feel it pulling at me, same as everyone else. It is the last unmapped country, and a dark way getting there. A sorrowful path. And maybe not exactly Paradise at the end.
Now I’m not evangelizing that character’s metaphysic. But I felt called to make my own uphill assault on that word, Nightland, and see what words might appear. So let that serve as epigraph, is my point.
When we are alive, everything is easy.
Hair can be touched with fingers
that have learned about thorns
and roses have a scent that the mind
isn’t forced to imagine. Clouds appear
and pass slowly, so we only need to look.
In life — Dear God — there are oranges,
rivers, violins, and hours just
waiting for the bread to rise.
In the Nightland, years go by
in a struggle just to remember
these gifts. There is no fruit
no sense of taste, no gentle breeze to bring
the clouds toward us from the sea.
We spend a century imagining
brown hair tucked behind a girl’s ear,
then go on dreaming of papers
tacked to a crumbling wall.
Because now we are merely dreams
that never end but are always fading,
slowly forgetting the living world.
March 5, 2014
Nightland by Kyle Kimberlin is licensed
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NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.