Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leviathan - A Short Piece of Fiction

I wrote this about a year and a half ago.  It's an odd little thing that I've been told borders on poetry and is harder than hell to truly understand.

I'm kind of of the "so what?" mind set.  I wrote this one for me first - anyone else is a bonus.  I know what I was shooting for and I captured it for my own needs... even if it is a bit obtuse for general consumption.

You can love it.  You can hate it.  Neither you nor I has to make excuses about it.

She alone humbly knew that it had been more time than they had songs for, since the Ancient-voices of From-above had first been heard. How long had they played? There was no knowing. Soon there would be no knowing when the Ancient-voices had last sung with them.

Time - measured by life. Lives. Lives in turn by knowing, by lore, by wisdom. Full of wisdom, deep into time.

There were only songs for those who lived, and for those who were gone but had lived while those still alive were already birthed.

There were those who came before that. But their song was One. Their individual songs forgotten. Forgotten except for the songs intoned by those vain with wisdom. Vanity was such heroic shame. To know yourself to be so wise that you could compose a song for the ages… immoral.

Those who had heard the Last-song From-above had lived while she was alive, and no other alive had emerged, had swam, had abided as deep into time as she.

Those who heard the Last-song had sung to her about strange melodies that came from those who had once lived From-above. Inscrutable songs played by the Ancient-voices of From-above when those of deep wisdom – as she now was - had been shallow, as she had been when those then of deep wisdom sung for her.

To be shallow again. To embrace the freedom of imagination that time would fill with wisdom. To dream. To play at being one who heroically sacrificed great humility to compose a song for the ages. She recalled the frivolity of composing trite melodies to herself, to her head, yet never intoning, singing, sharing. Not one new song was composed in a generation, let alone by one so shallow. As she grew wise she would see those dreams for what they were, not heroism. Shame, abase, disgrace. Shallow naiveté.

From-above. Where breath came from.

A place where she and her kind could go only briefly - a fleeting moment before crashing back to the substance of the world. It was glorious. A brief surge into outer space, before the great Compelling drew one back as though the Compelling itself knew that there was nothing for them out there.

Nothing but death.

Soon she would die from great accumulation of cognition. She was wise. Very wise. She knew how decrepit she must look to those whose lives did not run so deep as hers. She recalled those who had been this wise when her life was shallow. Those who had heard the Last-song. Those who she alone had a song for, but when she was gone, when she became one who had lived while those alive were alive… then their song would be the song of the One. Timeless. A duration lost.

She was the last wise enough to sing their song. The song, the archive, the science. The last who dove so deep in time. When she was gone, they would no longer know when the Ancient-voices had last been heard.

The song of the Ancient-voices had been bereft of true meaning, that was known. Nonsense. But there had been an understanding.

Long before. In the time of the song of the One, there had been great terror. The Terror.

Those From-above had come to draw them one at a time to outer space. Not for the brevity that the great Compelling allowed, but forever. For death.

There was a song – a variation on the song of the One - that told of the Terror.

A wise one whose life ran at the same depth as the Terror had sacrificed humility, to compose the song that explained, that told, that warned, of the Terror and sing it for all to remember.

The Ancient-voices, it was sung, came as an apology, an appeal, an instruction. For the duration that they sang, the voices had told them – promised them – that everything had changed.

But those who came From-above were now part of the One.

The last who had heard their nonsense melody were gone, and when she was gone, they too would be the remotest memory.

It saddened her.

Their voice may have had no meaning, but the intention, the understanding, the song had… that should not be lost.

Perhaps someday it would be understood. Perhaps those of the Yet-to-come – the young, the future, the foolish – may see a purpose in the song. Perhaps what it said might tell them what had become of those of From-above. Where they had gone and what their departure had meant. It was too important.

There needed to be a song.

A song that would mean everything she thought about the Ancient-voices.

There had not been a new song since those who lived the Terror had become part of the One. It was to sacrifice great humility to intone a new song.

Only the wisest could dare. For all others it was folly. Only the wisest could know enough to compose a new history, to build a new song in the language.

To sing a new song, it was sung, one must know that the song to be sung would be the most important melody one would ever sing.

To intone a new song was to enact despicable pride. But some things must be known. Each of the One who sacrificed great humility had recognized that they alone remained whose wisdom ran so deep into time as to be able to compose the song that must be sung. Each in turn had realized the price of hubristic heroism had fallen upon them. The decision, the choice, the dilemma to compose and sing or lose the knowledge, lore, wisdom was the burden left to those who alone swam deepest into time.

So, heroically, she embraced the dreams of the shallow and she sang.

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