I heard a story once, that shouldn’t be believed.
Or maybe it was that it should, but should never be shared, or maybe it was a bus timetable and fares – muddled became a story (as the mind is oft to do) of a graveyard, a mass grave with no markers or names where people, piled twelve deep and miles across are splayed criss cross and tongue tied around each other.
It’s said that there are no visitors – a sign says so in gentle block lettering “No Visitations” and were a curious person to walk in anyway to see if this tale is true – nothing would be found. Not even under stones.
Here they say, is a place where even the birds respect the silence demanded, for what a killing it is indeed that brought them together. It’s a place beyond wishing rest, where sleep is done softly wide eyed.
The buried are not to be missed or mourned or cried “why for why for” in this place. Here the secrets are too old for words, too sacred for memory, and too fragile to know.
Or so they say and how ridiculous a thing – a story like that.
But it’s said that just before a kill is made, all voices gone before can be heard by a few, their speech only for when they offer this comfort (weirder and more true than any other) that it is known that a mass grave, miles splayed, criss crossed lie the tongue tied, bound to each other – bones locked in solidarity for all time.
12 thoughts on “”
Very disturbing story, beautifully recited. I thought first of Srebrenitza, but it could be anywhere, in every nation. One also thinks of Dylan Thomas, “A refusal to mourn the death, by fire, of a child” Deep with the first dead lies London’s daughter/The grains beyond age/The dark veins of her mother … After the first dead there is no other. (Probably garbled, and I don’t remember the rest)
Here he is reciting it and the text below.
Never until the mankind making
Bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come of the sea tumbling in harness
And I must enter again the round
Zion of the water bead
And the synagogue of the ear of corn
Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
Or sow my salt seed
In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn
The majesty and burning of the child’s death.
I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.
Deep with the first dead lies London’s daughter,
Robed in the long friends,
The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
Secret by the unmourning water
Of the riding Thames.
After the first death, there is no other.
Ooana, I cannot begin to convey how deeply this moves me. There are so many things I would like to say but I don’t want them to be read in a comment to the public at large.They belong in a private letter.
In a few words, your poem and its recitation stirred a very very deep resonance my life, like the perpetual echo of a Buddhist meditation bell! The Dylan Thomas also has that quality, and you may want to listen to the solo voice of the last movement of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony .
You say you’re just a silly actress, but work like this proves otherwise; you are a serious talent with great potential.
About Srebrenitza: this was the worst massacre of the Yugoslavian civil war that began in 1992. As far as I know the mass graves are still being dug up. You can read about it in a series of 3 articles that I wrote in that period and are now on my website.Go to http://www.fermentmagazine.org/essays/1yugo1.html
When did I say “I’m just a silly actress?” When and if I did I was definitely being just a silly actress. 😉
While I was trained in experimental and classical theater at Tisch School of the Arts, I learned early that my talents did not lie in acting and since I loved the theater and respected the craft, my services would be far less abusive in other aspects of the artform. 😉
I’m also a practicing Buddhist, Dzogchen lineage of Tibetan Buddhism to be specific. So I believe we are both Bu’ish as I like to call it (Jubu never did it for me.)
Please feel welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear your thoughts. Your opinion is thrilling to read especially since this is a fledgling project/movement/what’evah’artful’blah this is and I’m very grateful for your words. Thank you, Roy.
I’ll give a listen and read your articles by this weekend.
Thank you for the critique and comparison. I love Dylan Thomas. You flatter me. Please tell me more about Srebrenitza?
This is a very unusual work for me so it is also quite dear. Like all the others, I “vomited” this one – but it came out strange and dark and for some reason it’s been a source of great comfort (more than any other has been before.)
So I’m so glad you chose to comment on this one, Roy. Reach out any time.
In reply to my comment about the music device falling into the bathtub, you wrote “I’m silly but not that silly.” Actress, narrator or poet, your talents are strong.
Ah! That’s right…such a silly little actress after all. 😉
Ooana, I know you will enjoy this!! It’s in my Poetry folder in the website:
Click to access sonnets.pdf
This poetry (if that iot what it is) in greatly enhanced by your narration. You have a future in voice! -dazzling!
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ll be playing with the combination of narration/story/poetry some more so hopefully I’ll dazzle you some more. 🙂
Loud and clear it is, and most expressive. The story reminded me of ‘Shoah’ — that movie where, maybe, you see a field — that nothing can ever be said about.