For this Father’s Day ~

For this Father’s Day ~

For this Father’s Day, a favorite passage from Genesis, Part I of Idolatry, the meeting of the sculptor Apollonius and the boy Myron ~

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… It was just so, late one evening. He had worked through the night and day prior on another mausoleum frieze, trying to reach a state of exhaustion and numbness that would overwhelm him enough that he could sleep. In the scene, the mourners surrounding the dead body were distraught; all were focused on the deceased except one figure – a man who had turned to look out at the viewer, searching for an unfindable answer. His face was sorrow incarnate.

Apollonius sat on the floor, his head fallen, his body bowed over and so tired that he could no longer lift his arms, and still his soul hurt too much to rest. The tears began to fall, making silent splashes in the marble dust on the floor, as the night’s last candle burned low.

He sniffed – and heard an echoing sniff, disembodied, not his own. He sniffed again. Another small sniffle answered. He opened his eyes to find a toddler sitting on the floor next to him, gazing up at the funereal scene, tears rolling down the urchin’s dust-caked cheeks. He was begrimed but beautiful, with auburn-bronze curls and hazel eyes flecked with umber and gold. The bedraggled cloth draping his little body was a dirty rectangle of coarse, undyed wool, a hole cut out for the head. Of the pins meant to hold the sides of the cloth together, one had torn loose, the other had ripped nearly away and was hanging by only a few threads.

Seeing Apollonius’s distraught face, the boy began crying all the harder. The two looked at each other and cried on, emptying the depths of their grief until Apollonius could no longer bear the pathos, such a pitiable outpouring from such a flawless creature who surely could know so little yet of pain, a mere child with the prospect of a lifetime of joys before him. The scene had become an absurd injustice, and from somewhere in Apollonius’s soul, from a place he had thought had long died, something rose through the thick sadness, bubbling upwards to escape –

He laughed.

It was an agonized laugh, a pained laugh, but a laugh nonetheless, and the boy, in turn, laughed at the sound of it. Apollonius put his arm around the boy and pulled him close. The two cried and laughed together until the candle flickered its last, until the forlorn faces on the frieze had vanished into the blanketing darkness, until sleep overcame the night….

******
To enjoy more of the Idolatry story ~ https://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Idolatry-Book-Q…/…/B00MUWOWDW

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For this “Earth Day”

For this “Earth Day”

For this “Earth Day,” a passage from A New Eden, Part II of Idolatry. The year, 1852:

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…When the day ended and darkness fell, Thomas walked away from the wagon train and into the wilderness, headed south with a vague notion of going to Mexico, with nothing on his person but the clothes on his back, the knife on his belt and, in his satchel, a flint, a small package of hardtack and dried beef, and his father’s edition of Lyell’s Principles of Geology.

Through the night and the next day he walked, seeing not a trace of humanity and scant signs of wildlife. The next evening he found himself standing atop a high hill overlooking a desolate valley.

Close to the west, a range of snow-tipped mountains rose like the ramparts of a citadel. At the valley’s south end lay a shallow marsh fed by snowmelt, mostly dried up from the long summer’s heat, miles of alkali flats left in the ebb. The mountain shadows were growing long across the valley floor. The desert heat was cooling rapidly as the sky began to shift into the loveliest, most vivid palette he had ever seen—a parasol of pastels over hills turning tangerine and deep saffron, the mountains tinted cornflower-blue and violet. He gathered enough deadfall and brush for a small fire and, after a light supper, nestled down beside a low wall of stone he built to hold the fire’s heat. After reading a chapter of Lyell by firelight, he slept, with moonlight for his blanket and a stone for his pillow.

He spent three days alone on the summit—reading, thinking, remembering his father, considering his future, weighing his options, taking in the view. On the fourth morning, the fire had gone cold in the night. The scant supply of brush and wood on the summit was exhausted, as was his meager store of food. But looking out over the valley, he judged it to be the most beautiful place he had ever seen. The assessment was, he knew, due in no small part to the fact that he, Thomas Thornton Hale, was the only person in the valley. He had never enjoyed the luxury of having even the smallest corner of earth he could call his own. He and his father had shared the bedroom of their two-room cabin. On the wagon trail, a person had to venture over a hill or around a stand of trees for any privacy from fellow travelers. He looked around him that morning, from the rocks at his feet to the far horizons, and he said—“My hill.” He said it to himself and to the land and to the sky—“My hill. My valley. My world.”

There was no one there to dispute his claim. And so it was so.

He wanted to memorialize the moment and the place, but there was nothing resembling a flag or stake to plant in the ground. He had burned all of the loose wood. Other than rocks and scattered scrub, the only thing of substance left nearby was a barely living, severely torqued tree—an ancient bristlecone pine, wide at its base, with stunted arms and spindly fingers reaching for the sky, a few clusters of needles still surviving in the branches, roots clinging tenaciously to the back side of the summit. Other than a narrow strip of bark running up one side, the twisted torso and limbs were all but denuded, the exposed wood blanched white and polished smooth and hard as stone by the elements. Thomas carved his initials and the date into the trunk with his knife.

Having left his mark, he wanted something of the place to take with him. Over the past days, he had noticed a long thin vein of reddish quartz, not more than a few inches wide, cutting diagonally across the summit like a scar, exposed between the upended layers of porphyritic strata. Scattered pieces of the quartz had broken off at the surface. He chose one the size of a dove’s egg and put it in his pocket.

He was ready to rejoin civilization. There were things he needed to do before he could return to the valley….

*****

Read more…

The echo

The echo

Nationalist conservatives adamantly denouncing socialism….

Where on earth, when in history, has it been heard before, just so? Today’s sound bite isn’t new. It’s an echo from a hundred years ago, generated from the same source, the cause and implications recognizable to those who have studied early 20th-century history from an ideological perspective, particularly the history of the Weimar Republic:

“What socialism was to the leftists, nationalism was to the conservatives: it was their ideology, their political ideal, their common bond. … The conservatives did not attempt to prove the inherent superiority of all things German. They felt it, and that was enough for them. The German soul … what it cherishes is duty, and self-sacrifice … Most conservatives were religious men, who regarded their basic ideas as in a Christian approach to life. Typically, the public statements of these men dwelt on the such themes as the value of faith, the evil of atheism, the importance of church and family, and the need of religious schools to guide the young and immunize them against radicalism….”

“The deadliest enemy of the country, the conservatives declared, is socialism….”

“The German Republic was an experiment in political freedom combined with economic authoritarianism and defended by reference to the ethics of altruism. The country’s republicans did not wish to choose between freedom and altruism. They thought that they could have both….”

“…the Communists proceeded to act as the people’s vanguard: the party staged a nationwide campaign of violence designed to precipitate a civil war and overthrow the Republic….”

“Ideologically, the clash between the Communists and the Free Corps was a clash between champions of the all-powerful state and seekers after an all-powerful leader; between activists eager for an unselfish (socialist) Germany and activists eager for an “idealistic” (non-capitalist) Fatherland… Wherever the German turned—to the left, to the right, to the center; to the decorous voices in parliament or to the gutters running with blood—he heard the same *fundamental* ideas. They were the same in politics, the same in ethics, the same in epistemology.”

“This is how philosophy shapes the destiny of nations….”

~ Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels, chapter: “United They Fell”

The Ominous Parallels is available on Amazon… ~ https://www.amazon.com/Ominous-Parallels-End-Freedom-America/dp/081282850X

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For my published fiction ~ short stories, poetry, novels, stage and film scripts, available in ebook, paperback and audiobook ~ please visit my Amazon page. Thank you!

Check out my Q & A with The Fussy Librarian ~ ~  https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/newswire/for-readers/2018/06/22/author-qa-quent-cordair

A Reaction to Beauty

The spirit of the angeli del fango ~

The Mud Angels

Confronted with something beautiful, an ache deep inside springs up and begs me to ask myself: “Have you done your part in making the world more beautiful? Have you repaid the universe for all the beauty and meaning it has offered you? Have you done enough? Can love alone settle your debts?”

The world has given me endless beautiful things. What have I done to deserve it? What can I do now to deserve it? I know logically that perhaps there’s nothing I should, or can, do. But when something causes such a wealth of emotions, it is hard to just sit there.

This can be seen in any emotion. Beg yourself not to cry when you’re truly sad, not to laugh when you’re truly joyous, not to yell when you’re truly angry. It is impossible. I feel the same when I experience true beauty. But there is no obvious…

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At Last

At Last

 

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It matters not which border crossed,
From desert dry or tempest tossed,
To waves of grain and freedom’s sigh, 
From womb’s dark hold to first-light’s cry—
You’re here, you’re here, at last.

It matters not what age you came,
Eight months or eighty years the same,
What color skin your parents’ face,
What faith from which they fled to grace—
You’re here, you’re here, at last.

Now eye to eye, measuring minds,
The hopeful search for justice finds
No honest man can blindly curse
One more like he in chorus and verse
Than different—yes, in essence we
Are species same, from nose to knee—
As equals born with equal right
To live and work and dream the night
Where best we may, and here you are,
Your place of birth be near or far,
Your life and loves as dear to you
As mine to me—and this is true:
As innocent till guilty proved,
Against you none are justly moved.

So come, let’s toast to freedom’s song,
And may someday you pass along—
It matters not which border crossed,
To nurse’s hands or shoreline lost—
You’re here, you’re here, at last.

~ Quent Cordair

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“At Last” is from the My Kingdom collection of poems, short fiction, and short plays for stage and screen, in paperback and Kindle edtions @ amazon.com/dp/B07SVGNQG6

For more of my published fiction ~ short stories, poetry, novels, stage and film scripts, available in ebook, paperback and audiobook ~ please visit my Amazon page. Thank you!

Check out my Q & A with The Fussy Librarian ~ ~  https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/newswire/for-readers/2018/06/22/author-qa-quent-cordair

Copyright 2018, Quent Cordair. All rights reserved.

My Kingdom

My Kingdom

My kingdom has no subjects,
No serfs, their backs to bear
The weight of lives of others;
None here are forced to share.

A kingdom filled with kings and queens,
Their castles great and small,
With princes blue, princesses true,
Good dogs to guard them all.

A kingdom built with brains and brawn,
Each year less brawn than brains;
We sow and reap, invent machines
That till the fertile plains.

We sail and dream, we wing the skies,
Beguile with arts refined;
We trade for riches far and near,
Hold forth in courts of mind.

We mine and dine, automatize
The tasks that bore to tears;
Our engineers, second to none,
Lean back and toast to cheers.

Our six policemen quite suffice;
We’ve seven hard Marines
And thirteen jets with bombs so smart
That no one intervenes.

We welcome independent souls,
No honest man we shun—
Our markets thrive on goods well made,
On services well done.

Be immigrant or passing guest,
As equals all we greet;
New buyers all, new sellers some,
New friends and loves to meet.

My kingdom has no subjects,
No serfs, their backs to bear
The weight of lives of others—
Come join us if you dare.

~ Quent Cordair

 

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For more of my published fiction ~ short stories, poetry, novels, stage and film scripts, available in ebook, paperback and audiobook ~ please visit my Amazon page. Thank you!

Check out The Fussy Librarian’s Q & A with me ~  https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/newswire/for-readers/2018/06/22/author-qa-quent-cordair

Copyright 2018, Quent Cordair. All rights reserved.