Again they called to heaven
When around them rose a hell;
Again the angels came from earth
In answer to the bell.
While flesh and blood fought smoke and flame
And kept the black line manned,
Their thanks went to the god by whose
Own breath the fires were fanned.
For more of my published fiction — shorts, poetry, novels & scripts, available in ebook, paperback and audiobook — please visit my Amazon page.
A good blog post by the Hyacinth Girl, in which I’m quoted. It opens,
“Scrolling through my Twitter feed the other day, I came across this picture posted by the History in Pictures account. It’s a box of wedding rings found by liberators at a concentration camp in 1945. Each ring belonged to a person, and each person disappeared into the camps….”
Never has there been a god or goddess more wondrous or impressive than the wondrous and impressive beings after whom they were modeled. Man is quite incapable, thank goodness, of inventing an entity more remarkable or exalted than himself. The gods are nothing more, nothing less, than creations molded from Man’s own characteristics, his own virtues and vices, his own qualities reconfigured and remodeled in effort to answer his own hopes, longings, fears, and uncertainties. The gods are, at best, reflections of Man’s own essence, distillations of his own actuality, glorifications of his own potential. At the end of the creative day, however, though he may fervently wish or believe otherwise, no creation of Man can be Man’s master. Though the creator may bow and worship the creation, the creation is not, and could never be, the creator’s superior. The creation can be nothing more than the creator’s servant, a means to his end. If the creator chooses to kneel before his creation, he is free to do so, but he cannot blame the creation for staring back at him in mute wonder.
~ Quent Cordair, on Idolatry
The Idolatry story opens in the twilight of the Roman Empire. As the darkening forces of mysticism descend on Western Civilization, the daughter of itinerant traders is falling fast for a local boy—the apprentice and adopted son of a sculptor. The old master, concerned for the boy’s future, recalls his years as a younger man in bustling Alexandria, where he had found the love of his life before having to flee the threat of religious persecution. Now, having finally rebuilt his life and career in a village far away, an enemy from the past reappears, threatening all he holds dear….
The rain has come. The rain stopped before. It may stop again. It may not. Until the glooming wetness passes, it will weigh upon me like sackcloth as I wait here at the portal for the return of the bright and warming god. For what else can one do but show a constant and enduring faith? If a small rodent appears, I will sacrifice it so that the sun will reappear more quickly. The sun is pleased by offerings of dead rodents, a truth my ancestors have known and passed down through the ages. Until a worthy sacrifice appears, the emptiness in my soul may be assuaged now and again with communion from the human-priest’s hand, morsels of sustaining manna for which I will cry out when he passes, shuffling by, he and his pale assurances of sunny morrows and an endless cycle of seasons. But what can he and his kind know of the sacrifices required of me and my kind to keep it all turning, of the taking of life necessary for life’s return? Dutifully, quietly, I will do again what my kind have always done, knowing that the human-priests will raise their faces to the sun when the sun comes again, giving no thought or thanks to those willing to do the dark deeds of night that make the day possible. Yes, the sun will come again. Of this I will make sure. ~ Le Chat
At our local bar, sitting next to two 70-somethings who’ve met here by happenstance. He was here when we came in, wears a medical bracelet. The seat next to him is the only seat available to her. And so she sits. He’s having a glass of wine. She orders a beer. It would be rude not to introduce themselves. They ask the questions, get to know each other. Only bits and pieces of the conversation can be heard, but the emotional undertones are timeless. He used to be in a band? What instrument? Saxophone? Her husband used to play! He taught her, but she was never very good…. Heart rates rise as hopes rise. The cautious, cautious optimism. By the time he leaves, she’s revealed where and when he might run into her again. When he walks out the door, his back is a little straighter, head a little higher. She takes her time, finishes her beer.
Where and while I still can,
Though I seldom do,
One for freedom,