Bleak #writephoto

Bleak

glaston4-258

 

We walk, hand in hand, to the shore,

up to the small promontory, and we see our island:

it is cold today, but we don’t feel it.

Our bare feet slide over the rock,

Your empty eyes turn toward me, my love,

asking me, in silence,

if I am ready to start our voyage.

I smile, my frozen heart reaching yours,

for I know we belong there,

you and me, for ever, under the heavy stone,

below the chapel,

where once, long ago,

they burned us at the stake.

Record

The Prompt

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The interrogation went on for hours, as he answered the questions, seemingly endless and random, but he knew, designed to catch him lying. He would not lie. There was no point. The truth would be denied, of course, but someday, what was on record would be known, and his innocence recognised. Some day.

Photo: Münster, Lamberti Kirche, die Täufer

 

Q #AtoZAprilChallenge

Thomas Muentzer.jpg

Q“, authored by the Italian writers’ collective Luther Blissett, now morphed to “Wu Ming“, tells the story of Gert-from-the-Well, a young student from Saxony, in the aftermath of the monk Martin Luther’s ninety five theses, pinned on the door of the Wittenberg cathedral church in 1517.

I am on my second reading of Q, and have read the “sequel” (a misnomer) “Altai” by the same Wu Ming. Q is, in part, straightforward adventure through the troubled times of the various revolts that then momentarily challenged the power of the princes, the massacres of insurgents, the Anabaptists’ heresy and the horrors of the Counter-Reformation/Inquisition. The other face of the novel is a reflection on politics and the meaning of truth, perhaps reflecting the authors’ own questions on the state of post-war Italy.

The book starts in Wittenberg, where Gert meets his mentor, Thomas Müntzer, and finishes in Venice, with Gert now an ally of the rich and at time powerful Miquez family, and lover of Beatriz de Luna. On the way Gert is countered by the one who becomes his arch-enemy, the spy Qoelet, working to the service of Gianpietro Carafa, the future  pope Paul IV. Q infiltrates the insurgency, and tracks Gert to Venice where they finally come face to face. The narrative is fascinating and often puzzling. What was to become Europe was then in the midst of continuous horrendous wars, fought through mercenaries and bands of thugs that terrorised the peasants and extracted what they could from the towns. In the background, violence is fuelled by the rivalries between the Emperor, Charles V, the German princes, the pope, Italian principalities, Venice, the King of France, and, the Ottoman Empire. The Jews have been expelled from Spain, and resettled in Venice, and soon Constantinople. Worse was to come, when the Tirty Year war ravaged most of what is now Germany, and concluded only in 1648.

A good read for those interested in European history, or simply a great adventure novel.

Image: Thomas Münzer By Christoph van Sichem – Das Wissen des 20. Jahrhunderts, Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 1961, Rheda, Bd.1 S.395, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26253b

Doña Gracia Nasi’s entry in the Jewish Womens’ Archive

#AtoZAprilChallenge Martin Luther

Лютер_в_Вормсе

 

The early 16th century was the crucible of what was to become modern Europe. The previous fifty years had been marked by tremendous events. In 1453 Constantinople – the last stand of classical Rome, and the heart of eastern Christendom – had fallen to the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. In 1492 Imperial Spain had discovered America.

Then in 1517, in a university town of Saxony called Wittenberg, a monk named Martin Luther pinned his ninety five “theses” on the door of the All Saints church. There was an uncompromising condemnation of the venality of the Church, and of the practice of Indulgences. Then started  a hundred and thirty years period of war of religion that was to shape the sub continent.

Luther was brave enough to challenge the authority of Rome, but he was no revolutionary. Popular uprisings that followed were mercilessly crushed by the princes. The Reformation was to sweep Northern Europe and become the official church of many principalities and kingdoms, from Sweden to the United Kingdom. Luther had support, first and foremost from the Elector of Saxony, and from many other German princes who wanted to challenge not only the Pope, but also the Habsburg Emperor. Rome’s reaction, and the onset of the Counter-Reformation, was to seal the fate of a divided Christendom.

Image: Luther Before the Diet of Worms by Anton von Werner (1843–1915)

#FiveSentenceFiction: Trust

Interstices

I did not know the length of the labyrinth, only that it led to that gate, and the little platform, just wide enough for two feet, facing the immense sky, and a sheer vertical drop of several hundred meters high above the valley.

She had said to me, in another life it seemed, that she would lay the rope from the overhang, and that with my strong arms I could then reach the valley, right down the cliff, just taking the time not to exhaust my strength…

Now of course captivity had taken much of my energy away, the beatings, the hunger, the cold, still, I went for it, killed two guards in the silence of the night: this gave me just half an hour to reach the first gate, and run for my life through the labyrinth, using the little map she had given me, all those years back.

My lungs were burning as I heard the alarm resonating through the rocks and the thick doors: I thought my heart would explode, and now I could hear the roar of the mastiffs they had unleashed, a last lap to the gate in front of me…

The clear air took my remaining breath away: in front of me the abyss, I had to believe, had to hold on the edge and feel for the rope, behind me was death – I let myself slowly down, holding to the ledge – and the rope was there…

Daily Prompt: About Page of the Future

Write the About page for your blog in 10 years.

François Maréchal; 1861 - 1945  It was Day&Art&François Maréchal  on my blog

Source: Vasily

As arguably one of the last (literate) blogger still to use screen and keypad to amuse my observers through those non-sensical posts, I admit:

  1. To being an undesirable alien
  2. To having started this blog – as it was then named – some twelve years ago, hence well before enlightenment
  3.  To (occasionally) enjoying pictures of nature…
  4. To being an (old-fashioned) socialist!

Daily Prompt: Escape!

Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from).

Light Long ago I trained here, and thus I know the place quite well.  When they come for me, I am prepared: my body may be covered with bruises, but I still have my head.  Those thugs have no idea of what awaits them!

They lead me along the corridors, as we pass cells deep in obscurity.  I force myself to ignore the cries of the victims, their tears, the sounds of persecution and torture.  For if I cannot destroy them totally, at least I can punch a blow that will set them back for a long time.  The thought makes me smile.

They stop, as expected. As the lead guard moves towards the gate I move slowly and by stealth a few inches to my left: my position has to be right.  The guard unlocks the gate and holds it open.  My retinue and I walk through it.  As the guard shuts the gate close behind us I jumped swiftly on a big slab in front of the high window to my right.

I hear the sharp sound of their swords as they hit the stone: I am falling down the vertical well, and as I look up I see the flames of the explosion that wipes out all living things in the corridor above my head.  My body hits the water and for a few minutes I fear to drown, then I see the light, the little beach, and the launch prepared all those years back, before the Inquisition captures me.  I know that the slab is back in its place, the ancient Magus’ magic still worked long after his murder.