Threshold #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

looking-out

 

There, long ago, when we had space, and the air was pure, there we lived: us, the whole tribe, the children, the very old, the wise and the fools. At night we were safe, the sea protected us. We had many friends, and few enemies. We were poor, and strong.

The cave was our home, where we lived, loved, and died. The world wasn’t ours, but we knew our place, and this place was here, on the threshold. Far beyond was eternity.

Prelude

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I have long suspected that the ancient deities – some more powerful than others, but who is it to judge? – take more than a passing interest in the life of this city, when they awake from their deep slumber, in the depth of the marvellously resurrected temples that the reconstructed museums of the island are. I cannot help imagining the ghosts of the ancient pharos and queens, so beautiful still in their golden garbs, surveying the new Rome, listening, with a knowing smile on their lips, to the ever repeated founding myths of the new Republic: the birth, the fall from grace, the “darkest page” in the history of Germany, the destruction, the starvation, the air lift, the new dictatorship, and then, the new dawn.

Freiheit, wir sind das Volk, the fall of the wall, unification. Indeed the achievements are amazing. The city that faced annihilation, misery, death by strangulation, is alive again, and strives. The reconstruction, the revival of the historical monuments, the trees: do the gods look on with appreciation, perhaps with some envy, even, that they are no longer those that the people worship?

The rain interrupted, briefly, the eternal summer. For a while the asparagus disappeared behind a thin veil of clouds and water drops. Subdued and slower, the traffic, the cyclists in waterproof gear… Nefertiti looked on.

How not to be in love with such patronage?

The City knows #WritersWednesday

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She never forgets: the humble swamps of the beginnings, the far away sounds of war, the medieval cruelties, the triumphs, the parades, the Enemy at the gates…

Then there was the long war – thirty years of destruction, rape, pestilence and ruins. Out of this came a stronger state, and she was the capital. The Soldiers” King – Soldaten König – made her powerful, perhaps a little agressive too. She knows what the fate of his son was, the sweet Friedrich, and Russia: a predicament for the next two centuries.

She remembers the Corsican invader, who would have feared Friedrich, and would lose his pride, and an empire, in the snows and fires of Moscow. And she loved Schinkel, the master architect, he who gave her the cross – on the hill: Kreuzberg, and what followed, the victories, the invincible army, the birth of the Reich, the Iron Cross.

Of the First World War she only remembers the trains full of enthusiastic soldiers, and then the revolution, machine guns in the street, Spartakus, the bloodbath, the corpses thrown into the canal.

Of the long night that started not so much later, she speaks often, soberly. So many sad memories, all those little brass stones on her pavements – so many human beings taken away, old and young, and burnt. The memorials, the thousands buried in her parks. Yes, the trees, fallen soldiers, reborn to adorn her streets.

Of the wall of division, yesterday really, a few seconds ago in her life, she knows all, and now she sees the builders, the speculators, the newcomers.

She sees us, my love, and is willing to tell us her stories. We will listen to her, in awe.

 

Nightmare #TheDailyPost

Not sure how to participate?

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You haunt our nights, not the you, seductive, smooth, sexy, not the one we meet in full daylight, but the one whom we cannot name. We see you in the shadow, beyond those trenches, beyond the cloud of blood and murder: for you are the Enemy, armed and pitiless, the one we, humans, fear.

And yet we fight, under a sky without light, where no stars shine. We fight and sometime push you back, you and your legions, and then we have to take shelter, in the depth of night, carrying our dead comrades with us…

There is no end, this fight will last forever, as dawns succeed to nights, and we pretend to live, and then the nightmare begins, again.

Image: Crow and Moon, by Valya. 2016, via valya47

Burn #TheDailyPost

Inspiration

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We shall burn the old days, the boredom, the struggle; we shall forget the rain; we shall find new dust.

We will live again, as if, we still had life to spare…

We know we must cease the instant, before the City becomes like all the others, before she forgets her soul…

Fall will succeed Summer, and we will haunt those streets, seeking the ghosts of a past we want to travel to…

We belong there, and nowhere else, prisoners of our own dreams, like dry wood in a fire…

Playful #TheDailyPost

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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We have waited so long, and now, we are here: this is our playground, the tree-lined streets, the old canal, the lovers on the crumbling benches… Silent, beautiful walls smile at us, radiating a warmth perceptible only to those who have penetrated the city’s secret…

We shall dance in the street, naked, your hair flying in the sunshine, your feet only licking the ground, light as a cloud. We shall drink, and dance, and drink more, and sleep.

The light will flood our room, we will hear the far away tumult of other beings, the faded sounds of machines. Step by step we will walk back in time, everything more luminous, old songs resonating around us.

This is our playground, a place to live, to love, and die.

Photography: Roses bordering the Luisenstadt Canal, Berlin Kreuzberg, © 2016 Honoré Dupuis

Yawpa #AtoZAprilChallenge

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Yawpa is the Hopi name for the Mockingbird. “The mockingbird fluttered around the bamboo, calling out, ‘Pashumayani! Pashumayani! Be careful! Be careful!’ This is the way the people departed from the Lower World” (from The Four Worlds: the doorway to the Fourth World, in ‘The Fourth World of the Hopis’, by Harold Courlander.)

From Wikipedia, the Northern Mockingbird:

It also features in the title and central metaphor of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. In that novel, mockingbirds are portrayed as innocent and generous, and two of the major characters, Atticus Finch and Miss Maudie, say it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because “they don’t do one thing for us but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us”.[47]

Hush, Little Baby” is a traditional lullaby, thought to have been written in the Southern United States, its key first lines, “Hush, little baby, don’t say a word, Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird don’t sing, Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.”

The song of the northern mockingbird inspires much of classic American folk song of the mid-19th century, “Listen to the Mocking Bird“.[48]

Mockin’ Bird Hill is a popular song best known through recordings by Patti PageDonna Fargo, and by Les Paul and Mary Ford in 1951.

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, had a pet mockingbird named “Dick.”

The sound of the Mockingbird

Image: By 21_Mocking_Bird.jpg:
John James Audubon (1785–1851)

Alternative names
Birth name: Jean-Jacques-Fougère Audubon
Description
American ornithologist, naturalist, hunter and painter
Date of birth/death
26 April 1785
27 January 1851
Location of birth/death
Les Cayes (Haiti)
New York City
Work location
Louisville, Kentucky, New Orleans, New York City, Florida
Authority control
VIAF: 14765625
LCCN: n79018677
GND: 11865098X
BnF: cb118895048
ULAN: 500016578
ISNI: 0000 0001 1040 5229
WorldCat
WP-Person21_Mocking_Bird.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13259783

Vanished #AtoZAprilChallenge

Dedicated to the Native American tribes, victims of the greatest genocide in history, who knew agriculture, and the art of living, when Europe was starving, crawling in medieval darkness.

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He stands on the red rocks, alone with ghosts, his sight on the painted horizon.

Slowly they appear in his vision: the millions, slaughtered by disease, hunger, the swords and bullets of the invaders.

He remembers: a people in tune with nature, who understood the path of Mother Earth, as no-one since has understood Her.

And, now, he, the white scientist, knows the end is near: his own tribe will have to leave the Fourth World, and find solace in hell.

Then the braves will rise from their forgotten graves, as trees from the desert.

Written originally for the #FiveSentenceFiction prompt “Abandon”

Photo: 12th century Wupatki ruins, Wupatki National Monument

The Guardian Angel

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The old man looked out of the window into the familiar expense of the suburban garden, taking in the brightness of the tulips, the now fading bluebells and the impertinent grass, absurdly green. What a contrast with the arid plateau at the foot of the mesa!

There, on his desk, near the photograph of the assembled family – the one he’d taken on his terrace the summer before – she stood, her delicate silhouette arrested in the position of the butterfly dance, the colours of her wings shimmering in the morning light. “You are a beauty,” he thought, “And I am lucky to have you: my inspiration, my living companion…”

Soon, a cup of steaming coffee to his side, he went back to work. “This novel will never be finished,” he said to himself; “Not that I don’t want to, but now I am so slow, and I know… I will run out of time!” It was true that since his wife’s departure (he never thought of her death, merely of a delay in them being reunited) he had become very slow, as if he’d adopted a different rhythm of life. Yet he was waking up at the same time, as if she was still there, and carefully brewed coffee, as if she was waiting for her first cup, upstairs, in their room. But, now, he had gone back to long hand writing, and he was lucky to get a few hundred words into shape during his morning work.

Behind her mask, the kachina was observing him. “You are a good man,” she was saying to herself, “and, you are right, your end is near. But since you have led a good life, and understand the meaning of your life, I will do something for you…”

The old man put his pen down, and looked at her: he knew she was talking to herself, but could hear the soft voice, and he could sense the imperceptible motion of her fingers, holding the pahos, the ceremonial prayer sticks.

“Maiden, do you miss the mountains?” He asked, smiling at her, perhaps not expecting an answer. He resumed his work, the pen scratching the paper, honing words.

Later, as he was feeling more light-headed than usual, he heard her voice again.

“When the time comes, you will know what has to be done,” she said slowly, “and your people will bury you according to your rites,” she continued, “but later, you will take the trail to Maski, the Land of the Dead, and on your way there you will find me: I will wait for you, and guide you, have no fear.”

Image: A mural depicting Tawa, the sun spirit and creator in Hopi mythology. Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. By Fred Kabotie, National Park Service – http://www.nps.gov/common/uploads/photogallery/20140223/park/pefo/BBBAA541-155D-451F-6780A798473458A3/BBBAA541-155D-451F-6780A798473458A3.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23228610

Hopi mythology at Wikipedia