Friday, June 20, 2014

Misery of He Who is Older than All Men

This prose poem was first published in the Winter 2013-2014 issue of Tales of the Talisman, and was influenced, as much of my work is, by the early writings of Lord Dunsany.


Misery of He Who is Older than All Men

He who is older than all men suffers a misery deeper than the sum of man’s wars and plagues. Left, for reasons known only to the gods, to ponder his existence amidst the cosmic fog outside space and time, to know only his purpose, his destiny, a task performed mindlessly and without pause.

As a consequence, many questions relative to his plight arise but are never answered. He bears no recollection of birth, no sense of an earlier time or even of time itself, save for hints gleaned from the ever-heightening awareness of mankind as it fumbles through its chaotic existence.

He cannot talk to men. There has never been kith or kin with which to converse. Yet now and again come flashes of having once been human: a cave strewn with ancient paintings, the dirty faces of woman and child, crude weapons in the hand, the fearful eyes of his prey and the grim stone idols of worship . . . .

Adding to his misery is the probability that these flashes are merely residual energies from the endless stream of human souls passing through his boney fingers.

Was I truly once a man? he thinks. How long must I endure this limbotic state? How long before I may again know the thrill of the hunt, the touch of a woman? Certainly there is another to replace me.

And he cannot help but be convinced of a return to life, for all souls make their way back to Earth in one form or another—to this cycle he is first witness.

But he who is older than all men and whose core is a diamond of misery must endure his current destiny without fail, for always there is war and rampant disease, starvation, senseless murder, agedness . . . .

For who knew, that he who first personified Death, became Death. That with a cave wall and crude ochres had released it from the intangible realm of nightmare.
 

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