The Second Birth of

I called out to the woman in the distance, I called out to the boy by the river, I waved to the farmer in the field, I waved to the horses in the meadow. I nodded at the dog in the doorway, I pursed my lips and squeaked at the prowling cat. I laughed at the swarms of honeybees ransacking the apple blossoms, I whistled softly at the caterpillar climbing the trunk. For I was full of the glory of NYX I had heard Her voice in the small hours of the night, as the cider bottle spun empty on the counter and the mosquitos were annihilated by the deathly blue light. I heard Her whisper through my delirium and all my worries fell away, the fabric of my soul opened like the petals of an unknown flower. As the new sun rose the rapture spread to the extremities of my body and coursed back to swell in my tired old heart. Even a wretch like me may have his portion of bliss, I thought, as I lay down on the lawn of the village green.

At noon I was awoken by my shivering, I was flat out beneath the rain, and there I lay as the penitent entered the village. His black cloak, heavy with water, clung to his bony frame, an oaken staff was clutched in his claw. The rain shredded the air. The echoes of his devout proclamations clashed with rumblings of thunder, all was electric and over-burdened, the canopy of the sky tearing asunder.

“Recant! Recant!” Came the penitent’s cry, like a machine gun burst in a courthouse.

In a plastic bag, he carried a rare manuscript of mystical writings by Marguerite Porete, miraculously surviving the centuries since her burning. The book had fallen into the hands of this semi-literate delivery driver, filling him with religious ire, he had handed in his notice and taken to preaching on the crossroads. Now he impressed the retail assistant and the road-sweeper with his rhetorical skill.

But wait, let me gather up these fragments before they sink into the mud.

He spoke of a distant time when Death was a steamroller of heavy cavalry, homicidal second sons acting out their resentment with steel and shameless prayers to the Lord. The cobbled streets of rebellious towns slick with human grease, the skies filled with the foul black smoke of burnt human flesh. This is how the oppressed were rewarded for second guessing their masters, a single sweetmeat at the lips of a cardinal worth a dozen peasant lives. This is what their God willed, He loved the pampered and the powerful.

Elsewhere a sleek little cat calmly prowled out to the superstitious district, all the amicable expressions were gone, and fearful glances followed her every move, the children whizzed stones at her, and the old folk crossed themselves and spat. Suddenly I find myself in the Baptist Church, I’d broken in, it’s late and I’m shouting wildly at the panel ceiling.

“I challenge you O Lord! Arch Law Maker! Pour onto me your threats! Let me taste every dismal doom-laden morsel, let every crazy trumpet of the angels blow a free jazz solo of cosmic proportions. Let the signs of Hell-on-Earth be known, let them reveal themselves in TV commercials and music videos, let the rhythmic shaking of a pop star’s arse signify Babylon, let the oily charm of the executive lubricate the legions of Lucifer. I renounce everything, strike me down if you will, have me executed. Have me crucified under general anaesthetic!”

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