No Other Gods Before Me ...

by compound complex 11 Replies latest social entertainment

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    She bids me rise, both in body and in spirit,
    This because I have been overcome by new
    And nebulous fears and have not the means
    Within my small and mortal frame to ascend

    Of my own accord the heights She wishes me
    To conquer by dint of force of will and dependence
    Upon a strength newly offered by a being unknown
    To my fathers and the generations come before them.

    "Do take make hand and scale the sky upon the ladder I
    Provide you and consider not the fate of Icarus who spilled
    Into the sea ... for my heat is ice and scarce could you burn
    Your wings upon me as I take you into the bosom of eternity."

    Looking out his studio's street-side window, Marcel squints as diminishing afternoon rays of a limping, hazy sun come slicing through half-opened blinds.

    Some men, he had read [for none had ever declared this truth to the young writer personally], write in a darkened box of a room to fend off all possible distraction from the proper conception and development of their little tales. That, Marcel pondered, was too simplistic an accounting of how one's thoughts truly do go to paper. Whether wide open, whether wide shut, these eyes sense feelingly a concept or a vision that waits in the offing and begs to be reined in, harnessed, in order to be transformed into an off-center mystery of an otherwise commonplace affair.

    Marcel awaits the moon should rise and blind him with love and longing through fully-opened blinds ...

    Only by random chance would an errant soul happen upon these words, words hastily scratched out upon a few scraps of soiled paper that Marcel had found in a sunless and deserted alley in the seaside village, Port of Good Hope. Not by design has any man deliberately sought out the black menace, that which fully intends to cripple and, then, kill ... degree, by degree, by degree....

    It is not with innocently anticipated and eager love and longing that Marcel has been smitten, that blissful state helped along by a bright and glorious moon rising. Through a now fully opened window he gazes wonderingly at a super orb that, in its majestic and drawn out ascent, devours all other less mighty luminaries in its inexorable rise to celestial dominion. Upon the worlds' seas this invader, dark moon works her crazed but orderly magic, dashing both ship and leviathan upon jagged rocks which front the greedy maw of Hell. She makes Marcel - a simple man of the earth - see her boundless power through eyes newly opened, and, hence, an incredulous spirit only now become aware of that ageless, invisible realm, that mystic kingdom ever sought by the wise but whose entry thereto is summarily denied.

    Piety toward God and the doing of good toward his fellow were as second nature to the young man as were the act of breathing and the daily walk about the harbor of his beloved Port of Good Hope. Marcel's hands were in his khaki's pockets as he sauntered mindlessly along the quay. He reached deep for a snatch of coin in his right pocket, rolled them through his fingers and let them drop back into the cul-de-poche one by one. Every coin, though hidden away in the dark of layered, stitched cotton, yet has two sides. So, too, every man.

    Drinking down the salty air that came wafting in off the mighty Pacific, Marcel felt invigorated in body, this despite a niggling inner struggle twisting his mortal soul into a knot and dangling it over the licking flames of eternal torment. The other side beckoned him, tugged ever so gently at his heart strings, the cloaked Mistress assuring this naturally inquisitive youth unsteady in the absolutism of family faith and traditional mores that, if he dared peer through the darkened veil, he surely would not die.

    The mediocrity of his little life - a good life, but all too commonplace an existence - was hemming Marcel in, particularly at a time when the blood ran hot and a persisting coolness of spirit impinged upon the need, the absolute necessity, to take a chance and transcend the all too stifling life of a parson's son ...

    "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

    Righteous Job would look neither downward upon a virgin in an unchaste manner nor turn his eyes upward in worshipful gaze upon Heaven's own Queen of the night. However much the willing Marcel had had drummed into his head the Word (with the full intent of its reaching his youthful, vacillating heart), yet he could not help but be drawn nightly to the deeply hued expanse and its precession of sidereal jewelry. Where does wondering amazement at the cloaked lives of mysterious and glorious celestial entities leave off and take the diversionary path away from staid, acceptable religion, luring the total man into the cult of the zodiac?

    Marcel was certainly lacking in art and too provincial a lad (given his family's eschewing all things deemed worldly and forbidden knowledge) to have been schooled in the arcane precepts of the deep magic of the universe. How could he know that there were unseen forces at work upon him? He felt a pull but had no inkling whence it came.

    His father, a good and simple man of God, was blissfully unaware, in his humble devotion to the heavenly Father, that a subtle direction of a lesser but nonetheless mighty god was playing upon his son, Marcel....

  • snowbird
    His father, a good and simple man of God, was blissfully unaware, in his humble devotion to the heavenly Father, that a subtle direction of a lesser but nonetheless mighty god was playing upon his son, Marcel...

    This happens all too often in religious communities.

    WT's Bethel should be sent a copy of this, forthwith.


  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Thanks, Sylvia, for your thoughts.

    Do you feel it's too enigmatic for the Governing Body? I don't exactly make my point with simple sentences.

    aka Compound-Complex

  • snowbird

    Do you feel it's too enigmatic for the Governing Body?

    Maybe some of them will "get" it.

    Then again, it's not written on a 5th grade reading level, is it?

    Tee hee hee.


  • compound complex
    compound complex

    She bids me rise, both in body and in spirit,
    This because I have been overcome by new
    And nebulous fears and have not the means
    Within my small and mortal frame to ascend

    Of my own accord the heights She wishes me to
    Conquer by dint of force of will and dependence
    Upon a strength newly offered by a god unknown
    To my fathers and all the generations before them.

    "Do take my open hand, scale the sky upon the ladder I
    Provide you; consider not the fate of Icarus, who spilled
    Into the sea ... my heat is ice and scarcely could you burn
    Your wings upon me as we sail into the bosom of eternity."


    The inspiration for the above lunar excursion:

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Your warm and supple skin delights my touch,
    and the gliding of my fingers up and down your
    spine creates within my rising spirit an awareness
    of Heaven’s glory, her gates wide open.

    Upon revelation of treasures long hid from me,
    I melt inwardly as your trove of precious thoughts
    works the wheels of my mind and invests it with renewed
    inspiration and fresh resolve.

    Your message is no mere dry statement, rife with boring facts,
    but, bolder still, an ardent declaration meant for the entire world
    to read, ponder, act upon. Men and women seek what is between your
    covers, though at first glance they might not recognize your inherent worth.

    Not until you, O cherished Book of books, should fall within their own opened palms.

    You are my delight, the very essence of my being.

    After reading the rapturous words so near to his heart, Marcel held the crumpled and partially burned scrap of paper close to his chest. It was one of the few mementos he salvaged from the fireplace years ago. His father, man of God, and his mother, child of the stars, had had another of their heated arguments over what they say one should never discuss: religion and politics. Impossible in a household where heaven and earth and eternal salvation hang in the balance.

    Of course, Father, with Bible in hand, prevailed and Mother invariably turned silent in her stubborn but, nevertheless, winning manner. "Winning" in that it was she who prevailed in influence over her most impressionable son. Elizabeth's books - carefully hidden away from her husband's godly zeal - would find their way out of their cache and into Marcel's small, eager hands.

    He anxiously awaited having his eyes and mind opened by that split second in eternity that the text in her arcane tomes so tantalizingly promised....

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Astonished ... incredulous ... aroused.

    There are no words to describe adequately the trembling at my discovery. The capacious container - how did it get here? - was resting place to a multitude of books that had been lovingly and carefully arranged in a deep cushion of excelsior. Though this bevy of books had the evident look of relative antiquity about it, there was not the characteristic odor of must and damp so prevalent among cemeteries of long-forgotten books. This treasure of precious literature had somehow eluded the Fahrenheit 451 of Father's religious, unreasoning loathing for any word but that of his own father, God Almighty.

    I reached with the utmost reverence for the volume that had caught my attention and won my affection as a mere lad: Arundel, by Kenneth Roberts. Knowing nothing then about the historicity of the American colonies' various accounts (some, I have since learned, are disputed as to accuracy), I was taken by N.C. Wyeth's cover art of Indians and settlers canoeing the swelling waters of the Dead River ... the Arundel River ... the Kennebec ... la Riviere du Loup? I cannot recall, but the deep blue waters tipped by creamy white caps, the crisp, colorful off-shore autumn foliage, the looming, inscrutable blue hill, have long since inhabited my imagination.

    Once out of my memory-stirred reverie, I began slowly turning pages, traveling digitally the maps depicting the moves of Colonel Benedict Arnold and his men, the Prologue by Steven Nason (the story's protagonist). On page ten I caught sight of Steven's loving tribute to his mother, Sarah. Why my careful though somewhat random perusal took in that particular account, I've no clue - there was simply too much to take in, given my excitement and agitated sense of deja-vu. Nevertheless, the words were fitting, as I could have said the same about Elizabeth, my mother.

    Steven thanked God for his mother's education ...

    She read Shakespeare and Plato; in addition, she spoke French, some of which she passed on to her son, and that of no little benefit to him. Apparently Sarah Nason, nee Butler, wished her son to ponder matters other than the merely mundane: fish, weather, sleep. Regarding the outlay of funds for educational purposes in their district of Arundel, the citizenry were wont to decry the prodigal expenditure of fifty pounds a year. I have reason to believe that Steven rose above the loutishness of his neighbors, though he did not consider himself a man well versed in letters.

    In like manner, with regard to the above comments relative to parents' mentorship of their malleable offspring, I was encased, as it were, with books of every description, books of wonder, of love, of life, but secreted away from Father's purview. Whether the virtual overflow of every sort of reading matter in her cluttered hideaway had been principally for Elizabeth's deep-seated intellectual needs and, collaterally, for that of my initiation into the mysteries above and beyond those present in The Word, I do not know for certain my mother's prime motivation. Surely, she encouraged and promoted my literary travels by leading me, an enthusiastic bookworm, to the ancient Carnegie Library of stone and ivy when her provincial mate was away tending to the cares of his scattered sheep. I cried when the city tore down the venerable edifice where adventure and learning had come together and borne me. The replacement contained the same books of paper, spines and hardback covers, but the former atmosphere (one of enlightened decay) among the stacks was missing. The sanitized air of the new building did not sit well with me. I was just a kid; I didn't know why.

    Books, with their hidden gems of intrigue and new worlds of discovery, were our delicious secret, one ardently kept in view of my father's disdain for worldly philosophy and anything else standing against the knowledge of his god.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Number 99 in the Hit Parade ...

  • snowbird

    We tend to scorn that which we do not understand ...

    My maternal grandmother mindlessly incinerated all of her deceased husband's books.

    I cried when I heard about it.


  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Dear Syl:

    I cried when I heard about it.




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