Home Article Literary Contributions Serialised Novel: The Presence of a Raven

Serialised Novel: The Presence of a Raven

Part 1

‘I felt that the Gods lacked something so long as there was nothing to set against them.’

Prometheus in the Caucasus: Lucian

‘You have sailed with a furious soul far from your father’s house beyond the double rocks of the sea and you live in a foreign land.’

Medea

‘What bars our way makes us travel along it.’

Albert Camus, February 1942

Prelude

…The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end in itself but only a beginning…Albert Camus. *

 

  1. Why is there in that child’s mind a jingly, jangly   jigsaw…scratched, faded, edgy? This secure healthy child has etched on his screen Eve’s perfect fruit. You desire to run your fingers over the smooth surface: it’s so full of promise. The brain slowly pulsating, itching to learn, waiting with resolve for the new experience: to absorb, enrich.

This other child? Well, there’s like a half-eaten apple, rotten to the core. You desperately try to fit the fragments together; to fill the void. Nothing fits! It’s scrappy, chewed up. Can the astral bodies intervene? No, there’s no intention of thinly veiled obtuse solutions! Wear it with my son, my daughter!

You and I, we take in each day and weave a tapestry down the neural pathways. Such a sigh! We try to make sense of the distraught, the dysfunctional, the perverse. We are dismissive; we occlude the fragility of life itself. Daily life demands the disinclination to unraveling. Layers build up. Fogginess persuades the landscape.

So she, tiny, appeared alone in the sparse grass paddock. Little pleated skirt and a knitted jumper. Arms outstretched to no one. Vulnerable. A crow flew over her and circled.

Inside. In the timber structure were her parents. They were trying to make sense of universal truths.

She had the impact. Long auburn hair; hourglass figure, the facial symmetry that struck men deep. But, alas,  transitory. he, masculine, authoritative, power hungry. They interlocked and fought daily; even as the sun blindly exited. He, as always, the dominant force.

Their child filled with their insecurities shaking herself to sleep.

Dreaming of sheep

2. She was the one. She was the only. No siblings to equate the picture. 

No sharing of the weight.

Our anguish is her anguish. The chains bind us. The chains break us.

“We will weigh her down with our sorrow and pain.”

3. They are a mess of contradictions. My perceptions are limited though.

A resolution just doesn’t seem imminent. You hope. Faint hope! You grow further into the reality. You wish for a half-open door. The corroded key to another realm.

I am, like primal:

Screaming, “I want out!”

Who…hears…you?

Who…hears…you?

Birds arranging themselves tightly on branches twitter tones of response:  “is your truth unassailable my child?” And, “we are not your saviours…” Be a big girl.”

That’s saying there is no one to eat into your soul. You only have yourself. Wash up in your grief. Take the tears to bed and soak in the hidden rage of your pillow.

* Camus, Albert, Essays and Notebooks, 1938/39. P169


Interlude

Grace noun I the quality of being attractive, especially in movement, manner or design. 2 elegance of manner, politeness 4 favor, goodwill…verb confer honour or dignity on.*

This being your name, I do confer honour upon you as is already implied.

Why? I will explain to an audience, though you may have an inkling. After due consideration, I think not. Your humility overriding. Your subconscious beguiling.

In the remoteness of the past, an era of Beatlemania (hysteria), you arrived for a summer sojourn at our seaside villa. I, thirteen, again no siblings, had excitedly anticipated the visitation.

It would be an interruption to the sometimes trite. It would mean the deadly dogfighting of household heads would be obstructed. On the most salient point though, swallow hard. Cast down. Not so much as even a hoarse whisper. Only the wind will hold sway.

Tranquillity. The pond not rippling. It would assuage the suffering left unutterable. Close thy mouth. Smother for mother.

Cousin (in full flower) two years my senior, Fragile flower: velvet petals easily crushed. Caressed by furtive fingers. Impress, impress.

Your worn out, battered brown leather suitcase screaming for polish was lid-open on the floral mushy quilt. It appeared as an invitation: take parts of me and scatter them about. Violate me, myself, I., Of course, all of this is preserved for interpretation.

Nightfall. Trying to put light on the subject. The owl in his wisdom ascends. Extinguished are the sunny remainders. So things close down. What was open is shut down. The predators begin emerging; rats searching for prey. Sniffing, snivelling along the corridors. Dirty, disease-ridden, eager for redemption.

One found thee ma fleur; casting his dismal, dark shadow upon thy vulnerability. You were broken like a twig. Snap! You, the sacrificial, proverbial lamb (as I slumbered, unaware). You plaintively pledged secrecy. Such decency.

Tranquillity. The pond not rippling. The suffering left unutterable. Close thy mouth. Smother for mother.

Copyright Dianne Helen Edwards, 2018. Registration with ISBN.

*Oxford Paperback Dictionary, OUP, Oxford, 2010.


Prologue

Dear Reader,

My daughter, Helen, has taken to writing inaccurate sentimental rubbish. She is trying to fashion a life history seeking pity, creating falsehoods about her family and referring to suffering, sorrow, pain and even violation!

The two proceeding prose poems are ludicrous and poorly transcribed. She’s hardly erudite and can make no claim to the philosophical. If she had referred to truths, she would know that the true work of art says least. Whining emotions appeal to no one.

I am Hektor, the disembodied. It irks me that this child throws doubt on my reputation and indeed, that of my wife, Silvia. It’s as if the daughter writes of her mother as some weak mortal unable to withstand trickling rumors of false deception.

I was always a sound provider for my child. I took pride in my name and its meaning. If you are unaware, Hektor was a legendary Trojan champion who was killed by the Greek Achilles. My name is actually derived from the Greek ‘ekhein’ meaning ‘to check; ‘restrain’. I have always acted with absolute restraint in everything including in relation to my wife and daughter. Helen received the best of everything, but the choices I made were considered with much rational planning.

I think now my child has been touched by Morpheus, dreaming her way through adulthood in fictitious circumstances. Creating wild stories to invite pity or perhaps attention?

Silvia, affectionately referred to as the goddess of the forest, was always protective of her daughter, indeed, over-protective. This child knew no pain. Perhaps that was a bad thing in that it did not prepare her for any future misfortunes? She simply did not toughen up.

We fussed about in naming her ‘Helen’. She was born and indeed that in itself was a triumph! Perfectly formed; in good health. We were proud and celebrated much because we had previously suffered the loss of our son who was stillborn. Here was a splendid replacement and we pondered for days about her naming. Of course, ‘Helen of Troy’. I being a legendary Trojan, it was fitting to also have our daughter’s name derived from Greek mythology. It brought she and me closer.

The original Helen being a woman of real beauty had eloped with Prince Paris of Troy, resulting in the Trojan War. In our heart of hearts, we desired that our daughter be beautiful so we could be proud and boastful. It’s strange that she grew to have elements that were pleasing to the eye but to her, in adulthood, she felt she had been cursed. She craved not to be noticed at all. She wanted anonymity.

Returning to the aggravation that I have experienced looking down from above: this talk of our daughter’s so-called ‘suffering’, I would refer her to ‘Uganda The Unrecognised’s poem in Don Quixote, which I simply happened upon by chance although not at all educated. This extract should shame her into amending her total misinterpretation of the historical:

‘Don’t pretend to erudi-

Or make claims to philos-

When you commence the fake-

And twist your mouth to decep-

Those who are truly the learn-

Will call your tricks into quest-‘*

Truly, I am outraged at my daughter’s alluding to my acting more than irreverently and her claims that we were anguished; sorrowful, pained. Such delusion! By reading this extract she is warned that the learned will call her out!

*Cervantes, Miguel de, Don Quixote, (Translated by Edith Grossman), Vintage, 2005. p 12.

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