Home Article Literary Contributions THE PRESENCE OF A RAVEN


Part 2.

1. Chipping away

He was the sculptor working on the bust of a child. Chipping away at it with various instruments. It was not to be the final representation. He’d had the child model for him and now felt obligated to continue; to persist and produce a final work.

During the sittings, the child had been mute, inaccessible but still. He’d asked her to concentrate on a point in the distance which she did. She was quite blessed in terms of beauty with auburn curls and large hazel eyes. He did not know that she was more than a puzzle. She was an abstraction. Her mind worked overtime. She could be subdued or precocious. He would never see that. There was much he could not see. We all move round in diaphanous, light rags which people presume to lift.

The artist had decided that the next representation would be more impressionistic. He would free her up! In all there would be four representations. She had inspired him although he had this sense of obligation.

I remember sitting for him. He was a man who wanted nothing from me except that I be an immovable object. How refreshing but also incomprehensible. My father was the opposite.

As you would have observed from his previous rant my father was prone to manipulation. He was intelligent, yes. He could quote from literature which made him sound grandiloquent but I often wondered how much he really comprehended. Being disembodied gave him much more scope for borrowing the ideas of others. Referring to Greek and Roman Mythology exaggerated his importance. He was also egotistical, vastly inflated and and would often use slabs of information for his own ends.

But let us start at the beginning, long before I inhabited the planet. One must place everything in context otherwise, dear reader, you will be confused; the edginess leading to impatience and ignore.

2. Lifting the Veil

So, it was like bohemian, way out. Their personas were cleverly created though: we will present to you a picture of conformity. We toil hard. We push ourselves into the ground. We deny self. Property we buy and sell, magnifying profits. You must save all the coinage!

On a vast acreage which was bidding goodbye to subterranean suburbia, they constructed a coarse cloth canvas tent and lived herein. Was there a kettle?

He, the father, was a war veteran. Then, before in the tangly jungle of Borneo he would creep along close to the Japanese and signal for the artillery to fire. A certificate ‘Mentioned in Despatches for Bravery’ hung lamely off the wall, quivering about.

Fellow soldiers, compatriots, battling their brains would go insane on the long, long, march through the thickness of trees and broken branches. Is that the enemy? The tension, the fear, pushed them into alternate realities. Lost in insoluble, poetic equations.

Safely home (tent encapsulated) he would wake from soporific slumber yelling: ‘Watch them! Get out!’ into the void. In trepidation, traumatized for life.

Fever visited him too and intense pain. The migraines gnawed at his brain and he repeatedly hit the side of the bed with his head. Malaria. Give me fever! (So says the song).

Across the fields of their endeavors; within their field of vision was a paddock of pain: an overlay of cloudy droplets which were piercing. Each icy drop injecting memories of lonely loss.
The most precious.

Mother! You gave in your birthing … to death. Put that baby boy in a coffin and carry him to that grave. We need the excavation, so dish out the distress!


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