tHE hArpER
  ....Upon any kind of stringed instrument one may play a harper’s song.
Any song played upon a stringed instrument is a harper’s song.
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A Gloss on the songs of OTIUM

'Life should be a trouble free and evil free idyll,
for the sole reason that it would be pleasant for us'


Upon any kind of stringed instrument one may play a harper’s song;
Any song played upon a stringed instrument is a harper’s song.

Young people are weary of rightness;
The harper sees this entered, alone,
In his nakedness with a third party ‘She’:
Capital S—a proper noun.
An unidentified though nonetheless specific She.

The harper then assumes the relation of Other to the young people ‘in places’ and commits an exchange of selfs:
‘I have of yours, as you have of mine’
And from this other place there is no coming or going
And no recounting what has been done, nor by whom:
‘None return from here’…
Love itself must act.


An accusation, ‘You’, clearly addressed to the creator:
What had been given freely has been taken
Without gratitude.
A theory of unintended consequences.
The bodies were already pained before the giving—
Why suffer when the object of the pain is relief?
What more did they want—
They were given water from the purest streams…


The construction of a ‘they’:
So ‘they’ took who got given the waters;
They who were given ‘it’ them.
The harper enters in simplicity to them.


He is rejected.
He cloaks, returns, and is again turned away.
(Not seen in my disguise nor heard
in the tongue of a man is this He seen for what he is).

He resumes his walk beside the waters.
He erects a structure that makes him sick and he is blamed.
He must dwell somewhere.
He takes to the road once again in quest
of they—there is no other.

Refused once more, he departs,
Interrogating only His self and
The love which He has for them.


The final verse places Him before the screen
of himself and his relation to them
(Who are depicted as lovers);
Memory has by now been turned away,
And recollection may be mistaken in the
fit of tears that overcomes the harper.

He assumes a position of humility
Fixing his attention on the eye of many eyes
and the longing for pain. Not unlike they
who in the beginning got given the water.


As for me:
I only speak with the tongue of a man;
And the harper wonders
If He will ever see ‘You’ again.
He has seen the creator of worlds!



Wholly embodied, the harper asks himself to whom he speaks
Now that recollection has grown dim.
It is no wonder that in this pain death faces him today.
He longs to outface the grim spectre by ascending a stage
In which the play might be resumed.
By way of interlude the Master string player receives us into the distillation of his learning—
The faces have departed and all talk is elemental.
Such talk puts us in place,
The colour palate of the Australian outback—
Long flat land, light blue sky, red cemetery—
There is someone here, but who it is who-knows-who?
The voice speaks to us as an intimate.
We, the third-party hearers listen to the
‘dress given to the one who makes.
And the speaker weeps.
For God’s sake, bury me in Coolgardie!


Who is this He?
I found him in the mind of my heart—I am He—
It cannot be imagined.
It can only be in the passage of time,
Without it, the two confound.
That’s what it means.

…who reddens the sky?
…goldens the sun?
…dries up the waters?
…moves mountains?
…opens the plains?

(…some intimidation in the temple before this father of I.)

He clearly evokes the vigilant solicitude of the other that I am.

(More weeping.)

The harpist speaks only with the tongue of a man
And comes to wonder if he will ever see me again.

He says he’s been a long time ‘in-between’ the many parts I’ve held (both he and I).


Love’s hopes are flickering in the light—
Probably to never be fulfilled;
I am a reader of history
I’m now done with the stories that he tells,
It’s time is my time now.


We return to the sympathetic hearer;
His sickness comes again
Suffering in the dust of them
(grown men all)
And their forgotten souls—
Who has done this forgetting??

It is all but a labour anyhow, and there’s more pain in that than the crippled harpist cares to count,
Only I beg to differ—
His suffering is Real—
Though both they and he wash in the same water.


We are addressed directly and asked
About the road upon which the harpist has followed.
It is a road.
Someone put it there.
But a road is not what’s needed and someone else projects his person into another kind of screen,
Designing a face that speaks back
And is the only sign that it knows
Revelation has come in its own time.

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