• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 10



I have been asked
To fetch the herb
For the last man dying
By the last woman
Who’s lost her bearings.
This might well be
My last chore, although,
Who can tell?

I recall doing this
Once in every age.
They told me
Though I was clever
They made themselves
Better after me, and for ever
I’m their page,
A factotum, for ever.

But mostly I recall
Their battle with the giants
And among other things
My heroics: burning
The palace down
And my leap
Across the ocean
Teeming with life.



There was the man,
There was the wife,
The man’s brother,
(and many others) and I
Was asked to fetch the herb
As the brother lay dying.
That was…
A long time ago.

There are no directions now,
Just a task without a tale
That was once a tale with an end.
And a beginning.


When I leaped across the ocean
The mission was…no, this is no way,
I must remember…
On that last strip of land
From that last tree-stump
Crumbling, turning into dross,
The last birds from the sand,
Took off…I was so much younger
And stronger than
The mightiest albatross.
Day after day, day after day,
And the water
Everywhere below me
As far as eyes can see…



But then,
The water changed color
Just when my limbs in mid-leap
Were giving away.
I spotted the river merging,
A clump of trees off the land,
Descended on the comforting sand,
Stretched out and slept till
Lapping waters of a promise unkept
Roused me and I came to find
This rock amidst the shrubs
And sensed the pang –
The frantic necessity of the herb
For a tale with a beginning.


I’ve grown old and delirious…
Memory and desire in me
Is a pile of driftwood debris...

I must remember…are those
Scrawlings on the relic
A paean; a verse for an offering?

A stagnant pus is the ocean.
We could sorely do with
Another churning.