Monday, May 25, 2009

The Potter

(Following Kahlil Gibran's lead, my own "witness" to the woman accused of adultery and brought to Jesus.)

I was at my pots, breathing the morning's dust in the market when they broke in upon the day's bustling rhythms and stood her, half-naked, in front of him. He sat with tea amidst a motley group of companions. I'd heard laughter through the morning and cries of awakening, interjection, dispute, I'd seen him kneel in the white limestone dust and draw with his finger, maps of worlds only guessed at by our stale hearts. This was, mind, a hundred feet away, through reckless din, so my mind filled in the words not heard, the maps not seen. My story of him might be oceans away from what he was dreaming into their swollen hearts.

My body quickened at sight of her - what man's body would not? She was known to us all, not by physical touch, but by the envious touch of tongues upon our imaginations. To see her in the morning's light, wreathed by sun dappled through thatch, I'm sorry, there was nothing more for me to do but desire what I had only guessed - a thigh split the red of her skirt, the round of a breast through the gauze of her chemise, rough hands on her olive arms. Blood at the corner of her mouth, she stood in front of him a pillar of stone, sculpted shame.

Rude voices followed rude hands, insistent. Beasts of the air circled with their stones, called to sport by the morning's cries. I'd been lost enough in years past to be the first with my bilious cairn, in the open ranks, crying down vengeance upon those prized for their dissipation, their sacrifice to our blood's thirst.

I cannot say for sure if, under different circumstances, I would not have reached again. My eyes and heart strained for the glimpses of her body I was afforded. In the heat of my envy, I could just as easily have assented as I had at other times.

But, I watched him.

Watched as he finished the point he was making to his companions.

As he listened to the foul cries of her accusers, not once blanching from their ferocity. As he sought out, in fact, all that they might say, pushing their points along to the very edge of do I have this right, is this what you are saying?

As he stood and gently staunched the blood at the corner of her mouth. Took cloth from behind him and wrapped it round her; placed his rough palm upon her brow.

Rough? How do I know it was rough?

I felt it upon my own brow. Felt its heat, felt an insistence that coursed down through the muscles of my face, my neck, and into the wayward briars of my heart.

I felt the stone of our bodies fall away.

You can imagine. Venomous howls.

Spit upon the table. Spit upon him.

He stood and absorbed it all.

I cannot vouch for the words from where I stood, but I feel as if he said: "Are we finished here?"

They were finished. But, she was not. She sat with him.

And I was crossing the distance.



Blogger Sepiru Chris said...

Lieber Murat,

You bridge a multitude of distances, here.

I felt what you described.

Of course.

Murat, how does one do this trick, this looping directly to, and from, the reader's own memories, even if unknown to the reader prior to your unlocking the memories and lighting them with your scriptus-a-um chiaroscuro?

Sometimes you dazzle with word play and legerdemain legerdesmots.

Other times you just carjack our memories and mind.

Well done, sir, well done.

I'm sure your students, once they are over the shocks, are grateful. It just might take most a decade or two for most to appreciate it all.

(Except the exceptional one who dedicates her first work to her, with the self-deprecatory trepidation inimical to otherwise brash youth. But you have already called her exceptional.)

Murat, you have lucky students. They will know it, one day. Or realize there fortune even deeper.

That just takes time.

I had some fantastic teachers, but none in English sadly.

Your calling is truly bifurcated; I think.

You give such wonderful feedback to other bloggers, and talk so fondly, though gruffly, sometimes, of your own students, the minds you hold and guide, in trust, in short-term guardianship, that it is obvious you have heard, vocare, your calling there.

And you write so well, in proese and poetry, that it is obvious you have muses calling softly, or savagely, to you with their yearning love and attention.

Well done, sir, well done.

And still rare.


PS I was wondering why you put up Kahlil Gibran, now I know and am the happier for it. Merci, mon ami electronique.

11:07 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Ystävä Chris:

What honor to wake to. Rain on the roof last night; joyous rain in the heart this morning. You are most generous in your words. Mil, to mix Spain with Finland, gracias.

It were a circuitous route to get to the Instituto, painful and bleak at times. The gift of arrival, at long last, after a very satisfying 20 years as a therapist and then a desert of, say, seven years - well, the arrival is a blessing I still feel daily. That blessing I share with los estudiantes and they with me.

This I love: that it is obvious you have muses calling softly, or savagely, to you with their yearning love and attention. Savagely, perhaps, long ago, before I gave in; softly, joyously, insistently - as the Potter called last night - now.

My very best to you.

8:43 AM  
Blogger anno said...

All this amazing texture -- the dappled sun, thatched roof, rough hands, round breast, wayward briars of the heart -- followed by the miracle of the "stone of our bodies" falling away: rich gifts, friend; thanks so much.

9:27 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Good to hear from you, Ms Anno. The overwhelming sensation as I envisioned this, beyond the potter's troubling lust, was limestone dust.

5:51 AM  
Blogger MichaelO said...

I can feel the passion, the twisted morality of the potter, and of the frothing mob. Quite convincing witness is your imagination, Paschal.

3:17 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Michael: Gibran's account from the woman's point of view (not included here) was quite a stirring prompt.

4:33 PM  
Blogger alister said...

This is as the Mary M piece. You have been up to wonderful and worthy endeavors during this beginning time of your summer : )

3:48 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Ms A: Have not been a fan of KG's until last weekend's discovery of his Jesus the Son of Man. Plates shifted with that one.

4:59 PM  

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