Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Trevere' Gift

A bit ago I post a poem called the Trevere'.
Someone commented that it seemed to be a bit of me,
though methinks I am much more proficient in performance than he --
but then again, never satisfied --
ah, but then I am always more concerned
with relating to the audience than
perfection of performance.

It was suggested that you might like to meet
the Trevere' in person -- a story perhaps.

I have crafted this to be part of my book
"Limora Gate," just done.

My thanks for the idea.



Limora sat very still – respectfully church silent and more. She had no fear of disturbing the birds and fuzzy smalls about the grove, for they were long-time friends now. Nor was she again concerned with disrupting the grass’ recovery from her pressing footsteps, now that she knew each blade enjoyed bare feet. No, her Sally-self had to find release; and unbinding from the noise and chaos of the world outside of the woods – across the fence and all. They would not come, after all, if yesterday were here instead of now.

Summer was quickly waning, or so the squirrels said; though time was still being saved by man’s invention – merely a shift of darkness so that adults could bustle about in meaningless tasks, already thinking about next year’s resolutions. Here in the grove, at least, Sally could escape; and more easily accept Limora’s hints and chidings to hearing the music between the notes. Here the girl’s two hearts could pound as one – for only then would the players come. The huge flat stone at the meadows edge was a stage, after all, and the swaying trees provided shifting spotlights and shadow curtains. A blue-jay volunteered as MC and some dragonflies acted as ushers for the growing audience, though Sally’s special ‘box’ next to the log kept her from peering too closely at the other guests.

Limora focused her intent and dream-source on the fire pit at stage left – carefully prepared as Uncle Phil had coached. She would never think of lighting a fire here, of course; for even the dullest adults somehow sensed smoke and danger in a primordial fraction of adeptness. Yet, by this same touch of tribal memory Limora knew of fire – embraced its understanding – and remembered …

Valiant logs – so reluctant;
smoky start, snapping reply, tumbling fire rain …
yellow laughter and reddened tongues
in argument with inevitability…
now only blackened courage chunks
pulsing breaths of glowing death,
refusing to surrender wisdom
of cone and seed and darkened loam.

He was dressed in a single animal skin, fur turned to the inside to honor its gift – his head where once had been antlers or horns or mane. It was belted with grass braid rope, perhaps for comfort, but also to suspend the grand auroch horn – that which nurtured the flame! The nameless one knelt by the carefully laid kindling and made trifling adjustments. Then a single smoldering ember was allowed to tumble upon the tinder. The inhaled wonder of all present caused the air to stir. Fire seed! It had begun.

The performers came in groups of one and more; alone in their gifts but of all in spirit and touch of givens. They were the Treverè – free wheeling masters of song and skit and magic and story and verse. Not for them the tortuous ballads and ‘Songs de Guerre’ of troubadours. Never the commissioned love verse of the meddinsingers or dexterous arts of the jongluers. Oh, Limora had experienced them all with joy here in the grove, but loved these the best. And of these Plaister was the favorite – oh, how she prayed that he would come. Patience is difficult for a twelve year old.

Sally had learned that in performances at school and at community functions, that the less able people were used to prepare the audience, to ‘warm them up’ for the alleged top billing stars. Not so with the Treverè. The call to perform came from the mood of the audience and the spontaneous urge of heart and mirthful soul. One performance begat another with no judgment of “better than” or “I’ll show you” – just open flow of humanity and fun and “because I can.” Yet, Plaister never seemed to go first, as if his lack of skill would be more noticed in comparison. For he was barely accomplished in anything – most children could do better. And for that, she loved him.

When singing he drifted off key and his voice broke like a teenager. He apparently could play a variety of instruments, but rarely the one he held in perplexed confusion. His magic tricks were amazing in that they came to success at all, midst fumbled coins and fluttering silks and real mystery. All this happened when he tried to be like the others, of course – follow rule and form and practiced art. But somewhere along he would just be himself; and for a moment the world would stop and listen. He sang the words each child had forgotten in their mother’s arms. His lute plucked the melody that accompanied a longing first kiss. His stories told of myths more real than the stones, and his fingers danced with magic that brought tears to hardened eyes of the other Treverè. And Sally heard the songs of the forgotten that Limora already knew, and came to understand that she could only perceive that for which she was prepared – but that some answers were already within.

Later that night, in a world filled with whispers and songs that cut through the din and chatter about her, Sally began to think of herself as a woman instead of a girl. Deep within her head – about two inches behind her eyes – Limora kept humming Plaister’s simple tunes. She applied some words to the song remembered from a Sunday sermon, “Even as you do to the least of me …” Her only distraction was a lump of charcoal finally extracted from her shoe. It seemed still warm – especially after she held it close to her heart.

copyright Sakin'el 2005


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