• earth song ~ or ~ a bird in the hand of christopher bland •
“There is no such thing as schizophrenia: only “The Caliban” –that “bitter ‘inner’ creature”, in a (hu)man, “made murderous by hateful neglect, and abuse, for neglect IS abuse!” — made insane, and inhumane “by continual non-recognition, by frustration, by futility, despairing darkness, and ‘undying death’,” decided Christopher Bland, where he lay, under the cool, fragrant earth, of this, his very own, ‘hole-in-the-ground’.
“Everything was so quiet, so cool, so fragrant with humus and humidity,” (so redolent of rotting leaf-mold,) …then, happily, the heady pronouncement — “of earthworm song…” he decided — “and of poetry!” This he declared — and purported, but kingly, now, with great authority, (only half-kidding, and half-laughing) — “the component parts of ‘earthworm songs’ must contain,” (that which, though, out of all hearing, and, obviously, beyond the limited range of the human ear’s capacity to hear) — “which is to say, possess… the singular quality of… the “power of ‘contrapuntal counteraction’ of sound’s effect”: a synchronicity — “to counter the cry of the groaning earth,” “…painting, with soundless sound,” this sacred place — “…with the “sweet perfume — of silence.”
It had “just come to him,” as a thought, or rather, as a melody –perfect, pure, serene…this “god-knowledge”, this “Earth’s song”.
“There is no such thing as a god, only that “still quiet voice” we take for gods…only that self-loving, self-loathing wail of ecstasy and anguish, of isolation and contentment, self-contained, needing no one,” he heard himself say.
Another song, a wordy one, by a certain Mister Stills, which for days, he had been singing — had “led (him),” he said, “to find this place”, for himself, and so, “in the interest of scientific inquiry”, as he put it, he took these words to heart… and like a road map, he had “followed it’s directions.”
And they had led him, these words, these “instructions”, now permanently embossed on the fabric, in the needlework, encrusting the sentimental landscape, the mainly decorative, antiquarian, bric-a-brac — of his ‘upper’ — or, ‘on top’ mind, which lingered still. They went like this:
“Daylight again, following me to bed,
I think about a hundred years ago,
How my fathers bled…
I think I see a valley,
Covered with bones, in blue,
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older…been askin’ after you!”
“Hear the past a-callin’,
from Armegeddon’s side…
When everyone’s talkin’, and no one
is listenin’, how can we decide?”
“Do we find the cost of freedom,
Buried in the ground?
Mother Earth will swallow you,
Lay your body down…
Find the cost of freedom,
Buried in the ground.
Mother Earth will swallow you,
Lay your body down!”
(On and on, it went, like that, inside of him, in magnificent harmonies, in the mind of Christopher Bland — raising him up, crucifying him, slowly, painfully, sweetly, on the Fire of Love’s cross, on the significance, and purpose, and meaning, of mankind, to man.
Christopher Bland had always been too much the literalist; this he knew very well, better than anyone, which stands to reason, as he was, after all, himself, and had “lived (his) entire life,” in him, “within (those) quaint confines.” But, for once, and all, he knew, with a certainty bordering on religiosity, from which he had assiduously abstained, that his literalism had “led (him) to something good, something right…something, maybe, even wonderful,”…down in this hole, amidst the quietus of this retreat, this release from life, this earthen abode.
“Once (he) had made it,” (his hole) and had crawled in, (he) “was hooked,” he had said. “The quiet was complete, replete with itself,” he said. It sank “deep inside him…” “It fed (him), and filled (him), to (his) core,” he said. “And then…it happened…” The “thing…which happened,” that thing, it seemed to him, later, “for which (he) had come.”
(In the “waiting-upon”, in the “listening-on”, as in a reverie, he “could hear…quite clearly,” and “for the first time,” forever changing…his ‘Self’s’ relationship…to him…”the ‘Friend Within”.)
The meaning of the song that had brought him here had not eluded him, in the words of Mister Stills. He had been, after all, “…raised on Reverence, with a capital ‘R’,” he had said. “Selfless sacrifice,” had encompassed his awakening, ” he had said, “on the place that was the battleground at Gettysburg”, where “Abr’ahm Lincoln,” had “made immortal”, for Christopher Bland, the words, “hallowed ground”, “consecrate”, and “we can not”.
For Christopher Bland, “civic duty lay everywhere, everywhere at least, that wasn’t this hole.” He had no desire to avoid it, his civic duty; his ‘freedom-loving’ could not preclude his duty, could not defray his obligation to due diligence…but, in the quiet of his hole which he, on a hunch, had dug, and, with the fair mind (and faith) of the newly born, he had wriggled down into this un-worldly wonder, had sunk, as in a dream, under the influence of this earthen epiphany. “Oh, how it held (him) in the dark and lovely, fragrant earth” — held itself against him; held him, humbly, snugly, in a cool, and indifferent, embrace, pressed against his soiled cheek, enmeshed, sweetly on his tongue, musky, in his nose, and hair! “Oh, Lordy, Lordy!! …was she fair!!” he had said.
Here, in this ‘now’, he felt — for the first time since being ejected from the amniotic Eden that had been his first, unremembered, home, that holy place of warmth, and wellness, which had first nurtured him into existence, (some twenty years previous to this) — he felt a Freedom: devoid of dread, of consuming obligation, of dire purpose, of intrinsic fallibility and failure. He became aware of a freedom — free from self-loathing, requiring no allegiance, no pledge, no sense of unworthiness, of consuming guilt. This was a freedom that was truly free, welling up, freely, wantonly, naturally, perfectly, from within: powerfully, unbidden.
‘Civic duty,’ he thought, ‘is a PRIVILEDGE, not an obligation!’
It came to him, that he had come to this place to ‘figure out’ what to do, what to be, and how…to become… any worthwhile thing — and now, he knew, or, as he said to himself, for the first time, and with his first-ever taste, of self-love, not “I”, but, “WE”. “Yes, WE…now know what WE MUST DO…!!” he had said.
~ Tim Burchfield