Veil

By Gareth Evans

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“Daydreamers are knowledgeable about thousands of things which are hidden from those who only dream while sleeping.” – Wols

She is waiting for the light.

The room is high and petalled to the ceiling, pale leaves of plaster, a garden at the gaze’s height. It is as calm as a shell before the shore’s immersions, as milk in the palm of a glass. It is a thread in the fabric of the day, a weave, a delicate design; and it is a place outside of mornings in the city, beyond the engine, the grinding wheel. So it is, and why, that she waits. She is waiting for the deliverance of the threshold.

There are footsteps in the avenues of the moment, a treading in colonnades. She looks up, thinks of the pacing life beyond the glass, the blur that is a person against the geology of the land, the earth beneath. There are strata of intent that converge in a hill, a river’s arc, a headland, with its clear view of the ocean and its green horizoned rays. The waters will win out but, for now, she is on solid ground and waiting for the light.

While she does, she gathers messages from the air as a wood pigeon might its song in the dawn of autumn mist. She stands in the room’s cool corner, searching for that current of community where voices write their desire onto the planet’s most translucent skin, temporary tattoos of belonging and belief. The machine, thin as certain holy books, hums like the camera, tidal in a rhythm of labour so far from the exertion of mines and their muscle. But still seeking a seam, still teasing out the patterns, knowing the scarcities of gold.

The camera. Glass and signal, wired to the calling. Looking closer. Recording will. Her hand alert to the shifts, awake. Her hand and its blue intention, each vein whispering purpose, a messenger in the slender passage. Meanwhile, she is listening.

To the presences of the room and all its ages. To the dead who care so much for the breathing, because they know the taste of an apple, the press of an embrace, the ceaseless weight of the heart, the falling and the standing and the walking. They do not crowd the living out of threat but rather out of loss, at all that was and is, and pleasure in the watching of the women and the men, for all their seasons and their fruit.

When she dreams, she is also listening, and so is as quiet as an idea. She puts her fingers to her lips so that she will not cry out and disturb the coming of the dream. She hears the rings of her time brush together like chimes in the balm of evening. She hears her dreams approaching across the plain of the bed like outriders from a country of the future. In this way, each one arrives like the first word of a new story.

Write a word and, if another follows, wanting to be born, then… good. Never a last note in the rising halls, only the new harmonics, the symphonies of silence. Nothing is lost if there is attention. She attends.

"Oh woman in the garden,
All our friends listen for your voice.
Let me hear it now."

What is the work done if it is not the expression of a love? There was a shepherd who peered behind the veil of appearances, one green hour while on the slope with his flock. He observed the machinery and the miracle. They were the same. Like sight. Like the drum in the chest. Like the boy on the marsh and the girl in the swing. Watch the girl as she smiles as she climbs to the clouds and the boy as he names the blue blue.

Never ignore the sky, she dreams, never offer one’s back to the prophecy of the vista: track its lunar longing, its solar pulse. Raise rock to its enduring. They, the children growing, understand that sky’s fine light makes all possible and runs, more even than water, to every corner of the frame. They serve and are served by it. In this way they become prayers and, briefly, their own answers.

Kiss the lover’s sleeping eyes with such a faith and the arrangements of stars will alter: they will look on and on and they will know their meaning.

She lifts her gaze to the curtain, its gauze. Behind it, beyond, vast turning of the world. The tree is there, and the contract it has signed with the raising of the sun. Its leaves about to become themselves in dappled dance of all phenomena. There is a pause then, a taking in of breath; the clothes on the rail, the stopping of shoes, the books both read and not. The oil in the clay and the seeds of the pomegranate. And the flowers that hold their fading like a branch its fire, like a body its passing, like all things that end propose again their beginning.

All are waiting for her.

And she is waiting for the light.

“Hurry, my Love! Run away,
my gazelle, my wild stag
On the hills of cinnamon.”


Two verses (8: 13, 14) from The Song of Songs are from the translation by Ariel Bloch and Chana Bloch, University of California Press, 1995

Image: Tereza Stehlikova