Archives for posts with tag: jahzig

And then came one of those moments – increasingly rare, it seemed to Zy – but astonishing when they occurred: a moment when Akzasosan appeared to slip out of the limits of himself, and rise up, unpredictably, towards an entirely different kind of life.

The Lord began to sing.

From the Emperors of Steel to Moin III,
one thing has kept this world pure,
and forged together sky and sea,
made to shine, made to endure:
in the sounds of hammers and the ring of swords,
in the chains of blood and in all our words,
from Moin III to the Emperors of Steel
one thing has bound us, wheel to wheel:
that thing is metal.

Metal daughter, metal son,
we are the Metallic ones:
metal son and metal daughter,
calm in peace, calm in slaughter,
cool, fluent, indestructible,
through our veins runs purest metal,
and – oh, my noble daughter,
oh, my faithful son,
therefore, we are the Metallic ones.

Well, the world it turns and the world it burns,
but always, the world must learn
who alone will rule beneath this lonely sun –
we will, the Metallic ones.

Sleep then, Baby, right through the night
like soft silver, glowing, bright,
sleep my Babe hard and sweet
until Evening and Morning stars meet:
sleep like a metal beyond all dust,
sleep like a metal, through all rust
pass, pure and straight,
through the dawn’s defenceless gates:
and when you rise, rise like a sun,
always a Metallic one.

Fall, my sweet, as light on a lake,
fall, my dear, like white snowflakes:
and when you wake, wake first, wake quick –
for you are my child,
and you, my child,
are Metallic.

Metallic.

Metallic…

The Lord’s singing voice was lighter and higher than his speaking voice: he raised it. The wind had died down, and his voice went up through the cold calmness that had descended on the Sea of Trees.

From the first moment and the first word, Zy felt intensified, alerted, almost painfully so: he stopped breathing. How strange it is, he thought, the difference between the voice that speaks and the same voice entering into song. There is a kind of leap. With the transition from his wry, rather drab speech of the past few minutes to the haunting, twilit melody of the song, the Lord appeared to jump from being one kind of person to another – he seemed expanded, loosened, set free.

And the song itself – was it a kind of lullaby? – had something magical twisted into it, a profound power that instantly called to Zy, and emphasised its own difference from the conditions of normal speech. This was no jahzig song: it had its own beauty, but it was not that of the sunburnt, drought-dazed, aching, empty horizons of peasant melodies – there was a frightening coolness to Akzasosan’s song, its refusal to be quite one thing or another. Its rhythm was irregular, its structure asymmetric. It refused its own order, disdained its own laws. It was warm, and tender, but it was icy, and detached as well. It was gentle, but it was violent. It was a lullaby, but it was a call to arms. And there, out on the wild track running through Ahamuji Forest, when Akzasosan sang into the freezing winter air, it was like lifting a lantern up, and showing it to the world.

Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless


Re-post, with additional text | Original post, April 2015

I am just a jahzig girl.
My village is called Alone.
Drummers drumming, flags unfurled
they came from the Forbidden Zone.
And he was a pretty soldier boy,
made for kisses and for joy,
and he said, Now come with me
to the Heart of Eternity –
the Heart of Eternity.

I followed them, the column long,
in summer on the dusty roads.
We walked in a trail of wheels and songs
carrying our loads.
For he was a pretty soldier boy
made for kisses and for joy,
and he said, Soon you will see
the Heart of Eternity –
the Heart of Eternity.

LuinShar, oh LuinShar
the city of a thousand towers
and of imperial powers
where moonlight on the Sacred Tower
burns down all our human hours
to the sudden moment of a falling star
gliding over LuinShar.

For weeks we marched over the plains,
at night upon the endless roads
he bound me up with such soft chains
I carried a precious load.
He was such a pretty soldier boy
made for kisses, made for joy,
and so we laid beneath a dusty tree
in the Heart of Eternity –
the Heart of Eternity.

I grew sad in LuinShar
for the world of orphans we made there.
But he would never make a father
or care about another’s care.
For he was a pretty soldier boy
made for kisses and for joy,
and left us under autumn trees
at the Heart of Eternity –
the Heart of Eternity.

LuinShar, oh LuinShar
the city of a thousand towers
and of imperial powers
where moonlight on the Sacred Tower
burns down all our human hours
to the sudden moment of a falling star
gliding over LuinShar.

*     *     *     *     *

N  O  T  E  S

jahzig |  Meaning, roughly, “peasant”

Forbidden Zone | Buffer zone, created to protect the Western from the Eastern Lands

Heart of Eternity / LuinShar | LuinShar is the great central capital city of the Empire of the Western Lands. (Luin means “city”, and Shar means “tower”: LuinShar is thus also known as “the City of Towers”. Another name for Shar is “the Heart of Eternity”.


RE-POST | Originally posted November 2013

Packed into an inn, the sign of the Scarecrow, in the remote village of Deer Path, travellers must wait out a snow-storm before continuing their journey through the Sea of Trees…

‘…Ay yi yi! The snow that came that day! They say that in the south of Uchar, even in northern Gon, horses died on the road…’

‘…foolish – that’s just my view, mind!’ ‘Well – I can’t help thinking you’re right, Zubo.’ ‘Great SilVo is a howling distance away.’ ‘So many karsts…’ ‘And they’re strange folk, out of MerZirvora.’ ‘Ay yi, that’s true, true.’ ‘Amaria’s old man, though, he is of SilVo.’ ‘A decent man, they say.’ ‘Oh, I don’t say different, I say no different – but not a man of MerZirvora.’ ‘Uxo – not of MerZirvora.’ ‘Got beyond herself, a little bit, Amaria, some might say.’ ‘Some might.’ ‘With her letters, and all, flitter-flattering off to SilVo…’ ‘Only city folk in SilVo…’

‘…and Somo Kali said, he hadn’t seen a single soul on the road: not a one. Like the whole south was empty!…’

‘…Well, we will find out, we will find out! The ancestors and descendants watch over us!’ ‘Sai, sai, and the Great Father himself: may he watch over his souls’…

Snugly, droopily, Zy listened to these conversations. It was like tending a saucepan of broth – watching the bubbles form in a brown soup, bleb up then slip away. After his more or less sleepless night, he didn’t have the strength to stir the pan. But he listened with a kind of inattentive concentration. He noticed how slowly and carefully the jahzigs went over the ground of their conversations, marking it out, walking it, often going round and round a particular spot, standing still for a while, then starting up again. He liked the way the talk went in circles – as if the people were loathe to move too far from one conversational place, but wished to test the earth of it, press their feet down on it, dig and rake at it, and then dig and rake some more, perfectly content with a few square dedaziles of earth.

The peasants’ talk was like the peasants themselves: solid, dependable, rooted. He felt oddly comforted by their funny ways: whatever might happen to the riders, Zy felt, dreamily, it almost didn’t matter – for as long as the jahzigs went on with their lives, then the world would really always remain the same. Sameness, after all, was the jahzigs’ world: their lives were lived within a small compass, perhaps, but they were lived thoroughly, with strong, obdurate attention to details. Wasn’t this a kind of vigilance? Wasn’t this the Way, too?

Outside, the great snowstorm blew. Zy felt half grateful to it: the wildness of the elements had forced these travellers to gather here, crouched in together, stalled, weathering. An oil lantern, hung from the ceiling beams, giving off a heavy, fishy odour, swung in a draft. The Sign creaked and seemed almost to sway, as if it were a boat and had become unmoored, and were drifting along upon a big river of snow, heading no one knew where, because no one put their heads out of the cabin: everyone was inside, battened down with their bread and their cured meat, their pipes, their babies, their rakono

The Lord’s head had settled forward on his shoulders. He was still sitting cross-legged, SharBason, but he had laid his sword down beside him, folded his hands in his lap, and appeared to be asleep…


Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless

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