Archives for posts with tag: Volume 10

Where may I find immortal moments?

Dustless | Volume 10 | Mask [ii]

01     •     02     •     2017


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.



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

There was a soothing, very familiar atmosphere of sound and movement as they rode. The padding of the horses’ hooves on the snowstruck ground; an occasional clink of gear; the soft, heavy wrapped-up noises the riders themselves made as they changed position; even Akzasosan’s cough, painful as it sometimes sounded: all of these intimate, close-hung noises, belonging to the riders, were intensified in their intimacy a thousandfold by the sense of the surrounding emptiness of the great forest of the MerZirvora. The riders carried their sounds with them as a firefly carries its light, and in the immense, passive wilderness, the act of riding impressed Zy as being at once reassuringly humdrum, and yet also weird, spectacular – the small scale of people on this wild earth made their feelings at once very unimportant, and yet also precious, somehow, and essential.

Excerpt from Dustless, Volume 10, Mask [ii]

Zy, perhaps infected by the Lord’s returning sense of urgency, watching the work going on as the riders ambled along the u-so’s central track, rather envied the villagers their quality of time. For the riders, time was fundamentally inadequate – the day always ran out, the night always came on, and for the Lord, at least, it seemed as if they had never ridden far enough. For the riders, time was always fleeting, they seemed to beat it before them like partridges as they went and send it whirring off ahead, leaving the human beings behind, earthbound and stalled. Perhaps it was partly RezIsimgria’s fault: they had been travelling for months now, and they had come great distances, and yet here they were, still out on the edge of nowhere (as the common people said), still thousands of karsts from their destination. Then they would ride again the next day, and again the next day would run out, and the village they reached would be similar to the village they had left that morning, and the Sea of Trees – after all, only a part of the Endless Plains – would seem pretty much the same, day after day.

For Zy, there was a kind of enchantment about the forest, the sense that you could lose yourself there for years among the snows, the resinous air, the frozen streams, the soaring, gigantic pines, the little tracks and the higgledypiggledy villages. On paper, certainly, on the map, there you could see progress, ground covered: but in the flesh, on the pulse, in the daydream, under the branches, the outside world, the “great world” as Zy had heard it described, appeared to have vanished: and every day, the MelZia Track looked the same, and every day the night came, and the riders were forced to interrupt their journey.

Sai, it was like King Canoopay and the Magical Theatre of Djing. The Sea of Trees was like scenery on the stage – such wonderful scenery, so life-like, the world of a forest in spring, where, one night, Princess Afsanay, daughter of King Canoopay, had crept in secret into the Theatre of Djing, set up in the grand forecourt of King Canoopay’s palace, and heard a golden bird sing, fluttering among the branches of flowering plum and flittering through the bamboo glade that, as you looked from the seats, seemed to go on and on, deeper and deeper, under the moonlight, so Princess Afsanay had stepped up onto the stage, and walked towards the back, but found no end to the scenery, and the night air was mild and full of the glittering, sparkling song of the golden bird, and the buzzing and sawing of night insects…

Like Princess Af, the riders had wandered into this magical forest, where they found, no matter how far they rode, they never had enough time, they never seemed to get out of the forest…

Excerpt from Mask [i] | Volume 10 of Dustless

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Dustless | Volume 9

They say he was beautiful, like the rain in spring.
And his hands had long fingers.
His movement was the gentleness of clouds
and he was our King.

He dwelt among us, or so they sing
and have always sung, for as long as we remember.
Although he was not proud of us,
we were proud of him.
His beauty was not like ours:
perhaps we are not beautiful?
They say he was cool, and ruthless,
with a power like the sea.
It is hard to love someone who gives
no love in return –
and yet he made love easy.
His tower was high, and the sky
came to feed from it, like doves to a dovecote.
And we crowded to him, and clung to him,
and round him cling –
or round his memory:
because he was our King.

They say he was a strange one,
but in his strangeness lay his charm.
He haunts our dreams,
even if we don’t dream them.
Among our words he moves slowly
like silver dripping through an ore.
He was easy to love, or so they say.
And he was easy to betray.

We tore him down and all his kind –
the lovely ones, those close to him.
Killing is easy, or so they say: begin
with what is near to you, with what lies
within your reach.
Kill what you touch, and what you see –
that part is easy.
But don’t expect to sleep again,
or if you sleep, then not to dream.
In dreams he comes, as in dreams he lived –
that part, you see, cannot be killed.
And if you wear a silver ring, prepare
to be haunted.

Even in these words he comes,
oozing like metal through an ore.
You cannot kill what never lived
and never dies.
And even in these words we sing
he moves, and breathes, and is haunting.
They say he was beautiful as the rain in spring.
And he is our King.

Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless

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