Manna By B.W. Powe

Part One

Here’s a story.
Adam is ailing.
Seth, his son, grieves.
He thought his father couldn’t die.
On his bed Adam murmurs something about paradise.
Seth vows to go and find food to heal his father.
He enters through the flames he finds on his way.
(The circle of fire isn’t far off.)
The Cherubim admit him.
They don’t know at first why they do this.
Maybe to honour a son of the original inhabitants?
Seth returns with food.
The old father touches the food and eats some of it.
Instantly he speaks a language no one knows.
It’s beautiful. The others kneel.
Eve eats some of the food and she speaks the beautiful unintelligible language.
It has music and echoes.

Adam dies.
Eve prospers.
She travels and sings the language over and over to herself.
Then to the fields, to trees, to birds, to the winds.
Then to rivers and seas, to the clouds, and to the moon and stars she sees even
during the day.

Part Two

Seth often returns to paradise.
Each time the Cherubim step aside for him.
The flames part.
He brings back more food.
Many eat it.
They continue to speak the new language.
No one has a way to decode it.
They follow the rhythms, the echoes, the rhyming words, the enigmatic sounds.
Slowly it begins to make sense, to some.
Sometimes it makes sense only to the people who murmur it.

Part Three

Seth, now old, takes others through the flames to the food.
He takes sisters, wives, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers.
They change the language when they murmur it.
It now carries scents, birth-cords.
Desperate refrains and shadowlands.

Why did the Cherubim hold back the curtains of fire for many?
Cherubim had at last understood that they know the future.
A way to preserve forever and the infinite is to speak with the traces of paradise.
The obscurities, the chants, would bring sustenance.

They knew one day the new language would be called something.
Have a special name.
The Cherubim conferred.
Try wisdom, one said.
No, try revelation, one said.

Try dreams, yet another said.
Why not pathways? another said.

Part Four

The trace of paradise, Seth’s great grandson said to other children in a circle.
Do you think we should name it?
A word that can be food too.
It could be the sound coming when we ask it to come.
It could be a sound coming even when we don’t ask it to come.
Shall we call it the past? or the present? the future? or all three in a new word?

Poetry, a girl said to the children in the circle.
Let’s call it this.
They repeated the word.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s