in the Shadow of Greatness


March 10, 2002

The Man Who Was There

The man who was there said:

"Anything you like. Have you any preferences? My flight from Chaos to this small sudden island in the sea of night? My meditations upon the abyss? The revelation of the Pattern in a jewel hung round the neck of a unicorn? My transcription of the design by lightning, blood, and lyre while our fathers raged baffled, too late come to call me back while the poem of fire ran that first route in my brain, infecting me with the will to form? Too late! Too late. . . Possessed of the abominations born of the disease, beyond their aid, their power, I planned and built, captive of my new self. Is that the tale you'd hear again? Or rather I tell you of its cure?"

Color me slow. Something clicked today.

It seems to me that almost everything he's saying has a poetic reference, a symbol standing in for something else. It is also mixed in with words that are nominally practical word symbols as well. Finding the line between the two is the exercise I found myself suddenly in this morning. All of a moment, I started thinking of the layout of these symbols as a Tarot spread of cards, with the symbols having a meaning that eludes the casual appreciation.
flight= escape, evasion, hunted, speed This certainly seems to speak of Chaos as a danger behind, yet nothing alludes to the time. This flight might have been an hour or a thousand years.
sudden= hasty, rash, abrupt This is such a fascinating symbol, and can also mean a surprising development. I have a sense here that Dworkin did not have anything to do with the foundation of that island. Here time begins.
island= no ties, disjunction, isolation This is also a peaceful symbol, one of meditation and safety, and of terrible loneliness.
sea of night= great darkness, immense confusion, profusion of blind avenues
This refers most strongly to the flight itself and draws contrast to the island and arrival and time.
meditations upon the abyss= staring into bottomless, thoughts of endings, analysis of chaos
Why and how does this follow the arrival symbol? How shocking to see meditation here, after departure from Chaos. What if this is NOT out of order, but actually the first moment of clarity? It casts the flight from Chaos into an interesting slant.
revelation= illuminated, clarity, answers
This discovery which casts a destiny over Dworkin forever. The Pattern.
jewel= precious, ornament, crystal, lens, The Eye of the Serpent
hung round the neck of a unicorn= draped over shoulders of purity, dangled from the nape of a virgin
One of those practical symbols of agreed words? Or something else? Note 'the Pattern', but 'a unicorn'. How telling and strange. Is this a messenger from the Unicorn? Or specifically a hint of symbols being substituted? And neck is also to make love, as well as a channel or strait. Is Dworkin actually admitting here that he took the Pattern's measure by means of the Unicorn's personal connection?
transcription= copy, decipher Taking the Pattern and putting it in a new form (as we see Corwin do later, acknowledging a four dimensional artifact rendered in two or three.)
design= pattern, plan, intention, scheme Note this is a substitute for 'the Pattern' which also can imply another's hand in the work.
lightning= power, heavenly strike, instant illumination The Unicorn? Or other divine and primal moment?
blood= substance, life, heredity Chaos, the Serpent, the red Eye, or the power in his veins.
lyre= instrument, tool, art Dworkin as instrument, as tool, as artist.
fathers= Chaos, Lords of the Rim
baffled= buffered, puzzled, confused, frustrated
call me back= save, restore, aid, reprieve
poem of fire= music of blaze, rhyme of pain, lay of consumption
first route= primal, thought, cognition, awakened
infecting me= invasion, taint, poison, contagion
will to form= desire to create, resolve to sculpt, self-control to begin
possessed= tenanted, held, command
abominations= odious, loathsome, destestable
born of the disease= sprung from sickness
beyond their aid= exceed their help, past saving, gone from material
I planned and built= choice of creation
captive of my new self= held by invention, locked within new pattern wow. A hefty chunk of words spread on the table as a Tarot mystery—- interesting. —more soon

Filed under : Amber at 10.03.2002