Aleph

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

First Voice:--A game of checkers?

Second Voice:--Well, I don't mind.

First Voice:--I move the Will.

Second Voice:--You're playing it blind.

First Voice:--Then here's the Soul.

Second Voice:--Checked by the Will.

First Voice:--Eternal Good!

Second Voice:--And Eternal Ill.

First Voice:--I haste for the King row.

Second Voice:--Save your breath.

First Voice:--I was moving Life.

Second Voice:--You're checked by Death.

First Voice:--Very good, here's Moses.

Second Voice:--And here's the Jew.

First Voice:--My next move is Jesus.

Second Voice:--St. Paul for you!

First Voice:--Yes, but St. Peter--

Second Voice:--You might have foreseen--

First Voice:--You're in the King row--

Second Voice:--With Constantine!

First Voice:--I'll go back to Athens.

Second Voice:--Well, here's the Persian.

First Voice:--All right, the Bible.

Second Voice:--Pray now, what version?

First Voice:--I take up Buddha.

Second Voice:--It never will work.

First Voice:--From the corner Mahomet.

Second Voice:--I move the Turk.

First Voice:--The game is tangled; where are we now?

Second Voice:--You're dreaming worlds. I'm in the King row.
Move as you will, if I can't wreck you
I'll thwart you, harry you, rout you, check you.

First Voice:--I'm tired. I'll send for my Son to play.
I think he can beat you finally--

Second Voice:--Eh?

First Voice:--I must preside at the stars' convention.

Second Voice:--Very well, my lord, but I beg to mention
I'll give this game my direct attention.

First Voice:--A game indeed! But Truth is my quest.

Second Voice:--Beaten, you walk away with a jest.
I strike the table, I scatter the checkers.
[A rattle of a falling table and checkers flying over a floor.]
Aha! You armies and iron deckers,
Races and states in a cataclysm--
Now for a day of atheism!

[The screen vanishes and Beelzebub steps forward carrying a trumpet, which he blows faintly. Immediately Loki and Yogarindra start up from the shadows of night.]

Beelzebub:--Good evening, Loki!

Loki:--The same to you!

Beelzebub:--And Yogarindra!

Yogarindra:--My greetings, too.

Loki:--Whence came you, comrade?

Beelzebub:--From yonder screen.

Yogarindra:--And what were you doing?

Beelzebub:--Stirring His spleen.

Loki:--How did you do it?

Beelzebub:--I made it rough
In a game of checkers.

Loki:--Good enough!

Yogarindra:--I thought I heard the sounds of a battle.

Beelzebub:--No doubt! I made the checkers rattle,
Turning the table over and strewing
The bits of wood like an army pursuing.

Yogarindra:--I have a game! Let us make a man.

Loki:--My net is waiting him, if you can.

Yogarindra:--And here's my mirror to fool him with--

Beelzebub:--Mystery, falsehood, creed and myth.

Loki:--But no one can mold him, friend, but you.

Beelzebub:--Then to the sport without more ado..."

--Edgar Lee Masters "Epilogue" (excerpt)


3:11 PM
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