“There are a lot of ugly looking lions in Portmeirion.”
We shrink from wondering whether or not one of them is devouring the Buddha’s missing right forearm.
“And lots of steps.”
“Number Six spends a lot of time in the village running up and down steps.”
Run up one set of steps in Portmeirion and a Mansion becomes a Two-up-Two-down.
Run down another and one is accosted by a plaster-cast-christ declaiming on a balcony from which depends a black sheep.
“Perspective. One is spatial, the other, intellectual.”
Here, the ridiculous jostles with the sublime to unfeasibly pleasing effect.
“It’s nothing more than a clutter and jumble of odds and sods, lovingly reassembled into, well, something, uncluttered and well ordered.”
“Much like memories, perhaps.”
“Or what memory makes of experience.”
In the corner of that courtyard there, a manicured tree sprouts in-front of a doorway.
Or rather, a doorway, which leads nowhere, has been constructed behind a tree which is then kept manicured.
Its the perfect place in which to reconsider one’s cardinal points and be reminded of one’s priorities.
The Ancients it seems
Conceived a three-fold
Analogy which linked
Agriculture, Generation and Re-generation.
These systems were regulated
By the sun, the earth and the moon
Which moved together in cyclical process…
It was, perhaps, not such
A bad conception, after all.
O Teigue, where will one
From wind, and sun, and rain
When the trees have all gone?
Many of the Great Stones at Avebury
Appear to stand in ‘relationship’
To each other…
Perhaps, most poignantly,
This ‘God-Head of Stone’
Calls to its distant prodigal…
… “Would there be a symbolic significance for that?”
“One would expect so.”
“Could we offer an explanation?”
“We would be happy to hazard one.”
“If Silbury is a ‘Harvest Hill’ and many people believe it to be just that, then, like as not, the ‘harvest’ was ‘seeded’ from here. Avebury, as much as anything else, is a ‘Temple of Agricultural Man’.”
“Do we know who the the author is?”
“Do we ever know who the author is?”
“Do we know who the author is purported to be?”
“Gilgamesh existed as the legendary protagonist in a number of Sumerian poems long before ‘his story’ was turned into an ‘epic poem’.”
“So who turned it into an epic poem?”
“The compiler of the first ‘epic’ now referred to as the Old Babylonian Version is unknown.”
“And the later version?”
“Five hundred years after the Old Babylonian version had been circulated a ‘scholar-priest’ called Sin-leqi-unninni revised and elaborated it.”
“Another name to conjure with.”
“Sin-leqi-unninni’s epic is now regarded as the Standard Version.”
“And in some quarters, at least, he is regarded as a genius with greater psychological acumen than Carl Gustav Jung.”
“Well, he was a priest.”
“A proper priest.”
“Are we allowed to be rational for a moment?”
“We would not expect you to be anything else.”
“If we consider Enkidu who is two-thirds animal, one-third man, together with Gilgamesh, who is two-thirds divine, one-third man, and treat them as a whole, we get a ruler who is one-third animal, one-third divine, and one third man.”
“The idea was to create harmony out of an imbalance. On his own Gilgamesh mistook arrogance for strength and had become a tyrant and tormentor of his people.”
“But the constructor of this tale would have to be a psychologist of far greater acumen than Jung to have come up with that device.”
“But it gets better. The harmony doesn’t last for long. The human part of Gilgamesh corrupts the animal part of Enkidu and as a result, together, they visit an ecological disaster upon their civilisation.”
“This story is how old?”
“About four thousand years.”
“It’s not only high genius, it’s also pertinent.”
“Genius is always pertinent.”
“If most of the Hebrew males wore long hair and beards anyway, why was there a need for the razor ban?” pondered Wen.
“Ah, is that the sound of trumpets scaling the ramparts of heaven?”
“What are you talking about?”
“A question of questions, young Wendolina, the answer to which may serve as a stunning proof of our original assertion.”
“Your original assertion, which was posed as a question anyway. And I’m older than you are.”
“Yes, yes, dearest Wendlebury. There was a need in order to achieve assimilation. The original model for Samson wasn’t Gilgamesh at all, it was his ‘alter-ego’, the wild-man, Enkidu, who in the words of birds-feet etched into tablets of baked-clay over five thousand years ago, possessed long hair like a woman and an excessively hairy body.”
“If I wasn’t so confused, I’d be tempted to jump up and down,” says Wen.
“Two-thirds animal, one-third man.”
“Ah,” says Wen, the light of comprehension settling down to roost in her visage, “I knew the British Museum would be a good idea.”