‘I stand up next to a mountain
and I chop it down with the edge of my hand…’
– Voodoo Chile.
I. ‘WHO SCARED YOU?…’
I saw the snout first and thought it was a snake.
But snakes move swift and smooth and this fella was
cautious, shy even… timid as he nervously tested the air.
Jed who had been repeatedly twanging his ruler on the top of a bedside-
cabinet as he talked, paused mid sentence… and held the ruler… airborne.
‘Lizard!’ He whispered, somewhat redundantly, as the little fella
carefully zig-zagged out from the ceiling panel, his legs moving
akimbo like synchronised swastika’s, first one way then the next…
He was a beauty alright.
marble eyes and a
delicately pin-pricked snout.
Just as I thought he was going to edge
all the way out and stay for awhile,
the fridge motor shuddered into life.
A whip-lash curl of his tail: he was gone.
II. ‘HOUSE BURNING DOWN…’
Road… and more road…
The ice we picked up at our last stop has long
since melted along with the thermometer which
we bought there too: its plastic base melding with
our metal dash. With a top temperature of only forty-
degrees celsius it was a pretty pointless purchase anyway.
I am beginning to understand why Jed was
so cautious about the decision to start out.
Some of his concerns come back to me.
‘There’s no air-conditioning in this thing you know.’
‘The mechanic reckons she’ll just about make it round.’
We pass a long stretch of salt devoured bush.
The bark of all the trees resembles baked clay.
Their heat gnawed limbs offer
stunted surrender to a barren sky.
… Road… and more road…
III. A BAPTISM OF FIRE
Joshua said, “Judas Thomas, while you are still
in the world, attend to the questions of your heart,
and it shall be revealed to you: who you are,
why you exist, and how you will come to be.”
“Who are you to say these things to me?” Said Judas Thomas.
Joshua said, “you do not know who I am from what I say to you?
Then you have disregarded the living one who is in your presence.
You are like a fruit picker who loves the fruit but hates the tree.
I am the light that is over all things,
I am all: from me all has come forth,
and to me all has reached.
Split a piece of wood…
I am there.
Lift up a block of stone…
I am there also.
I shall give you what no eye has
seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no hand has touched,
for the thing that I shall give you
has not arisen from the human heart.
I have thrown fire upon the world, and
look… I am watching it until it blazes.
Whoever is near me is near the fire.
Whoever is far from me is far from the kingdom.” …
– Excerpt from, ‘The Living One…’
The Living One : contemplations of the Gospel of Thomas, by Stuart France is available on Amazon in Paperback and for Kindle.