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Tambourines in Time: Sir Greenwald and the Orange Man Ruse (2), by Ray Zwarich

"...beneath the diamond sky, one hand flying free". Indeed. When a spirit speaks, cannot the shimmering sound of distant tambourines be heard? "Don't pay it any mind", the prophet said, (but do keep tambourines in time).

A vision is hard enough to 'see', but even seen it can shimmer like a tambourine's song, first into crystal focus, and then dissolving into despair. To 'see' requires Hope. It also requires Will, and Will derives from Desire. In order to 'see' we must first WANT to 'see'.

Life itself is Desire, and when despair visits, death comes with it, to smile its fatal luring temptation.

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves began to die?
That means he's lost the will to live
And I'm so lonesome I could cry
H. Williams
Yea...Well...To cry is better than to die. People I have loved have been so lonesome they did die.
Our tears are a gift that 'the gods' themselves surely have bestowed upon us, to save us from sinking into hopeless despair, as we march so courageously through all our pain and grief and tragedy in search of simple joy, willing to settle for peace, a simple respite from all the deadly sadness. Despair is much worse than mere sadness. Despair lies far beyond tears. Let your tears flow freely, ("get all that crying out of you"), an old 'papa' once advised his daughters three, when they were my babes. 

Few of us have never known some degree of despair, but some of us are intimately familiar with the most profound despair, with the blackest of blackness, more empty than the coldest corner of infinite empty space, a trillion trillion miles from even the closest cold shard of lonely hurtling cold rock, let alone a glowing warm hearth and a smiling warm loving companion. 

When even the moon "hides his face to cry", the darkest night is then upon us, the darkest coldest windiest howling night blows through our very souls. When Hope has shimmered away and died, and our hearts are empty and heavy with dreadful despair, despair that is denser by far than any 'black hole' in the impossible vastness of space, from which even the most primal energy, even light itself, cannot escape, we cannot 'see' in that degree of darkness because we've lost 'the will' to even look. (To 'see' requires that we must first 'look', an act of 'will').  

When Hope has died, when its magic glowing crystal has become opaque, like a diamond gone cruelly back to coal, none of us can still even 'see', let alone sing our vision for others to 'see'.

When we see Sauron's eye in the Crystal Palantir, will the crystal itself shatter, or go milky like that assassin's eye, from the burgeoning power of sheer evil?  

Hope is life, and life is throbbing beating desire. Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Is that not the primal sound of Human Hope? Lub-dub. Lub-dub.

Holos is a Greek word, whole, holy. We breath the same breath to speak of our most basic human motivation, Hope. Such things are truly related, as once we only crudely grunted or growled to make our thoughts and feelings known. We can only make a relatively few sounds, after all, and there is a deep mysterious 'logic' to how our myriads of words grew, relationally, from our primitively formed human breath. 

Hope shimmers as does vision, like a tambourine's sound. A bell-like sound of small cymbals clacking, that somehow mysteriously starts with some variety of an 'S', or "Sh". As a serpent moves furtively, then suddenly, quick as lightning, a shimmering tambourine beats like a mysterious little shimmering drum. 

Hope shimmers, but as so many poets and prophets have told us, it also springs eternal. Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Is there any greater degree of resolute determination in all the vastness of creation than the resolute will of the human heart to beat? Lub-dub. Lub-dub. 

What abysmal fire tempered Gandalf the Grey, tumbling side by bloody red-scraped jowl with the rough-haired leather hide of the Balrog, into the fiery abyss? Did either he or the Balrog know fear as they fell? What adventures did Gandalf the Grey find in the white hot fire of that bottomless pit? What shore did he find to grasp from his bath in flowing lava, to gasp upon, to crawl from that sea of endless burning oblivion? What path did he find that led him back to the world of Humans, as Gandalf the White? What sound sustained him, other than lub dub, lub-dub, the eternal determination of the strongest fist of all, that beats in every human breast? 

Ahh ... But could even Gandalf the White fall to Sauron's power? Did not Saruman the White so fall before him?  

Yea...Well...Despair is a deadly enough threat to vision, but as we all know, there are other things besides hopelessness that can keep us from 'seeing'. Our existential loneliness can drive us to delusion, rather than despair, and the power of the human mind to deceive itself knows no bounds. When the moon goes behind a cloud to hide its face and cry, many then find an 'unholy' light to guide them. 

They say that anger is the first emotion this side of despair when we emerge, and the last when we fall. Many hew themselves to anger when despair threatens, and anger festers inexorably into hatred. Hatred is the most terrible form of love. Where love has gone, there the most intense hatred can follow. We can hate those we once loved much harder, and hotter, than we can hate those we have never known. When our love is unrequited, or worse, betrayed, anger follows with quick vengeance, and then becomes hatred. The more intense the one, the more burning white hot the other. 

And thus did the poet/prophet warn us of the slouching beast, as the best quivered in uncertainty, and the worst were animated by "passionate intensity".  

But they did not heed the poet prophet's warning then, and soon enough hundreds of millions lay cold, crushed in the rubble of every great city, or cold in the red water at the bottom of a shell or bomb's crater, all blood drained, or boiled away by Hell's own fire. Hundreds of millions died in a terrible conflagration that many prophets, like Yeats, had foretold, but hot and horrible as that terrible fire burned, it was not even NEAR the Final Conflagration that now  hangs like Damocles' blade over every human child's laughing hopeful yearning head, suspended by the thinnest simplest cotton thread, whose fibers we can ALL see are fraying, (pop!), one by one. 

Yet bravely, hopefully, undaunted, "bloodied but unbowed", rides Sir Greenwald across the bleakest shell-pocked landscape. And Hope itself, the most primal human motivation, emanates from his lion's heart, from his boundless unbowed courage, falling fart and wide in large plopping drops on the thick layer of dust, across the hope-parched landscape, falling like sweet rain from an empty parched sky, to water many thirsty souls, reaching up eagerly like the browned grass on the plain reaches up joyous to greet the finally falling rain.  

Despite the horrid bleakness on every side, Greenwald rides on bravely, steadfastly, like Paladin did before.  

There are others who ride as well. Taibbi knows his horse, scion of hot-blooded stalwart Arabian mares and stallions, brought to the steppes by Persian traders. He knows his horse as well as any human ever knew Equus, and proud steed carries him gladly in any direction, into whatever bedlam or danger. Taibbi knows this beast, Equus, like a brother of his own flesh, as did his ancestors, the Cossak, (co-SOCK), know their own proud, brave and loyal mounts. 

Taibbi is Cossak. Not the cruel mercenary Cossak, who would later come to serve the Tsar's wealth, but the original Cossak, from the days of Taras Bulba, the warrior class of the Rus clans and tribes, who had learned well from the humiliation they vowed they would never again tolerate while still breathing, that they had learned at the hands of Ghegis Khan's mongol hordes who had killed their ancestors and children, and raped or stolen their women.  

The Cossak had learned their lesson well, and any Cossak could ride across the steppes outpacing the fiercest wind, and could cling to a saddle and horse's belly with heel and knee, to fire an arrow from under a galloping horse's neck, or could draw his blade and even cut a small juicy grape in two, cleanly, as his stallion's hooves pounded and cut the rich fertile chernozem soil of the steppe with the speed of every ancestral Bucephalus or Shadowfax, descended from the god Equus. (See Yarolsav, grimace of the warrior Cossak on his face, at 1:34).  

The Rus were, ironically, a Ukrainian tribe. Their original territory was the rich Valley of the Dnieper, where Kiev would grow beside that mighty river that flowed south from the Valdai Hills in Mother Russia, as it found its way home, to the Black Sea. It was this Ukrainian tribe, the Rus, that would eventually lend its name across a huge territory, bordering and bonded to Europe on the west, all the way across Asia, to almost border on America itself, separated by only a cold narrow strait. 

And through the centuries fools have thought they could cleave one Slavic tribe from their brothers, their mothers, their wives, their sisters, their sons. Yea...Well...Brothers and wives and tribes may quarrel, as all human families do, but the germanic English, goaded by the Caucasian Jew, then rooted in America, who should have learned a terrible lesson, even in relative victory, in Crimea, have apparently not yet learned that Sevastopol is the crucial salt water taproot of Mother Russia, on the sea to which both the Dnieper and the mighty Don, and many other great rushing Russian rivers flow. They have not learned that mighty Russia will fight like an enraged mother Grizzly, or Kodiak Brown, she will fight with every weapon, every fang, every claw she can bring to bear, before she would see Sevastopol fall again.    

Taibbi rides nervously. Not in fear, but simply in indecision. His head swivels quickly, surveying every horizon. His blade is razor sharp, but for the moment remains sheathed. His horse rears up, eager to gallup, but Taibbi is a bit unsure of the moment, and yet looks in every direction as his brave mare or stallion, (I can't tell from here), rears high in courage, sensing the moment, sharing his rider's raw alertness and angry indecision. 

The Cossak leans easily towards the brave beast's arched neck at the apex of its rearing courage, and as the dumb brave beast beats the air with sharp hooves to threaten away every daring demon, the warrior Cossak uses the elevated vantage to look intently in every direction, trying to decide which way, wanting to ride directly to Sauron's own Lair to free his skilled slashing blade in final flashing battle. 

ALL should know, and hold to hope in the knowing... Brave Taibbi yet rides..............And well... 

Ahh....But Sir Greenwald has made a few decisions that yet lie ahead for the fierce Cossak. Greenwald rides steady. His horse is stout and calm, ready to ride without fear in any direction. Sir Greenwald rides a stout Percheron, as he also searches out for Sauron's Lair, and wields his heavy and well-tempered steel on the nearest dragons he can find along the way. 

Like Taibbi, he longs to meet Sauron, the Beast Dragon Itself, in the field, to feel at last the sting and slash of his well-skilled blade on Dragon's scales, to draw dragon's mortal blood from unholy dragon flesh.  And as each and every rider wends their way ineluctably toward the same goal, searching out the Evil Beast, an inevitably shared fate flies above, towards them all, beckoning that all must follow. 

And they do. They all ride steadily, if yet unknowingly, closer to the alliance they need and want and are destined to forge. 

Where is Aragorn? Where comes some poet prophet's stout hero to save us? Who will rise to lead us? No comic book superheroes are likely to come. Is the Mighty Quinn a mere legend, or a prophecy? 

We all instinctively are hoping, waiting for a 'great leader' to rise. Are we not? 

Not me. Not poor tired old Caliban, scowling under simian brow. The old silverback can smell the danger on every breeze, from any direction, and near at hand. No more time to wait. The time for waiting is past.

I am watching Sir Greenwald ride. He looks fine to me. I am not waiting. THERE is a brave man I would gladly fall in with, that I would gladly follow.

There are many others riding bravely, in solitary determination to find and meet The Demon Dragon. They are now still letting their horses find their own way, at their own pace, over dangerous sharp-rocked ground. 

There are some at whom Caliban yet looks askance. Many Caitlyns and Chrisses write well enough, even sometimes eloquently, but rather still seem to be pretending, safe where they are, 'hedging' their true sense of danger with vanity, keen to serve their own egos before any mere cause. It is as Scheerly obvious as can be that many old eagles can no longer outfly a suddenly startled turkey.

Many writers write well, but which one more avidly desires to meet and fight the very Demon Dragon Itself than Sir Greenwald? And give a Tabbi or three. Two more make seven. Seven riders could find Sauron easily enough, and all the other good writers would follow, and together we could slay the Terrible Beast.

The Dragon sees Greenwald, of course. And Taibbi. And the fierce wilding Johnstone 'down under'. Sauron's eye 'sees' all. ...(It sure the 'ef' sees me)...

Taibbi will decide which direction to ride, and when he does he will take off at breakneck gallop, as he always does, setting his beloved Equus free to chase her or his proud desire.  

Sir Greenwald will keep slashing at lesser dragons. 

Ahhh....But Caliban knows the way to the Demon Dragon's Lair.

Are the demons that bedevil us yet afraid? 

Bezos is still proud and arrogant, not yet imagining his precipitous fall. His arrogant fingers are yet bejeweled with every power, an inconvenient wife already jettisoned, his virile arms are nicely draped with enticing female beauties, (for lesser men to envy), who themselves rage over his arrogant lustful infidelities.   

Zuckerberg is still a frightened naughty boy, always wide-eyed, eager to cheat a friend, but eager to please the stern old Rabbi. 

Pichai has wisely learned to keep to the shadows as he plies his evils designs and weaves his sinister plots, this way and that, still stupidly thinking that a stupid hypocritical motto, "do no evil" fools anyone any more than does the idiotically hypocritical irony of "democracy dies in darkness". Gates, who also has jettisoned an inconvenient wife, still thinks his sinister plans will prevail, as he plots their "Great Re-Set", as if he and his evil friends had been crowned to command us. 

Do ANY of them yet feel fear?

Caliban does not yet know. But Caliban knows they WILL! 

Caliban KNOWS. Caliban 'SEES'. Greenwald rides. And Taibbi. And many others. No time for despair. Too much to do. Too many songs to sing.

And thus ends Chapter 2 of:
Caliban's Gambit. 
Sir Greenwald and the Orange Man Ruse 
(A work in progress, and I've already changed the title, (from Saga)

Papa Caliban

R Zwarich
Bent Birch Farm

This work is posted into the public domain. The author hereby relinquishes any claims to own these words. Anyone may repost them anywhere they please.