Bone & Silence

Gerald Fleming

   A long time passes—long even in the understanding of stone—and at last Bone feels entitled to speak to Silence. There are prerequisites: proper depth, aridity, desiccation, ph balance, density, and a kind of confidence. No loam: say salt, say dust, say southwest Utah. And when the conversation occurs it is understood on Bone's part what to expect from Silence, so one could say that expectations were low, but such is a pattern of our thinking, and in this case the entire dry dialectic is different, and in fact expectations were high. There is a moon shining, unknown to Bone, intimate with Silence. There are mammals overhead, the noise of whose small feet are perceived or unperceived.
   And after all this discursive talk, what at last does Bone say to Silence? What would you have Bone say to Silence? We could try Is there anywhere we can go for a beer? and that might get a little laugh, might qualify as ineffably human, almost religious. But we know better about Bone & Silence—need only look inside us, have the bravery to cease this chatter, this scrape of pencil on paper, to leave the rest of the book blank, get out of the way, let the conversation begin.

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The Wind and the Moon

Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out;
You stare
In the air
Like a ghost in a chair,
Always looking what I am about —
I hate to be watched; I'll blow you out."

The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon.
So, deep
On a heap
Of clouds to sleep,
Down lay the Wind, and slumbered soon,
Muttering low, "I've done for that Moon."

He turned in his bed; she was there again!
On high
In the sky,
With her one ghost eye,
The Moon shone white and alive and plain.
Said the Wind, "I will blow you out again."

The Wind blew hard, and the Moon grew dim.
"With my sledge,
And my wedge,
I have knocked off her edge!
If only I blow right fierce and grim,
The creature will soon be dimmer than dim."

He blew and he blew, and she thinned to a thread.
"One puff
More's enough
To blow her to snuff!
One good puff more where the last was bred,
And glimmer, glimmer, glum will go the thread."

He blew a great blast, and the thread was gone.
In the air
Nowhere
Was a moonbeam bare;
Far off and harmless the shy stars shone —
Sure and certain the Moon was gone!

The Wind he took to his revels once more;
On down,
In town,
Like a merry—mad clown,
He leaped and halloed with whistle and roar —
"What's that?" The glimmering thread once more!

He flew in a rage — he danced and blew;
But in vain
Was the pain
Of his bursting brain;
For still the broader the Moon—scrap grew,
The broader he swelled his big cheeks and blew.

Slowly she grew — till she filled the night,
And shone
On her throne
In the sky alone,
A matchless, wonderful silvery light,
Radiant and lovely, the queen of the night.

Said the Wind: "What a marvel of power am I!
With my breath,
Good faith!
I blew her to death —
First blew her away right out of the sky —
Then blew her in; what strength have I!

But the Moon she knew nothing about the affair;
For high
In the sky,
With her one white eye,
Motionless, miles above the air,
She had never heard the great Wind blare.