Before the time
that men besought
themselves to write
there was a man
who dreamed up
He sat alone
beside a rock
upon a prairie
that swirled within him;
the more he thought
the more the thoughts
the more the words
the more he thought.
Soon he found he couldn’t stop. All around him charcoal scribbling began to appear. His friends laughed and said, “What is that? Even a child can draw stick figures. Those are just scribbles.” They couldn’t see the pattern. The letters were just crazy lines.
Once when he stood before them and read the scribbles they laughed some more and slapped their legs and thought him a clever storyteller. But they never dreamed he had written those ideas down.
The prairie turned white and he would walk around stamping the letters large, with his feet, in the snow. And they laughed some more at him stamping in the snow. And when the spring came he took the shoots of the new reeds and soaked them and rolled them between two special stones and sharpened a feather to a narrow point and with the syrup from a dark blue flower, he etched his letters as tiny as he could onto the dried papyrus. And the young ones, the ones who could see his markings without squinting, were silent and watched him and wondered.
“What are you doing?” asked a bright-eyed girl.
“I’m keeping my thoughts,” the young man replied. “Want to try it?”
“No,” she giggled. “I’m afraid. They may make a fool of me if I keep them.”
“Oh, ho,” he said, “you may be right. There’s risk in this endeavor. But not much now, since I’m the only one who can see them when they’re kept.”
“Then I shall sit with you and see what you have done.”
The two sat upon the rock and the young man asked, “Would you like to have a name?”
The maiden giggled again. “I have a name,” she said. “It is Ariel.”
“It is good to know you, Ariel, and with the birds your mind does soar, but would you like to bring your name down to the earth where you can see it?”
“See my name? That is strange, this thing you say. The name I have is only there when another says it.”
“But I can make your name appear upon this rock.”
He put his hand upon the rock and looked into her eyes.
– Larry Berger, Hashtag WV #80. August 2016
Check out Larry’s poems and stories and a full archive of Pseudo News articles at his blogsite: sinksgrovepress.wordpress.com