I now have the Highest Degree in the Anatomy of Revenge, but I didn't study for it.
I did not seek this Destiny: whether conscious choice, or God's plan: to me, that's a metaphysical dead-end; a tree falling in a forest: no one to hear.
Did my own actions lead me onto some great carousel of bugger-all on which I have ridden non-stop from fatuously awkward virginal youth, to brilliance and fame as a young musician, and, finally, into a blind-alley of cynical, jaded, middle-age: to my final fate as murderer ?
The Philosopher in me comes to a dead-end in a cul-de-sac too narrow to turn around in. So, I cannot escape: the Story:
A blind virtuoso harpist of great renown came to play for a King in the far North Countries.
She mesmerized His Majesty with glissandi. She made Him weep with arpeggios. She frightened him with Diminished Ninth Chords. She made him laugh with imitations of bird song in a magic garden.
The King felt great Lust for Her, and resolved to have Her, body and soul, that Night.
His Lust picked up tempo when She played accellerando, but backed-off only slightly when She played ritardando. His Lust waxed gibbous, shone forth full, as She bowed gracefully after her final encore.
He had Her brought to Him by force. He slapped Her, hard. He threw cold water on Her face.
She screamed: "No Man must have me ! ... no Man must ever have me !"
The King said : "I am not a Man, I am a King."
She said, shaking with fear : "You are a Man : you smell of garlic, cloves, and much wine."
Then the King had His way with Her, Her screams' making His Lust's Demon more urgent, forceful.
He slapped Her again; threw cold water on Her face, again.
She lay dishevelled: He Laughed. Her dress blood-stained, Her blind eyes swollen shut already turning a dark color: on Her bare breast reddening marks where he bit Her in the throes of passion.
"You've been had by a King tonight," He said, laughing.
The King called his Bedchamber Master, standing by, outside the door, in situations like this.
"Take this Witch: cloak her so none will see her wounds: use a closed carriage; take her far outside town to where two roads join, where they hang thieves. Set her down with her Harp, and let her play it like ... this:"
The King took a dagger from his bedside: cut all the Harp strings.
She was carried down steps cloaked, sobbing. Put in a closed carriage, sobbing.
And where two roads came together, and a skeleton picked clean by ravens hung on a gibbet, She was set down on the gibbet platform, Her hands on Her Harp.
She felt the severed strings, hanging down, coiling at her feet.
"Never speak of this : or your fingers will be cut off next time, Witch," said a rough voice.
Sounds of the carriage moving away.
Silence. An Owl hoots. Silence.
Hours go by. Silence. Cold, wind.
She touches the hanging remnants of the cut strings, as the hours pass: again, again.
Her hands move on ghost strings now, but She forgets what She plays.
Song for a May Green Dance when young men and maidens weave around the May Pole ?
Dirge for Dead Warriors ?
Hymn for the Night of our Dear Saviour's Birth ?
Dawn. Sensation: heat. Bird-song. Sunlight.
She's alive when they find Her, bring Her to shelter, to fire's warmth, make Her drink a calmative posset.
But, even after the Harp is re-strung, Her fingers never touch the strings: no words come from Her mouth, again.
Summer's rainfalls turn to autumn riot's dying leaf-color: Her belly swells: She sits, fingers dancing to music that never becomes sound.
Night of the first snow: Her child is born : She dies giving birth.
And I ... yes ... I am Her Son.
Smuggled, I know not how, back to Ireland, where I was blessed with a harpist's gift, and became apprentice to Master David Murphy, who took me in, treated me as his own son.
My beloved Master Murphy arranged, when my talent shone forth full in manhood, for me to tour the same North Countries my Mother toured.
Blessed Accident; Blessed Curse: a High King asked me to go play for one of his own High Lords who was dying: who had begged the High King to send a harpist to comfort him.
And, yes, I played for my Mother's murderer lying in his death-bed. He wept while I played.
When I paused between two songs, his crackly-weak old voice said: "your Harp's missing the lowest pitch string."
I said: "Yes, My Lord, it broke, and I could not replace it here ... and ... what may I play for you next ?"
The High Lord fell back onto satin pillows, wheezed out: "play 'Dirge for Dead Warriors' "
And I did oblige, playing that doleful tune my Mother was so famous for her unique rendition of.
Then I killed my Father, whose Bastard I am, strangled him with the lowest Harp string slowly, staring straight into his eyes, saying to him, over and over:
"Behold: your Son returns."
This dawn they'll hang me from a gibbet: when I'm unconscious ... they'll cut me down ...
Then revive me, cut my belly open, pull my intestines slowly out of me, throw them to the waiting dogs.
Then I be drawn and quartered, burned: my bones buried at four corners where two roads come together.
Ashes of my flesh to be scattered by winds: anywhere.
In my mind, now: immortal melodies of O'Carolan playing again and again, coming to life from my musical Father's fingers in the bewitching harmonies only Master Murphy could set them to.
I have never been more happy !
Causes William Woodruff Supports
Your freedom to not be what other people think you are, were, or will be.