*** On Helen Weaver, Amelia Earhart and the Sibyl of Cumae

*** On Helen Weaver, Amelia Earhart and the Sibyl of Cumae

I am in ruins.

Oed’ und leer das Meer.

Sometimes we make the most unwise of decisions. Sometimes the most unwise decisions are made for us.

Leaving her enigmatic fiancée, Helen takes flight from Worcester hoping to sail to a different place.

The Sibyl’s wish, as she grasps the black grains of sand with her fists, is for long life. Failing to see the many meanings of her own oracles, she plants her roots into the black soil of the underworld.

Amelia, grand-daughter of Daedalus, searches to be loved by all. It takes two mirrors, two pieces of silvered glass to catch the sun and send a ray of light down the dusty hollows of chill mansions, catching each island mote in the path of fatigued vision.

Helen pursues calm seas and a prosperous voyage over the oceans, carried by gyre and Tasman currents, to the romanza of tympanic engines and violins.

The Sibyl shrinks with old age, held in her ampulla for all to see.

Electra plots her revenge on her mother and stepfather. Fred floats the thin atmosphere, navigates the journey with a sextant, flies north and south. Amelia escapes the winter, forgets the cry of the gulls and, like Enoch, was not.

Trimalchio asks after the Sybil’s desire. The boys tell him she wants to die.

On Taranaki’s glassy black sands, Helen connects nothing with nothing. A damp air brings cold rain from the South.

We all are stranded on some strange shore, trapped in a cage of water or glass or living under the black ash of some fiery mountain.

We are all bit parts, variations on an original theme, fragments have I shored against my ruins.

Sometimes I go south in winter.

It is my decision.

 

This piece has taken part in Flash Mob 2013. Some notes to accompany the piece can be found here.

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4 Responses to *** On Helen Weaver, Amelia Earhart and the Sibyl of Cumae

  1. Lovely writing here. I especially like these lines:

    We all are stranded on some strange shore, trapped in a cage of water or glass or living under the black ash of some fiery mountain.

    We are all bit parts, variations on an original theme, fragments have I shored against my ruins.

    Sometimes I go south in winter.

    Great seeing you in the mob, and I hope you’re enjoying you National Flash Fiction Day in Auckland!

    • martininwhangarei says:

      Many thanks, the fragments and going south are, of course, derived from some waste land I have been fascinated by for a long time.
      I shall post some notes to this piece later as it references a variety of sources.

  2. I wouldn’t have thought to bring these figures together, but the way you do it here makes it seem necessary.

    • martininwhangarei says:

      Helen Weaver and Amelia Earhart seemed to be a natural match, both ending their lives in the Pacific region, the Sybil gate-crashed because of her unrealising ambition. The symbiosis just happened.
      Thank you for reading and commenting,

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