THE PROPHET By Joshua Omenga

      The most dreadful moment in your life is the moment when the one you
      love exist for you no more; when, in the dreams of your night you
      strain to grasp her shadow but she is gone. You shall hear her voice
      in silent places, see her face in crowded markets, feel her touch in
      your loneliness � but the moment you reach out for her, she
      disappears. She exists no more: she is a phantom after which your
      longing desires shall never sate. But you do not believe it. You do
      not believe it not because you do not know it but because your frame
        cannot bear the stunning reality.

      Then shall you walk the streets with face bent to the ground, as if
      seeking to find the unfindable. You shall moil in your troubled mind
      to extract a moment from that period when she was yours. Now you do
      not desire her to be yours; nay, you are content with a few moment of
      laughter with her, her face so near yours you choked with joy� In your
      search into the past you do not know when you are smiling, and hands
      are pointing curiously at you, and wagging tongues call you madman. O
      how you want them to know we are all mad! It matters not how we
      express our madness: those of us there are who would submit to
      voluntary hermitage; others to excess talk and noisy company � yet the
      striated soul will keep bleeding, and nothing but time shall heal it�
      You wonder as you scratch your head in agony if you shall ever wake up
      from this. But waking up you do not truly desire. You want your dream
      to be the reality, while that reality in which she was yours would
      become dream � the dream you were long awakened from. It is at this
      moment that truth is your enemy; philosophy is not for your wretched
      soul � you are willing to buy any lie, believe any hypocrisy, so long
      as your beloved is given back to you in this dream you chose to make
      your reality.
      Listen, listen, O eremite � is not her voice the yonder crisp
      melodious voice? Hear it, hear it as it peels far away, across the
      stream. The lapping water brings her plaintiff cadences. Her melody is
      all over the plain. Will you not harvest them � the songs of your dear
      one? Then shall you know pain, when you hear that voice that shall be
      yours no more; when you hear it in a land nearby, and you strive after
      her but do not see her. Every turned back is her wraith, and away from
      your longing grasp she ever keeps�
      Dare you turn away from the stream now? Dare you close your ears to
      the familiar voice whose softness now rings like funeral chimes in
      your ears? Nay, you do not mind the pain, you do not mind the agony,
      so long as you saw and felt that flesh from which the voice cometh.
      And then like a giant spectre from a far away planet you lift your
      feet to seek her. But a voice says after you: son, do not seek her. Do
      not go after her for she is not yours. Rest your body here, and after,
      find your way homeward. You open your protestant mouth to tell the
      voice that it is wrong, that she is yours, has been your, shall ever
      be yours� but the old wise voice has receded and you are left alone in
      the closing dusk. The world is going to sleep. You are the lone
      creature in the wide world, and the wicked stars are grinning at you
      in mockery.
      Bend your head, mourned one; bend your head and weep. Weep for that
      which you have lost. Weep for that which you shall never have. Weep
      for that receding figure which this closing darkness shall swallow
      forever. But your tears are inured. Your eyes are two embers popping
      out of their sockets. Your voice has withered in your throat � you
      need a voice no more. You need no voice for the ears which have closed
      themselves to your hearing. You need no eyes for the ghost that ever
      flees from your sighting. You need no hand to feel the once sensate
      flesh which now is hardened in the maws of inexistence. You need no
      nose for that smell that once reeked beside you in the bed� Let sorrow
      overwhelm you! Submit yourself to disgrace�s emphatic embrace�
      What may you not think now? What may you not imagine? As you pour the
      sand on your sweating head, you raise your head up and remember those
      lullabies your mother had sung for you; the lullabies you shall sing
      for your offspring:
      Sleep, little one
      God watches over you�
      But now it reeks of lies� Sleep you cannot, because the serrated soul
      can find no solacement in closed eyes. Sleep is the balm of the soul
      whose desires have been granted. You raise your head and ask, God, do
      you watch over me? You dozed off when calamity overcame me. You turned
      your eyes away when my beloved was snatched away from me. No, dear
      God: you do not watch over me. Your utterances are blasphemy: you know
      it but you do not care. You know that you have come to the crossroads
      when you may utter any anathema because salvation is no more for you;
      no, you need salvation no more�
      You need not the salvation in which you shall look for your beloved
      and not see her. You need not the golden house decorated with precious
      stones in which you shall wake up to the feel of loneliness. There is
      no Elysium for you without your beloved. When you recall your pastor�s
      telling you that when your eyes are closed to this world, they open in
      heaven in the dazzling presence of God�s glory, his hands stretched
      out to rake you in embrace � when you recall this, you grin at your
      pastor�s ignorance. To you heaven is no heaven if you search among the
      innumerable angels and cherubim and not see your beloved. It is for
      her alone that you care; God may keep his angels and make them purer
      still�
      When you have gone through this experience, when you have gone through
      this test flame of lost love � then shall you behold the world in a
      different light. Nothing will hunger you any more. You will pay no
      heed to wealth when it shakes its tail before you; you will grin at
      fame when it comes luring you. When an angel human comes to knock at
      the door of your heart, she will find it firmly shut against all
      enchantments: you do not want love because you think it exists no
      more: it has fled with your beloved.
      Now are you fit to be a prophet. Your utterances shall be revered, for
      that vacuum in you is now filled with wisdom. You alone know who you
      are: you are the man who has loved and lost. You alone can look the
    world in the face and tell her the truth.

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