D (16.03.89 / Doncaster, England)

Jacob's Ladder

There is a legend, perhaps never heard
By anyone before. I may write word
After word of a yarn which has not graced one
Ear of man, woman, child or beast. Far-gone
I have already strayed, and so I will
Begin my tale of a man named in still,
Cool letters on the still, cool water, called
Jacob. He was a great architect, hauled
From the very imaginings of Great
Gods who lived eras ago. He was late
Onto the Earth, and had never any
Hope of pioneering mankind’s many
Falls which have piled up vastly today. A
Version of his birth is thus: people say
That when his unknown mother fell with child,
She fled to the arms of her God, who smiled
Comfortingly, for He was the God who
Reigned over empathy, and wore askew
Upon his head, a garland of leaves, fruit
And vines. She was safe in Heaven, astute
And infinite in its wisdom, from her
Angry husband’s revenge, for the child, were
He then born on Earth, would have never led
A safe existence. His mother grew red
And coupled with another, you see, so
Her husband and the father once did go
To war with each other. The outcome is
Not notable, though, so I will write his
Irritated story no more. So then
Did Jacob become born and raised in a den
Of boundless perception in Heaven. That
Is one version. The other wears a hat
Of kinder simplicity, and says quite
Plainly that he was the son of some trite
And common angels, who gave him his life
In Heaven. Whichever story, the wife
And the jealous husband who fought the smug-
Faced lover, or the average account, slug-
Like in its hooks and twists, both agree on
One fact: that by a huge, perplexing con,
Jacob became outlawed from Rapture when
He reached the inoffensive age of ten.
He wept for thirty years, it’s said. He made
The winds whistle through the trees for him, bade
By a celestial hand to dirge. Seas
And oceans followed as he paced degrees
Of confused remorse along their shores. Struck
By the fat and blemished hand of muse, luck,
Some call it, name it as you like, he built
From sand and brick and stone, to free from guilt
Confounding, a tower great and soaring
Which reached back to Heaven’s famous mooring
Station, where souls are shipped and dropped for their
Judgement by an enigmatic guide. Fair
Skied and crowned in cloud, Jacob assailed that
Mount which towered so far above. The chat
Of angels became audible and he
Reached the gates at last. After a long spree
Of deliberation, the Ruling Lords
Admitted him once more to live in chords
Of music so unfathomably sweet,
That mortal ears would not withstand the heat
Of passion’s rush upon them, and so each
God communally gave him a task. “Breach
Not this realm with living souls, you who gave
The world sounds in nature so divine. Save
Us Gods from scrutiny, for we do need
Mystery as much as they need faith. Heed
Our words, and lace your hill with such a chore
That no man who has not died may ever pour
His confessions on us with living cries.”
And so he went towards his cosmic prize
As a king, and put it in a riddle
Globally unsolvable. The middle
Of the tale is hereby reached, and before
I take you on the rest of this old, lore-
Filled story which has never been uttered
By throats in our reality. Muttered
Words of speculation do not yet touch
The fringes of this saga, and at such
A point, I will leave a moment to sort
Among my muddled and now confused thought.


Now, returned from my respite, I’ll begin
Anew with the subsequent portion. In
The aeons which have passed by secrecy’s
Yawning eyes, many man have done their pleas
On conquering this peak, and ev’ry man
Has failed. Each one did then speak things which pan
And condemn the existence of a next
Life and the paradise therein. But vexed
Not was one man, who’s name I will not write
For not only is it unimportant, night
Veiled the Gods as they brushed clean humankind’s
Memory of him, so that ev’ry mind
Save his and those Gods’ was wiped afresh. I
Invoke this man in an endeavour, high
And ominous, to point that although we
May jadedly refuse to trust in me
And my proposal of a Heaven, there
Might exist one that entails a brain where
Life’s binding comprehension cannot show
Us it’s being. Perhaps in death we know
More than we possibly can, surviving
Free of chauvinism and judgement. Bring
These thoughts with as I continue my
Tale from which I so simply digress. Dry-
Eyed and determined, this unknown name who
Climbed this hill was no more than (in the view
Of the people who once knew him) a slight
Man with meagre materials, yet fight-
Filled for his zealous comportment. He heard
The legend of Jacob’s Ladder with slurred
Speech from failures who could not overwhelm
It and qualify. Some said, at his helm
Was a pious, never opposing heart
Of sacred ardour. He did once depart
His unknown home, with his unknown eyes and
His unknown intention, and found in sand-
Surrounded wastelands, Jacob’s puzzling slope.
He had unnaturally aware hope
And absorption of scenes around him, though
It may seem minor, it is a point no
Person could make me omit. On the hill,
He set his dusty feet, and began to
Climb swiftly. It was made by a path, who
Was great and curving, and it coiled around
The mountain nine times, like a serpent, sound
And comfortable in its reptile hold.
Owing to the Gods to which he had sold
His psyche, he walked with a pious stride
Along the slope, and this is what he spied.
In reality, I have already
Said that this man and his quest were steady,
Yet completely forgotten, so it seems
My notions need adjusting once more. Dreams
Are not so easy to transcribe, I see,
Though when this tale ends, my wits will be free.


I return again, adamant in my
Concluding of this legend. I will try
To keep upon the hardened path, and will
Not wander too far off, for I did spill
Many words needlessly, and they want not
To be collected. I’ll recount naught hot
Nor cold from the preceding sections, for
That you’ve read and absorbed them I am sure.
Alas, I stray already. I begin
The end here. O’ how ominous that sounds.
Anyway, we know of Jacob’s vast grounds
Erected Heaven-high, and an unknown
Man who toppled them on his quest alone,
I commenced to write down what he saw, and
Left immediately then, so the grand
Account will henceforth arise from the black
Ashes of detour and mystery. Lack
No words, I will, spare no fact, either. Dear
Me, I’ve done it again, this path, it drear-
Seems, has no fences along its sides. What
This man saw, I start at last, was sure not
Irregular in an appearance, but
Only in conduct. He saw two tiers jut
Towards his observing eyes, all did wear
A human shape, for human they were, bare
No thought to otherwise, and the fine test
Had beat them all. One stratum was the best
Lethargy had to offer, and they walked
Silently around the way. Given hope
To the wind, it seems, the Gods could elope
From them for they never saw the way which
Lay so plainly in front, and were lost to round
Their level perpetually. The ground
Was pattered by the other echelon,
Who were delivered by a rush to don
The clothes of Deities. They scramble ‘bout
And over the trail itself, climbing stout,
The wall which braced the stage above. They reached
The precipice in time, and had not breached
The next area, for they were graced then
With the same arrangement of stone as when
They began their ascent. Confused, and closed
To all other perplexia, the posed
Question ruffled not their feathers as they
Tried again to clamber vainly. The day
Grew old, and the unknown man sought a mean
Between the bands, he went with steady sheen
And purposeful stride. His eyes never glanced
Downwards in doubt, his feet had never pranced
In haste over the cliff face. He saw fast,
The world shrink below, and his pace did last
The way. He made it to the top, I can
Not write this epic and not say that plan
Was not reached, but he was not allowed to
See past Heaven’s gate. Sad as it may view,
The Gods had said before. I hope you did
Not expect me to break the Lords who bid
Ev’ry living soul to remain outside
Bliss, I could not do that. But bring a tide
Of happiness with you, he was left there
Yes, but not to perish. On the spot where
He first broke the clouds, Jacob came to show
His hand in applause. He told this man, “though
The words of Gods may not be broken, you,
Sir have earned a place among our best. Through
Fire and flames some souls must go, but I had
Conversed with the Lords and they spake thus: Pad
Your pillow especially tonight, he
Will be welcome, free from judgement and plea
Of penitence. When his soul is done.” And
So he waits there still, outside Heaven’s grand
Gate, delaying ‘till his contented death.
He knows it comes soon, for as ev’ry breath
Exits him, he forgets more of who he
Is. At this point I end my tale. You see,
The facts of next events escape me, I
Am not so sure of why I scribed this. Why
I tried to capture this magic plot. So
I will sit where I am, and observe, slow
And tired, the world decay beneath, bleeding
Away from my memory. Thank you for reading.


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