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THE TESTAMENT OF EVE - Introduction
To write The Testament of Eve required a level of
release hitherto unknown to me. Usually, control of a work is
maintained at the technical level – plausibility, expressibility,
thresholds of knowledge and boredom – but here even these
controls had to be surrendered to the requirements of
inspiration. The result? A comic masterpiece? Gross
indulgence? A profound revelation? As for me, I still laugh,
grin, smile, chortle, holler in memory. But I would say that,
wouldn’t I?
Enjoy it – there’s goodness in it!

THE TESTAMENT OF EVE - Summary
The novel is a comedy of omissions that revolves
around the little-noted fact that, according to Genesis, Adam
was only the second person to die, and the first to die a
natural death. The story opens with Adam two years abed, his
descendents forced to labour in his stead, his wife to dance
attention on him. Eve determines to find a cure for Adam’s
condition, but discovers that the man who might hold the key
is one marked by a knowledge that all fear to know, though
all are curious to learn. This man is Cain, the ruler of the city
on the plain.
So Eve sets off to meet him. The result is chaos as two
families encounter one another. Old memories are dredged
up, old woes lived, but new possibilities are revealed, as nine
hundred years of evasion and amnesia are literally torn away.
Most seek new hideouts, some reveal surprising awareness
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and even more surprising equanimity. Only Eve, driven
perhaps by the exigencies of a composition she undertakes
out of unsuspected motives, seems aware of deeper
memories, deeper truths, especially of a deeper knowledge
hidden in some appalling event in the beginning, where both
a profound loss and an inspiring gift await her side by side
for ever.
As a comedy of omissions there are, as might be
expected, some obscurities, but given the popularity of the
Adam and Eve story readers should be able to supply most of
the answers themselves. The comedy is Aristophanic and so
direct, characters graphic but open to development as the
story unfolds, Eve untiring, the ending as happy as can be in
the circumstances, everyone getting at least what they are
capable of accepting.

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THE TESTAMENT OF EVE

PHILIP MATTHEWS

Philip Matthews 1995

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The beginning is always with us.
Martin Heidegger

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This is the beginning I know best.
While still very young, Seth asked to see Heaven. I
took him to the river pastures and pointed to the sun shining
above the trees and said to him, ‘That is Heaven. And that is
the Lord God in his Heaven, and the trees praise him at all
times.’ Seth was satisfied with this vision and I gathered
some nuts to remind him of the occasion. Less easy to satisfy
those who followed him. To be expected; they merely want
what Seth wanted. Only Enoch perseveres to achieve his own
desire.
But Seth concerned me more always. Who told him
about God? The circumstances are clearer now, of course –
so much is clearer now. To see his father cry in exhaustion,
futility and lack of courage. There is a gap to be filled. You
see that Seth is innocent: how failure intimates Heaven as the
one loss behind all images of loss. Seth raising his hand to the
sky, calling on the Lord God, hiding from his father’s toil in
the fields. Adam seeing the worms in the dry clay, Seth
seeing angels in the birds flying through the air. The father
crying over such a useless son.
Where is the truth is this? Adam aghast at his full cock,
whimpering as he succumbs, a labour of torment to make the
next day in hell bearable. Adam is sardonic hearing this; says
that I seek too much consistency. He’s talking about memory,
his much prized absent-mindedness. I tell him part of him
never forgets: knows everything.
He snorts ruefully: too true.
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My sickness. Let us get through the misery first. Get it
out of the way. There are some light episodes, I assure you;
pattern-breaking, if you like; a relief nonetheless, I say.
For instance, Seth when he speaks:
‘Life is at the mercy of a principle of indetermination.
You may ask how a formless non-determination could be a
power at all.’
His brothers fall about laughing, pummel the boards
with their feet, slapping one another’s backs with a
thoroughly brutish abandon. They understand him, you see,
only too well.
Seth plum-faced in the heat of the fire, not the beer –
he won’t drink for fear of losing his sense, he says – lips like
cherries as he pouts in annoyance, eyes frantic with the fear
of body contact.
Outraged, he might shout: ‘The Hand of the Lord
reached over the land and smotes the darkness.’ Raises his
hand like a country preacher, one-eyed among the blind a
temptation too great to resist, not like a full gut (Adam) but
more like how God should feel at all times. I speak, I think
here of the purity of power, like supervening, if your
dictionaries will permit me.
Rising hands, rising voices, rising eyes, shouting till he
screams recklessly, ‘The Hand, The Hand, oh mercy the
Hand of the Lord reaches reaches reaches. Mercy oh Lord on
thy servant, who abides in humility and praises you at all
times.’
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The easy part. no switch in polarity. Sickness now. Not the first. But pain is a motion. That torque is unnatural. A fruit squeezed in God’s Hand. if you like. The hard part: Pain does no harm. Pain is the dumbest life force. What wonderful paroxysms: from fundament to mouth. A stupid oversight. an automatic system. nature’s part. as Seth understands it. a quick bend in a hollow. no hormonal shift. nothing on the oscilloscope. made worse because there is only our word for it. 9 . I vomit. from the tip of my fingers to the last nerve in my belly. Excretion up against a hedge. too pent up to sleep. a button and a bell as an analogy. Press the button and the bell sounds. One word: AGONY. I vomit suddenly. no tremble even. There is a long rod in me. pacing at night. There is only this torque. fruit his index of helplessness. Pain twists this rod – TORQUE is the word – twisted this rod induces an experience which is not a sensation. I suspect unintended. God’s own in other words. not the last time. from tip of toe to last hair on my head. unearthly. Vomit is more like orgasm than you or anyone else will admit. Press a nerve and pain sounds. nothing in the serum. even rest. quick prick in case he forgets. my body rising to its dark place.You know from these samples that Seth talks to himself like this day in day out.

DINNER. Like the shock of an earthquake. What about TREE? 10 .’ Are you serious?> If you can see darkness approach then I can’t see anything wrong with saying one can hear silence approaching. I cannot believe my anger. To write is to invite fantasy. Do you know how hard it is to speak? I mean to speak of certain specific matters. I have pressed the button again. <‘Hearing the silence enter. I hear the silence enter – I wait then. heavings. like – CARTHORSE. wailings and cursings. Yet I have told you nothing yet. I mean an ordinary word. To think is to invite sentimentality. I fight to speak. staggerings.So I vomit and my hearts sinks. Then amid paroxysms. PORPHYRY. like a star falling – see a vacancy appearing. FIRE. Is there a word you fear to use? I don’t mean some common swear word or vulgar description.

‘cabbage’. the gobbit landing on the bedclothes down near where his balls should be. I tell him that ‘disgust’ is not an ordinary word. including shaving his withered defeated chops).’ He had been washed today (one in seven days. When I utter ‘disgust’ Adam spits up into the air. ‘coelenterate’. Enosh screams in harmony with him. Rotting like the carcass of a sheep the dogs feed on. among the elms. eyes oily among the creases of dry skin. ‘Quick!’ I shout at my indulgent husband. Enosh. Ichor.DISGUST. like ‘train’. Seth is screaming in the middle distance. on top of the nearest knoll. thicker yellow cords of some other matter. ‘Disgust. wanting to kick his thin flank: ‘Give me another word!’ Another word: 11 . I said to Adam this morning: ‘I’m searching for ordinary words that people are afraid of. The gobbit is viscous and laced with bright green threads. A true idiot. eyes bled white in the noonday sun.’ Adam tells me now.

where the beetles hide until dark: ‘The Lord’s fruit.’ Adam says ‘ANGEL. 12 .’ ‘Trees worship BY ANALOGY.’ Seth says from the corner near the linen chest. Gabriel. How about that?’ Twinkle in his rheumy eye. Producing nuts.’ Adam says peevishly. my dear. Raphael.Seth says: ‘They are three: Michael. Fruit. Always entering quickly in case he’ll come too soon as usual. having heard my question many times before. Angels are waving fronds. ANGEL.’ Adam says reflectively. ‘Any other word will do here.’ he repeats. suddenly plucking at the pillow case in an access of anxiety. anxious.’ ‘Fruit. Adam plucks at his pillow. Who told Seth about Angels? I said: ‘God in Heaven can be seen BY ANALOGY as the Sun high in the sky. Seth is crying with Holy Joy.’ ‘Nuts. Why do I see ichor sliding from beneath a snow white fleece? CONCATENATION – another word for our list. His entirely. Something he has failed to do? ‘Nuts.

Have we listed your words yet? How about TERRAPIN? 13 .

when Seth stumbles in prayer. Words that shame: white. yawn. idiot in love with pure divine genius? Does Seth deserve Enosh – who goes everywhere with Seth. who once stared at Seth’s histrionics in amazement. now Enosh takes the opportunity to have a quick word or otherwise himself? But Enosh observes Seth all the time. I’m in heaven too. Why words? Who fears words? Words with cruel and dark echoes. ‘There there’ all the time for Seth’s comfort. shite. Mother. Night. way. bay. beseechments. That is how we treat one another here. Is Enosh then a curse? Punishment for looking upon the Face of God and falling blind at once? When Seth cries his bitter faith. lay. CARTHORSE 14 . So he forces Seth on and on in his frenzies and lamentings. dragon. harmless unless crossed. ‘He is dancing. and he tries all the time to reach it. joist. Words which mock: Rich. Words that glow: ray.’ Enosh sees his poor entrapped soul in Seth. slight. garden. might. wile. as you will see. right. over. visions. may. it is Enosh who protects him. I’m dancing with him. say. now Enosh. night of grief ahead. and he said to me once. sole. year. getting him water in the evenings. whale. and sits by him and mutters.Why is it that Enosh is so close to Seth. cloud. Enosh is an idiot. pointing to an exalted Seth. incitements. Words that deny: God.

That is the Dragon: both the comprehension and uncomprehension of the fact. 15 .PORPHYRY FIRE DINNER TREE DISGUST TRAIN CABBAGE COELENTERATE ANGEL BY ANALOGY NUTS CONCATENATION TERRAPIN NIGHT RICH WHITE RAY YAWN WHALE SOLE JOIST CLOUD YEAR OVER WILE RIGHT MIGHT TIGHT SLIGHT SHITE WAY SAY BAY MAY LAY GOD GARDEN DRAGON Do you know what the Dragon is? Consider how fiercely fire and water contend. To fear water for this reason gives us the dragon as a blowtorch supplied from inside the earth. fire always the loser. that water defeats fire. Not to fear water gives us the World Dragon. This noble being bears the truth that water absorbs fire.

but silence will come to the waters in the end. This is the Dragon. 16 . WATER EATS LIGHT. I hope. This is the action of the Dragon. and that is silence. But there is one thing that cannot be separated by water. to be honest – distinguishing fire. the essence transmitted by absorption is a DARKNESS. a responsibility to be assumed. Not true. ITSELF INCLUDED. water also distinguishes light.You do understand this. don’t you? Please try to understand this: fire surrenders to water. WATER SEPARATES ALL. more a burden. WATER EATS. all light. but you must see this by analogy – our last analogy. Water cannot reach silence. This is the slaying of the Dragon. You must uphold the world in its stead. But there is a price for this victory. of course.

I can write no more today. arms behind his head. of course. and my body leaps. 17 . smelling the spring air. and Enosh would scold me no doubt for asking. There are no dragons in Paradise.If I were to ask Enoch. He fondles me with his familiarity. Mother. looking chirpy. such curses I pronounce. I know what he would say: ‘You are misinformed. a memory that has induced the most violent vomits. such tears of sheer unadulterated desire run in my veins.’ So I ask Adam. he would deny it. such screams I release. as said. only mathematicians. Seth could not be asked. I find Adam.

that is withheld from all men except the wise. my beloved. as I always have done. from Methuselah. kept from Adam himself. This is the secret of the mother. from Enoch. afraid of me. I see what falls away from him in love. And know. our selves. Even now. When Adam dances for me. too. Then I know that I am real. To think is to fill up empty space. in his agony I see that wisdom written. Eve. source of wisdom. I see this truth in Adam’s reality – the fact that he is there with me. though I suffer so. high torque. This curse keeps 18 .To write is to fill in empty time. I see in Adam that he is cursed. I make Adam rise. the Dragon of Adam: a rod that turns and turns. Thus it is when Adam succumbs. Music invites us to make our own world. Action transcends both by creating its own space and time. from Seth. a rod of fire because he is afraid of dissolution. writhing in agony on his bed tonight. Music annihilates all preceding space and time. I see the wound. I still find so much wisdom in Adam. The lover raises that rod of fire. destroys the world that entraps us. his admission. that all are surely cursed. his weakness. so that he can reveal to me that wisdom. And in wisdom there is truth. Best image is the dance: MUSIC. This is my secret.

smearing meaning like paint on a cheap backdrop. that it will continue to shine for him. that the sun is divine. This is the power of speech. He seeks this because once he trusted. but that is always enough. motivation. slave to image. only once. the Word of God. not meaning as some believe. But this ‘much’ may be more than I know. body to 19 . dancing before divinity. too. Yet Enosh is cursed. We know trust instantly. that birds are angelic. To sing is divine. that trees are archangels proclaiming divinity. But Seth seeks otherwise no more than trust in his senses. as you can understand. Enosh trusts himself. the sky heavenly. The word gains its power from annunciation. Now I think of Enosh again. even if only the sun in the sky. full of grievance. Adam seeks to trust me. rather the power of music to create a world for our meanings to enter. sloth. envy.mankind separate. Song enhances the world. Thus Adam. If I could remember why Adam trusted me that once I think I would understand everything. But speech is sound and so musical. content with that much. why there is a curse and what is to be done about it. a will too greatly attached to sight. perpetually at war. and never forget it. This is the true power of speech. enhancing meaning. and he is teaching Seth to trust. and Seth seeks a much greater trust than trust in self alone. But song also excites. though a false conviction. as the myth tells. Annunciation surely leads to birth.

body. 20 . warbling a gesture of vulnerability. shaping us to its abstract will. You see how music creates form. trembling throat. a mouth open to the very bottom.

fire now my longing. father of Enoch. Did God conceive each of us before we were created? Who did? We are all so strange. Before the curse. then leaping there. From these four notes Jared makes an endless variation. the Dragon comes breathing fire. Jared plays always only four notes: A B D E. who believes his son’s music is bewitched by Jared’s egoism. A pipe of sorts. There is a secret in this music of Jared. of that I am certain. that he plays for himself alone. But. and once the Dragon showed me love.As though planned. Jared. Mahaleleel. part wood part silver and gold. Like the Dragon. Once Adam trusted me. comes today with his music. leaping first here. alas. This is the secret of lovers: that in the freedom of one the other perceives his own freedom. Why then do I raise the Dragon so often? Because once it did not breath fire. 21 . though under the frown of his father. was not absent. I know this. his music tells me that we are free at least to ourselves if not to each other. He makes the music of the world.

in spite of our protestations and threats. Mahaleleel oversees. Two years ago Adam took to his bed and has refused to leave it since. his son. a spring gurgling. We don’t understand what he means by saying that he can not do. sniffing the air and scratching. in the grip of a power that masters him. as it does in so many ways. It is a good question. tiresome now to recall. as a son should do. Enoch counts. Who else in the House would work. coming in pulses. Refused to rise one morning. Yet. why does Adam lie abed? He says he can do no more. how is the power stopped. sound reverberating. The question that arises is this: How can nature die in autumn? That is. Methuselah and Lamech. the power of life in this instance? We discussed this in detail. Enosh commands. though none of mine can answer it. bodies jumping. though they won’t believe that. a context. abroad. The children have not seen Adam in agony.A first scene is needed now. 22 . Seth guards. leaving Adam abed at home. but we are happy. protecting his father. waves rolling. Little gets done. do you think? A family of idiots and geniuses. one as bad as the other. Either nature’s power is not her own or the power is rhythmic. Seth does the real work here. Jared under everyone’s feet. The children never know anything. The strange thing is that we all do work now.

The fire is tended for me.I fretted then. It was necessary to send out agents to inquire abroad. golden lamps slung from the ridgepoles. Jared to scoot. forest and stream. then. our world does not cease because I write in the evenings. high up in a violet land. Even so. the endless chatter of harness and dogs. hot and cold. Enoch to clout. humming a ditty as he goes. consoling. Water in a deep jug by the entrance. wagging. plant. Here only sheep and ravens prosper. How the sheep invites death. shaking. beating. A tight bitch but scrupulously fair. dissolving. experienced. By day it is Seth to listen to. and I am convinced the truth will be recognised by being new knowledge. my beloved guardian taking the night air. Ten thousand acres of mountain. The question asked is deliberately cryptic: Power to stop? We ignore those who agreed and concentrate on the few who smiled or asked ‘Why?’ We question these even now. husband and sons. Lamech to pet. By day. pure because only the tenacious grows there. Mahaleleel to mock. Enosh to admonish. bog. fat and vulnerable. stone. fondling. By day it is the farm. 23 . my beloved to hold. How the raven courts death. a hand to all. Adam to scold. caressing. softening. smell of dung and coffee. feeling him leap under my palm. a relief. Methuselah to gossip with.

in each other. conversing together. a hole in the night. economical. a hand in the bush. giving joy. He speaks in the evening.Understand touch. I sense its absence in him. and so rises to me in his innocence. in the water. The transmission of the purest fire. Seth chanted today: Time and time I told Athens. Soon shyness and withdrawal. melting him down so that he will not flame up extinguished. bitterest tears. charmed and intimidated by each other. My beloved has a secret. Such touching is careful. though there too no name. often radiant. To take what remains. But my beloved remains. tears of course. when the night wind blows against the tent. a polarity? This is an important question. recognition. So I melt him into my lap withdrawing him into me again. I now ask: Is nature cursed too. 24 . seldom down. frequently hurt. For years he has managed to keep that secret from me. For my part. A delusion. in a child especially. That is a son. And yet to touch and burn the other. Bearing reality. just a line drawn in the earth. or are its periods of cessation necessary to it. so far need you go. who does not know yet of curses. feeling fuller that any other love can manage. in the sky. anything but the mother. like a wall in the dark. with whom touch is reception too. avoiding illusions.

None dare. 25 . You understand. but also discloses the secret in him. if they dare. about which I am curious. He must try to overcome shame. he must be exact in all he does. because of that night with Adam. Do you understand this? I must go to a man. most sad. I must leave everything here. Adam makes Seth look merely mad. afraid that idiocy will break out in him like a disease. most wise. and coddled them into submission. so that all can know. His name is Cain.Don’t build on false rock. I must tell my beloved that the time has come. which I like. most beautiful. Enosh’s son. He explained that they would not heed him. It is the ruler of the city who knows. They tell me he is marked by his knowledge. who have borne most men. This is the man I must go to. News at last today. another man? A man I do not know yet. They call him the Marked Man and regard him as the greatest of all men. no doubt. I was at a loss with him. a world I have never left before. It makes him considerate.

ointment on chapped skin.Care of Adam is primary. open it wide. If he drinks too much. if he cries. under his gonads – which you must lift gently. If anything else happens. curtains never drawn across. Seth? Enosh will feed him if Mahaleleel knows of the arrangement. Adam must be changed hourly. which he will. scratch the hair on his chest and watch his hands. but take note of what he says – I am especially concerned about this and check each session carefully. rub his head. If he ever wants to get up. If he sleeps. Never but never sit on the bed. afraid he will miss something. What could poor Seth tell 26 . Enosh is best for this. Adam must be fed every three hours. then dance. Adam has never been woken from his sleep. Enoch best then. if he throws one of his fits. powdered. Does that matter? Methuselah is not bright. steadiest even if most deluded. If he sings. beer. if he laughs. watch him. The window remains open at all times. especially the creases between his legs. even at night. open the door immediately. absolutely no noise. If he gets fussy about the food. wine. except that he would anger Adam. Who will listen to him? Lamech? But Methuselah will insist on coming too. washed if soiled – dried thoroughly. keep out of his room. put pepper in his soup and sugar in his tea. solids like steak and chops alternating with liquids. whisky. trained as he was by Enoch. I do this because Adam knows more than he lets on: he can refuse. owing to the heat – and wrapped in a warm napkin. give him an enema.

Sniff their grain carefully. while he is out and abroad preaching. as usual. faster than the wine though not as fast as the beer. sugar for Lamech. Music is a path in the dark. God in number six today. remaining up here behind? Jared will suffice for the journey. Who will get food for them all? Seth must. Who will encourage Jared. Who will beat Enoch. Be particular about the meat of others. Enoch will have to fetch water when he can. I must repeat that to him. beating him about the head often. No doubt you think that music here merely attends on desire? Not so. night’s nightmare. That leaves Jared. coffee for my beloved. of a dark crossing. Whisky goes fast. He must be sure to lock the gates on them in the fields. blowing his horn all the time. he forgets easily. who cannot travel. Lamech helping at the hole. But I must be practical. and my beloved. Enosh must then fetch wood. Food. who is not afraid of his size. But it is easy to overlook the whisky in the morning. And who will raise my Dragon. a head that jams in doorways? Yet it must be done. unavoidably. Enosh will scold Adam. it is a matter of courage. scorning Enoch for his nonsense. though you won’t believe it.Methuselah? So Lamech and Methuselah will listen to Seth. food. So Mahaleleel must do this too. 27 . useless for much else. to keep the music flowing? More than a hand on him is needed. insist on dry wood with him. To be honest. he will sit on my lap as we travel and play for me. Adam. Best tea for Adam. Milk the cows twice a day.

Thursday by contrast is a miserable day here. You iron on Saturday and air on Sunday. So we do the drapes. everything suddenly dirty again. Water will be bearable to your fingers this time of the year. but be careful of the south rim. I think. there are some very sharp stones just under the surface there. where the sheep winter. against the prevailing wind. Friday for silks and woollens: anticipation makes the hands light and fast. but in time you will develop a knack there too. though the knack needed to beat clothes properly must be learned first. Wash knickers. I will have to list out the cycle of washing we use.and not let them roam by the river. shirts and towels on Wednesday. He must be patient with the others. Monday is the only day any of the men do some work about the place. And who can I persuade to do all the washing? Washing needs vigour and a desire to purge. 28 . Use the clotheslines in rotation. Tuesday is for all the cleaning cloths and socks. a goodtempered day for dealing with sweat. excellent for silks especially. doing goodness knows what at times. Bedlinen on Monday because we spend weekends in bed. You may need help hoisting the carpets onto the carpet rack. for they will come to him hungry and leave him once fed. ready for Monday again. yellow muck from them. weekend still far away. starting north and working south. The routine at the hole is relatively simple. a black muck here. and the carpets. he will be about the house all the time keeping an eye on Adam. always raining and blowing. Mahaleleel is the best for this.

And he is not to bang the brushes against the walls or the furniture. iron in rotation. The byre is sluiced out each morning. the glass on the paintings always clear. after the cows have been milked in the morning. there is a cycle for this too. How dirt accumulates in corners. do all the wood 29 . the cavities on the carvings to be cleaned out at each dusting. Drop what you’re doing. The Great Table must shine like a mirror. The tiles in the corridors must never be left stained: do not remove the mark with the sole of your shoe. keeping the fresh dung aside on the dungheap.Again. working left to right along the irons laid out on the fire. he never takes his eyes off the floor anyway. really that awful noise. Take the water from down-stream only. The cleaning? Only Methuselah and Lamech left. you must clean it up immediately. We like the fresh smell of clean clothes. so aimless. The floors must be swept three times a day. All of the Main Reception should be clean to a glance. I’ll tell Methuselah. Air in the kitchen only when it is raining. The polishing is done by priority rather than cycle. tables and presses. It’s not the damage. the yard swept once. I suggest Saturday as the day to polish the whole House entire. too. Let Lamech do the brushing. If you see a mark. the bucket for this is on the right of the door. after each meal. that is of second importance. Start above and work down. Methuselah will have to ensure that Lamech sweeps under the beds. The chief rule is that the Hall must sparkle at all times. His father can polish and scrub.

30 . and I’ll press on him that they must be disinfected thoroughly and then dried before taking them back up. as usual. brush all the drapes and dust the sculpture.surfaces. Is that it? Will they last out till I get back? Cainen can do the shepherding. all the wood and leather furniture. waiting. standing on top of a hill and waiting. careful even in the middle of a bog. all the windows. There should be no need for formality in the near future so Methuselah needn’t worry about the Dining Room while I’m away Empty the buckets each morning first thing.

Seth hasn’t been seen since yesterday.The prospect of my trip has affected all of them. Adam’s condition might be serious. He is too wound up to speak. I could see the rest of the kids coming. I wanted to quieten both of them. 31 . Then. Mahaleleel and Methuselah. keeps close to me and delights when I stroke his head for him. though I don’t believe it will do any good. and Mahaleleel becomes plaintive. The first time in years that Methuselah has struck him. but Methuselah suddenly slashed Mahaleleel hard with his fist. As a family we have not been separated before. Then Methuselah cries. in burst Lamech. Mahaleleel begins to bully Lamech. he has done nothing for two years. me or Jared. especially. They. Firmness was needed here. I’m suddenly kinder with them. threatening him in all sorts of ways. Enoch. Methuselah watching Lamech. to reassure Cainen. agog with excitement. I was appalled. no word from Cainen. as expected. behind the pantry. all equally excited. warning them of Seth’s condition. I reminded them. must keep order in our little state. I called a conference with Mahaleleel and Methuselah in the little room. We decide that Jared should be sent to find Seth. I stressed the fragility of the bonds between fathers and sons. I’m not sure who they will miss most. which irritated Methuselah who wanted quiet so he could hear what Lamech was saying. Enosh cannot be kept in his room indefinitely. so he shakes his arms violently and gurgles in his wet throat. in the side of the head. but at the moment he cannot be trusted not to lose himself in the mountains. and Mahaleleel watching Adam and Enosh. and they with me.

then recognition crossed his face. In the meantime. even if it is only about accounts. give him a good word sometime. and for his father. and then we would have a riot on our hands. who never leaves him. No one to protect him. to compensate for a selfish son. knuckling his eyes in utter wretchedness. how we are invaded in our sadness and grief. who also has a father and a son. radiant. first. Mahaleleel realised he had been punched and a look of surprise. go ahead. Shout and scream if need be. like a moon. I did not want Enosh to see the fierceness of Methuselah and Mahaleleel. explanations do not end fights. because he considers Seth stark raving mad. in the pit. Mahaleleel thinks Lamech’s simplicity is goodness. who is always talking to him. Have you ever seen such a sequence of expressions on a face? I wonder sometimes just what it is we cry for. a greater loss revealing itself to us then. He is the most vulnerable. screamed really to signify urgency. Even so. stand up for him. though. with a wastrel for a father and an idiot for a son. more than Enoch could cope with. I called for Enoch. before his features collapsed and he began to cry miserable bitter tears. Lamech is a parsnip with legs. He does not envy Seth. but don’t hit instead. Poor Mahaleleel. glowing. 32 . We must not speak with our fists. his father out minding sheep on the mountains. Mahaleleel would love to love Lamech and be loved in return. it would only incite him too. his son everywhere else with his mindless tooting.the only rule we abide by constantly has been broken again. Mahaleleel is jealous of Methuselah for his son. then for an instant like a sun. Something so lonesome and sad.

face collapsing in grief. but he has retained inspiration for all that. counting and one and one and one: in through the door he came like a shot. Methuselah’s fist still in the air. just alone and sad to be alone. even though it is usually jammed by his busy head. see the sorrow in Mahaleleel.’ He didn’t stop till he reached the table.but not despairing or struggling. and therefore punishment. and he must at once jump sideways. See the pain in Methuselah. to his left. Eve transfixed for once. and he shouts in his tremendous voice: ‘The Lord sanctions sin. leaning over. Like a light unseen. this the Lord told me in Heaven. our right. see Lamech dancing. recoiling. to avoid prancing Lamech. he shouted at me: ‘VISITORS!’ 33 . I have said that Enoch is a bit thick. The sin is the punishment. Mahaleleel. He never looks to the one who calls him – he knows that person is not his target – so he catches the end of the tableau over beside me at the table. his domey head catching the light of the candles with a flash.

We go out into the hall and stare in wonder at all the shining wood and stone. very quietly though we all hear him: ‘This is heaven. from the river. then in pleasure. our water polluted. Two people in a closed carriage.That gave pause to everything at once. both showing off because they believed the visitors were coming to see them. No clothes. a radiance everywhere from sunshine. Strange eyes will see our world.’ Mahaleleel tushes but Enoch hisses. The tiles gleam at our feet. Methuselah and Mahaleleel jammed on the other side of the table. dinner cooking on the stove in the kitchen. We work out that it will take them another day to get here. the air sweet with lavender. The portraits. soft carpet under our feet. the darkness and the light there. each of us suddenly frantic about our appearance. so we go on into the Main Reception. no food. with their large areas of 34 . red drapes at the window. Now there is colour as well as light and dark. We all crowded into the little room by the pantry. our rough ways. then worry. no beds. Enoch under my right arm and Jared under my left. both in agony. We have never as far as I can remember had anyone come here before. scents of flowers and spices in our nose. strange hands will touch our world. We look at our world. Enosh says. We panic again. Our air will be mingled. Then pandemonium. as though suddenly blinded. Lamech dancing on the table with Enosh. then in terror. We screamed and shouted in panic at first. The shining wood of the Little Room we are in.

monochrome. Even I cannot resist the allure of reaching out. all add their appropriate tones. from the earliest dawn to the last glimmer of dusk. and how it is for me tonight writing this. I missed Seth then and worried about him out in the mountains on his own at night. The great heraldic carpet sparkles for us. This is our Temple of the Son. I slapped Enoch because of what he had said about me in the Little Room. which tells you something of how Jared reared him. too excited to eat properly. especially radiate brilliantly. the ironwork and brass. ‘Two visitors. Adam. every surface radiant. ‘Oh do be quiet for once. will you!’ That broke the spell. But Jared got fidgety and Mahaleleel snapped. He screamed once in holy terror and then lay out and would not move 35 .’ he was told with emphasis. He always grabs for his food. aggrieved because he didn’t think he was responsible. the tips of wool catching the light from the Great Window. of course. so we trooped off to the Kitchen to eat. The green plush drapes give a soft light – which is improving with age – and the large pieces of the mahogany furniture. though he whinged afterwards. the spilt milk a pretext only – Enoch always slops his food. a bay designed to catch all the light of the day. But he is responsible. He knows my name is never to be spoken in my House. Enoch knew why I hit him. But that is how it is. I slapped Enoch for spilling milk on the floor and made him clean it up. made worse by Adam’s response to the news that we were to have visitors. That is not the Word of God!’ We were all cross at dinner. I told him plainly: ‘You cited me as proof.

how still he had suddenly become. but it does match the rest of the room. and at Mahaleleel for shouting down another’s son. though they all think it is a cockpit. hanging it only at Adam’s insistence. Sunlight appears yellowed by reflection. the wallpapers. 36 . The sculpture is supposed to express the movement of the powers of the mountains we can see from here. eating inciting all their other anxieties. crystal clear windows. like a fleece now on the bed. But they were arguing as they always do at dinner – eating even so. Methuselah rose to comfort him. the scarlet drapes. a creamy light that as it were lay upon all the surfaces of the room. I don’t know how I avoided involvement. The rods cross in complex ways in the abstract. no wind. the great red abstract in aluminium and gold suspended between the two windows. Enoch upset Enosh by tossing a bone into his stew and so slopping him with the thick mess. and when Lamech began crying because he was left alone Mahaleleel shouted at him. Even so. squared shades and hangings. no water. in the Little Room ignoring him. because I was worried about Adam then. I never liked it. both at what Enoch his son had done. but I have never seen anything of the mountains there. the carpets and rugs. which is the purpose of a meal. to the north and so always dark and cool. the oaken furniture. a dark rock even though I am looking at bright red aluminium rods. all the bright surfaces. We took coffee afterwards in the Lounge. the squared-off furniture. more a memorial than a trophy. only bare rock everywhere. despite our coaxings. at which Jared reared up in rage.again. no birds.

then rap upon the pillar of a lamp for their attention. wheat. Prepare the soda and ice. heat up the stoves. gin. Carpets up in Reception and Hall. More grain to be milled now. Wood for fires. brandy. But they do imbibe here. Chop garlic and onion. straw mats for the latter. No time now for new cheeses. vodka. We must prepare food. more oats. Water. a glorified pub for them.’ 37 . postprandial spreading of arms over sides and backs. The one moment of rest. the oldest last. smoking thin dark cheroots. this is my moment. Take old wine from the cellar. Amplification for Jared. having fed them. So they lay about on the sofas and armchairs. On his way out he is to tell Cainen to bring the sheep in at once. but you must be prepared to make extra cheeses next week. We must prepare to meet these visitors. My sons are not aware that this room is a temple. pepper and salt. into the valley pastures. some barley. after their contest. which the sun never sees. This is the only time they listen to me. the slaughter of sheep and cattle to roast on spits in the yard. intoxication if not illumination. sipping strong black coffee. my sons: ‘Jared must go and bring Seth back. I wait until each has his brandy or whisky. not to the river.This is the Temple of the Mother. Wash the potatoes. better than rage in place of illumination. cabbage and bean. ‘Be ready by dusk. remember. rye. as in the Son’s Temple. carrot and turnip. open all day and all night. Fill the decanters with whisky.

marginal holding. now I know better. How long since I faced a stranger. This house will look like a shambles to them. others see only what they already know. not to know how I should present myself to others. I had been ignoring him while he had his tantrum: ‘They’ll have no business here. Even so. Already I could feel the beginnings of the slow-down.My concern then. I decided to be frank: 38 . that was last night. everything so worn. with the stranger it is easier to see than to look. Adam said suddenly. was with Adam: How is he going to cope with the visitation? He can’t very well stay in bed. I wondered how I would appear to the visitors. having got rid of them all. I mean. They are guests. To see strangers. animals everywhere. he is the host. It was a silly worry. my overriding concern was with myself: like my sons. failing tones. out of patience with him now because of the excitement. we would have to see the world too.’ And so he need not get up from his bed. uneasy water. to a stranger. cooling air. Only then did I have the first intimation of just what a disaster this visit would be for us all here. But he complains to me that we live off the sweat of his head. what most concerned me while I abused Adam was the knowledge that I knew nothing about appearance. ‘What else do you give us.’ I responded tartly. already a dimming of the light. Here I look at everything and see nothing (already knowing where everything is). but I did try to practice looking at a stranger. To be truthful. I cannot remember: only the experience remains. In hindsight.

He looked like a sheep dressed for roasting. I was relieved to see that the curse lay beyond Adam’s guilt and mine. not in ourselves. He lay on the bed quivering with fright. To make a mistake is always a technical matter. He looked at the ceiling. Adam?’ I said this without thinking. What wrong could Adam have done. ‘You don’t know how I suffer. I wondered. I wondered. He quieted. as much an inoffensive man. woman!’ 39 . should two perfect strangers put the fear of God into Adam? He has never been in the position to do anyone a wrong. spit rolling from his rigid mouth. swinging back to the centre. more like a physical law. too? We are not blameless. his mouth tensed to speak. are we? ‘What have you done. how it twisted in every cell. Why. as such repairable. worried by the sight of guilt. Not a question of culpability. In me. Is this the curse. Not a good man necessarily. I touched my husband’s arm. as well as in Adam. Yet I could see guilt clearly written in his body. Adam. obviously searching for words. that in the curse lay the cause of our false guilt. and he clutched my left hand and said. slowly but surely. not a moral matter that leaves a trace in the soul. Paranoia. very softly so as not to startle him. a centre of quiet. do A and B arises. Like a cover drawn down for a mistake made.’ Adam’s terror startled me. of course. Then his features dissolved into tears. The soul cannot be mistaken.‘They have business with you. wailing loudly.

dominated by his bright red cock. to balance himself. Adam?’ He started crying loudly again. the heel of the foot in my arse. this is Adam getting into position. Now I say to him: ‘I know what’s bothering you. which shocked me. consumed by self-pity. do you. his hands out looking for me. taunting him: ‘Don’t I. eyes closed modestly. but I retorted anyway: ‘Don’t I. A thumb in my left teat. and repeated. Thoughts like this pass the time while I suck Adam on and on. eyes darting to and 40 . Tittery.A sudden insight then. cock pulled hard. his whole body as though in spasm. ideas are also tasteless. That which has flavour is real. hair driving my skin mad. How many times have I see Adam like this? I got his gonads in the span of my hand and gave them a good twist. If he touches me it is to hold on. I say now: ‘You don’t like this. what I’ve seen him do to the rams to get them up. to get me out of the way. Adam. Adam likes his balls to be massaged firmly. Cock-in-the-mouth is the female equivalent to intellectuality in a man. and clutch at me frantic as always. He shouts in repartee: ‘NO YOU DON’T!’ His hands are less hard now but still big and strong. he gimmering with excitement. very high-pitched. never to hold me.’ He’s beginning this strange laugh of his. Adam?’ Once in position he lays back and offers me his altar. Reality tastes. Adam?’ He writhes with agony now.

Adam’s room. The acid tone is deliberate. the truth overwhelming: little in fact is asked of us. my first man. About hardness. dingy. his previous gyrations and twistings having no effect on our service. After a while I say to him acidly: ‘You weren’t asked to do much. resentment. Nonetheless. This is how I think as I mount my husband. up and down. desire. Adam. It is necessary from now on to keep Adam to the centre of the bed.fro across the ceiling. muted of course to save energy. but in actuality his bull bellow. someone to hold his prick. And when a man is absent. Adam should rise up here and only agree for once that we weren’t soaking him of his substance. envy. spare. it would have given some worth to it. However. Adam screams under this ministration. everything of his remains behind. I’m used to the straps and once they are buckled on I lower myself down onto that hot prick. is the Temple of the Man. But no. It also means that he must be mounted. humour about to change. Sucking Adam is the nearest thing to doing nothing that I know. with solemnity. as usual makes his grumpy sound. a pisspot. every hard word he utters. something to hold his drink. I rub his grossly engorged cock between my two hands. I’ve never been able to find a trade which requires such movement: had I. a bed. the hard things he uses. The bed is narrow. were you?’ If Adam was ever going to leave his bed. hands clutching my arms. in time we go on to Part Three. as though mollified. it would be at a point like this. cold. the hard earth he works. down down down until it 41 . up and down. I’m wondering what else I might be doing if I didn’t do this to Adam. to stop and encourage me.

a massive spasm of his buttocks shooting his seed in a stream up into the air. I with no breath.pierces me to the core. The inbreath is urgent and noisy. I simply cannot imagine myself wanting to scream like that. Tonight I ask: scream for what? If I knew then. from under whatever eye it is that observes him all the time. I rock lightly on Adam’s body. his cock streams up of its own condition. Not a matter of forgetting. a smell of plain cheap soup. The reverse spasm grips his head. push this time. That is how Adam steals a little pleasure and joy. on the other hand. Adam with no push. and scream. the moment at which I always think of smoothness and how much effort smoothness requires and how it is worth it. to fall about his wasted thighs. I’m sure. In any case. his pelvis drops like a well-oiled shaft. a tame trickle from his prick. suffers his refusal very plainly. a sight of heaven for him. he groaning as his skull is crushed. I don’t know even whether it was joyful or a scream of horror. its departure nonetheless conveying promise. a detumescence withdrawing. and on a rest. Adam had only once succumbed completely. I don’t know why this is. even though he is kept from doing much to himself. surges up again. I don’t know now. after so much careful ministration and patient toil. Adam. He waits until. and like much else we do it in memory of that happiness. that was it. Now we collapse in exhaustion. I hang in the harness. getting all the time closer. hairs waving in the heat. testicles quivering. as usual. but an 42 .

I drain afterwards. feeding. feeding means someone to be fed. piping. I’m surprised. in his Dragon. trumpeting. how thunder affects me. Yet no one else has his problem. only one spout. How different he was then. What could that be? In Adam? In his sex. How can I see so far back? Can I? After the curse. to be heard echoing in the mountains behind. I think. so I could feel what a man is like: how he ejaculates. Only once did he hold me and squirt into me. 43 .almighty shout of triumph. I remember that so clearly. Dragon. the others are forever squirting themselves. But the trumpet is the solo instrument. Something we were still innocent of after the curse. not so strong then as we were still learning. It is not his seed I want. when they get the chance. I’ve made that clear to him many times. piping in groups to be heard. then. With relief. If only he would hold me.

I think of dragons frolicking in a meadow. Whose dragon do I remember? A Dragon of Secrets. carry secrets. Not heavy cumbersome dragons designed to eat maidens and offer easy targets for the hero rescuing. Adam’s dragon is a mouse. I have explained this already. Now I think today of dragons again. green and gold. to display what is patterned there in gold.The vomiting surprised everyone. tiny wings that allow them the raise their foreparts above. Not Adam’s Dragon. ten. I mean the sinuous dragon. I must think about this. the rustle of grass. by myself no doubt. My dragons. A mouse? Yes. of course. except my own kin. and in thinking know I am in some way being teased. 44 . twenty feet long. then. and there are many of them in this meadow cruising about to the flutter of their tiny wings and sighing of breath.

I was surprised at the transformation downstairs afterwards. Enosh was tearing the skin from his arms in his anxiety for Seth. caught out in some secret act. sipping his lemonade at the bar. and I will show you a gate. braying angrily at Enosh. so I ordered down the yellow drapes from the loft and had them hanging everywhere. Plenty of candles overcame the imbalance in the light. like a cock ready for crowing. and stuttered like a gate in a gale. Shows what they can do when they want to. something flayed by pain. butting in on his son as usual: ‘Lo. so that Enoch raised his head. a fluent description except that Enoch said suddenly. anxiety. A last impulse was to stack half of the remaining winter timber for a huge bonfire behind the house. upsetting his glass. very disturbed. near the bar. you idiot!’ Methuselah jumped up immediately. You could see Enosh’s idiocy. listening in that conceited way of his. He could only crouch in terror before Mahaleleel. fear of loneliness. And I will show you no more!’ 45 . ‘Look what you are doing with your arms. God speaking to him. blood seeping up into hundreds of little tears. And in that gate I will show you a door. a part overwhelmed by an experience unimaginable. Methuselah got control of his voice and began to explain Enosh’s condition to Mahaleleel: dependency. where people were likely to want to sit or lie. Only one drink or so in when Mahaleleel says out loud. Lamech alone quiet. But how did they get the time to paint over the damaged areas? That prompted me to have some flair. Then we laid skins on the floors. and I saw how imbalanced they were without the presence of Seth. kitchen.

Lamech has all his time for his father.I missed Jared then – no one else seems to – and the fool and his tootling. having Lamech. that is all. I know it is for my own purpose that I see innocence in everyone about me – I wish to show them how I suffer. Only then. which manages to save me from the endless prattle of my other sons. I witness the pain in others. Is Enosh so lost then in his blindness. Who else? I begin to speculate: Cainen remained far away from him. as he does everyone else. which has always been with us since Jared’s birth until now. Enosh does to himself now what he usually does to Seth. a stimulus to feeling not to mind. and can then begin to search for the source of this pain: what accompanies us at every instant. too. Enosh is afraid of Methuselah. If the music. afraid I think that he would want to join him in his heaven. who is more than a match for Enosh. but it does not contain heaven. but it contains no mystery and hence no knowledge. and I don’t want to be distracted by their own suffering. a child’s reach only? Thinking of Jared under these circumstances brings to mind music. Can Enosh see Jared. music is effect merely. Having no son. an idiot in a world of light. Who else? Endless speculation now. Music will raise you to heaven. then he would do it to someone else. among my speculations about the fate of Enosh. But in showing pain like this. My time here has been spent speculating speculating. did I see that limit to 46 . were here now would this crisis have been avoided? Music is a screen for me. I mean see him other than as an endless piping? Enoch won’t acknowledge Enosh. If he doesn’t do it to himself. Mahaleleel fights him off.

Adam trusted me once. Jared to Mahaleleel in defiance. I was not aware of this until now. I tell each of them to watch Adam closely. To study Adam is to study man. Enoch to Jared in rebellion. A tool. but I am always a mother. Enosh to Seth in ignorance. and I still love. loved once. Cainen to Enosh in resistance. In seeing this. for whom I am a woman. I sustain them and love them: I bore them from their fathers and bear their sons. keeps his seed to himself. of all my sons. except to one. having no father myself: Seth to Adam in fear. My sons should try to grasp this. Me? I believed once. Lamech to Methuselah in obedience. A kiss is a statement of truth – all is revealed in a 47 . I give service in memory of service given. Methuselah to Enoch in superiority. but instead they watch their fathers. This is unfair. I surprise myself. My relation to my sons is two-fold.music. A truth I was shown. Mahaleleel – the overbearing – to Cainen. and seeing that limit can see more deeply into the nature of Enosh. worked once. not the son. But they think I curse them. It appears in my loving: it appears in my lips. only there. not the father. whether for instruction or destruction unclear sometimes. They believe the mother condemns the son to his relationship with his father. Adam is not a son. once. I can see more clearly into myself: There is a bond among my sons from which I am excluded. and which I have tried hard to destroy. It’s a big thing to say that I still love. the absent. The bond of the father will always elude me. I do. Adam is a man. as mother and as lover.

Enosh of the bleeding arms. facing loss. in the first place selecting him. We could handle this party. an addition to our nature as a revelation to us of an ability not otherwise evident. open pain. so we all steeled ourselves. in the second place offering him a place for his trust. In some ways I was relieved. At once. mother departing. but that is not all. until he releases his pent-up breath in a shrill scream. How much I saw in that. and the result is this love. when he runs from the Reception shouting: ‘You don’t understand! None of you ever does!’ The familiar pattern.. Goodness? The possibility of goodness. Does Adam love? He trusts in a goodness once experienced. Enosh seemed to have stopped breathing. It was offered to me. What do I know of this love? Goodness. in his terror.’ It works sometimes but not now. I was shown something I recognised. I can see this now. Upon Adam’s trust and upon the place for his trust. always worse than you can ever expect. see something offered as a right. you might have 48 . ‘Wipe Enosh’s nose. Yes. But here the curse interposes. who sat on the big sofa before the Window with Mahaleleel. But given the special circumstances of strangers coming. I know it was not God because the curse follows on the offer. Who offered me this? Not God. want. I am an agent to him. Yes.kiss. as myths confirm. I said to Enoch. bafflement.

you see in them a fear of loss of reason like a fear of blindness. Something to look forward to. the assurance of his sanity. A moment of relaxation. glass in the other hand. sheeepshit in his pores. chatting agreeably without impatience. attentive to the last detail. but as we sat drinking in utter silence. as between scenes. strongest. finger clearing a nostril. dirt in his nails. most sensitive. but with Cainen it is different. a quick breeder. broad mouth. the first time in the House for years: ‘Where’s dada?’ Mahaleleel spoke heavily in reply. round-bottomed. as in all things. for reasons already explained. loss for me not for Seth. Fine so far. then: what my family think of my going away to see another man. hair in his eyes. fetched a glass and filled it with gin and soda. Cainen burst into Reception and went across to the bar. at present Enosh fleeing in disgust down long dark corridors. a skilled castrator. You see how he looks at you. most attentive. smooth thighs. and so how he savours sight. seeking in you. as heavily sarcastic as he could manage from the depth of the sofa: 49 . dark but startlingly bright and piercing. Taller than the others. I haven’t bothered to describe any of my other sons in detail.expected more. His eyes always hold your interest. A loyal man. except Enoch. profoundly pendent. He always follows your conversation. chipping his hails with his teeth. face fully idiotic. For now. Large hands. He finishes the first glass before speaking. neat killer. most passionate. we stock up on drinks before going after Enosh. addressing us from the bar as he tips the decanter. broadest.

intending courtesy but appearing patronising. deaf thick peasant is slow witted. Cainen. it seems. said: ‘What’s the fuss. Cainen’s models of life are animals. nose pinched until his nostrils gaped. to meet the man who knows what ails Adam – but I wondered what Cainen saw when he looked at me in that way. I appear always to Cainen in his ignorance. something in me he cannot comprehend. My heart jumps now in sympathy with my heart’s leap then. a habit of his when he wants to think something through.‘Sulking as usual. From the city. He wishes that more 50 . but always sees more in me than animality. no big words: ‘We are to have visitors. eyes buried in wrinkle after wrinkle of tanned flesh. then?’ Methuselah answered him this time. a complete sucker for another’s bait. He glanced up at me then in that sharp direct way of his.’ Cainen frowned a mighty frown. his coruscating feelings. leaning forward as far as he could towards Cainen. He looks at me as if I were an animal. as it always does when Cainen looks at me directly. lips pressed flat and losing colour: you could see he hated his son’s untidiness. just as well – ground the mess with his boot. Cainen spat fully onto the floor – no carpet. his dogs and sheep. what truth he believes he finds there. I think it came out of my preparations for the visitors – behind which as I realised at that moment lay my preparations for going down to the city. looking into the palm of his free hand. corrugating his brows into thick deep cords.’ Cainen considers this news.

My immediate reaction when Enoch spoke was to wonder why he used the word ‘shame’. guarding his flocks. I did not want their wrath which they will direct at me to rise from their grief. the idiot. who like me and Lamech knows his grief. how I have seen him prowl in the night out on the moors.’ I was tempted to intervene then. granddad. forgotten his shame. He obviously sensed danger. something he rarely does because usually waving at heaven. Cainen. but he has. too easy a temptation. He even stuck his thumbs in his belt. We hide shame. knowing better than they. And you hide your own grief in that lie. Enoch waved an arm over his own head and pushed himself to his feet. Cainen started and the crouched slightly. Even so. I certainly did not want them to remember that Enoch had spoken of shame. 51 . which I did not want Cainen to know about. Cainen asks me: ‘Who asked them to come?’ I answered candidly: ‘No one asked them to come here. each of us locking this shame away deep in us. Poor Enoch says he knows his grief. Enosh.’ It was the truth but it did not explain why they were coming. not Enosh. who is staring up at Enoch with his mouth open: ‘You are the one who sulks. I the most shamed. to raise him above the curse he bears from his father. Mahaleleel’s shame is for his father. that he deserted him out of fear of his own father.for himself. like all of them. I was struck by the seriousness of this. and said to Mahaleleel. to hide Enosh’s grief. straightening himself as he faced Cainen across the room. ‘Shame on you. We do not use that word here.’ Now he points at his grandfather.

to distract him from his guardianship. the pedantry even if true. the lion. In doing this. telling life what to do and what not to do. the snake. to see him step forward with his splayed hand rising in front of him. For Enoch’s judgement to have stopped him in a way that no animal could. his left hand opening and extending to full extent. and to see Enoch’s certainty in what he said. meant that it was more powerful than all life. and straightened when he saw Enoch. the drink in his glass sloshing – he drinks very little – saying in his most knowledgeable way: 52 . Now he turned in the room. and Methuselah pulling himself up out of his armchair. because Enoch’s judgement seemed to him in his rustic innocence to be divine. More than the animal. the tone of judgement. but he had grasped the tone of his voice. To see Cainen yield like this. he the ram of all rams protecting his flock of sheep. but also realised that in Enoch was that ‘more’ he witnesses in me. his eyes flaring in the light. the first time it has happened in years. When Cainen prowls he prowls for the wolf. It was for this reason that he fell in awe of Enoch at that moment. the truth he believed was there. Cainen not only understood Enoch. the arrogance and posturing. if you remember. he was after all facing up to him. looking away from me. Cainen hadn’t heard a word of what Enoch said.But the barb could only have been intended for Cainen himself. because such a tone could determine all life.

so many times. Cainen understood at once. how life can fulfil itself. sheep and the grass they eat. but he would have to struggle with Enoch sooner or later. the power he sees in the wolf and lion. under the circumstances. and he turned to Methuselah.’ It was strange in itself to hear the word ‘God’ on Methuselah’s lips. an acceptance of guilt so manifestly absurd. Cainen’s power has arisen in this world. both in awe of Enoch’s power of judgement and illuminated by the knowledge that Enoch also had a God. behind him to his left. It wasn’t clear to me what Cainen was going to do. Not until he realises his own power will he see that Enoch must be contended with. as we are all strangers to each other. in a flash. snake and dog. and Adam’s God. too. and Seth’s God. shepherd. so that Cainen at once grasps both what purpose is. and then another feeling 53 . Cainen has an instant’s vision of the world he builds. It was a tense moment. and how his actions arise and depart. Cainen would not have believed the latter then. as he finds it in himself. how bright and vast it is. flowing up out of himself with supreme knowledge and confidence to enter the world about him. how Enoch’s power of judgement lies in sin.‘You shouldn’t fret just because you see a stranger. but it was the correct thing to say. an expression on his face between recognition and rage. But Methuselah’s homily assents to this power. He could beat Methuselah. though Methuselah would emphasise purpose over action. and looked piercingly at him. like water that nourishes a land and stimulates growth. strange before Enoch’s God. as you can imagine. clear air.

and as he sang on and on. we heard the new darkness there also. how the C# was like a footstep in Jared’s heaven. He suffered the special agony of the man of this world. an eternal rising and falling. the knowledge flooding over him. dark at first because new. And my first response was to say to Enoch. as you no doubt expect – animals cannot experience shame – no. right down to the emptiness in him where more should be. Lamech started singing then.obtrudes. because he sang Jared’s song but with a notable difference. I think something of the charge in the room must have prompted him. He added another note. and that limit Cainen in his innocence called time. a sea at night. then clearer as he understood. arising from the ‘more’ he is beginning to discover within himself. Lamech had found another note! He sang using Jared’s notes. BEAD. ‘This is banishment indeed. but now added C sharp. the darkness of Cainen.’ To see what both Cainen and Lamech had discovered at that moment. what he saw was both his great powers to achieve purpose and also the limit of that power. how dark their world of life is. before the visitors came. That is how Cainen thought as he looked closely at Methuselah. a dark insubstantial shadow entering into its centre. We all gasped when we realised this. 54 . to him a feeling like disappointment rather than anything blacker like despair or even the grief Enoch nurses. something very profound. to know there is a limit to what he could do. how actions used up time and nothing remains. Cainen did not see his shame.

that is what men teach. father’s pride that Lamech had at last done something himself. and he swung his head to look at all his relations and said jovially. hands around arses. Perhaps. this was my first response. We got used to it pretty quickly.’ Lamech continued to sing his five notes. recognising their share in this struggle. shall we have another drink. and noticed that Lamech sang in long lines seeking melody. isn’t it? They tell us of their struggles. Enoch and Mahaleleel were properly chastened. though it would also add a grace. the other with bitterness. and that each attempt was brought to a close by AC#B. a surprisingly promising ending. ‘Well. but unable to stop struggling. I went to him because of that rising and falling. Methuselah’s face was alight. It was Cainen who recovered first. To have him heave me up. The semitone cluttered the music at times. one with grief. no doubt because it was most familiar to him. too. I’m thinking now. to feel that mighty struggle within me as Cainen strives against that which overwhelms him. a deeper current in these thoughts about my beloved. then? I for one am parched. that there had been no choice. that empty heartiness of families with sins to hide. unless overwhelmed.Lamech surprised me but I was disappointed in Cainen. mouth to mouth. As I say. their eternal struggles. After all. Out in the open all the time and never aware of the stars. weary of their wretched struggling. and then fall wonderfully. ignoring the hot sun. 55 . unable to surrender for even an instant.

Eve and how Adam built the first hut on the side of this hill. not just wry but verging on the ridiculous now. Mahaleleel and his bitter row with Adam down by the river years and years ago. Another break here. toasting one another with exaggerated toasts. Tonight Cainen tells us his story. Now. We cheer loudly. We gathered at the bar to pour drinks. now stage change: Enosh in the corridor. sparks shooting up here too. and shortly the room glows fitful in the firelight. the bottleneck at any party worth the effort. Anecdote time: Methuselah and the day the great beam fell in the barn and almost buried him. The Entry scene complete. the party underway at last. sobbing as he scratches his bloody arms. fretful. We have heard each tale many times. except Enoch’s of course. except Mahaleleel’s. no crush and no unnecessary fuss yet about who went first at the ice. are funny. drinking or reaching for bottle or flask. Enoch goes out into the dusk and lights our bonfire. All the stories.considering what this new music intimated. which concerns a condition induced by Adam’s 56 . Enoch and his angels and heaven. hunting a stag. a storm threatening. This is the chatting stage of our party. but we still listen to each with enthusiasm. the spittle sparking away into the gloom. how his dogs saved him once on a winter’s night up in the mountains. you notice. Now and then he blubbers in misery. knocking back tumbler after tumbler of spirits.

Enoch’s hard-on once. the failure of his influence over his descendants. My Adam was a clown. useless with materials. And then our next scene: 57 . grotesque in its humorous import. a great crowning menace.weakness. and Methuselah’s beam has become a World Tree. how we are prepared to forgive. You see at parties how we hope to be forgiven. so that I must help him.

preaching in the valleys. night coming on. when a bright light suffuses and we sense that in this radiance lies our true selves. where he loitered moodily. Cainen completing his tale with ample gestures.e. to hide my departure from us for a little while longer. The next stage of our parties. like discovering a snake in the garden. As we chatter happily and drink away. running home to say goodbye to his mama. No one came. against which we live our lives. Enosh from his dark corridor. is our Battlefield. rather than the truth of our unbearable perfection. scorpion in your bed. listening for the word of God from Seth. after the silly chatter and intoxication. two in number. hair in his eyes. or Seth himself. garish light from our bonfire at the top of the Back Field. mouth mobile. i. so familiar. wry smiles from us.We wanted a new entry at this stage. on what business I can guess. But the light is unbearable. Or the visitors. mouse in your pocket. No Mother. seeing at once – again – the limit of 58 . his memories sweet now. We needed an Entry to do what Cainen signally failed to do. with what effect I can only lament. We had a list of potential entrants. we respond to the living with a new insight: how all the living are alike. the disappointment spreading from me to the others. we each have a glimpse of our respective heaven. a model that both blesses and chides us at the same time. Cainen talking about survival on his own. By heaven I mean here that instant of forgetfulness. for most respond in shame to what they discern within the light. Jared anxiously hurrying over the bogs. With this shame. We needed an Entry. though few acknowledge this.

like fire consuming that which sustains it. as Cainen guards our flocks. Traduced. the knowledge they gain becomes an enclosure. and he took it upon himself to head off a possible flashpoint. weakness. we prey upon each other. if Enosh should come in a state. and then hide their grief in a false rationality. nor as it turned out could any of us. Lamech continued singing through all this. Cainen was the outsider. He was trapped in the broken interval. Cursed in their capacity to love.the living in us. careful until he loses patience. Always that C sharp. Hence. Methuselah replied tartly. the curse on us a barrier. foolishness. who knows where Cainen might stop. more than a hint of desperation in his voice now. the shadow across our being. they lose trust in their capacity to understand. and if Cainen should see his father in that state. as he usually does. and what has been hidden in distrust reappears in the threat of dissolution – though the price is a terrible knowledge of error. as though perpetually repairing a breaking 59 . This is our Battlefield. a misdirection. my sons hide their shame in grief. the instant of bliss hidden to memory by a word. But what has been lost in love reappears in fantasy. as the motive of love becomes possession. ‘Can’t you sing it?’ Enoch couldn’t. like the admission of sin. a mist. No surprise then that like the living. darkness coming. tiptoeing in. shrugging his right shoulder at Enoch. Enoch was the Guardian of the House. He stomped across the room to Lamech at the window and told him to sing the old song if he must sing something.

But the gap is closed immediately. Seth and Jared can upset everyone else. not over his surprise yet but now so excited. Encouraged. rounding on Enoch: ‘But this is an old song. This led Cainen to say. Enoch soon danced with Cainen. Cainen’s only gift to his family. though some like to call it Snake in the Grass. But the new 60 . the bridge cannot be sustained by Lamech’s song. and bit by bit we came to see how the ending of each section. our new song. Mahaleleel took me up. of course. New music. acted to complete the bridge. to show them how to dance to the new music.footbridge. a hope of sorts. only the damage can be repaired. But only momentarily. I think. greatgrandson. who wasn’t familiar with Jared’s tune. a dance-motor. waggling them painfully with his strong hand. as though he felt obliged to act as though he understood Cainen. For humour. But we had all heard the music and so knew very well what entered darkly. taking turns to pour the drinks now. surprised to see such joy on Cainen’s face as he realised he was in the company of men. Shepherds dance to it. Like dogs? Yes.’ Enoch smiled immediately. so that Methuselah must dance with Lamech. ‘Snake in the grass?’ and gripped Enoch’s balls tightly. Enoch’s shock was very great. no doubt because Enoch. just like dogs. the repair damaging like a principle of decline. greatgrandson. We listened to Lamech for quite a long time. but a bigger shock for poor Methuselah. I mean. Cainen added. the sequence AC#B. as it were. Mahaleleel is usually the unmoved mover. The tune is called The Fox in the Glen. new dance. They often end up together.

The top E was a comfort. I retrieved Methuselah and brought him up to speed. pointing out the window at the great bonfire leaping up in the field. of course. his eyes settling on Cainen at once in embrace with Mahaleleel. Lamech sang on. Both Mahaleleel and Enoch struggled. watching Enoch and Cainen gyrating together.’ With that he went over to Enoch and Cainen. his earlier cadence AC#B now with an ending E: AC#BE. Mahaleleel went over to ask Lamech to dance with him. Mahaleleel ran across the floor immediately and struck Methuselah in the back. that he could not be a father. but now and again he found a new cadence. an amazing agony to behold. Cainen stares at his father in horror. I assure you. fresh clothes. like a way out. as you might expect. Once he understood.music loosened him up. Lamech came and sat in my lap. which I enjoyed very much. seeing at once that he is an idiot. No sooner had we realised the significance of this than the door opened and in walks Enosh. Cainen reached over my shoulder and caught Mahaleleel’s hand. Methuselah couldn’t refuse. pulled them apart with surprising vigour and hit Enoch hard across the ear. driving him forward into Enoch. my baby. How Lamech came out of Methuselah is hard to credit. But he said to me as we waltzed along: ‘Two thirds in one third out. though Lamech could but did not. for pretty soon 61 . And then a coincidence. trivial now and getting more trivial. scrubbed. Methuselah and Cainen eager to dance. ‘Sun. holding on to him as though for dear life. the first contact between them for years. He laid his head between my breasts and I rocked him as he sang.’ he shouts. pulling the balls out of one another.

a sane man. An hypnotic dance in time.Lamech pushed himself on to a three-four dance rhythm. in reflex actually. to be seen talking to an idiot. Methuselah was turning towards Enosh at this point. Mahaleleel screams piteously and waves his arms frantically. a central flexibility allowing alternation. eyes closed. More blows than ever before. Enoch says. Thus ended the Battlefield stage. The voices contended. Enosh’s head goes down as always. Dancing by with his son. ABC# and C#DE.’ Thus said. which always 62 . like a last message before engulfment. ‘That is a fire. thus acknowledged by all. but also intimation of worse to come. poor Enosh. ‘Proper discernment witnesses to principle. Cainen grips Mahaleleel tightly to warn him of his folly. than Seth. but breaking down on the broken interval around the C#. two voices now. sought to overwhelm the other and adopt its voice. still waiting for the box in the ear. waiting for the usual box in the ear for doing wrong. how one voice completed the other. finding yourself enacting a fundamental truth: seen in how right must follow left. looking over at me: ‘Is Seth gone?’ Spoken in a terrific rush.’ shouts Mahaleleel. so he heard most clearly and so replied for us all as he flew by: ‘A greater going. ‘Not the sun. you idiot. stole from each other. speaking to his idiot father.’ Cainen’s expression changes from horror to amazement as he sees Mahaleleel.’ And Enosh says. down follow up.

as Enoch acknowledges. I squeezed Lamech as I can squeeze a man. and he rushes forward and grabs Lamech from my lap. but nevertheless they all looked towards the darkness beyond the door. The offence is to Lamech. misfortune a deep bond here. no music. Cainen is most affected by Lamech’s uproar. a matter of thighs clasping at a precise point on the hips. but the true taking. is my leave-taking. There was no one at the door. Cainen falls away 63 . pulling me from my seat down on to him. finally. throws him to one side and kneels and embraces my thighs. in case he had other ideas here: he comes early so that Enoch must cry because he understands at last that sex is stronger than sense. ‘Take none or all!’ This is the horrible moment. who takes me. like a fall from grace. uniting us against a common worry. And so too Cainen. the silence of his beloved mountains within this house. his heaven tottering away into the sin God had told him about. and not remember my departure pending. most infant-like. Enoch shouts in outrage. to keep their attention on the visitors. now evidence aplenty of active sexuality. But Enosh turns to Lamech.puts an end to our bickering. It is true that Enoch shouted at Cainen. united in what curses them. dance ended. seeing me once again as the Inducer. and Lamech squirted away with a mighty hurrah! This induced silence thereafter. A man weakest after ejaculation. I needed to enter another distraction here. Did you see it coming? I did not.

showing off his fair locks to good effect. Methuselah anxious for his father. an ignorant blindness. in his element at last. lost in a phantasy of one’s own feelings.’ he cries out. Mahaleleel seething. saying.’ Enoch was brilliant that night. as Methuselah immediately asked.’ Splendidly dressed for once. ignorant of the feelings of others. said the Lord to me when I was in heaven with Him. theatrically though not intended. brother-in-mother. How you achieve it 64 . Cainen dozing. mother-of-us-all. the sin in the room: each feeling differently. you look a treat. a true prophet of doom. Seth turned in the doorway and bowed towards me. the Lord said to me. head bowed low in abasement: ‘A truly terrible sin. his throat thrumming in a weirdly alarming way. as though something vital would escape. Into this pensive silence entered the voice of Seth: ‘On the contrary. Lamech asleep. that must grow before it can flower.’ Even then I thought it was beautifully put. Yet. ‘As usual. must seed before growth. though Enosh bowed before the tone of Enoch’s voice.with his usual yelp and Enoch bends in the face of the fracture he perceives. and looked about at us all. Speaking. Enosh desolate. he brayed. must flower before seeding. ‘an ignorant blindness’. A blindness like no other. you must see that desire cannot live before us. ‘A terrible sin. ‘How can you know that?’ Enoch straightened up. The image I propose for now is that of the plant. Even Mahaleleel was obliged to think of what Enoch said. ‘Desire outstrips us.

65 . so fair Seth is radiant to him. much relieved it would seem from the tone of his voice. nods companionably to his grandson. asks: ‘The swarth heath for courting strangers?’ To which Cainen replies. But it does bring us to the visitors.’ Cainen is dark.’ He gives his hand to the overjoyed Enosh.eludes me and all those I know and talk to. Cainen. ‘In your face. gaffer. at last.

This the Lord tells me: Desire is the lamp of the living. and he was after all proposing a mode of existence that he hoped will cope with my departure. Adam wouldn’t listen to Mahaleleel and laughs at poor Methuselah.Seth tours the room. No point asking Lamech to run up. ‘Adam.’ I said quickly. his shadow looming in the firelight: ‘For as the snail crawls. a smile for Methuselah.’ I missed Jared. Greater than light’s. light of darkness. flying before the eagle. and said to Enoch in a lilting voice. ‘You’d want to see your son downstairs. an obedient son. Seth turned in a casual manner. but it was just the distraction that I needed.’ Seth’s display is really so first class that I had a sudden urge that my husband Adam should see his son’s triumph. crawling before the snail. Gravity’s name greater than light’s. and in between the single thread of that which does not abate. I know he was making an ass of himself.’ 66 . In any case. Enoch thundering over by the window. so does its desire. Greater than light’s. a hand to Mahaleleel and Lamech. Enosh at his side. he usually run massages for me. Gravity’s name greater than light’s. at the same time accepting a glass of whisky from Mahaleleel – who seems now to dote on his greatgrandfather – nodding his thanks. as though he might suddenly sing: ‘Of origins I have seen this: the first flower of spring. so does its desire. the last nut of autumn. he gets lost easily. shining only on dark things. In nowhere can there be nothing. there was the offchance that Adam might get up to see Seth in all his glory. I decided to go myself. but a blind lamp. as the eagle flies.

you owls and bunnies. but then I saw that he was upset about the visitors. ‘Well. only asked: ‘What’s he done now?’ I paused. It became difficult to maintain the tone of our 67 . Tonight. too. you’re all wrong. that all you moon-shiners and hip-hops. let ME tell you. Well. bent over all day. Well. and he did not move. I’ve got a wire in there too. and about my going too. anyway. for all you know. if you got off your arse for five minutes. barker and talking-head. better geniuses than idiots!’ The last is always a particular barb for Adam. you pixies and pussyfoots. with two geniuses in the family. and two idiots. Adam. with sweat on my head and a pain in my arse.’ Adam’s incoherence worried me at first. momentarily irritated by the sniff. missis. but so often he permits it. he was moved to shout. Fucking-know-all. his nose wrinkling ever so slightly: ‘And you think you’re the genius around here.He was staring out the window at the starry sky. I’m not just a scrubby shit in a ditch. but I was outraged at the innuendo. because I knew that he would in the very least be surprised: ‘He’s preaching to Enoch!’ Adam sniffed. something might be got done around here! Anyway. then he said: ‘Two of them now? Whose fault is that?’ Adam wasn’t going to get up for that. breathing quietly. you think I’m just a dumb peasant. missis. with lookout and runabout. You’ve got it wrong about me. laid back at night. as said. I should have gone back down at that point.

’ ‘What garden. Sure enough. ‘That’s a book. considering how long he has lain like this. now it felt wrong.’ ‘What old place are you talking about.’ I said. can’t you ever give a straight answer?’ 68 .’ I laughed out loud. missis. wanks on it. gazing at it with shining eyes. You don’t believe me then? Well. Paper the colour of calfshit. Enoch sleeps on his book. woman. badly smudged. and rooted under the mattress. Adam? Goodness. I had never seen anything like it before. ‘Even Enosh makes more sense than you do when he drools. perhaps greater than he expected. Adam showed me at once what I had missed in his speech: ‘Huh. Adam?’ ‘In the old place. I’ve often thrown that bite at Adam. wets the bed still. He waved it slowly in front of me. suspicious now: ‘Where did you get that?’ ‘In the Garden.conversation: Adam’s upset was far greater than I expected. When that didn’t faze Adam. Before we left. ‘What’s that?’ I blurted out. But you must remember that Adam knows why I have come to the city.’ He moved his arm easily. ‘Not like Enoch’s. I asked. taunting him. I’ll show you. little sheets stuck together. ‘Some book.’ You can see that already the tone was gone.’ Enoch’s book has forty seven thousand pages. to find a cure for him from the only man who possesses it.

Short paragraphs. Going back downstairs. Grass grew by itself there.’ Adam closed his eyes with unnerving complacency and the book fell from his hand and fluttered down to the floor. as you might expect in a handbook. Said it would sustain me in my woe. God there. detain me in life. I have always treasured this book. to think of him hoarding a book he couldn’t read. I snatched it up. that God is so good as to grace us in our peril. and look about it always with joy and thanksgiving. ‘Secrets of God.’ I laughed at that.‘Before we came here. Only God knows the secrets of God.’ Secrets of God. the print leached in places. Heaven help us should he decide to preach.’ ‘Only one. The script is strange. Soft place. obtain me my heart’s dream. you know. do you. It was better then. ‘Can’t. The writing was extremely small.’ I teased him. Trees too. ‘Secrets. Adam. very regular. Lots of trees. This shit heap.’ ‘I told you they’re secrets. I shoved the book in my 69 . It smelled too. ‘Tell me one. ‘What’s it say?’ I asked Adam. my dear. girl. He gave me this book. no less. though. contain me in my wrath. Adam. the furry smell of old Adam. The Secrets of God. you plonker.’ ‘They’re secrets. Sorry. the paper horribly wattled and dingy. my eagerness quite beyond my control.’ he said in a very satisfied tone. my dear. rational.’ ‘You don’t know any. thirty two letters. Amen.

humour my husband. brethren and cousins. Better this. Better the seed that resides in its true.’ 70 . either ONO or KEK. Seth was in his element: ‘…thrice called. Each roving comes to nought. little teeth bared fiercely ‘showed it to me. of whom I have no other knowledge. mock my fools. better the seed that resides. fuzzy hair and too much breast. All spring from one seed. missing. but with a little treatment Jobal came on nicely. True earth. the war already under way when I came down. knobbly knees. Better the seed that resides in its true earth. which put me off. The boys fought over the half-sister. That was all. and perhaps it would have been all for the rest of the night if Seth had not come out of his tantrum to scream: ‘None of you ever believes me! Even though YOU’ pointing at me dramatically. Downstairs our visitors had come. though some grow afar. Only one name can I discern. Better the seed that resides in its true earth. though she looked like a clapped-out tart. tight skirt. Sixteen paragraphs. I tell you. His half-sister minced. ten pages. red feet. Each paragraph has a heading in bold capitals.’ And so on until I got into the room and clipped Seth one and shook him saying: ‘Will you stop showing off. Better that seed. warm as toast. face aflood.pocket. you little pup!’ I chastise all my prophets. so that he was soon sitting in my lap. love someone else.

after all. and continued sonorously: ‘Life is a circulation of energy. it is true. Naamah gyrated suggestively. showing off her handlebar hips.’ Enoch was nonplussed. one on one. ‘I’m first!’ I waited till the bedlam eased before saying to Seth: ‘First in what. Seth screamed ‘I’m first!’ and Enosh echoed idiotically. a sickly leer. 71 .’ Now raises his head to look towards Naamah. you-all. Jobal shouted out and his half-sister did a vulgar courtesy. archly loud for Seth to hear: ‘And what did your mammy show you. not to be outdone. This sent Seth into another flood of tears. This is the reef upon which our rationalism totters. Enoch stumped by his son. on and on for ever. the strain of the evening telling on his weak spirit. He sighed with the pleasure of it. and then Enosh began to bawl too. looked at her closely and laid his large hands on her buttocks. then Seth wasn’t the first after all. his little scrotum jumping under my hand. red lipstick over half her face. went down on his knees before her. much to everyone’s wonder. laden with tears. a circulation that itself requires energy.’ Methuselah seemed the most disoriented. A high tide of names keeps us afloat. Jobal pet?’ And of course Jobal leered. Enoch puffed up and filled the gap neatly: ‘For as much. Methuselah simpered. as said. the price is indeed heavy.I rubbed Jobal’s soft belly and asked him. Seth?’ If God had given a book to Adam. Jobal’s half-sister. but Cainen. but he looked at the floor and said in true style: ‘Some things come to an end. a corrupted smile.

She can lie for you. you’re not. It was time to face the issue. to remember it. ‘You were not the first in anything. but even so Seth persisted in asking until I answered: ‘Aren’t I the eldest. mother?’ Around and around until I was sicker of him saying that than I was of myself saying what I had said. Seth. gasping on the sting of my bile. have you?’ Bless her. Jobal a spent force for the nonce. aren’t I? Aren’t I your first son? Aren’t I the first son.) So I said. rare with him but vicious nonetheless: ‘First in everything. touched that nerve in me again. mother. creaming their pants. she could say what I couldn’t say. ‘Where do you think Adam came from?’ Naamah intervened then. The benefit of having a girlfriend.’ I put Jobal lying on the floor and stood up.’ I sneered. ‘Down the chute. Seth was watching me with a wary interest. 72 . the others watching. (And sick now. Seth. Seth. every blessed one. smoothing the creases in my dress with slow sweeps. It was very violent and cut through all the civet and musk. deliberately: I said. Even Enosh was a little awed.Seth was in a spiteful mood. now that we had thoroughly distracted the visitors. Never first at all. speaking to Seth with a cousinly ease. his half-sister prick-teasing Methuselah. too. I’ve never seen different. mother. ‘No.’ I vomit at once. the rapid cooling always painful.

the novelty of having visitors still strong. but she replied: ‘My feet. Much rather Cainen on patrol. I melt in the sight of my children: out of sight. hence animal death.’ My sons seem to fade from me now. It is not alone for this animal warmth. This is like an arm or a foot. What a fantasy children are! Only sex is stronger than sense. your soft buttocks kneading. ‘What I dislike most. though Jobal thinks it is for him. You know what I mean?’ She had trouble making the steps. a persistent image I could do without. Then it’s gone. that’s all going ever says. Like detumescence. not necessarily complete with reference to all things. short legs. they melt away. that I bounce you upon my lap. But we couple in pain. pet. Not merely for our gratification do I open myself to you. 73 . perhaps stronger than life.’ On the stairs I said to Naamah. Jobal. identifiable in itself but essentially a part of something complete in itself. auntie. anything else. No doubt you will need to report. but I remembered in time to say to Jobal and his half-sister: ‘Shall we pop up and see Adam before we go. complete only by reference to a part constituting it. tears lubricating our bodies. They hurt something terrible. There. is when the straps cut into my back.I was shaken by the attack. It is strange: as they fade my desire for them increases. Only Adam remains clear. or Jared listening.

He is an official in the city.How blue. play in bed. Jobal understood at once. Less interest in Jobal. but he lies there gazing into her face with the same concentration he uses for gazing at the stars. which I expected. Adam was impressed. if he survives: corrupt he may be but he is no goer. good for him. producing premium grade satisfaction. though he hid it in a fit of grumpiness. the cattle runs. We left at dawn. I could tell. slipping away with Jobal as everyone ran to thank his half-sister for staying in my place. By now you would hear him up in the High Range if any of us had sat there. which 74 . So much fading. perhaps afraid to – he took to her at once. a regular industry. Easier than I expected. Not intentional. and she to him. the fields of corn and grass. Jobal is a bit frumpy when mobile. the rivers. and stated that he would refer to me for any information he required. So I left home. not seeing much but enjoying the spectacle. Adam nodded once. like that. Yes. but it at least didn’t arouse suspicions. Quite cosy at first. back and forth as though there was something there he could not quite believe. as though we could always frolic on skins. sheep moors. gorge at table. You remember the thread that was mentioned earlier? Twixt seed and new life? That’s Jobal. Naamah stayed behind. We crowded into his bedroom and let the visitors introduce themselves. so he doesn’t talk unless he has to. the mountains. eyeing Naamah. the cabin heated. the House itself and all within. Except Adam. all at once now. of all things sitting on the bed facing him. teeming rain. but handy in any case.

then came the call of a night bird I didn’t know. That is the word I have looked for. Foolishness. opposition. You see that in us what constitutes opposition. In difference lies our gift and the curse it earned. then why do I feel it is so remote from me? Crying makes writing this so much easier. mostly. I cry for this. not alone on opposition and desire. I cry again now. knees tucked up in his tent on the first night out. for some reason I cannot grasp. a tenderness not above the suspicion of indulgence. and desire. the other. that the curse sits squarely 75 . And I do mean ‘ever’. You see that desire engenders opposition. reach for other. That’s when I cried first. Difference. Difference appears to us in recognition. If heaven is so close. are polar opposites. You see that the curse can be studied. Yet you can discern what unites opposition and desire. Compare how opposition and desire are cursed. If we were to return to heaven now. a bird that mimics songs. both fear of and reach for the other. we would find a strange heaven and find ourselves already changed beings. melodious in a way I had never heard. repeated many times. It warms me to cry now. desire. already in a strange world. If we did not reach we would not be afraid. fear of other. Yet the singing was nonetheless beautiful.is little once he had filled his long forms in. never to go home again. inspiration. so I can hear those songs again and take again the nerve to reconsider that there is no going back ever. I could hear a mountain stream somewhere off to the left. very sweet and poignant. and the curse lies on all these.

We must overcome reaching. The curse was an action. like a branch sawn from a tree. Nonetheless.on desire. our feeling of evanescence before the actual. Explain this. A power for growth but rootless now. hence opposition. you see how I trace the presence of the curse in 76 . not a magic spell having occult power. You see the problem of reaching. what we believe endures over time. desire blind because no end. So. You see the way my speculations run. Blindness there too? But perhaps in reaching we find cause for fear? But the senses do not know difference. Fear arises in reaching alone. We see and we think. See how we are cursed. under outside control. surprise that we can still know. fuelled as they are by my troubles. The senses are processes. for fear is not evidenced in recognition or inspiration. of a falling away of awareness and enjoyment. Image and idea flow into us at all times. Consider recognition and inspiration. We are cut off. Witness my crying. the impulse to always seek confirmation outside. Blindness? Blind reaching induces fear. no object of desire. here surprise is the initial response. Within our fear is the threat of dissolution. reversible. that is. desire now? Nothing to reach for. A day away from home and already I have raised a metaphysic of freedom to cry over. Gifted but cut off. after all. rather we cringe at our surprise. And yet the fear: how we respond to the real. Here we are not blind. Recognition and inspiration are registers. capacities always open. with no knowledge of fear. the best word for the condition is reluctance.

so perspective short. Because they are slow. The burden is always heavier. too much energy when aroused. 77 .my new experience? This I do constantly. it seems. See how I learn? And difference? That is left for the future. tracing it sometimes in event and sometimes on paper. not reluctance as I wrote above. Where I am going time is slow. hungry. as you have seen. gravity oppresses them and they bear this with a melancholic fortitude. they more weary. Sloth is the word here. a shrewd people. A violent people.

the pain of good. knowing this. to permit me to say that the Lord told me thus and thus. Need I emphasise the latter? If you are not sure what you think. Why do I think this Testament will not survive? No God to guarantee it? No God has spoken to me. visions. 4 78 . And now that it is ended I wonder why I bothered in the first place. and then to cap it all assure you of my access to truth. shouted among the clouds? Only I speak here.Do you wonder why I write this Testament? I wonder too. I was there. thinking on these pages. but I had not intended writing this passage. The thought is strange to me: you must see the truth of phantasy. pointless to do otherwise. I confess to a loss of direction. knowing phantasy from truth. I do not vouch for what I record. but I do assure of what I think. However. Behind me? Within me? Whispered in my ear. cannot confirm memory. I do not even know whence such a voice as the Voice of God would come. I know I’m pushing it here. then I need not. I yet talk about God who for me is a silent God. Only my memories. Try then to see the phantasy of truth: the good of pain. as though in leaving Home my story has ended.

I can see worse. I think.’ That is about as far as they will give. They live with the doom of this truth in the meantime.I thought that was it. finding the distinction impossible to make. much worse. We can see the effect in our lives. But Tubalcain is less 79 . either our city is a mistake or the city was built for some prior mistake. I see the mark of its ruler in this. like a rearing-back from something known. Already. my dear. a very strange place. We can correct the mistake ourselves. would no doubt say of our city. though Naamah’s brother is a bit better. You see. ‘Noxville. It is contaminated. that something was lost at the beginning here. Jobal simply blanks out. to be frank. I wondered about this afterwards. bearing a horror I cannot name. hidden like a secret. it is composed only of rock and stone. Do the people of the city know what their ruler knows? Or do they merely know that a horrible truth is known to their ruler? There is no point in asking the city people about this. It is close. Methushael. but it seems that it is not. I can think of very little more to say. not just something experienced. I would do so. You see the pun? Some letter or letters are missing from the beginning of the word we write for our city. There are other people in this city. so I believe that more can be said. If I could hold my breath while here. In one way it is familiar. He replied when I asked him: ‘Truth doesn’t need a name. and two: we lost something at the beginning. like the mountains. compressive. The city is strange. but they will not be drawn. My grandfather. I write tonight on impulse. He believes we do not need knowledge of the original mistake.

like an appalling licence. Not taking. Less labour on that side. The truth must be terrible indeed if the ruler forbears to tell it. a strange abstraction: as though truth left a trace. The water is piped. Banal perhaps. There is a lot of movement. lintels sagging over the windows and doors. had a history. The truth of that something is already known. The days pass here and I wait. a kind of recognition. bewildered is closer. that of grabbing all the time. But truth is only a knowledge. as is also the gas they cook with. their lack of freedom. but it reflects the deeper 80 . a half-memory. This overwhelming closeness of everything renders the urbanites promiscuous. because it reminds them of necessity. The pace is as slow as I intuited last week. but the paintwork is bright. They hate poverty. it can be repeated. a half-thought. a builder in the city. as of a gift. though he constantly wakens himself from that gaze. had effect. The secret of this city concerns something that has a future. as though something distracted them. reposing in their faces as an entranced gaze. Tubalcain is more vigorous. but I see the expression on his face often. Not stupid. but exerting effort as though a price had to be discharged. Is that so? But the truth. I am in a small house on the far side of the city. but as though in a dream. passive before the fact as truth. Yes. a lot of red. a weight oppressing them. then gone. The ceilings are low. Do you know the kind of promiscuity I mean. as though they are always trying to shrug it off. There is a small garden with some flowers. but more in the getting of the food they eat.optimistic than his grandfather. It was this expression of Jobal’s that led me to believe he was stupid.

I have never waited before. shrewd. music. something behind you. Such expectancy. These thoughts come to me as I write. Tubalcain is extraordinarily exact. His black hair is heavy. when he comes too. as though movement had ceased there as he looked at you. Tubalcain always helpful while Jobal goes through channels to arrange my audience with the ruler. Each day is a morning glory. Her attention will give Methuselah confidence. the poverty of fantasy. Poor Naamah. and with Jubal. if you wish. generous. candid. nails immaculate. So I act with Tubalcain. A very wonderful sensation. the ignorance of imagination. He’ll have her in every 81 . A handsome man. of course. Who else will like her? Adam. like a bird searching for land. Naamah. each evening a consolation. I assure you if you have never experienced this: how attention is given to you. but in Tubalcain it is extraordinary. lambent in a tenuous way. You see the thoughts that arise when you are doing nothing? How something else in you arises in the absence of action. raising his manhood. like a grace. I remember his sister. A meaty man.insight that in truth we live in the shadow of poverty. more blue in them than you would expect in so healthy a man. but it makes the blue of his eyes more striking. hanging almost-but-not-quite to his shoulders. blind. like pumping up. and how my men fought for her. an unease. How hard it is to resolve this unease except by acting. the brother of Jobal. touching things with infinite delicacy. but arising in you as an anxiety. he always watches his finger tips. His lips are very mobile. so her feet must suffer. teasing him like that. men want her awake not asleep. Call it presence. and how in wealth you live in the light of ignorance.

like a child. How he purses his lips. so exact. copperfastened mind. and so she will be sister to Seth. as though he was an abyss. always coming but not always staying. lying there looking at her move. let him see my figure. I can also expose myself. Enoch will go to Cainen. Enosh will sleep in her lap. I doubt. the perfumes a novelty. but the body must be strictly defined in the city in order to avoid serious injury. stimulating in public. Mahaleleel will love Lamech. Tubalcain certainly dances attention on me. and often. touching to remind me of their presence.day talking. belts slender and slightly cutting. A coincidence. even so. goodness knows what they will find to do together. I know this is not fully clear. for a chat and a cuddle. but only slightly – it is as though clothes embraced me here. who is a musician. who listens to him. embrace of iron. encouraging me to look well and think well of myself. not for things. No Jared. His touch is like steel. Instead. and that is true. I mean here not confinement but control. which makes him an attentive lover. I find I can expose any part of my body. but not 82 . something I would not have thought of doing before. A rhythm in it. who will wait for his father all-atremble. With Cainen I shared a world. he touches things. clothes lighter down here. except try to impress one another. You see control here. but Tubalcain and I have no world to share. I wear tighter clothes for him. The cuddles are wonderful. of course. I see that I am confusing Tubalcain’s attention with my expectation of this attention. Tubalcain and Jubal. Tubalcain comes to me as Cainen did. My hair hangs long now. a mind for ideas. So. tasting me. Not bad. but conversation is a tissue of evasion. A lover who could stay.

A deeply unsatisfying music that is 83 . a part covered from view. but intriguing.expose my body entire. exposing surface to touch and evaporation. reaching not merely waiting. but my fire is always here in me. everything and everyone slightly broken down or out of kilter. But their interest in exposure. stilted. like something being torn away from you. An example: It is gone almost before it comes. a lesion for each memory. yes. is at times painful. simply that nakedness does not interest them. But their interest makes them responsive nonetheless. The response wasn’t clear to me until I heard Jubal perform his music. very strict but also very odd. a trace left in you. He is famous for his compositions. the heat of a wound not the internal warmth I know. seeing only function there. A strange dance. It is not that they are prudish. Tubalcain and I wear a sock each when together. that leaps in me. without end. always leaping to inspire me. when I realised that I too dance here with them. a very keen interest. But also something hidden. Evasion. You can hear their world in this music. This is how they communicate with each other. without beginning. not too trippingly. Jubal accepted my suggestion that the last bar be arpeggioed. Impressed by my enthusiasm. secret. perhaps through hearing the work thoroughly fresh. That is memory. a mindless huffing and puffing.

but I must admit that there is a voice there.absurdly complex and yet hauntingly banal. however. so some principle guiding the composition though not immediately evident to the auditor. Music can make a man jumpy. fretting his feelings all the time. Jobal. no movement. always ducking behind his organ. as though listening and hearing something at last. It is entitled Discovery. the chords almost impossible to play correctly. As for Jubal himself. Another piece is the following: An appalling piece of drivel. making no claims. It was performed for me. a ridiculously difficult piece to perform. 84 . One thing he would do for me. rubbing gut only to make more music. erotic rather than sexual. on an old instrument. eyes starting up at times. fingering holes to make music of his breath. and is popular. he was very self-effacing the first time. but also sometimes riddled with nameless shudderings and jerks. nights of bliss sometimes. like his brother. Frighteningly anonymous almost always. it is impossible to get Jubal to do anything other than his job. And still a voice. soaking up all that movement. Unlike Jared at Home. many times. no expression. Bureaucratic. You long for a decent interval. I am his sponge. to get a lift. but I privately thought that the only way to improve the piece would be by tearing up all existing copies of it.

and listen to his music in silence. merely engenders a desire for silence. looking for a New Heaven. So many nights now. I write as though my pencil. so that we could only go on forward. knowledge of heaven. Because of this knowledge we turn always to the light. and we learned how the curse upon us bars us from the heaven we knew. The music conveys no information whatsoever. and I write at length about gloomy 85 . in his silence rather than in his noise. not even his Ancestor’s knowledge. This heaven that we all still knew is the foundation of our reality. As you can see. as a principle forming all principles. You can see what his music expresses: he believes that you cannot know unless you are told or shown. in abandoning memory they also abandon imagination. while my beloved sleeps. to the beat. an event preceding us at all times. Jubal does not want to be known by anyone. which we did not see until Lamech introduced the shadowy broken interval. a fact of history. my skill had a life of its own. to the heat.how the abyss appeared in him. my hand. I don’t listen in silence. after lovemaking and chats. which in some way marks all of them. Jared’s music was a precise image of heaven. a heaven we are worthy of and a heaven worthy of us. Jubal makes us love silence. His relatives suspect this. silently waiting for the end of the music and the return of silence. where there can be no knowledge. And the music itself shows what is lost. But Lamech showed us that the way back is blocked. but find increasingly that I can do little else.

with tired limbs and heavy balls. whining. but don’t I know them already. that he too will press on with us. complete. limitations. away from Home. How I study our cursedness. I know I seem merely to repeat myself. or that principle. obduracy. At night I try to learn something else. how pervasive the sin is among all of you. Where did that knowledge come from? We would see a shadow in heaven pretty quickly. the curse is a sin because it affects us at root. how could he see this if he had not some principle to guide him. something all-embracing. Look how Lamech taught us something new. pain is a symptom of sin. I keep coming back to it with new insight. and I realise now that the city does not interest me. all the discomfort. pain. I ask questions about my sons. that I am concerned only with discovering a cure for Adam. our guide always enclosing what we know. how otherwise is that possible? And Mahaleleel’s power of judgement? Cainen sees the animal in us. city-thoughts. And Seth and Enoch mad for God. its inhabitants and its doings. what then we see is how we are more than this nature. the curse at once a sin. and know there in our grief and agony that we are cursed. so that we are always outside our knowledge and so outside our reality. why do I look for another power now if not to 86 . when I know I should give this time to describing the city. remembering heaven. that we are stricken in that which precedes our knowledge and reality. These are gloomy thoughts in this city. how a city confines. I see more of the place each day.things. permitting us to grasp the nature of things. our being. soured with sweat. seeing a little more clearly every day. irritation. all the negatives. open to the new. what an animal is.

drives. squares. lanes. behind the posturing and attitudes. something piteous in this blindness. The city could not affect me so quickly. 87 . roads. to see all these routes from the outside. parks. Of course they are irritating. boulevards. A procession outside a church another day. men and women. the sheer love of all being together in a little world of their own devising. leaving only questions. hitting out with real energy. I should make an attempt to describe the city. these questions merely the fading traces of the truth I experienced of them. paths. roses and lilies. that’s all. on reflection. They reveal themselves at their parties. And the traffic of people everywhere. even children. despite all the violence. no one aware of why they gathered together. Either my memories fade or the city obtrudes on these memories. How sad are these thoughts? How far the city has entered into me already. inclusive not herded. Parties are likewise. yet their eyes blank.prop up my memories of them. They fade more and more from me. shouting and screaming. a far-away expression on every face. Which is it? The memories fade. a life frozen in a gesture or expression. rolling in their heads. statues bedecked in flowers. voluble. yet I could see that the flowery statues spoke of gravity and seriousness that the celebrants couldn’t see. That is not true. I don’t know where. random gestures. a ceaseless to and fro. circuses. but where to start? There are streets everywhere. There was fighting in one area. ways. avenues. It bewilders me. everyone smiling in awe and wonderment at themselves. that is how they are.

some aware others not. exuding an overwhelming attraction in the way such people do. believing that 88 . together at a party rather than confined row by row.The first time. Tubalcain introduced me to as many as time allowed. feeling the palpy nozzles of her ear tickling mine. the love of a husband. I’m not sure if the sequence was planned. This was Jubal’s composition. were at the performance. was the first to receive me. haunting though dreadfully incomplete. soft. each person responding. receptive. embracing her eagerly. It passed through the hall like a shockwave. the hesitancy ambiguous. the premiere of a composition by Jubal. I of course responded warmly to this at first. some talking and laughter. especially. wonderingly later. Then I realised that this is how a man makes her feel. Every so often there would be a curious din. as I will call it. a refusal in the latter. some arguing. My own response was confused. I couldn’t understand what was going on at first. A remarkably vacant woman. Adah. either timid or malicious. in its basic form: Some of the clan. and I was profoundly irritated by her. and this is how they experience music. mother of Jubal and Jobal. Let me write the score here. to understand how blind she is. others quiet together. giving. grouped haphazardly around the hall. annoyingly at first. More people gathered here than I had previously seen. for instance.

you’d say no doubt. A trophy wife. ‘Has my grandson complimented your fat. and so how she suffered for her prettiness. as you well know. I did not understand this until later. And I will tell you that I should know. holding hands. until we came to the great bitter Mehujael. Even the tap makes me heave for hours. you experience this energy as hostile at first. spoiled. but there was an energy in her. Lamech’s second wife. and though he is pompous it did not take away from his jolliness afterwards as we played draughts. lounging back to talk. legs crossed. without embarrassment. As I say. He didn’t rise. but said. only named bastard. no doubt. my dear? For if he did. a perfectly blameless charm traduced. as Adah a body. Fat for pleasure. that you have the most splendid figure in this room. Tubalcain drew me on. how her beauty was only an image for Lamech. but I will tell you.she is perpetually in his vision: what better would he see here? Lamech looks into a palpable hell. Zillah held her son’s hand confidently and so she could concentrate on me. though. Tactfully. a fine width.’ I sat with him for a while. lady. Spiteful. august in his select circle. then see what was disappointed. wind for flesh. seated on a couch. She examined me closely. of his own making. moderation 89 . then I should remind you that I cannot tolerate any runny thing at all. and then you see the wantonness behind all the beauty and charm. Your hand is pretty. the sheer hunger. ‘My son will tell you that I am a pompous old man. Next it was Zillah. so my irritation with Adah led me to spite her. too pretty by far and too loose. and you react and see the disappointment in her. watch her quiver with apprehension. She had Tubalcain and I sit either side of her in the sofa.

Fingers slightly only slightly tapered. She could never say no. so fleshy. But she resisted for a while. nothing to stroke. that I don’t know? I love every man I can. for emptying. my dear. But to lie without fear. am I right? You who removes herself so she can observe others. how it swells as it ought. and grooves in clean curves. an emphatic stare. and I lay with her utterly devoid of feeling and 90 . and held back until I had looked at her. now an icon. lined with strain.’ She was so keen to have me embrace her that I had no trouble complying. of what looked like rage but was really surprise. straightening their clothes afterwards. and my right across her lap. and joined hands under her buttocks and drew her bodily over to me. And your waist. Then she says in a low ardent whisper. am I right here? Once a world for man. Let me lie beside you. A hand of delight. clasping me as tightly as she could. the curve under your hair. Who has kissed your lips? Who have you gazed on with your usual enquiry. as you do. always attentive to them. you understand. A breast for filling. and look at you. I’m sure you know. Eminently edible. mere skin and bone. Look what it is doing to me. my dear. my dear. radiant in the sight of man. her face red with exertion.’ I complied here too without delay and she clung to me. Your neck so arched. the fitness of your poise.in length. I didn’t know because of my daughter. my dear. She was too thin for her own good. what a bitch I am. what do you know? I mean. causes me to hunger for your embrace. again a good width and moderate length. ‘I didn’t realise. putting my left arm in under her back. am I right? And I see this in your calf. my dear. her arms and legs around my body. please. the loose neckline falling down. mother.

to say the least. Tubalcain wilted before her fury and I realised I would circulate no further that evening. head on my shoulder. She clung to me then. bright colours everywhere. who rubs her belly and kisses her nose. but who could not say yes either. who could not say no. Even so. a slippery shifting clothing that was 91 . That is how Zillah came to almost worship me. Tubalcain offered no resistance. expression changing suddenly if she saw me. But I think his trust in me helped him stand down as a man and submit to his mother. fawning for more. though not to Naamah it would seem. until she lay relaxed in my arms. like her sister Adah. I am dressed in expensive clothes. thin bottom cutting into my groin. but at the next step his mother replaces him. cries not heard.watched instead a woman in her throes. How her eyes don’t see. not unexpectedly you say. The dance of attention is more elaborate now. because she began to quieten after a time. a furious possessiveness that I found threatening. pins and needles. Suddenly. So I am surrounded by luxury. even though he became the victim of his mother’s jealousy. Tubalcain is removed. a tigerish quality in her. fine wools and silks. like a bitch in the presence of her mistress. that this wretched overstrung woman would never cease clinging to me. how a girl gets thrown about and used. either. Zillah’s possessiveness extending to her son too. not a mother in this city. having no champion to protect me in the city. arms don’t feel. a gaudiness all the time pending. These are new toils to learn. it pleased Tubalcain. and she must have gained something from it.

So we change clothes and brush out hairs again.irritatingly noisy until I got used to it. we sit on our couch and from time to time Zillah lunges and wraps herself around me. there were visitors nonetheless. enticing men away from even the most important duties. but only later did I realise how Zillah took her pleasure. both using the great mirror. Zillah in hurried chats in a corner. clothes horse and mare. and I remember none. had been played on 92 . his creation. like udders full of thick cream. Titty sort of woman. Clothes ruined and wrinkled in no time and we must change frequently. So pampered and perfumed. as said. Zillah unconcerned about the secret mechanisms she uses to lift her breasts so high to dart out like things on strings. I stroke her hair. I did not know until Jubal came to visit his grandmother and halfbrother. not in myself. fondling in private. pinching. always at them. It seemed a pity she had to focus on such scrawny things for her pleasure. dry her eyes and blow her nose. carelessly exposed all the time. Such a sight. at the height of my confusion now. She did this with no thought for pleasure. murmuring endearments that are requests for reassurance. None was introduced to me. hoping only to make them bigger in this way. to suckle her. eventually as big as her daughter’s breasts. among these people. lifting. others who circulated out of habit. hold her hand. fearful of contamination and loss of memory. Though caught in Zillah’s circle and no longer free to circulate. angles and curves. something innocent me knew nothing about. My fear of contamination was the greater then because I believed the confusion arose in the city. bear her wet face in my lap. scratching. Jubal was then restrained. the composition. side by side.

darling. lead my actions.’ I blurted my words out rather than spoke them. my father-brother. glancing on behind me: ‘Music is energy first. it was not that I confused them. They confused me. Wonderment then.’ in a mockjovial voice. like a child reaching up. of course. which I had never seen before. ‘You first? Then go ahead now. The habit of controlling the lives of my family had made me forgetful of what being controlled is like. and he said. and all these others I meet here. one of the few times he ever looked at anything. Exigencies of the working. I didn’t appreciate this circumstance. ‘not your cup of tea. and it was now due for assessment. and he stuttered at times: 93 . To overcome my confusion I knew at once that I must let Jubal and Zillah and Tubalcain. I’m afraid. even as I realised how in error I was. But the words came out anyway. how will I ever hear your music amid all this din!’ For the first time I saw interest kindle in his eyes. and a great relief rolls over him. and you feel its pulse before you hear its tone. madame.and off for the last three hours. in my own way blind in this city too: ‘My dear Jubal. Ah.’ Tubalcain was wringing his hands in a grovelling way. his response showing my confusion. as it were. a momentary appeal. see his features change there and then. He seemed surprised by my enthusiasm. but he slowly smiled and said. and my joy in seeing a familiar face from the house I stayed in caused me to press forward to him. Now I was in a strange world indeed. indulgently.

‘But I haven’t been moved. that to free your metal you must first heat your earth. giving my hand a twitch that travelled up my arm and made my breasts swing. and why his music is so perversely hesitant. go with the beat. What can come from music except music. father-brother.‘Why the assertion. so that your metal flows out like water from a spring. my hips shifting to compensate.’ pointing in turn. Tubal. Jubal?’ Jubal raised his free hand in reassurance: ‘Remember. unintentionally: ‘Don’t you see. his beautiful hands interwrapped. Music runs in Jubal and that touch of his hand on mine was my first inkling of what the music of Jubal was really like. lady. my mother. and replied: ‘But the music-earth as you call it moves. near to tears.’ Tubalcain was cringing by now. and said. and Gold comes from gold-earth. at last moved to my 94 . ‘how Adah. ‘Transformation?’ Tubalcain gasped in astonishment. transformation?’ The word spoke for me too. and produce the purest metals. surely. But Iron comes from iron-earth. father-brother. my dear Tubal. Jubal? How could it do any more than agitate everyone? What do you hope to achieve this time?’ Jubal reached for my hand as he replied to Tubalcain. our humanearth most of all. his music a veil. Go with the beat. Tubal. hence it has influence. Jubal? I transform earths. a thin veil. almost without tone: ‘And you are my transformer. you see now. moving all earths. ‘But music is the weakest link. the purest art?’ Jubal laughed merrily at this.’ He turned to me then and said with perfect seriousness. have I.

who was dried up and now has his fancy tickled by my music. But Jobal shouted: ‘She’s not afraid of her father.’ Zillah trumped even this by saying. ‘A daughter is never a child.’ And Jubal looked down at my hand in his. Zillah approached us directly. as you well know. She’s afraid of her mother. 95 . sweetheart. You have made her into a clinging child. ‘Jobal.music.’ and grabbed Jubal’s elegant shoulder and pushed him head first into my lap. ‘Jealousy. on her back all the time. Even scrambling back could constitute groping. as my skirt rode up. How young. Mehujael. On the beat. so I said. Zillah of the spindle-shanks. ‘Afraid of her mother?’ He turned again to find his mother in the crowd. but glared at Jubal. seeing her shivering. God’s own bitch. looking him up and down. ‘And see her son groping her broad thighs. It makes her apprehensive. not you. He whispered. so that I was obliged to support him until he found his feet again and could stand on his own. said to Jubal: ‘Go now.’ Zillah let my hand go. And then there is of course the run-in. and said spitefully.’ Now Jubal gaped. It was a technical victory for Zillah: the growing heat in his hands horrified Jubal. eh? When did you take her from her father?’ Jubal reared up before her and Zillah grabbed my free hand and pulled me towards her. for which I thank you.’ Coming away from Tubalcain’s side. the fabric flattened between my open thighs. Then there is my brothergrandfather. the silk ran under his fingers.

’ She pauses. matching her wry humour. So we kept our love secret until we were separated. until she nodded and said: ‘She’s no better than I am. They’re younger than me. Perhaps I should not have tried to teach them to love. I was cursed for my disobedience. until I inveigled Mehujael to create jealousy in his son. ‘So what is it then? I’m jealous of my daughters.’ We both looked down at him. hard to move to the beat. So never underestimate the power of jealousy. But neither my father nor my mother would approve. I told them there could never be anyone else but him. Zillah raised a brow exaggeratedly and piped: ‘What?’ ‘What flows in music. you see. then. as a power.’ She smiled a quick apology for taking up so much of my attention.’ 96 . I don’t know why.Zillah said to me: ‘All my daughters are fat slags. and said with a shrug. Jubal said: ‘Demonstrated. not as a refinement. Adah is his daughter.’ At my knees. Fat problem. rhetorically. ‘Shall I tell you? I once loved a man who had the Hands of God on him.’ Jubal murmured at some point in the night: ‘Boredom enhances taste.’ I laughed at her tone. she watching me shrewdly. I’m sure. I mean.

perhaps his scent bottle spilling: ‘She asked to see first. ‘But adultery. 97 . a sudden gleam of memory: ‘That’s because I told him. did I. She was never married. ‘Yes! Revelation!’ He excused himself and literally ran away. you know. as though my spine was being dismantled. and said. adulterous woman!’ This was probably the first time he had stood up to his mother. Before. son?’ I said promptly. A specific word. wrenching spasms. face soaking. but this time Jubal rose up. counting on his fingers.’ Zillah spun on him and hissed: ‘I never had to ask. Zillah flustered even though I told her not to fuss. but I asked him spontaneously. Tubalcain had witnessed my malaise before and seen it treated. screaming my familiar agony. and I let her.Tubalcain said from the floor. feeling thoroughly used. I could see. where he lay utterly supine. which was: ‘Out of my way. smelling strongly of flowers. this could last for hours. but what cured me pretty quickly was what he said to his mother as he loosened my clothes.’ Tubalcain held on to me during the following spasms.’ Generalising. until I was racked and bone dry.’ And at once vomiting and heaving. hands on my knees. perhaps catching on to himself suddenly: ‘Pulls anything that sticks out. beloved. Tubalcain said in a mutter. between wheezes for air: ‘Adulterous?’ Lying me on my back. everyone as usual amazed by my behaviour.

and then tilted her head as she removed her heavy earrings. She watched me shrewdly again. as though she would be distracted by what she could never understand. like a wet window wiped. a wet spring.’ She looked at me.’ I was drained with that familiar lucidity. She had a pensive. ‘Told her it was a helping hand. It was as though I could see a new avenue opening. wasn’t it? Isn’t that what you said?’ Zillah say back on the floor with a thump of bone. She mussed her hair vigorously. That’s when he said.When I quietened I found Zillah kneeling by the bed. Her skirt had ridden up her legs. pressing her breasts to the mattress. our heads at equal height. ‘That’s what he said. but her thin thighs were seductively enfolded in the soft satins of her underwear. She looked at me then and asked: 98 . I’ll always remember. voice a little muffled. she bent to look at her chest. and I asked Zillah: ‘Who told you about love?’ As though she ought not to know about such things. lass. expression on her face. not much spare time together. Down by the river. son. then the bracelets and finally the rings. mine sideways on the pillow to see her. laying them in a heap on the carpet.” Just like that. signalling the end of the evening. ranging in tone from flesh to blood. forward for the necklace. who said once I opened my eyes: ‘It was love. a moist cool clarity. mother? A helping hand. into my ear under a hawthorn in bloom: “Love’s a helping hand. isn’t that right. though slightly stupid also. Tubalcain said.

They treat her like a pain in the neck. don’t you? Well.’ Zillah in her anger squeezed herself tightly and sighed: ‘You can’t say no unless you’re asked. our Zillah.’ She looked hard at me. I do. so she waited for a man greedy enough for both. you might be right. Zillah can’t compete with memory. the Zillah Burden so-called. ‘Zillah thinks the world owes her a living. it’s just her way of staying in the game. saying. A tableau. I mean. ‘God.‘You don’t believe he meant it.’ Tubalcain said: ‘Never enough.’ Or ‘Don’t worry. if you ask me. idiot!’ And to me she said. like a memory of memories that sap you.’ That’s how the parties end in the city. 99 . They tell me. I thought for a while.’ Later in the night Jubal says: ‘My father is covetous. groping for an understanding both of what I felt was more like the truth – desperate straits for everyone not just Zillah – and of why Jubal should mislead. her face spare now without all the flashing jewels. ‘I love you. ma.’ That jarred in me.’ Or better still. Not much. a final swoon building in her. is it? Always second best. drawing her legs in tight under her bottom: ‘He was the only man in the world for me. ‘Lamech’s eyes are bigger than his belly. as just wrong. what a family!’ Tubalcain screamed full falsetto and ran to support her in his arms.

‘It’s no laughing matter. that word is DEATH. But then I remembered that Tubalcain has talked of puns. as a burden. ageing. I’m afraid. not my poor fathersister’s foolishness. and looked at me with a quizzical expression.’ I said this without reflection. and yet I had to titter at the pun I found.‘Naamah. too. failure to love. But only love can overcome evil. Do you see the curse plainly now? If the gift is love. odd girl out at the moment. which my hand wished to write in place of this parenthesis. I have a word here. Naamah the youngest. my dear. Then you understand that evil therefore is the attempt to recreate what was lost. and see further that what is seen as a loss was in fact a casting-off. I mean Naamah and the blindness she has inherited from her mother. But the curse is more then these. not Jubal or Jobal.’ I was dumbfounded to hear that word on the lips of a city person. animal death. But pain is how men see the curse. and that love replaces what was cast off. That’s Zillah’s fault. To the woman the curse is a spoilation. To understand evil you must understand what is being lost. then the curse must be [I had planned writing another word here. you know. as though he had underrated some part of me: he spoke deliberately: ‘Naamah will be the end of us all. then you see that love springs from the same place. I think it was PAIN. It was worse when I had time to consider what he meant. failure of light. Jubal stopped fidgeting for a moment. tip of my tongue.’ I spluttered. Love is a blindness here. the 100 . Though it is Lamech’s greed that will destroy us.

Already I am supernumerary. But Zillah issues Naamah alone. So that. redirected there as a curse. falling. rising always out of its own kind specifically only to fall down again. as anyone who has loved knows. must be born and die. that which was given was lost and what was received was also lost. like a twist in a weaving. plants. Jubal explained. which is true: we always lose the present. while still at Home. ‘One death is enough for truth.death of the plant. while the things living in the universe. First with Adah he made two sons. In moving. Then with her he makes a son. stars. The after-effect of this power is. This power is not itself the curse. and he must needs utilise that resource himself. of no meaning to the power itself. down. 101 . a wave if you like but always alternation. animals. by misdirection. an all-pervading ‘detuned’ principle of that power. rising. up. that power that can stop I spoke of before. Seeing me dumbfounded. very succinctly: ‘Lamech in his greed has fathered three sons and one daughter. The first effect of that power is to move us in vivification. that a being laid a curse on us. But greed got the better of him again here. for he must needs then make two daughters. but it is by means of this power. one for Adah and the other for Zillah. we fear the loss of what is here now. That is love. not entirely to his wishes.’] I’ve put the last sentence in inverted commas because I don’t fully understand all of its import. who then languished alone. a kind of death. as you can see. so there would be full utilisation of available resources. in us human beings this power now flows.

but sharing Zillah as mother. so that I would go with Naamah. And finally. Zillah lies in the arms of her son. but Zillah’s game with Lamech. hands behind his back. by now he was standing before me in his loose white tunic. Not incest. her virginity a steel wall. The tension between Tubalcain and Lamech is palpable. means that Tubalcain must keep away from his mother. There was a trade off. a stranger. It began to play his latest composition. beating air in this case. I am in love with you. It is entitled ‘Revelation’ and he dedicated it to me as a declaration of his love for me. Naamah is afraid of her brother. but I don’t blame Naamah.’ Jubal paused.’ He pulled a small white box from behind his back and pressed a button on it. The repercussions of this are as yet unknown. I will put the score in here: 102 . it was assumed that Tubalcain would go to Zillah as is our tradition. handsome head inclined to me. So Naamah goes elsewhere. Tubalcain is free to beat metal and I am free to make music. ‘This is the serious part now. Adah has spoken in fury to Lamech about you. then he said with an increasingly wry smile: ‘We believe she is with someone else.‘Now. quiet for now. Naamah would like to be beaten. of jealousy. you come here and shift the balance again.

Naamah will be back.Narrative constantly modifies the foregoing. Who at home would take to Naamah? Only Lamech. If you were to cook and eat me like an animal I would not be more frightened of you. issuing with an uncomfortable squeal from the thing in his hand. or the puzzlement of both. Narrative is a history. So sad. You see how he expresses love. its modification of the sound wave. If you were to laugh at me I would not be a 103 . a looking back. to prove what I feel for you. But music always has a history. and his face became lined with grief.’ His music was playing itself over and over. Instead. the pulsation of sound. The music affected him deeply. his mouth puckered up. it moves us. and he said: ‘I’m in fear and trembling before you. we feel only the beat. who is impatient but not an entire fool. mine are dedicated to me. If you were to spit on me I would not be more in awe of you. The home of blindness. Such hesitation. his eyes sunken. joy and love too. Lady. Jubal finally got his mouth back under control. and are made blind to the images of the tones. as though music has a spirit of its own. how pain can issue from music living. In moving us. pretending that is has no history. Jubal. as constant. such trepidation. If you were to piss on me I would not be more low in your sight. as though doing something he found extremely painful to do. his dark hair clinging to his forehead. a pain to be recognised and a spirit to speak more freely. I am speaking indiscreetly to you. But music is more discreet. ‘Don’t worry. If you were to listen to me I would not be more hurt.

darling. didn’t I?’ He paused to switch off his music. he’s stupid enough for that? The other aspect of this I addressed to Jubal directly: ‘Zillah. Someone else. stranger?’ He got his music stopped at last. I see Adam lying in his bed and smell the blood of many chickens. a foul smell so strong that I can almost taste it.greater liar. superstitious as he is? Or Mahaleleel. I prompted him.’ ‘The mother?’ 104 .’ But why this nexus? Why both the likes of Lamech. If you were to touch me I would not be more willing. how could he find a judgement for her? At least Methuselah doesn’t believe her. for that matter. I thought this was bad until Jubal finally answered me about Naamah by saying: ‘Not yours. I said stranger. who will not grow for me. stabbing blindly at the button. looked up and said: ‘She calls him the Son of God. and Lamech’s brood.’ I instantly saw the effect she would have on my Home. Who is she from?’ ‘We don’t know. Things surely fall apart. What will Enoch do when Naamah tells him she is in love with the Son of God? Or Seth. But will Lamech want to fight with the Son of God. thank goodness. What might Cainen do to her. suddenly impatient of endless diddering: ‘What do you mean. who stray? The names concatenate and I wonder more deeply about why there is this convergence now.

I admit this readily. Hours of wretched spasms. man perfected. not with my audience.‘We don’t know. rough hands and impatience. These were impressions only. Adah and another. And in my phantasy? Zillah creates jealousy in others like you would pick a foothold in a face of rock. but even phantasy conveys some truth. my concern was with the cause of this attack. that I would give birth to a monstrosity? All a phantasy. Zillah knows about love. But I also feel very peaceful within. muscles out like ropes. A curious insight that lingered long through the seemingly interminable vomiting. I can remember her standing to one side as they tended to me. I feel as though I have given birth to a monstrosity. obviously a happy memory somewhere in all this. For Jubal to say that they don’t know who Zillah’s mother is creates a kind of hole for me in this city. In this way Zillah breeds jealousy in me. as I lay ill. Tubalcain and Zillah helped him. That Jubal stayed speaks volumes on his behalf. Adah seemed to swim where she was. To see me go like that a second time stunned Jubal. showing that he values loyalty. I admit. Yet Zillah thought she had come to spy on her and her son. and later Adah came. What had impregnated me. and the certain knowledge that two swam there. I unwilling to share the capacity to love. something that cannot fit in. her phantom spirit. 105 . so she was very chastened. Very sick. pretending to concern herself with me.’ Very bad this time. partly hidden by folds of the drapes that backed the set.

but consider that completeness must partake of perfection. I have no doubt that you think habitually as I do. in the nothing. between vacancy and presence. It is there where the self is to be found. How feeling longs for presence. bonded in reaching and taking. experience of lighten-ing. The happy feeling lies somewhere in the last. heat and cold. Completeness might seem a poor goal. if only as a principle. but nonetheless knowledge 106 . in the unimaginably smooth. and my response is to want to hurt her. You can see that happiness comes with presence. But also between us there is a barrier. never soft enough. the accursed ever. of course. But what of the secret? Is the secret not the gold? No. but never smooth enough. like familiarity. I do not know its content. In this. but behind the bond. Take the secret first. The secret is in the hand that touches rather than takes. to beat her. the feeling derived from an experience unimaginably different. How touch yearns for vacancy. to chastise her. but its presence appears in how we touch each other. The bond lies along this path. unimaginably soft. leaping through white to gold. like small print or far away. too. and also a bond. that reaching for gold is what is required of us. self to self present.My reluctance arises through the shock of the knowledge that others can love. You see that Zillah ignites love in me. sufficient and complete. yes. And the barrier can be seen in how we feel each other. sharing knowledge if not selves. What clues were in this insight into the cause of my current outburst? Between Zillah and I there is a secret. a light coming on all the time.

ever since mesmerised by that light. and no morality arose until that act was completed. you understand? A memory of an event long ago. like a seed. I see this hunger for perfection. I am innocent. Only I have this vision. Taste has no dimension. as an act of embrace and inclusion. So clearly can I remember that. the company I was in before the light. like a tail wagging. and for spite alone. I am innocent. as though in another place altogether. but through taste as said by me before. and such was the truth there. bliss. silent. out of jealousy. Now do I cry. I see all this in Zillah’s love. But. that with the tongue the truth is known. I did what I was capable of doing. and I remember a taste that could see. I was shown myself. It is also a step on the way. Fleeting and then gone. concentration. though not of course perfection itself. but I still do not sicken. blind to all else other than what reflects that light. as before. available to all without reservation. I remember the light. 107 .of the principle of completeness is at once knowledge of perfection. so far back. The second is that my memory is clear and yet I do not sicken as usual. the third thing. I tell you. not spread out. so I can tell you that this perfection was darkened for spite. For love we erred? I was shown a good. and I know two things from this. by refinement in taste. but in greater adjacency because the perfection spoke to me. There is alternation here too. I am in all because I am like all. not by speech. always required. but here you can see something of the relation that makes alternation. this is only memory. between being and reflection. The first is that I too have witnessed this perfection.

not symbolisation.Tears cease. how knowledge bears truth as a trace only. the trace like a thread. to recognise knowledge as memory. See the third thing here. how truth comes from elsewhere. but like a ‘colouring’ of variable strength upon the skeletal word or image. 108 . I read what I have written. My first reaction is to say ‘I know that!’ but now I see that that is precisely the point. how ‘WORD’ means word and is yet different from word.

Then I saw that it was just a tantrum. cutting across her daughter in a disgraceful way. This had begun with her barking at me. on the hips. not in the city. I think. next she is raging around my little room. near her insouciant cheek. just as there is only one solace. ‘Cope. I see Zillah’s love in this. so I reacted to how she strutted her body at me. saying something like ‘obtain the green by accepting the blue’. Pah!’ She rages because she hasn’t got the words for this stage. I had intended hitting the side of her head. bumping into tables and chairs. one spirit. loaded down with her stones and bars of metal. you say. to chastise her.’ Her face was so broken it was a sight. There is only one truth. ‘Your jealousy. disguised as a siren. I read that I want to beat her. her silken things more and more twisted about her. by striking her with my hand. about golfing. and an unhealthy flow in me. too.You cannot own truth. one grace. dressed for bed. holding our hands. upsetting lamps and slipping on the rugs. one moment she is sitting quietly. that her mother had taught her very little. a motive. she was contorting her face. You can only follow it. Adah had been talking. or history. she not knowing whether to go on crying or begin to smile. but just then I saw what I loved in her in that gaze and 109 . when Zillah suddenly changed. Eve. an ignorant mother I daresay. so I nipped over and caught her smartly on the arm and said earnestly: ‘You’re making a show of yourself. don’t mope. Zillah.’ I could not correct her use of my name. loose neck inviting. In some ways it was comical. lashing out with her arms.

feeling the momentary resistance.’ And wrinkled her nose to impute snobbery. and said in a soft piteous voice: ‘I have never been able to say yes. Coming from Adah. who has 110 . to me like a dance.so dropped my hand and hit her on the side of her lovely neck. saying. ‘I never say no. feeling her hair flutter on the back of my hand as I gently shook. I smiled and playfully made to chase her. both of us laughing uproariously. who says yes all the time because she cannot say no.’ She cried now. jumps up and screams at her mother. but her face twists again and she grabs my side in an uncomfortable pinch and shouts: ‘It’s easy for you to talk! You can say no!’ I gripped her shoulders to counteract her pinch and crushed her into my side. of course. genuine tears at last. She swung in to me and put her left arm around my waist. Can you appreciate that. clenching them to me like fingers in a handshake. to chastise just when one least wants to any longer. Zillah yelped. the cause of anger almost faded from history. and I put my arm about her shoulders. her hand hanging limp at my hip.’ And of course Adah. horrified to have struck her where she is most vulnerable. and she shook me as best her grip permitted. though less in pain than I had expected. the curves of her silk dress shifting off-true all the time. She threw her arms up and she dropped and weaved away. being stuck-up and keeping to herself. And I wonder if anyone could still ask forgiveness of God. then the credible relaxation. ‘None of us’s good enough for you. unwilling to share. grasping the back of her neck in the span of my hand.

Poor Zillah. will lull her again. I intervened at this point by slipping my free arm in behind hers and drawing her body in against mine. husband.’ That is. or me. limp with real fright. She says: ‘It’s a matter of election. many times I’d say. How Zillah loves.e. and they hope that her experience of a shared. However. valuable because the reflection is brighter here. fearing her jealousy there most of all. Where Adah hides pleasure she shows the underside of her love. Adah has heard this before.’ The pride of love and its lonely wait.taken most of the burden almost since the beginning. not because she loves you or Naamah. Who to chastise? And who indeed. in me she sees something of her Hands of God. I am just a reflection for her. that your knowledge seems to be more assured then mine. because who stood in the doorway. arms akimbo to block up the entrance – should anyone want to scurry away scot-free – but the 111 . so she begins to run on automatic. less of her own abandonment. something like ‘You think you are so smart. You know I intimidate her – she melted in my arms. and her pudgy in my embrace while her mother ground against me like a bag of bones. She has told me she consented to Lamech marrying Zillah because what she learned from Mehujael – her power over men (perhaps her first contact with a man) – would create chaos if allowed to run free. i. as you can appreciate. half dead. loving others because she loves one prior to all else. you see. this has an especial poignancy because she is hiding the extreme pleasure and enjoyment she experiences with her men from her mother. Zillah’s knowledge of men is extremely limited.

But he misunderstood his image. many jokes about the hands of God on Zillah. ‘Ah. I came to tell you that my husband was coming to see you today. Lamech always needs to be reminded why he is greedy: keeps forgetting what he already has. of course: she has handled Hands of God 112 . I say this for his sake. keenly aware of the circumstances of our meeting. always two for one in that case. twisting the girls in my arms. the savagery of the possessor. weakening his control. What he learned in that first look influenced his subsequent behaviour. husband by two father by four. Zillah like the reefs in that sea. pneumatic in my arms by now. he sees me as a rock. life’s bounty. of course. potentially by production though most likely by reproduction. A lot of jealousy in this. He sees his wives clinging to this rock. Possessively.’ How do you treat a greedy man? You feed him. I laughed. Adah starts theatrically and says with a mock simper. Don’t worry. which would have been more true. It was as though he saw in me a rock. but an altogether surplus curiosity. throwing my head back. Adah like the sea. I saw that at once. primarily self-control. my arms around his wives. Adah’s corruption of her men. Not lascivious. seeing the rock as an obstruction rather than the salvation denied him. Adah in complete surrender. a rock he thinks is real and not a symbol of the strength I bear for him.reputable Lamech. gyrating smoothly. the callousness of putting a thing before a self. How savage his actions are can be understood at this point. as though he already knew something vital about me and was checking to see if it was true. and Zillah clinging in grief that no man would dare approach her after she had been with the one they habitually called ‘Hands of God’ in mockery.

’ This in case he had any notions. One life is enough for truth.’ Meaning that Mehujael knows three women while his son knows only two. Lust for Naamah. so much meat. Lamech had no intention of supporting my fat. Lamech. as I acknowledge. rugs rumpled. He answered. weird for them to conceive one of their kind shaking hands with God. (As one death is. Adah’s manners deplorable. Even Lamech at times slung bones across to his dogs – one of the species he breeds – though he trying otherwise to impress me 113 . the smooth skin quivering as in shock. What Jubal failed to perceive. one of whom is me. Eve. I admire good bloodstock but don’t love it. I am invited to dinner. matching my banter: ‘Can’t have everything. as though we had been dancing. There is a stand-off at this point. so we dined sparsely. it is the seat of taste. as Zillah calls it. ‘Well.) Naamah’s name caused his face to wrinkle. now can we.herself. Food bears taste like a trace. so we all leave the little room. For all the word like a man obliged to refuse something absolutely desirable. I remember that conundrum. I suppose. Even though. though plenty of wine. Zillah’s deliberately disgusting. the remainder in my arms still. ‘Naamah and me would be four. too. Lamech with his legs crossed under the table. furniture pushed to one side. like words. So as he came I said to him obliquely. better things to do than eat. your father is contented.’ He sweeps his arms out so that the buttons on his blazer shine at me.

the house was uncomfortable. like the dark in the tunnel before you? I was profoundly sad then for my Home. of course. beside Lamech. always at him to do things. and Jubal uses me. Only one I have not yet experienced. not necessarily happier but at least it was different. a strutter’s paradise. The girls strutted. yet we keep who comes to us. and they too swanked it up. drinks too many. not my Home. at the head of the table.with his house and its appointments. though not yet refused. Could be worse. I had lost that innocence. Adah and Zillah take from me. everything under observation. he always complaining about sweat. while I impose myself here. I pride myself on my control and reserve. family to provide for. Jobal serve me. Jubal and Jobal like a sinister joke along the side opposite. Now. It wasn’t pleasant. You had to keep Adam moving. Jobal and Jubal came in to join us for dinner. seeing the shadow here in the city contaminating my memory. Seems complacent. Deliberately sprawling to overcome the true confinement of the city. but it’s not. Around the table sit Tubalcain at one end. glasses too big. but at least we had things to do then. I am offered pleasures beyond my experience. Tubalcain. What do you expect. not cold but not involved either. everything in 114 . then Tubalcain. my husband hasn’t moved for two years? It was different before that. Adah then Zillah. but I’m sure we make visitors more welcome. food too little because it slows the voice. then myself. not a penny in my purse. voices too loud. Did we? Our men are more patient. everything just beyond reach. But what are pleasures among strangers if they are not accompanied by shadows.

Zillah said to me. where one would do. Zillah shook my knee under the 115 .’ They had heard all this from Lamech before. it seemed. and leaned forward some more. ‘Do you know. peering into a radiance. and Tubalcain said. my dear. my dear. then said. hair out of his eyes for once. light flashing on his forehead. eyes back and forward as though on rods.’ he paused. nothing proven. Lamech swam as he tried to look at me. spittle erupting from his mouth as he uttered it. Only then did I realise he was drunk. a ritual of response around the table by now. ‘How could anything stop for ever?’ Jubal was looking at me. a probability only. but Adah shouted: ‘Every hole!’ Lamech waved this away nonchalantly. I take my food whole. no waste on others. All the trouble it creates.’ I made no comment on this. all this contortion. Lamech leaned across and whispered above the hurrah around the table. seeming to have lost his tongue somewhere. with the intensity of someone looking at a thing for the first time.’ Jobal laughed but Jubal didn’t. Colossal. you know. ‘Yes. I can’t abide how things come in bits and pieces in the shops. giving me to understand that I had broken their ritual that night. ‘coslosal waste. ‘I grow my own food. believing he was decoying me. I still cannot understand why God made two sexes. ‘With two. reality pending.’ Jobal said to Jubal in undertone: ‘Daddy’s off again. wavering. All curvature. Seeing me suddenly glum.’ The emphasis was strong. but he managed to say even so.question. with untold consequences. needing two to make one. everything goes in a circle of polarity. completely out of mind.

which Lamech didn’t seem to notice. ‘Oh no. eyes flashing in their pools like stars. huh?’ Lamech stood up. an account of his day’s work for the benefit of his slack-arsed family. a last breath drawing in. And the room did seem brighter then than hitherto. I leaned to Zillah and asked. truly ardent. ‘Never. Lamech finally saved himself and said in a fury. shouting louder again. I’ve 116 . and he seemed like one drowning. ‘Of course she is. Lamech had fallen back into his chair. Going on about this fancy chap she had once. my boy. Jubal and Jobal shot warning glances at their mother. ‘Ever? What do you mean ever. too mean to drink water. and grabbed a glass and flung it at his father. if you prefer. He ran his tongue over his lips a number of times. Zillah reached and caught the glass neatly in mid-flight. Look at me. obviously thirsty. even though it was already too late. and leaned forward towards us precariously. Some father. as though congratulating me for this gaze. not me. beads jangling. I had a very strong desire to get up onto the table and run about like an idiot. kicking his chair away. Says he’s my father.table. Adah waved her hands in the air above her. ‘Can’t you do something?’ And she was wry. resting his trembling arms on the table. It’s the same thing for you anyway. ‘My mother’s a slut. Jobal leaned over and ran his hand up the inside of his thigh. romantic. But the ritual was broken. set it aright on the table top.’ Tubalcain began to cry miserably. the arms keeping him aloft. and replied. you stupid bitch?’ Tubalcain stood up immediately. and said to her husband. Every night he undergoes this tragedy at the dinner table.’ Adah bawled out to Lamech at once. shaking her head slowly. honey.

‘A drop more. ‘Can I be excused the sweet. But no. and I saw a shaft get into her for the first time. extraordinarily like someone about to sit to shite. my dear?’ offering her the bottle. ‘Thank you.’ ‘May I?’ ‘”May I” what?’ ‘May I be excused it. like finding a home. dearie?’ To which Zillah retorted. Then she cleared and said. Eve. not can. Your very good health. but I do so now with my gratitude. For tonight.’ Flattered. Jubal. She looked at the dirty plate before her with an expression of such utterly hopeless longing that I felt compelled to say. ‘May. Jubal said to his mother. Infinitely so. perhaps.’ Lamech smiled wolfishly. and she seemed suddenly adrift. An idea.’ Lamech was trying to straighten up but he could not lift his hands from the table. mother. woman. to my music. a look of 117 . which induced and undignified stoop. my dear.’ Zillah suddenly giggled and looked at me in wonder. She smiled wanly at me. ‘Did I say that?’ She was more like an orphan meeting a son. and said brokenly.’ Raising the glass. mamma?’ Adah said. her face like a moon. ‘Yes. old son. her face collapsing into momentary doubt. He said in a rush: ‘What’s in a dick. only not laughing.’ Zillah twitched at the last word. rejoinder immediately. she drank the wine in mouthfuls. ‘Better than you too. sweet mama?’ ‘Why? Can’t take it?’ ‘Up to here.waited a long while to see this. stamping her foot. I have never before appreciated goodness. Adah let him go with a wave. beginning to enjoy herself already: ‘A better man than you. shadows dark.

something that frightens me very much. and that Seth is my son. and began to smile radiantly at everyone. mock astonishment on his face. but her mouth pursed as though to kiss. to hear such cheek. who else could she be speaking about? Zillah sighed with a weary 118 . eyes vacant. Zillah stood up then and faced me. Zillah is my daughter. spittle out of control here too. Jobal spluttered in a vacant way. Lamech stared at Zillah. that Gods cannot live. and said archly: ‘God. eyes widening: ‘You realise what this mean. no less. I was to write that I was tempted to believe that Zillah shared Seth’s religious mania.’ Her expression was exactly that of Seth. who has no daughter at Home? I don’t know. of course. and be satisfied with what you get from him. silks flat on her narrow thighs. I said to Zillah. Zillahfriend. Adah hates water. same hunger. falling in a heap on the floor among his dogs.’ The memory was there. undermined at the arms. and he spun away. whose head was thrown back against the rest. Is this a lunacy? you ask immediately. don’t you? You see me acknowledge God. ratbag?’ I swung without thinking. I know that what I see in Zillah’s face I saw also in Seth’s face. caught him just before his ear as I do my men. Tubalcain cheered. flaring his nostrils in a naked hairy way. Do I want to turn all these city women into my daughters. amazingly so. Adah sat far back in her chair. legs fallen apart. feet hanging in the air. folding the bone between her legs. but something holds me back. ‘Why don’t you ever learn. her full glass in her fists in her lap.distress about her eyes. Whoever next.

In he goes. and that having spoken with me he could not help but fall in love with me. barking like mad. I didn’t answer at once. Is it enough? I could only reply. ‘What did he give you. warmly now. because I was taken with such a joy to know that he could love. even though I knew my answer. was it only enough?’ I looked into an abyss then. fetching her glass from the table. remembering the lovely surprise every time.’ But Zillah looked over at Lamech struggling to rise up from among his dogs. too! I want to paint these words on the walls of my room.contentment. understanding shaping a new knowledge for me. the animals frantic. headlights. conversational and busy with her hands. mellow as though unsure of its strength. desire with no satisfaction possible. ‘Did he not love you. Eve.’ Suddenly laughing. TOO! I said to Zillah then. and said suddenly. leaving her body exposed by the silks that covered her. HE WILL COME TO ME. Zillah. and she said earnestly: ‘He doesn’t ask. I replied 119 . for some time has passed since Zillah asked me that question. then?’ She was smiling at me. and said with tears in her voice. mother. in a kind of shock: ‘He didn’t ask!’ Zillah’s eyes widened. Eve?’ I must interpose now. like light coming up. perhaps trying to keep this side of an even worse fate. on shops. He will come to me. a basso seriousness in his voice. refilling it. ‘I can love. drinking a long drink. another crisis past. ‘Yes. ‘I mean. on the walls of the houses here.’ Tubalcain interjected.

jilted as a woman. then better won’t do any better. as far as I can understand it. ‘Let that judge you then.’ I shook my head then because I didn’t understand her. citing boils and children. ‘Lamech agrees with her on that. But I also remember one of Adam’s old sayings. not deliberately. mother?’ I wonder how I kept outside all this. 120 . I think well of myself.’ Zillah glared at me. indicating with her glass. knows his mark. seeming to bristle. Spurned as a child. deeply stung. Adah said. then the whip. how we sat at table and fought in a forthright way.spitefully. dragging herself up out of her chair. no change to her wan expression. ‘You’re a worse snob than I am. It serves me right for quoting Adam. I don’t have his wily wit. ‘If not the tongue. not afraid of a fist. but within range. despite everything. he used to crank them out in the evenings. These people could really hurt me. And she reached forward to me. Adah spoke from the corner of her mouth. and realised that Adah loves Cain. and snapped. But I said in any case. ‘If it fits. but then I saw in Adah’s face a worse gloom than could infect Zillah. but I think it is also because Home was better. a few beers after the day. Zillah. didn’t I?’ Jobal hung his head. At least I like speed.’ I said to Zillah. ‘May I be excused the doom. ‘I know so little. I admit. ‘I told you never to cut across when I am speaking to another person. I had been about to say that more wasn’t necessarily better. frigid as a mother. I cannot love my son because I love someone else. Better is always better. Eve.’ Which is true. Eve.’ I was mollified to see that she didn’t understand me either. I said to her.’ Jobal said.

I must therefore put you out of my sight and out of my hope. when Lamech said at my back. father.’ Lamech wrung his hands in his insane fury.’ Lamech walked away from us. perhaps you would like me to check the children for you. muttering as though to himself. ‘You 121 . said magisterially. I swear it. ‘I have never called on God before but –’ Tubalcain pressed his palm to his father’s mouth. Tubalcain turned to me and said in a bashful voice.’ Tubalcain said in my ear. yes. where’re you headed!’ Lamech ran around in front of me.’ Zillah said. pointing at me. ‘Didn’t you hear me? I have vowed to bury you and put you away for ever. beautiful woman. father.‘Adah. as the law permits. ‘I will bury you. ‘Sucksum. for striking me. The children are going to bed.’ Zillah said to Lamech. then he said. arms out. Not here. big boy. I could hear his teeth grinding. shoulders slacking now. considering what Lamech believes he has lost.’ Adah said. stopped then turned and. as though revealing a great secret to me: ‘We hide from God here. Please do. ‘He frightens me tonight. dearie?’ Adah said.’ When Lamech quietened sufficiently. shouting. ‘Hey. and. ‘Lamech. ‘Thank you so much.’ I was at once defiant. ‘I cannot strike you. stop shouting. over and over ‘Not here. Eve. Say goodnight to them. I said. courageous.’ I moved away from the table hands out for Jobal and Tubalcain.’ Smiled wanly to say. ‘Yes. my dear. hissing between his teeth with the effort. will you.

Can you blind me?’ What an invitation. you’ll agree. but I have a small piece. Ladies and gentlemen. which he laid out on the lawn below. Everything is fine here. It’s provenance was recent. ‘At dinner. that he would have to hit me.could always blind yourself. For the sake of your grave fault. Now in every life there is a moment of particular pain. darling.’ And Adah said after her. This experience is atonement. coffee afterwards on the verandah. As it was he acknowledged defeat at once. Mamma. Jobal cried because there would be violence again. Bonzo. Tubalcain and Adah agreed immediately. I mean. and Adah pushed my arm lightly. pray your indulgence. We would have buried him instead. taking the dusky air. you will remember. I said I could not. I give you my Atonement. husband. which I hope you might enjoy. However. ‘Thank you. He begged leave to compose his piece.’ Lamech came forward again. madame. and Zillah walked around me and said to Lamech: ‘You’ll hit me first. eased up considerably and we had our sweet. A light comes and then it goes. don’t worry. but I can bury you. I’m sure.’ A tough fight. He came forward then and spoke formally: ‘Ladies and gentlemen. mamma.’ 122 .’ Adah nodded and said to us.’ Lamech came very close and said.’ Jubal noddled. ‘And me. old boy. saying in a fussy voice: ‘You go on up with the children. his spittle on my face: ‘Yes. What if Lamech had been insane after all. Jubal came down with a large box.

but always looks for the good word only. I have never seen my family together like this on the verandah before. enduring only because I am a guest here and guests are mum. the production a sizeable drain on his resources. as he questions that of others. that would make you want to slap his self-satisfied chops. His music could be rubbish for all I know.’ Meaning. ‘You see the effect you have on my family. waving her arms vaguely in some kind of rhythm. ‘Nice and short. Less expressive perhaps but remember what has been said. Tubalcain leaned over and said in a low voice: ‘You know what he writes about?’ I shook my head and he laughed in a frothy way. I don’t like it myself. never pausing to question the quality of his own work. Dear old Jubal knows I am after his mother. the truth is I am. and Jubal could make Adah and Zillah jump in time. Now he is pumping you up to make me jealous and draw me away through this music.’ 123 . Adah liked it very much. Lamech spat out tobacco grits and said. my lady. his family musical imbeciles. less expensive. but the women liked to dance. This music say enough is enough. Jubal appreciates my comments.’ He gestured. what could beat that? I know I seem ambiguous. For once we are sated. ‘I’ll tell you.A moderate step is best for it. my boy. so he is trying to manoeuvre in beside Zillah before I find out if I can get Adah. of course.

They are good boys. but said.’ Jubal smiled his 124 .’ And barked at Jubal. ‘He’s such a good boy. arms in the air like a monkey. Have to be up early in the morning.’ I acknowledge the trick with a smile. So obedient. which the dogs chased with enthusiasm. You should be proud.’ She tapped him encouragingly on his narrow shoulder..’ Lamech stood up and yawned hugely. hands clasped before him and asked me: ‘You enjoyed the trick?’ Tubalcain ran at him shouting. and he leaped away. ‘I’m off up. that it was simply a novelty. all silence except for Jubal’s music. He sat down at the table. my dear. folks. ‘Churn that awful racket off this minute. I noticed immediately. Lamech swept from the room.’ I interrupted her here to say to Jubal.’ I censored him. Adah took a deep breath. Jubal! Do you hear me? If I ever. do you hear me. picking at the remains of pudding. that the opening of bar four was not right. Adah turned to me and said. darling. Coming. I’m afraid. begging her indulgence. was not aimed at anyone in particular. enacting weariness.Jubal approached. dear. then Adah said to Jobal. ‘Remember what you were saying then. you know.’ This last.. ‘Boys! Boys! Stop swearing. spanking himself along as though he was also a horse. and who was obliged for stand-ins. The girls waited. ‘You fuck off. ‘Oh do leave off at them. will you! Always butting in!’ Adah said. ‘But not the coarseness. slightly wry in an intellectual way. but Zillah said. ‘Run up and tell daddy that mummy has a headache and can’t come just now. a napkin or something clinging to his gaiter. That Zillah and Adah understood was apparent when they began to argue whose turn it was.

pain comes first. Jubal continued after a pause. For you. bright light. which pleased me.’ I wasn’t incredulous at all. two soft breasts. the foot for deviation. we do not overrate knowledge but trust also to that which we experience. One nail for a foot. my dear.’ 125 . and only suffer when we have to.’ ‘A symbol?’ ‘No enforced beating. This is my love for you. one for this hand one for that. two soft lips. head for improvisation. another for a foot. the serpentine gut. two soft buttocks. knowing then how bad the pain is. the four sighs. ‘Two soft thighs. ‘But I thought you. if you will. a woman. my fair lady. But out of deference to you. would see this differently. one for his flute. Where I come from we are ignorant enough to enjoy first. the six nails. the last in relief. another for his tongue. then for a jive. as at a perpetual feastday. I thought you would prefer it deepest. eye for hunger. We are wiser than you all back Home. and replied. mouth for indignation. a world always appearing to us. the hand for misdirection. if no one else does. finding peace and plenty there. sex for indecision. As a crucifixion it wasn’t at all bad. how we understand love in this city of ‘Noxville. And the seven parts of the body are. I will permit the low B be played at times on the fourth string.disarming smile. in this city. one a cool hand. That is why you value pleasure. I do take him seriously. I forgo the lesser pain so that you might have pleasure. The body hanging below. My cross. The sighs are for. so that the nail through my foot is not quite so deep.’ ‘A voluntary symbol is still a symbol. then for lips. Jubal.

what is the point? Survival doesn’t need knowledge. the Mark of Cain. but the hurt she saw in her daughter that made her weep. It was most peculiar that while her pain was palpable in the open pores of her face. She pushed the back of her hand against her lips and stuttered ‘No’ over and over. There can be no heaven in pain. He then spoke clearly before my eyes: ‘Mothers believe the silliest things. as well as pain. ‘You are dreaming of heaven.’ 126 . That is forbidden here. Look at all nature. We find heaven in knowledge.’ Zillah started crying quite suddenly. my dear.’ He turned his head until he caught my eye. and continued in a lighter tone: ‘Pain is always our first knowledge. Adah. suddenly irritated out of her swoon. Dis-ease. grief-stricken. See that in the night coming on. then. that we have it? We do. ‘Why knowledge.’ She leaned towards me as though to impart a great secret and whispered in a confiding gossipy way: ‘No way back. when he placed my left hand between the palms of his own and caressed me very gently. where does the knowledge of the world come from? What needs knowledge then.’ I interrupted him briskly. crying for her. his hand coming out before him. Tubalcain came and knelt by my chair and whispered in my ear: ‘Mother believes there is a way.’ Adah said sharply. all her earlier friendliness quite dissipated: ‘But you say you don’t overrate knowledge. shaking her head violently and drowning out Jubal’s music momentarily. no hurt was there.Adah said. Eve. Jubal. We cannot evaluate properly. It was not Zillah’s hurt. if only because we are capable of apprehending communication. Eve!’ ‘I did not say that knowledge is true.’ He moved as though to pounce on me.

brushing me away with the back of her left hand.’ And again I felt that jolt. ‘And the truth?’ I was uncomfortable here for the first time. Zillah said. a word covering another word. bravo there. telling each other blindly that each is blind. saying in a mumbly way. a strong hand for the men there. I perceive the truth in you. hands turning to point: ‘Zillah can never catch it. A curious malice in him. A genius that spites.’ Jubal said.’ Jubal said. You do not have to give me truth.’ And Zillah said spitefully. ‘Oh. spontaneously. raising his bottom to her. I say. knowing all the shades of the lie. That is all you can know about truth. she makes everyone miserable around here.’ 127 . no rings or bracelets. ‘The way. The word ‘blind’ the wrong word.’ And clapped his hands. tapping his mother lightly on the crown of her head and raising his eyebrows in mock comedy. coming off his pounce suddenly. An ardent lover. ‘My mother makes me miserable. Nothing good enough for her. loudly. Eve?’ And Adah pahed loudly. ‘Something my poor mama doesn’t know. Jubal’s indiscretion appalling me. as though this is wrong. Zillah is blind. Mind you. I was tired of Jubal then. if I can: ‘How is truth spoken? We see the truth.The sharp reply daunted Adah. I would rather not discuss truth. but never coming. bewildered. This is the word these people use to curse. without moving an inch. So I said to him. though it would appear as a judgement on him. ‘The truth comes. Tubalcain watched his mother. ‘Only if it has skin around it!’ Jubal turned on Zillah in mock horror. Thus they speak endlessly of their own condition. A son excluded from his mother. Truth is rational.

you know. So frightened now he won’t leave his house. ‘A light rising.’ ‘Well.’ Jubal said. hands rising. that was an old joke when I was young. Look at poor Mehujael. Lamech’s grandfather. How I hate virgin boys for their ignorance. and said. leaning forward on Jubal’s arm with the effort. Never in while I was there. dear. ‘Oh no.’ Jubal said.’ Jubal implored. Adah misunderstanding and so smiling too. grabbing his arm. turning and bending to Jubal. 128 . ‘Staining backs of teeth. a look of pain on her face. palms out. Whence movement?’ And Tubalcain replied. ‘They never give me a moment’s rest. never any darkness in sex.‘More. ‘I told you I’d tell you when I found out. The prospect overwhelmed me. didn’t I?’ ‘Yes. for letting them know you liked it. like sticking pigs. ‘What’s a punch in the dark. ‘Cain. And Jubal looked at him and said. in contentment for the moment anyway.’ And she said to me. sparking up. her arms pressing her large breasts forward in her tight dress. loud. ‘Don’t talk like that in front of your brother. plaintive in a comic way. ‘Accordingly fine for dance.’ Adah said. Like handball. keeping the acid up. ‘And he doesn’t know either!’ At which Jubal too collapsed in paroxysms of laughter. do you hear me?’ Tubalcain spluttered suddenly. surely not. I haven’t found out yet. intensely clear and brave. ‘Serves you right. I smiled and Jobal smiled. Gets them going.’ Adah said. Adah said.’ One virgin boy to another. brother?’ showing incidentally that Tubalcain is a virgin still. always colour.’ in a small frightened voice. Zillah said to Tubalcain.’ And Zillah mused. ‘I told you to keep your hands to yourself. howling rude laughter. ‘not too far now. ‘Light without pain.

That was until I remembered my last encounter with Zillah. augmenting and diminishing.’ She seemed to drag herself up the stairs. I must get up too. so I said to drive my point home: ‘You’re like your daughter. Shall we go indoors.’ Like closing down lines of communication. 129 . ‘Are you afraid to surrender too. You should study alloys. her possessiveness. even then. You’re into skin too.even if it is a nightmare.’ Tubalcain said. plaintive still.’ Zillah said. a shiver crossing him. Zillah said to me. seeing in it their own surrender. ‘I didn’t know then. ‘It’s getting chilly. Early start tomorrow. how natures are improved by admixture. ‘Well. Jobal never let on.’ Adah trudged ahead of me and in the room said. ‘Why surrender? What’s the point in that?’ Zillah seemed stunned by this. the call completed. Zillah was more than tipsy by now. How I content my men. Jubal. I replied undaunted. Zillah. pulling at his lower lip. Thank you for the music. daughter. one hand on the banister. that men fear surrender in others. the other holding her broken back. read them a little story with bright pictures I could show them. my dear?’ I was genuinely puzzled. so I put the boys to bed. Goodnight all. Lamech cried out in complaint upstairs and pretty soon the ceiling was rocking.

he would have sapped the life out of me if I had not Jubal close by. It is notable that there is no promiscuity in the city. ‘Does your mother need stimulation? I would have thought she is damned with it. Jubal said to me. no wonder that all fear his tongue. to guide us. and nodding at Jubal said to me in a doting voice. of whom no one will speak. ‘Mother says you are very stimulating company. ‘Grandfather is so direct. the wretched Methushael.The invitation from Mehujael was half-expected. one of those who use the Hall as a lounge. eh. I need to get further up the rungs here. ‘On the button.’ And a jolly laugh both had. disquieting. but it depended on what they expected. but he is only a messenger-boy. I said in reply. ready to spring at his grandfather. as always. which surprised me at first until I realised that there were too many men. too. Mehujael sent his son.’ The grandfather laughed a little appreciative laugh. his cold face to one side.’ Methushael seemed to relax a little. which made his eyeballs bare at times. glancing coyly at Methushael. and said in support. but only Jubal volunteered. large enough for the big men of the city. He said to me at one point. a dirty little laugh of phantasy. It’s a pity you’ve brought that little whistler with you. I had never seen Jubal like this before. ‘Very true. Extraordinarily exact.’ He is loathsome on purpose. I could see several possibilities. he cannot argue or lie. So pale and wooden. ‘Never ask 130 . the veneer of gentility gone. Jobal tries his best.’ he said this while he nodded sagaciously. a sneering laugh. I asked for support. Mehujael lives in a choice house beside the Concert Hall. Methushael subsided peacefully. loyal to the bitter end.

an accomplished symbolist. as I hoped. fountainous almost. I asked Jubal. lascivious for skin. ‘Mother turns you back too.’ Methushael and Jubal nodded. I don’t know who signalled. I was curious.’ How like rain that did fall. weird if you tried to think about it – I mean. really. I asked Methushael this time.’ Jubal tittered in an uncontrolled way. condemned after Adam to dig holes for his seed. tempted to his peril but once.’ Yours too.your father about children. Methushael was pausing. about to speak. waiting for someone to speak. Jubal said. though directed at Methushael: ‘Why?’ Jubal. He leaned towards me: ‘A man has no use for his seed. but Methushael was only a corrupted person. Everything covered. Jubal said. Grandfather took my trousers down that night and said he would show me my future.’ Methushael was radiant in a moon-like way. I noticed then. what light was he reflecting? Yet Jubal had a reserve Methushael seemed not to notice. To prove he is bisexual or making an exception for me. as I remember. elsewhere he was a handsome youth. too. ‘Why?’ ‘Men wish to be sufficient to each other. but Methushael was the one to speak. His voice is like rain on stone. caught Methushael’s eye and then subsided. you understand. Quite relaxed. his face by contrast parched looking. as once is all that is required here. Jubal was really a dirty little boy here. his eyes said to me. 131 . of course. ‘The man can only hold you. not violent but he didn’t control it. So I said. ‘Only for his prick. understanding me.

to keep our understanding in view. Pain. for instance: How this theme of transformation is connected with pain. Really big.’ The temptation to rattle his box was strong but also crass. I said. in two ways. True.’ Methushael looked at the floor of the car and ended: ‘It was big then. I couldn’t run away. soft fold of my side. ‘That kid can’t keep anything in.’ 132 . as though pain was a tax. and he lit up as expected. but I said to him. a hand there.’ A harsh description. and you can sense the disappointment inherent in that. he did spit sarcastically at us as we crossed to the steps. and he was absolutely electric. Tough. In stopping his hand I pressed it to me. forbidden zone for conquest. This saved me from worse. Methushael was beaten. instead Jubal helped me from the car. ‘At least he protected you from Lamech. a hand here. as said before. trousers around my ankles. He simpered. but beaten so often that he must have some way of evening the score. ‘No one can tell you. rubbing his shoulder against mine. coinciding my parting remark with our arrival at the steps of the house of Mehujael. but true. no one else would. evacuation always nicer than buggery. Like a fist.He gazed at me for some time and then dropped his trousers too. rectum definitely one way. is the punishment.’ I patted Jubal’s bottom for him to see. but I was surprised to hear something of Jubal’s music in that. How easy it always is when it gets underway. I once stopped his hand. Hate ignorance but love curiosity.

stigmatised likewise. of course. Mehujael stared at me with his jolly round eyes. from any of her love. I thought at once in surprise. They gather together in force for this purpose. least of all Lamech. ‘Some are forbidden even that. pink and blue. not Zillah. fearing her but powerless to get rid of her. ‘Ah my dear. I saw that I had no power over him. ‘What. You have come at my request. Yet even that apparent fact is in doubt now. as though he tried to hide the fact that he had been forbidden. If Naamah is like her mother in blood then the city is powerless against her too and the women doubly strong. So great is Zillah. but there was little I could do just then. All the men of the city resist Zillah. In search of what? The once-beloved. He said cryptically.’ And I heard in his voice an uncertainty as well. so I pushed him to one side to a chair by the window. then his face fell into its more normal bitterness. He sulked for a while. hoping the young virgin will entice. something they know about her. How the boys are kept from her. 133 . This couch is large. rent-boy instead of plough-boy!’ The verandah as I remember is a mirror of Mehujael’s house. should Zillah approach Mehujael in the first place? Has she not approached all the men. So Naamah goes out in search. and her daughter goes elsewhere. raising his hands to draw me down beside him. No one protects her. with a head roll. cushions.’ He ignored Jubal completely. well-padded back. then? Why is she now with Lamech. If I say couch you will remember. Mehujael said jovially.Jubal rolled his eyes in mock wow. so what holds them is a knowledge. But why. who already had a wife? I see now what is meant here by power.

to extricate myself: ‘I am a mother. Such worthiness in Zillah. and regarded me with his head cocked. as though he had succeeded in trapping me. tipping his knuckles. such a grace in the poor woman.’ Meaning that therefore I would be conscious of beginnings.I feel a truth in this. and raised his head. I said. is a state of being prepared. am I right? Thus you will look for a beginning always. He does not query my source of power. but that he had really been with her on a river bank in a sweeter land. I also agree. ‘Easy to say. Mehujael frumped a bit. instead he became grumpy. had really come to her in such a glory. Mehujael was diverted by this admission. Mehujael tried to look wry. You can see how well I understand you. ‘Go where you’re welcome. Have they then created their power out of themselves and not against an opposing power? 134 . but as you have just now surmised. It is. a partial thing. so I understand from this that they do not think they oppose a power in Zillah. Not that he would come again. Eve?’ He lay back from me. You can then infer that some primal event put us on our guard. as they call it. while yet his own abiding preoccupation with beginnings blinds him to the as-important question of relations. caught on to himself. There was someone who came to Zillah long ago. always following on some prior event.’ Jubal tittered off to one side. The first truth I have found in this city. I say. Thankfully. to cheer him up again. I said. to keep faith over so many years. power. lady. hidden in the room somewhere. Mehujael. patronising in his innocence.

‘Who are you? What are you doing here?’ Jubal raised his arm elegantly and pointed in my direction: ‘I escort my lady here. rumbles of ancient dead mucus. ‘Oh him. if you infer that we do not. nothing living in my wake. cavernously. He said abruptly. He drew him around the couch. ‘It’s Jubal. please. Mehujael looked back at Jubal. ‘No power can be partial. though brightly coloured. It felt for a moment as though I was conquering the city. rotten within like his son and the others after him. There is still the question of responsibility. ‘Excuse me. ‘Who’re you. It was so easy to say to him.’ I sensed surface strength alone. I feel I am climbing a mountain that crumbles like crystal as I climb.‘We know what we are doing. then of consequences. taking up a corner under the stairs. boy. He said. at Mehujael’s back. Thank goodness not that other 135 . you agree? Which is it to be here?’ Jubal appears behind the couch. an awful miasma flowing out. I asked. surprised to find him in his house.’ and pressed another button on another white box. peering closely at him as he drew him into him.’ Mehujael let Jubal go and sat back on the couch and coughed deeply. this time the size of a wardrobe.’ I said at his back. castle after castle crumbling before my advance. Adah’s second. Mehujael.’ Mehujael reached with surprising energy and caught Jubal by the arm. Responsibility can be known while consequences cannot. and if not of responsibility.

my dear? Be warned now. sniggering once. and said. like the end of a passion.’ Jubal piped. ‘Dirty little chap. Regular mammy’s boy he is. I put that down to your good offices. which he voiced: 136 . you know. You wouldn’t know what he is up to half of the time. speaking directly to me: ‘This is farewell. greatgrandfather?’ Jubal piped helpfully. I do love you.’ And was gone.’ ‘Jobal.’ Jubal said in the silence that followed. He turns to me then. the stuffed seat giving off a peculiar abrading sound. not him. He was obviously no stranger to Jubal’s voice. No. He nodded slightly to himself as though agreeing on a course of action.’ He paused. Have you met him. and finally saying. The crossbreed. Mehujael turned heavily to me. Know the sort. I only wish we had time for more intimate relations. It is lighter in tone than I anticipated. ‘No. unable to miss a very last witticism: ‘I must beat it now. And this last piece is called farewell.’ At the door he nodded handsomely at his greatgrandfather and chirped. palms together. no. as though to think. Always has something going for him. as though he hid his feelings rather than simply ignoring them: ‘His charm saves him. It took Mehujael a while to settle to the music afterwards. he can’t keep his hands to himself.’ ‘Oh him.pup. sir. indulgently. the other one. even though you think I am no better than a toy boy. my lady. as though not knowingly. you know. puts his hands flat on his knees and said with a very specific appeal. nail caressing his teeth.

Lamech can no longer bear the strain. Mehujael. I said in reply: ‘I would rather test for resolutions in the matter. you must remember that we study Zillah in her relations with us. Enoch says we are merely slowing Zillah down from some big experience in her youth. Men without women. not him anyway. with a question about my husband. Adam. to save Adam if I can. So you can see that we must sacrifice one of our boys to her. hopefully not a storm. leaving to him and his kin to assess my trustworthiness and mark their cards accordingly. What’s big? Every man asks. If I could 137 . and so will not satisfy men. No one is impressed. Will you agree to that?’ I couldn’t see where this confidence could be placed. I would guess for this: how the upper echelon in the city see the problem. I haven’t the slightest interest in your problems. I have come to see your ruler. then said. a blindness we do not understand. However. Eve. so I can vouch for it. You see how we have trained Jubal not to expect too much. of course. To be candid. like a wild beast. settling down to it: ‘We have designed Jubal on Zillah. Zillah is ignorant of men. I am here on an altogether different purpose. This knowledge grows out of my own experience. He reached to shake my hand.’ Big. Cain. woman’s fancy not harnessed.‘I would like to speak in confidence with you. Yet Mehujael admits freely not to be impressed. over which we would have no control. I think. A key word here. Our strategy regarding Zillah’s children has almost succeeded. But I did agree. So that we can at least understand each other. but she is a loose cannon at this point.

You are an amiable woman. So little takes one’s attention that one is easily pleased. He scrutinised me. He smiled then. People in the country have more time. not by intent. to rush without restrain across a meadow. my right leg bent before me: ‘The humans?’ He looked at me with curiosity: that I had asked the question at 138 . Eve. so I said further. that I have found out. my dear. the open spaces. then resumed: ‘And then. I mean. You have a strong nose.’ Mehujael threw up his hands as though he had tried everything and was admitting defeat. dear lady. don’t you think. feel the cold moist livingness of black clay. just smiled. influence by example only. ‘You are thirsty?’ He looked beyond me. He looked at an open palm: ‘To clutch good earth in one’s hand. sitting sideways on the couch towards him. I hasten to add. Mehujael?’ He sucked his teeth as he groped for the animal in the world. I should have considered. I would do it and leave your city forthwith. whistling in a hissing way to Jubal’s music. of course. ‘What about the animals.’ He smiled while he permitted me to savour his nice compliment. ‘Oh there. even though it issued from brass.’ Mehujael sighed and I began to believe that he was fantasising and not simply diverting me again. I meant only to satisfy your curiosity. especially in spring.’ He fell to musing. I pine sometimes. I said as I walked back to the couch.’ Water leaped up and fell over and down in one stream. ‘The font is over there. or stand on a hill and look down at the world all around me. there is the matter of influence.undertake this task now. for the open countryside. The best I could do was ask him for a drink. It was sweet. I was sorry then that I let Jubal go so soon.

I wasn’t sure then if he heard me. He looked deeply preoccupied. ‘It is so easy. One cold moist black. I see a white fire. You should attend to the beginnings. speaking my mind here for the first time. Only Adah is bearable to us. No animals.all troubled him more than any criticism I might be making of the inhabitants of the city. continuing.’ Mehujael had been looking through the door into a dimly lit corridor as I spoke. if you wish. ‘You have a beloved?’ I nodded. ‘Vision. my dear. no humans. You cannot help me further. ‘Zillah burns where you are radiant. there may be beginnings we are ignorant of. then said acutely. I possess the black earth in memory of that other earth. Two earths. but the last sentence 139 . a lovely tumbling water.’ He bowed his head reverently and I went to the font and drank more water.’ He paused. I think. You have spoken of one beginning only. of course. Mehujael. In my vision of you. not so easy to answer them. Eve. dear lady. Now he beckoned once into the corridor. but it was absolutely necessary now: ‘I think that is enough now. you know. to ask questions. It had been important for me to say what I had said. Thank you. like a sun. like a grand piano. opening my mouth to the falling stream. A phantasy. I said. before I had planned to. But I will try. He nodded in imitation. one promise to bury me is enough.’ I turned to him. I see it behind your breasts. more valued than exercised. The other hot dry white. Mehujael. He was standing over by a door I had not before seen. Mehujael said in a low voice behind me. The water made me peaceful. most corrupted. as you surmise. Most powerful of all the senses. soft and warm. cold and sweet. Eve.

You see in a multiplicity of beginnings one beginning.’ I started and wanted to answer at once. wet from the water. I slumped at the same time. a bitter mood in the early years. so that he could hide away in the ground. recovering myself absentmindedly. ‘Yes. I know you know of a curse. please. and of a freedom preceding this curse. I found him smiling in a sadly pleased way. How could he talk of earths and not feel entrapment. but he raised his hand. and continued once I had subsided. I said to Mehujael. and wonder 140 . and his eyes were still steady. He came and touched my right hand.had been unexpected and its meaning affected me strongly. that he wished God had made a worm of him. Eve?’ A man came down the corridor into the room. But is that all. When Mehujael finally turned to me.’ Mehujael gave me a momentary glance. ‘Remember that you are only a phantasist. but this was because he was lean and walked easily. on sight. ‘Would you help the Lady Eve to her house. as I have said. You are satisfied by this knowledge. And yet Mehujael is not afraid. at least.’ Adam once said to me. looking closely at me. before now. You see only what you are shown. turned to the man and said to him in a practised way. But you fail to ask. I place great reliance. The man appeared young. looking still at the approaching man. as seems to be his habit: ‘I admit I am a phantasist. from whence proceeds the other beginnings. Mehujael left that kind of feeling in me. and said. as though his grand house in this city was only a hole in the ground. overwhelmed in some hidden way by what Mehujael was saying. and because he had darkened his hair to a deep auburn.

It was a strange threat. I think a clash between my desire to look at the man at my side and my need to complete formalities with a bore. The silence was uncanny. at that point – I note this now in irony – and I drew my hand away from Mehujael’s clasp and said. I found I was holding my breath. Now I felt the confusion again. Only then did I miss the music. a most tedious business. I tell you there is more than pain and fear.’ I walked away suddenly. walls anonymous. ‘Fear is not as real as you think. letting my breath exhale slowly. like a cloud in my head that I could not disturb. The universe of the worm exists only against its skin. next moment walking through the door and into the dark corridor. becoming puzzled by my own knowledge. But I did hold the thread here. The corridor is long and dark. an exercise of their power as you might expect: they wished to ‘stop’ me. Worms. I stopped walking and reached for the wall nearest.’ I paused.why he was entrapped. I was still shaking slightly. feeling the confusion again. the worm can have no knowledge of what lies outside his universe. Then the memory of Adam’s prayer returned. It was then that the earlier thoughts about earths and burial came together for me. Mehujael. I was 141 . Mehujael. one moment standing close to his long innocent face. no bustle of clothing or pad of shoe even. seeing the train from Lamech to Mehujael of a consistent threat to me. and I think of worms. But there is more. The young man pointed towards the door. inviting me to go with him. not afraid either. and so could say finally to Mehujael: ‘Unfortunately you know that pain is more real than we think. as though they could refuse for me and impose a refusal on me. The silence in the corridor was complete.

and said. He said. But this suppleness bore the greater weight now. then. the air warmer. He was amused.’ ‘Your mind is your own. a little giddy from the delicious compliment. The man waited for me a few paces away. A short avenue led to a gate. Walking became floating. the area lit by one lamp only.’ ‘What they see. its door open. branching into a somewhat brighter corridor soon afterwards. so once I had got my shivering body under some degree of control we continued on.thinking over and over. that they had perhaps gained the ascendancy. as though I were a virgin again. and it lifted me so much that I thought to say to the man at my side: ‘You are beautiful. I breathed deeply to clear my head.’ He glanced his eyes off me.’ We reached a door. and at the same time realised that this had nothing to do with my confusion. ‘This will take you to your residence. moving with a suppleness I had almost forgotten. which he opened with a long slender silver key.’ Extremely plush. I was afraid then that I was lost.’ It was my turn to smile. I sat in a corner. I shook my head as we walked along side by side and laughed: ‘Your eyes are your own. surely?’ ‘Only what it knows. My head would not clear. A carriage waited. He leaned in and asked: ‘I will 142 . my lady. the floor covered now. looking on down the corridor as though there was absolutely no other way to go. ‘I must reflect you then. surely. ‘What did he say?’ meaning Mehujael’s more cryptic utterances. I found here that if I did not fight the confusion I became very calm.

but more like a final loss of memory. in other words. Until now. This city is a transparency upon which you can find traces. He spoke then: ‘There is very little crime in this city. since you are no doubt thinking this now’ – which I was – ‘you do not know what is being taken. Limits. adding a curious echo to his voice. his name growing uncertain. And of course. from you. how it twists as he speaks. as it were. my dear lady. husk. a secret from them or a memory. there is no secret here in the city. Why the tracing. Even Mehujael fades. I write under its cloud.accompany you. you might ask. Adah does not know yet what you have taken from her. not what appears to be roads. perhaps. The others here. a memory with no name. The man smiled at me. yes. almost languid by now. ‘Yes. not sure now how to speak to him. I said. One thing I can assure you now. A trace is 143 .’ He sat facing me in a more relaxed position. Zillah does not know yet what is being taken from her. He said ‘aocuompuany’. A blindness. leaning back in the seat. if you wish?’ I saw that his mouth was certainly his own. How quickly I forget Home and family. Let’s call it a debris. corridors. the peevish women and spoiled children. paths. a man fingering the rotundity of draught pieces. going ooo – uuu – ooo – uuu. but a track like a rail. I must admit now that I still suffer that peculiar confusion. If you will. they have had no reason to take. as man or slave. relaxing further into the comfortable upholstery. The carriage moved.

perhaps in the course inventing myself for him. his mouth showed anger. a memory might be viewed as having an origin and a destination. as a road has an origin and a destination. the admired woman. so is the significance of the recall proof of the memory. His face spoke of strain. dignity and fat. You may be right. It is in this way that this city cannot harbour a secret. And. The origin of a memory is usually clear. except by seeing him as strange. And also as the wayfarer is proof of the road. As a road is proof of a frequented way. He was only beautiful for me when I had called him beautiful. so memory is proof of many recalls. 144 . You may think that I was merely infatuated: mysterious attractive man. A strange man: how could I cross the abyss I felt between us. and I came to concentrate my sight of him on a spot just above the ridge of his nose. Then I invented his eyes and his awareness. that is what I mean by rail. but then I felt my words spoken to him leap up into my mouth. a way of hiding statements and assertions. overhead lights flashing successively in the saloon. I fear. a darkness I may never cross.something you return to. unknown. I assumed his questions were a rhetorical device. unclear if he is guiding me or seducing me. between his thick eyebrows. something to hold on to now that nubility was long ago exhausted. while his eyes revealed his discipline. where the twin grooves of his forehead originated. as I have said. We sat opposite one another. finally. but what of its destination? Why do you recall this memory or that? Why this memory more frequently than others?’ He fell silent and looked through the rear window behind me at the retreating tracks. grace under pressure.

’ He bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement. which comes to me now. more accurately I have no interest in finding comments to make. perhaps. At my door he paused to say. Lady. 145 . Except this. seeing even speech fail now. and is evident in its pervasiveness. It is the mouth of the stranger that we rely on. he could not. The mouth speaks the truth and also lies. the words and inflections. holding his back straight.’ He walked back to the carriage. I think now that the meeting with Mehujael. helped out by his servant or friend. dyed hair. has proved fruitful. but remained silent until we reached the little house I occupied. My account is now up to date. not at all. He would not penetrate my confusion. But no secrets. about to lay down this pencil for the night: the city bears its secret openly. as you suggest. that it bears its secret openly.These thoughts did not put me in a good light. I think now. shoulders back. I learned it with sadness. I have no comments to make. ‘I fear you have failed to understand me. that much I learned this evening. I remind you. I know now that there is something to be searched for. If road is not a good metaphor then we might try mouth. yet he tells me that his body is true. speaking abruptly into the silence he had left me: ‘Your mouth is certainly your own. Why was I making this man rather than drawing on him as I usually do? I spoke to him out of this particular confusion.

but how to explain the pristine completeness of a thought. each thought shining. You will not have a thought without at once an origin appearing for it. To find an origin in will is to find an image previously placed – your apparent act of will – and to find an origin in thought is to find but one origin. But the will is dark. whatever your experience might be. then you are condemned to look for origins in the will. for example. you go to origins in all cases. 146 . transcending space. new thought I mean. But where does the thought come from? You will speak of accretion here.A time for recapitulation. you would no doubt suggest if you could speak to me. and see how the thought of that person or thing springs complete in your mind. in reading. a noble view. the ideas of what you will no more than a froth on that stream. I answer: memory has no answer for confusion. though all the time your acts of will follow the great stream of disposition. all your knowledge available to you. If you do not believe new knowledge can be achieved. But when you think. as explained. and so is the perfect vehicle for your illusions and phantasies. building up concepts over generations. You believe – and faith is your only answer to will as you know it – you will your life. matter. time. hiding itself behind the welter of images and narratives. as though new-minted. There is a secret in this: it is easily shown that thought is added to experience. impressive to you at once. all principles available to you. finding principles. Think of something very familiar to you.

Completeness must be grasped. enduring as matting. There are few leaves. Burnt. I am alone here. it releases a powerful and sustaining 147 . of an ugly brown colour. the rain having ceased at last. I don’t know its name.I am writing in daytime now. I find I can exist alone. The mind is more than a screen. and at the centre of the courtyard a tree grows. but it is a curious tree. or shredded and carded for a poorman’s suit. they climb up and cull the branches. But five taps at a time is all that is required to sustain demand. Planed and polished. bearing the weight of me for the first time. every century of so. that permits us to experience thought itself. so little maintenance is needed. a capability. The sap is added in tiny drops to enhance beverages. You ask me. a veritable science this. it responds like a bell. what sustains this power? I reply. comprehend for yourself. You see how daylight through windows of an empty house has influenced my thinking. Its few branches grow out almost at the tip and shoot straight up in an incredible cluster. The sap is highly prized by some. I took my first step there yesterday. What grasps is a power. that is what completeness is. adding a lustre to their drab surroundings. an aggregation as perfection is not. they are mirrors. Contoured. useless. and musical instruments are constructed with it. in us and outside thought. these are long dark leathery things. The bark is friable. Then. apparently. At the centre of this house is a courtyard. but the supply is said to be intermittent. each piece of wood prized and hoarded for its wonderful qualities. as the tree withdraws very rapidly from their taps.

That is how they describe it. Lamech. but also see that it is not an origin in itself. I am intrigued. 148 . How old is the tree? There is no way of knowing. deform. then this rune is intelligible. a city of stone built around its delights. Now I see how the curse is anterior. I have been told that the tree is actually a memorial for some long-gone. but it can make you happy and keep you warm. So far I can go in my understanding of this tree. an event with an origin and so itself not an originator. and no seed. with a gripe of unease. It can only be malice. But then you think that this tree has no flowers. that would make you think of ripe cherries. why otherwise pollute. Adam’s sweat. It will not feed you. height varying over a century. Somewhat cloying of necessity but a placid sweetness too. neuter us in our being? Why distort a living thing? Why – only to change its future. especially. Why the curse. its destination.perfume: I smell it everywhere in the city. no fruit. I see that the curse is an event. I ask the tree outside my window. clinging even to the stone. the event marked by the tree arose from the curse. Why not a tree of food instead. its girth unchanged. though you sweat for your bread. because he can get no increase out of the tree. and let people make their own happiness instead of looking to others. entering illusion thereby? You see? The curse. Then I see why malice. long-forgotten event. It is sterile. What a munificent memorial. And at once. If there is no secret in the city. I realise that the curse precedes the tree too. for himself. This tree marks a curse.

only in its operation. But a nature grows nonetheless. like a tired man. that a man will climb the wall and come for me. The living springs up and dies down in rhythm. Even the city’s tree here beside me. though slowly. fighting. laughing. Another destination. A nature reduced to a purpose other than its own. You see the curse here too. I write to pass time. an awning I’ve constructed drawn out over me. on the streets. What could deform life? Nothing I know of. though only because men take its branches. in cars. The tree changes very little in a week. I phantasise after hearing something. This is how the city draws me now that I am alone. fast or slow. The primal trace. 149 . stunted in order to serve. sometimes calls. A city of delight. and the sky is grey again. look at the plants and animals for proof of this. moves. one could surmise. But it is in motion. Music is popular here. Yet the curse is a deformation. like a big bass drum. rain intermittent.Now I wonder if the tree is not eternal. once the sound of violence. watching the city lights and drinking. It invites me to join in. and I hear many strands rising from the surrounding dwellings. a lack of perfection. growth encouraged. talking. In the evening I sit on the roof. one leaf only falling. Defeated again. five taps functioning at any time. in rooms. I brood now. Even when raining I make a point of spending a few hours up there. yes? Harvesting. I think. so it is not a nature deformed. So with all things in the hands of these men. I think. I hear cars in the streets at times.

in the face of pleasure? Because there is more truth there. then drinking on the roof. so I could target my reminder. Now I thought further. Two others. I am hungry now. He went directly to the closed tap and spun the cock sharply. the tall structure ablaze with light all night long. Who works to feed them? Who do you think? You see how they designate their offspring: Methushael for service. I write. Within an hour Methushael appeared in the courtyard. ‘A problem. toiling through daylight hours. ‘Always complaining she’s not getting enough. when I realised that Methushael had not driven here – I had not heard 150 . Lamech for food. and I must needs think through the night. I closed one tap and waited. I rub out and write again. coming through a small door opposite me. five hoses leading to five inlets in a corner of the courtyard. Outside my window as I work there are five taps protruding from the bark of the tree. The big men whose big houses surround the Music Hall. Jubal and Jobal to take some of the strain off him. I called to him. Cain will have one. One thought completely: five taps. But why do I harp on food here.I pause now.’ It had been my plan to identify each tap in turn. This house surrounds the tree. I look only towards the lights of the Auditorium in the distance. Then I see what I can do to advance my plea. Irad and Enoch. Methushael?’ He threw a scornful look to the sky above and shouted over. Adah has one. viz: Mehujael has one. Five weeks alone here.

He drew back in horror. crouched at the tap. nodding towards the bulging hoses. dear?’ His smile was immediately loose. standing with his legs crossed at the knee. I could go to the Music hall on foot. Lady Eve?’ A voice barked at Methushael’s back. then sparked into motion again.’ Methushael’s brows shot up in surprise. he punished me. ‘No less?’ ‘No less. but he managed to say: ‘Who do you want to deny. next step up. ‘I thought I’d find you lazing somewhere. He whistled and said.’ Irad was my favoured contact now. I drank deeply. then?’ ‘Irad. When he discovered me.’ A little man in a check suit and a red bowtie ran over to the tap and checked its flow. He opened the tap and sure enough a clear liquid leapt up and bent over in one stream. I nodded to Methushael to take his turn. ‘Come along then. shouting. You’re wanted back at the House.’ I said to Methushael in the meantime: 151 . unclipped the hose and motioned me forward to the spout. his lower lip trembling. swaying in a muted agony: ‘I stole water from Irad once. ‘Any of that for me.’ He paused and smiled one of his more rebarbative smiles: ‘How do you pay for your water. feeling the gurgling hose with an expert grasp. Methushael closed Irad’s tap. He breathed a sigh of relief. When I was sated.a car in ages. young one. Now I must pay for my elixir. I went into the courtyard and said to Methushael. He quickly relinked the supply to Irad and said to me in a quiet voice. Methushael’s foot tapping impatiently against mine.

’ Methushael sat me in his lap. you little bugger! Worms don’t eat what I weave. ‘I’m coming. not at all possible then. ‘Take Eve with you. and away we shot into the dark. while Methushael pulls them for fear of falling off behind. my boy.’ In part an answer to his question but also in part a realisation of how the elixir affected me. ‘And you are Eve. ‘I heard you. as though seeing something new. very mellow now: ‘I have something to learn.’ Then he said to me. Exercise great care. Eve. quietly. ‘How can you bear to listen to us.’ Methushael winked at me.’ Irad said to me: ‘So you are our visitor. while I braced myself against him. Impatient as ever. within Methushael’s grasps. my arms also on the bars. handlebars to hold. ‘And you are Irad. going down then a gentle swing and we were rising again. Heat aplenty. Not detumescence. Irad’s voice growing faint very rapidly. I see.’ He came up short and smiled a smile of comprehension.’ I replied. and very soon I rode a rail too. Keep your hair on. and now I must push the bars to keep them from crushing me. do you hear. Two vehicles stood on rails there. I can only listen.‘I listen. Methushael shouted.’ Irad shouted. pulled the handlebars up.’ He motioned me forward and I went with him and Methushael through the door and down a short corridor to a large room. will you. Worms eat earths. seating for one. Irad stopped by one and said to Methushael. Methushael. and said in a low voice: ‘Warm seat for you. my hair streaming. but a 152 . and Methushael braced himself in his seat against the pull of the bars. Down we shot in the utter darkness. my Lady?’ I smiled.

both more than a little staggered after our experience.’ This went on till we reached his house and we were sitting in his study.’ Smiling sweetly at me then. an initial enfeeblement. I warmed to him for revealing that word to me. lad. How often do I have to tell you to get about things. tottering even when Irad’s carriage shot in. entering your powers at once. a prodigious luxury to me. So we bathe together. It is a balm. I am quite knocked about. perhaps intentionally. We sat in silence for a time. Only one word Irad had uttered so far was of any importance. transparent as the liquid 153 . I must confess. he ignoring my body while he gossiped for my attention.draining of sexual interest as we shot up again. slowing all the time until we eased into another room and we heard steel click against steel and our carriage stopped. I’m sure we deserve a drink after all that commotion. and that was ‘House’. with a basin for bathing. though little of it original. sipping elixir from tiny crystal glasses. Home. Irad did not mind saying that in front of me. Methushael hid behind me.. ‘Come this way. Preparing to bathe.. Irad said. a stranger. Irad’s eyes tightly shut. I had heard of this practice of bathing in the elixir. sipping elixir raw from Irad’s font. ‘Come on. Irad confessed that he was sometimes nervous of bathing alone. then like a lamp cleansed shining brightly. of gold. in case he fell down and hurt himself. He gossips shamelessly. Like I say. utterly at ease. We were tender afterwards. There’s plenty to be done if you’d only look. looking out at the coloured lights playing across the low clouds. my dear.

I know you think my son is a weakling. Irad. drank a sip. Now I interrupted his eternal flow: ‘Denial also teaches. then settled himself in his easy chair. Seated again. but such a ban is impossible to deny. No doubt it will fill you in and get it done quickly. sonny boy. As you can see.’ Irad did pause then. a long time ago I met a young woman and I said to her. We dried each other afterwards. of course. He spoke slowly. a skinny woman with big eyes and big lips.’ He kicked over without a flicker. stranger?” She smiled at me. “But am I to know you.” ‘I was never allowed to see her again. it seems. he took our glasses and filled them at the font. and big everything. even his raw data were boring: ‘Zillah is correctly informed. He held his glass to the light.’ I cut across him again. seeing the crystal sparkle in many colours. I contented myself there until Zillah 154 . Charm sated is a body at rest. try as I might. more deliberately than any I had so far met here: ‘How can she be so different. as though he was decoding his gossip for me: ‘Hunger prompts charm. that horrible old joke bored me. Now.itself. But Adah came to me then.” I was inflamed by her. legs crossed as was his habit. laughing. he wished me health and wealth. “But I know you.” And she said. then. I would be excluded. To fill in the silence. nose-in-where-it-shouldn’t-be. and began: ‘I must tell you the story. as though teasing me. I more reserved than he. my dear Eve. little Irad. Eve?’ He seemed genuinely perplexed. and reached across her left hand and touched my left hand and said “Now you know me. “I don’t know you.

Eve. you are just drifting with the tide here. looked at me in the face for the first time: ‘He is our gift to you. so I am pleased to be able to tell you that you will have free access to the public fountain. my dear. When they discover he is no longer a virgin boy. Thus far we have sustained her. what will Zillah do?’ Irad twitched uncomfortably. excess son to dilute blood. 155 . If you send Tubalcain to me. making people lie down together. I am aware of your taste for our water.’ I shouted suddenly. Lamech we sacrificed out of necessity. There are three sons and two mothers.’ He paused.’ He raised his hands slowly in case I outbursted in gratitude. from her wiles. and I believe you have settled in there. It is in the Arena below.came again. ‘You call that a plan? Irad. as you can see. But Tubalcain. I hoped Jobal would not be mentioned. Now Jubal must finally stop her. and continued: ‘We have prepared your House. Methushael. ‘You set a mother’s son on me. tipped his upper foot rhythmically. I said.’ This earned me a benign smile. I will show it to you later. how we do not know yet. this time to my son. Irad. He is for you alone. and a mere proposer on Zillah. the first time he had fidgeted then. but involving the charm I have spoken about. looking up at the coloured sky. ‘Now. that he has expectations that Adah cannot fulfil. Of course you want to fix your bloodline up with Zillah again. Irad? How will you contain him?’ Irad leaned back in his seat again. what will they do? And that deed has already been done. I think you know I took steps to preserve my grandson. We have trained Jubal in the art of love.

Jobal’s indifference puzzled us. our plans cannot be changed at this stage. We both realised simultaneously that pattern had been broken.’ Not much staying power and pretty soon he is nestling in my arms. It is vital that pressure is taken off Lamech. It was an extremely difficult problem. which would never interest Adah.I realised then (only then!) that I must move things along here. But Irad returned to earth reluctantly. But Jubal is already trained. take a good sip.’ He moved suddenly. to get him away from the atmosphere here. Jubal tends to his mother. looking at heaven for the first time. That is why we sent him to fetch you. you know. Therefore. So we are now arranging for the reintroduction of Jobal to Adah. then he was sitting in my lap. for all our sakes. a wooer. Irad finally huffed through his nostrils and drained his glass: ‘Jobal had been planned first for Zillah. head on my breasts. He sighed: ‘My son told me you had beautiful thighs. Oh he is right. see Cain before the trouble starts.’ He paused to fill our glasses. grinding down his buttocks contentedly. He is more lively and attentive. I must say the break has done him a lot of good. Eve. He is our provider. then he bent to me and said earnestly. so I said to him. Lamech already depleted by then. you see. And already Jubal moves against Zillah. his bowtie looming like a frantic moth in the shadow below him: ‘We are asking for your help. We are prepared to pay in return. You see that Jubal could enter his mother’s affections now. hardly grasping the consequences now: 156 . and keeps away from his mother. where Jobal is largely indifferent. until we discovered the nature of his relationship with Adah. dear Eve.

the body of an alley cat. you could destroy all of us. I’m taller than Irad.‘Naamah?’ That got Irad to his feet. knowing that the pattern was already broken. his warm dry skin pleasant on the cool moistness of my own. eyes almost malevolent: ‘That tart!’ He balled his hand tightly. Never. straightened my dress and stockings. new talent. Not because of that cur. Where she is complaisant. so I loomed over him when I said: ‘I am excluded because of him. but no one is to let on. if we are not careful. with crazed visions and religious mania. but because you too are a stranger. found my hat. I could just about see a passage for me here. ‘Not into the Arena. Eve. But what is a chore to her seems to be a way of life with you. ‘You see. Methushael watches all the time for that. In effect I am to live in the Arena with the Big Men.’ He grasped my left hand in a practised gentle way. ‘Tubalcain?’ This gave him pause. Where she is a slut. Eve. not once but twice. Eve. as he would still the joyous dread a virgin experiences. you are a slut.’ He squeezed my hand now. that you are too strange to us. the mind of a child.’ I was very pleased that Irad acknowledged the breaks in pattern and is doing something about it. with no past that we know of.’ I stood up. the perception of a god. But will Naamah return? Why would she want to come back here. a gate easily pushed open. fixing his clothes. Jobal and Irad. and doing all this theatrically. 157 . you are complaisant. having got out? Nonetheless. face reddening with his rage: ‘Nothing of Zillah’s will ever come in here!’ So I said at once. We are more frightened of you than we are of Naamah. shook it very softly as he spoke: ‘No. dear Eve.

pure surface. Anger? Oh yes anger. years of experience with my idler husband. My old primitive anger with Adam. almost afraid of the sound of their own breath. filled a glass for each of us. Echoes. still shaken. but unusual in me at all. Sitting around drinking. But this state becomes unpleasant as you feel your skin grow thicker and thicker as though you were solidifying to stone too. all senses at full alert. ‘You promised to show me the public fountain. I suppose. The Arena has nothing. In time only your skin seems alive. trying to get the women to do the work. But they are lazy too.’ His fear of losing his hold on me now overcame his scruples. They disorientate. a sheath of warmth separating like from like. rather more pleased than that. as I expected. balustrades block your path. And my revenge? I make their sons work for me. streams gurgle warningly. another gruesome statue to block someone’s way. Irad. but set to my purpose anyway. then led me out through French windows into the Arena. Pillars loom. Many echoes it seems. In a second I had it: I hadn’t thought of the city men as lazy before now. You decide to 158 . You walk on flagged stone in almost total darkness. the excitement of all the frills. The Arena is more a way of using the Auditorium. too. Not wry. as the Music Hall and also the Gallery are. My anger evaporates now. Where the Auditorium has music if you listen. as always. the Music Hall has colour and the Gallery forms. No one talks here. He fluffed up almightily. I said to Irad then though. Not extreme.But Irad had shown me my strength: they do not know that I can drive a man.

even so I whispered to him as we came to the bank of the cistern. I drove him to get my business here complete. blinking as though he was noticing something about himself. standing and turning at our approach: ‘I’m tired of mothering this lot. Adah.’ Adah clenched herself. which sparkled here as clearly as elsewhere. incipient addiction even. her soft flesh capillarating visibly. Irad sat on a bankside seat and took a deep breath. too. I drove Irad on across the Arena with what he assumed was impatience. Yes?’ Adah said. ‘To dilute her blood. We began to see our way more clearly as we crossed the centre of the building. For as long as I have known you. How she had tried by kindness to make their lives easier. At the fountain. Adah said.listen: there is music. for she went on at him about the burden she had to bear. and screamed very loudly: ‘IF YOU USE THAT WORD AGAIN!’ Irad fell back with a stupid look on his face.’ Irad hissed a laugh but kept to business. finding the path more easily. ‘Who would remain then.’ Irad said to her: ‘You always imply that you are unworthy. tell me please? Women get chased here. then blustered: ‘It’s only what 159 . We walked on. I could see that I was in the middle of a family row. and with music comes a greater darkness so you look for light. Look at Naamah. Why do I always have to prove myself?’ ‘Until you provide a daughter. though I hold no brief for that scrubber. the silver spike there throwing a faint milky light. Adah.

’ She shrugged suddenly. Tubalcain and Naamah are pureblooded. who carries her share of his phantom blood. Who must be satisfied with the dilution of blood? Irad and Adah are ignorant of this policy.’ She turned to me suddenly. I said to Adah and Irad: ‘Tubalcain is what?’ Adah threw Irad a glance.’ She cut him shrilly: ‘When have I ever said that word. revealing a look of girlhood. feeling the weight as he did when young. and Adah told me about the great passion of Cain. ‘Isn’t that right. as are Zillah and Cain.’ I saw that at once too: Zillah is of their own blood. my dear. her father I intuit.you say. because she reaches out as she turns. There is a larger thought in this new perspective. She said with large eyes: ‘They never give me time to myself. They must be satisfied with the dilution now. and said: ‘They expunge strange blood.’ He sighed and looked companionably as Adah. looking very tired now: ‘Tubalcain is a bad mistake. Zillah’s Hands of God? I broke pattern again. to bring Zillah in. my pet?’ Chuffing her just under her left breast. turning to someone who is not there. Who is the father of Tubalcain and Naamah? The daughter already safely at Home. and he said amiably. my dear. tell me that. the whole shameful story: 160 . inviting me to join them. She sat beside him and dragged across another chair. is that it then? No mystery man in the wings. obviously a habit of his. a solid thrill I’d guess. but not her daughter.

In the morning Cain asked her. eh?’ My memory said no such thing. waiting until Zillah would have settled down in marriage. Once he lived in heaven and there grew to love his daughter in an improper way. ‘who is Enoch. all night long.’ I said wryly. admiring her beauty and grace. fearful of what he might do.’ Irad allowed me to digest the essentials of this before continuing: ‘Unfortunately. more than a little jealous for some reason. His mother and father welcomed him back. tall. ‘I am Adah.Cain is a man of renowned beauty. Cain. hot breath. fair. apparently. 161 . and on the first night home a woman slipped into his bed and wrapped herself about him. Cain. Cain did a terrible deed and was marked by the evil of the deed. Zillah’s daughter. It came to the point that he could no longer stay in her company. so he asked: ‘You are not Zillah. fearing his daughter had desired him too all these years. then frightened. with a radiant smile and gentle compassionate eyes. Why he runs rampant. Lamech can prove he is not the father of Tubalcain. when it might be the only road open to Zillah: ‘Grand passion. who she was. ‘Yes.’ Then. Cain was startled. He left home and worked in the city for many years.’ A night of passion on both sides. spoke of much frustration and waste. after whom our city is named. are you?’ A small voice answered at his ear. Adah gave birth to their son.

162 . And soon. ‘And you?’ ‘We are afraid. ‘Who else sleeps with his daughter here. the scenario had shifted pretty drastically in a very short space of time. keep them over to their side as it were. If there was further misdirection afoot at present. Eve? Naamah ran away. so I felt obliged to go carefully. intervening on their behalf rather than on my husband’s. Still. Eve.Adah’s eyes widened before Irad’s.’ So I took the opportunity to advance my case further: ‘I will need to speak to Cain.’ I was brisk deliberately.’ I asked. We are not evil. I had to remind myself that I did not know this Cain. I was thoroughly lost in the city now. you realise. I could not tell. and could not trust anything I’m told in the city.

163 .

moved by compassion: ‘It is what he is good at. She stopped suddenly. ‘Why does he always falter?’ We drank each other’s health. startling both Irad and I. a sad congested crying. I said to Irad. reluctance as well as his usual hesitation. Adah blubbering uncontrollably into her elixir. An announcement of a new piece of music by Jubal.’ 164 . but attempting to break pace. if the current scenario is correct? Adah began to cry into her hands. No more mischief here. ‘Can I have Methushael run me home?’ Irad paused in mid-sup. took the glass from his lips and said: ‘Him? I had forgotten him. cocking his eyes up towards the music and saying. she feeling her son being torn away from her for another woman.’ She answered through bruising sobs. the pain not easy now. but doing her best to join the toast. No. Adah. my dear. Eve?’ Irad came with three glasses on a bright salver and gave each of us a glass.Slippery is the word. Eve. Go home on your own now. The score itself will tell you everything. looked up and asked: ‘Is he pure. as I listened to the music going round and round. It was time to go. I said. do you think?’ She began to cry again. which he entitles ‘HAIL’ and dedicates with his love to Zillah. What I wondered.’ Adah snuffled wetly and said in a small strangled voice: ‘Some people get all the luck. ‘Why must we always have to give. would Zillah make of it? Living with Jubal far away from here? What would Cain make of it. Don’t you worry now. I think.

’ I said to him. her hands bunched under her breasts. The evenings here are at their most pleasant now. obviously well-rehearsed. In the winter there are covered walks. Show me one sign of truth here. Irad glanced at her and said to Methushael.’ Methushael glared at Irad. you know. ‘I will walk you down. Irad said. some quite extensive. realising himself only now how far I had penetrated into the city: ‘You’ve heard about traces. I have a spare moment now. fear of punishment still strong in him. you know. we often use that 165 . Methushael appeared and said to me: ‘Want me to run you home.’ Adah staggered and moaned. He smiled without looking at me. Methushael caught us up. no doubt.’ He stared away in the direction his grandson had taken. my lady.’ He continued walking.As if by a magical call. No trouble. ‘Irad. the voice that prompted Methushael to cringe in daydream. hoping he would go away: ‘She does for herself now.’ As if I didn’t know already. Get some air before bed. so he caught Adah’s arm and propelled her away towards the end of the Arena. pup. we had been walking slowly. ‘Take your mother up to bed. holding his arms somewhat stiffly in the cool air. ‘He likes to be impressed. Irad said. ‘You put a spring in his step. my dear. Good thing that. Irad studied me as we walked. Do it at once!’ Methushael threw me a last clinging glance as he raced off into the night. Irad has little curiosity. Go and see if father has taken his dose. sizing me up anew. definitely a middleman here. Go away. my lady?’ Irad snapped: ‘She doesn’t need you.’ Irad thundered at him. and panted still as he spoke to me: ‘I’ll run you over.

mind. but a phantasy that is ripe there. encouraging him in his louder voice. grandfather. Already Enoch was taking on a shape for me. practised. He said in a banter: ‘Oh no. my dear boy?’ Methushael went limp in Irad’s arms and said in resignation. ‘Leave you at home?’ Irad reached and caught Methushael’s neck in a playful yet domineering headlock. at the door to the carriage room. bracing him. there is a trace in Methushael that is primary. informing parts of them. Calculated violence.word. a sinner himself.’ As I half-expected. Nearer to the sin is Enoch. he can’t. little legs toddling along under his over-long jacket. Well. and said to me.’ Irad walked off with his arm around Methushael’s shoulders. Wickedness contains more gross immaturity than you sometimes know. 166 . I suspect. Aren’t you. Not originary. Methushael caught up with us again. as though the best was long gone: ‘Yes. his face showing a grim hopelessness. Methushael is going to put his granddaddy to bed. forcing his face down. only a supervention upon other traces.

This insight is prompted by the memory of the confusion that appeared on Tubalcain’s face then. the sap of the tree outside my window. and I lay listless. an entanglement. Yet my head began to clear. their elixir lowers a level so more can be seen. I feel I don’t convince you. yet knowledge flowing into me. He said plaintively. how rhyme knots. I was dozing off and wished he’d get done with it and let me go to bed. It’s like potentially knowing everything but unable to discern the individual strands of knowledge. It happens now as I write this. I should talk of the confusion here. whom he called a ‘drunken old groper’. He went on about this for some time. that too is a knot. but he rarely shows the joy of it. He looked so 167 . and to whom he had deferred for years in the belief that he had the full authority of the father over him. Why is he such a twerp? Jubal makes music and Jobal dances. But when I look now I see the words LOWER FOR MORE. corrugating his forehead. one hand flat on his thigh. ‘Don’t you want him talked down?’ I sat down. I grew lighter felt brighter. I know he beats metal. even now. Tubalcain was standing about six feet away before me. as though I was being squeezed into a tiny ball. I laughed. Drinking tires.Tubalcain has reacted badly to the news concerning his parentage. The fatigue was overpowering. the other brushing back his oily black hair. their drug permeating me. I was surprised at first until I saw that his annoyance was directed at Lamech. a neat meaningless slogan driven by an inane rhyme. always. Fingers folding to grasp. I told him bluntly to shut up. You see an element of the confusion here: a knot. Even his sister can get them going.

’ He thought with pursed lips.’ Then it was coils and coils and I fell asleep in the middle of it.like the tree outside. Silver is soft. A restriction. beloved. ‘I do like a good wit.’ he added hastily. Gold is sticky. I said. I am revolted by a quality in Tubalcain. ‘You had better ambitions.’ Tubalcain smiled fondly. evasive silver. dirty lead. not unhappy in that. I mean. most likely. but is that all it is in itself as iron. ‘How apt you are. pointing to the chair beside me. I completed: ‘Mercury coils. as though in parenthesis. We use iron for its strength. Eve. and said. I said to him. I wonder. He spoke with his more usual clarity: ‘Metals are principles anterior even to the crystal. barred from his mother from early on. How long will I be isolated this time. Tin is cheap. they have to be made by a transformative power. Copper burns. ‘what they are in themselves. not for us. As an example.’ Invited. They cannot grow. hadn’t you. sharp tin. looking quite solid in this crouch. but he is built well. He is not a particularly attractive man. then nodded and said: ‘Lead weighs. dying mercury. is to discover what metals are for. take iron. Tubalcain guard rather than lover: he prefers holding cold iron. Tubalcain?’ He leaned his arms on his thighs. mere cohesion?’ On the matter of sin. It will certainly be more boring.’ He looked at me appreciatively. clinging gold. as you might 168 . ‘Iron bars. The mystery. leering attitude that pervades all he does. a kind of gloating. I awoke knowing I was in prison. Tubalcain is not an idiot.

at other times I found myself in conversation with Tubalcain. I have never been enclosed. A cruel interference. who is standing over by the door. so I made myself get up off the bed and walk to the window. yet I know what it is like to have a mother. when it cuts off one of the taps. The sun beams today onto the tree. It seems that the tree can bear a sixth load for only about ten days. moist. please. These thoughts revolted me. Then I remember boredom. combining metals to find an earth for himself. Adah cut off and panic stations within 169 . how I cannot take that seriously. I say to Tubalcain. crystal clear. and with copper and lead he tapped the tree on the blind side and laid a pipe to a font in the room. living. but then I realised that I had no mother. as though sliding down a long slope. He wants to lie in his mother’s lap. and once with Methushael.have thought at times. but nothing like a shine. soft. A curious abyss in me. arms akimbo like a spinning top: ‘Water. which I could take seriously. but an infant. I thought at first that I resented being stuck with the booby prize. I have no mother. metals his only refuge there. knowledgeable. patient. an uncertain burnish. Insightful. How many days have been like that? It seemed many at times. he has all the ingredients of a good man. strong. Thought dissociates then and I think of being in prison. shining like a bell. a play of surface. but cannot see beyond his mother’s body.’ He goes to the tree. over on some spurious errand. A glass was procured and I had my first sip of the day. warm.

For two days I dwelt in that vision. and called Tubalcain to tog out for a trip. paradoxically nacreous. and I could enumerate almost all the clues and faults that bespoke the vision. I no longer sat on the roof and observed the city life. He looked closely at Tubalcain. and we were alone again. our powers are as yet puny there. I was trapped in this vision. Then I smiled. though it took them a long time to break into Tubalcain’s pipe. The struggle to break the desire for the elixir lasted another twenty five days. proving that surface alone. or more eatingly like an acid of sulphur. The monotony of the days. as if measuring him. again according to Tubalcain. A boundary-condition. I have no memory of this at all. the surface continuously retreating to surface. deep sleep only. not simply a border. almost dispirited once. as though someone told me interesting things. hand-on-the-tap-sort. will not explain stopping.minutes. I knew. at last. Such time to change disposition. like salt on your lips. the length of the nights. accompanied by his son. an edge. complete blank. Very tired then. feeling a basal bitterness. By the time I recovered supply to Adah had been restored. looking out at the tree as if in a trance before a divinity.’ Tubalcain told me this afterwards. and both Mehujael and Methushael were astonished to discover that he had not taken one drop of elixir. 170 . only listening apparently. bitterness a surface like the surface of the sea. I sat in my room. As for me. ‘Fucking water-babe. at least not raving. Only afterwards did the real hell begin. as though the energy might fail. Mehujael came this time. and said to Methushael. form. I was in a pretty deplorable state by then.

Labels. I shouted at him to hold on as the carriage dropped away into the utter darkness. Jiggery-pokery. He was too frightened for anything else. and jumped up into Tubalcain’s lap and released the handlebar. No more. How my spirit is expressed in Naamah’s replacement of me at Home. I turn off the tap to Enoch. every retaining surface he could find. a mad scrabble of feet and hands. words. Luckily I knew the way. feet in the air. He held me with everything. judge. and understand a great deal. ‘And so on’ came back with force. Methushael was here in minutes. words. A momentary fear. But as we rose again. But I doubt all this. degrees. I shouted to Tubalcain ‘The carriage!’ while swinging my fist at the side of Methushael’s head. Tubalcain my guardian angel. I see now a period of preparation. revelations each time. I holding him so I would not fall down. The upshot of this is we had to cling together in a complicated way. My soul in Jobal’s warmth and so on. My girls pleading for me. Adah? Zillah? Lamech who separates. then: the truth must indeed be terrible. Then the Arena. Unfortunately. Even so. he holding me so he would not fall back. crushing me with his strong arms. Tubalcain held on to me. my arms coming out of their sockets. not the bar. still panting after his race to the station. and wonder then why I thought of it. this pattern must be broken too. driving his groin down under me all the time.I connect rails and coils then. protecting me. perhaps a requirement of this Introduction. Jubal my angelic guide. he came to clutch at me. And so on. head up as he screamed loudly. coming to the silver spike pretty 171 . Like pressing a doorbell.

that’s it?’ A voice behind me said. ‘All right. though I resisted it. almost imperceptible movement. I said to Tubalcain. My head bowed slightly.soon. but he only smiled for me. staring at me with open eyes. less gruffly: ‘There’s no shame in taking what is given to you.’ Tubalcain piped strenuously. baring my teeth. ‘Drink now. tall. long bare hands. then running forward to the fountain. then galloped away into the gloom. and said. and the man appeared. cavernous face. and said insinuatingly. ‘I said drink it!’ He began crying as a way of overcoming a dilemma. Off you go now. on my knees gulping it down.’ He assented to this with a flick of his left eye. I realised just then. ‘You don’t know if it’s true. He shook his head slowly. tried another tack: ‘Then responsibility. That will do for now. Loyalty to me in conflict with some knowledge he had that I had not. Tubal. His mouth is so stiff that a laugh looks like a sneer. I mean ordinary water here as a concept. that’s a good lad. I pushed my face close to his. that is. not the elixir. sir. When I said coils and rails. not really interested in whether Tubalcain drank the stuff or not. gruffly authoritative. ‘Why?’ I asked him.’ ‘I don’t ask fire to cook me.’ 172 . Liquidity.’ He recoiled. I grabbed his arm and dragged him over to the fountain and shouted at him. I should have added water.’ ‘Right. flowing. acting a part.

Perhaps she was only learning what the score was. like a sea without salt.‘For ignorance?’ He bent carefully and sat on a bankside seat. It is true that they breed out Adah’s tainted blood. looking in his grey suit and drab tie like a worn rock. who said then: ‘Desperation is not quite a hunger. Enoch?’ He shrugged. I said to Enoch. Where is this case lay the extra? Exclusion. I said. Definitely this word. How do you do. but he seemed to garble it rather hurriedly. I believe. Fine. But why? Why deny Zillah for so long? I remembered then. ‘No smartness then. then. not complacently but to jeer him up: ‘Mother’s enough. no virtue in endurance: ‘You think so.’ I relaxed then. Eve? Let me tell you that long ago Zillah once said to me. He bent forward to look into the clear pool. inviting me to do likewise. Eve. ‘You too. and said without malice. I mean. But liars always say too much: truth is simple. Eve? My name is Enoch. seeing the possibility of truth without bitterness. life without pain. Her exclusion. 173 . I am Cain’s son by the abominated Adah. sugar. bracing his broad palms on the edge of his chair.’ He paused and waited with stony patience. finding it hard to feel sympathy for him. adding truth is always an excess. so I said: ‘Still no daughter.” Such a need in her voice.’ He said something else. what difference when it’s not your game?’ The word ‘sugar’ to me an odd epithet for Enoch. ‘”Come when you’re ready. yes?’ He gave a huge sigh. a cop-out should be its own reward: ‘In or out. as if having second thoughts. I can tell you. bearing her accursed blood in its plenty. studying the seamless liquid at his feet.

‘game’.’ My reaction was instantaneous. first ‘invention’ shot me back beyond his meaning – as discovery of a thing pre174 . You must see our problem. as though each word had a separate meaning from all others. ‘You.’ This caught me out badly and all I could do was ejaculate an ‘Eh?’ He looked over at me with a shy expression that could easily have been read as hesitation. miss.I know. to diffuse my reactions to what he was telling me. I concentrated on my memory of his words. miss. almost as though he was tempted to fall forward into the pool at his feet. as it were. feeling in me that assent to his words which is the perversion of grasping meaning. like a drug or a belief. ‘will see our lives as a game. I began to suspect that all his body language was intended to distract me. but Enoch insisted: ‘What can you do when you look for truth?’ He lowered his head again. closed systems like logic and number. He shrugged in mock guilt: ‘Oh I know you think we are ignorant of nothing except what we have forgotten. beyond our invention. ‘Rules.’ indicating weakly. It was true. Enoch said. to give me instructions as operations of will rather than give me knowledge for my own benefit.’ My head came up with a snap. His words came in series to me now. but used here by Enoch to mislead me.’ He pointed a long thick-boned finger at me. and test all his words off each other. fearing the repeat of the word ‘game’ here. now leaning his hands on his knees and bracing forward. but I think that we in the city here believe we are ignorant of something. an occult insight. nail curved around tip. but behind ‘truth’ I found. I could no longer gather in his words in the way I am used to. surely. Eve.

A severe attack but not long-lasting for all that. Then Adah came and held me until Mehujael and Irad contrived to carry me. not ignorant but becoming aware of a blindness in me. less easily daunted. I cleaned up in Adah’s House. yet knowing also that I was even more confused than hitherto. both meaning of ‘invention’ and of a principle comprehended. Enoch alone saw me in the pool. though she and her mother had taken turns to while away the long evenings. leaping up (no one trained to help me here) and slipping over into the pool. like new blood. holding me close despite the state I was in. which is an interesting insight. confident that I was more courageous now. a ritual self-birthing is what he would see. To him this would mean rebirth. Enoch didn’t know what to make of the event. For the first time. borrowing one of her large dresses for the moment. I took the hint and brushed 175 . I recovered with a new fortitude. The light induced immediate nausea and I vomited forwards. Their deepest wish is that God would speak to them again. I seemed strong enough to retain a semblance of that light and doing this eased the symptoms of terror. What of their experience? Adah gave my hair a thorough brushing: a new experience for me. something like repetition.existent – to one that leapt as origin. He would admit omens. and would make me a saviour. The pool isn’t deep so I thrashed about there screaming and trembling violently. swimming in a mother’s fluids. all orifices excreting as usual. even if it was only to curse them again. It was Methushael who helped me to my feet. my scream cut off by engulfing elixir.

I mean. the woman runs away. Only once did Adah speak to me. A real man was Zillah’s lover. go away and never come back? The word jumped into my mind: Cain. she said: ‘Putting it in the hands of God that way. ‘Of course. 176 . as Enoch predicted. Our conversation was light. that I saw the edge of the game. The mark is in the hand. but this piece of childish tattle thrust me off as a tangent. saying as I made the first tentative brushing through her long hair. Two men.’ Then more homely gobbly-gook. though friendly here. But I realised also that some kind of capitulation was afoot. I had not realised how intimate that experience is. Hands. too high expectations. children. taking a sup before dinner. up. and I wondered then why I assumed that Zillah’s mystery man was the same as my mystery being. Too few men. A genuine puzzle here. up!’ I was still shocked from the attack. It was only then. because only the hand has the right power. No. horribly fragile and ready for a quiet night. you see. and then with surprising authority. No one here is expecting that man to return. one woman. must be taught reserve. up. and Adah’s father. especially. for heavens sake. hair brushing an opening preliminary. How can they be so sure that this man will never return? How could they make a man do that. Eve. until later. about clothes and colour. with children you must always insist on right manners. both of us in a glow of light as though hair can radiate. The secret is in the hand. And Zillah? This particular scenario has the amiable quality of being interesting in itself.her hair then.

It is true that I did see that thread. He touched his brow in salute: ‘Be sure to drop by to bathe again. 177 . How to requite such enmity. seeing it with equanimity. blank for Adam also. for one. Taking a break from my desk I decided to tidy through some clothes.gives up the field to another woman. remember that for the future. lighting all else in its sublime glow. Behind this insight there seemed to curve away into a gloom a silver thread. I will suffer it. Confidentially. seeing no first-parents above them. a burden too great otherwise. surely? It was Irad who brought me to earth again. while ‘lighting’ echoes ‘pain’. not husband and wife. But sons will fight where fathers do not. not knowing any better: where was the father who could separates them? Or the mother? An uncomfortable thought then. asking me: ‘Thinking you have got in again. The end of my envisioned thread will be like that. playfully or not I couldn’t then decide. knowing that at the end of that thread lay very great pain. How the word ‘glow’ hides ‘truth’. Two men and one woman.’ His eyes were furtive. blank for me. my dear. not pleasant.’ I’ve just found Adam’s book again. no doubt. almost. terrible knowledge. brother and sister. where I found it in the pocket of the smock I wore when I was last with him. It came to me as an after-image. Same blank pages. won’t you. am glad. I return to what I can see in this game. that I had forgotten about it until just now. but also one truth. Cain and Zillah as though springing from nowhere. I.

my dear?’ I told him it was a book. Mehujael. his hand already rehearsed as he reached for it. The placings are fixed. another break in the pattern. Adah. it was only when Irad appeared shortly afterwards to have a drink and a chat and promptly ‘noticed’ the book. but an extra place had to be created for me in any case. tableau. Enoch on his right. another group nattering away. I sitting between Mehujael and Methushael. ‘What is this. He asked me if he could show it to some others. clockwise. a real rivalry in Adah then. pushed this way. what writing is. left there. they have gone through this routine so many times now. showing him this script. He wasn’t there that night. I am unwilling to return to my account of the party in Adah’s House. I couldn’t refuse. eyes darting from one food source to another. watching her gorging herself quite unselfconsciously. I was like grit in an axle. Methushael takes Cain’s place when he is absent. I faced Adah. The table of course was the especially testing point. seeing writing even if he cannot read it.As it happens – omen or destiny? – Methushael was through on an errand and he happened to spot the book lying on the side table. scripting these words for his enlightenment. five places. the book itself might help to make a difference. a boring affair. as you might expect. Cain. Irad. first this group. by now Irad already knows far too much about it. pulled along here. then explained what a book is. I didn’t notice this. waltz around. Even so. dragged over that way. Enoch nibbles his 178 . Six places changed the balance around the table considerably.

Cain’s presence needed in the city. Cain does not eat here. To what extent is Methushael a sign for Cain in other ways. Irad cuts and dissects. Methushael. Such a sense of decay. in some specific form. then Irad joins him. see it also in how he turns to stone in order to survive. Adah tears at her clothing. breaking it up with his fingers as he raises it to his mouth. chews in a frenzy of watchfulness. fearing theft. Methushael said to me at one point: ‘Watch Adah. Never closes it when there’s not. like a plug pulled in a bath. straightens bones. Enoch looking from one to the other with disfavour. Cain knows what the elixir is for. pleased it had gone so well. Never opens his mouth when there’s food in it. his font the public font. the hot thick liquid flowing neatly into her cleavage. and Methushael falls about laughing. Apropos of flowing. yet he has a place and a deputy. screaming that she’s scalded.food. knows the reason for its existence. This happens every night. There was so much in this. But the absence is in him. Nor – have you seen this? – does he drink elixir. as though some part of himself was utterly missing. and yet it will not serve him. perhaps 179 .’ We waited and watched as Adah spooned gravy out of sequence. he is abstemious with the elixir. even as I look as him laughing raucously. Because he knows why the elixir exists. afraid of dissolution here too. I think immediately of the word ‘indignity’. Methushael nodded brightly to me. ogling Adah. unless he stocks himself up. his niece-wife’s house. I surmise from this that Cain does not eat in Adah’s house. I may have seen this absence only because I had previously understood that exclusion is impossible.

too. I’m having no more children. Methushael leaned over and whispered. Too much happening. sweetheart?’ I made as though to brush him off.’ This was the first they had heard of this. At least it put him out of the game for a while. seeing a mother coming from her bathing. I could see that his eyes wanted only to slip back to where they had been. His mother’s apotheosis. Enoch. my dear.’ This last was sarcastic and earned the retort. Concatenation. then said. 180 . ‘She got Jobal back last night. my foot. except that my knuckles caught him nastily on the fleshy part of his nose. almost. ‘Nerve. Negative though not polar.’ But Irad answered too: ‘A boundary and a lesson. who she knows she can trust to support her. and it threw them into some excitement. But how can I do that. in other words. if you follow me. then. I do not have Mehujael’s insight. who was looking down at Adah’s exposed breasts beside him with a look of real fear: ‘How do you stop sin. ‘Punishment aborts destinations. picking up this thread: ‘Does punishment have a destination?’ But it was Mehujael who replied. Not an accident.’ Adah pahed this very loudly. to treat him as though he were a man. I say to Irad. though not next in line. Enoch?’ When he looked at me. she was playing to Irad. I saw that Methushael wanted me to approve of him. pressure at the top here.because he is the youngest. Much of Enoch’s authority seemingly evaporated that afternoon. Adah didn’t notice any of this. Mehu. when he does not behave like one? I said to Enoch. glowing with the elixir. ‘Want me back too. ‘Or Naamah’s nerve. Indignity.’ He winked. making him cry out in misery. worships Adah.

bathing with her too. but nonetheless an error. Do we live in sin. Nothing can be stopped. you say. Miss. He pushed himself to his feet. I took sugar and threw it in a cloud onto Adah’s chest. ‘Speak for yourself. seeing how the fine white crystals adhered to the moisture of her flesh. and for those like you.’ His tone alerted everyone.touching in its own way. Enoch. his resentment of the interruption just below the surface. I say to him: ‘As a broken wheel governs a cart. lady. ‘No. Miss Eve. feeling an indiscretion in his utterance. We understand control and government. remember?’ I remembered well enough. Don’t waste my time now. ‘Not dysfunction.’ I heard ‘invention’ again. of judgement if no more. is that what you charge us with? We are restrained. all cold white cloth. my dear Miss. Enoch’s eyes shot away after it. gravy smeared over her belly like a marinade. But Irad is used to Adah’s skin. Adah said. her breasts plopping her arms as she ate in haste.’ Mehujael said at my left. Come 181 .’ Enoch said in a refined priestly way. You just wait and see. with anyone he can persuade. chum. Miss?’ I looked at him closely. But it’s not clear whether he is teasing me or prompting me. which permitted me to say darkly. ‘Of a game. of course) appeared again for me. and the path (metaphysical. Enoch said: ‘So skin governs. as though she would eat us next. red-coloured jelly on her chin making her mouth extend in an alarming way. pulled the napkin from his collar-band and threw it on the table: ‘I can no longer sit and watch these goings-on. you quite destroy all our hopes.

’ Irad said. of where to start. You will have to recognise that you are no longer playing a game. ‘Right.’ This was deliberately off the point. don’t think we don’t know. smart lady? Want to play momma here too.’ That stopped one line of attack. Irad to claim Methushael again. I said to Methushael: ‘The crime of necessity indicates justice. but the charge of licentiousness hung over the table still. black and white. Mehujael as usual left to his draught pieces.on now. I presume. but Irad turned on him instead and said: ‘I accuse her of frolicking. so I was forced for a while to divide my attention between the two. ‘Elaborating which. Enoch ready to lick sugar on his mother’s body.’ He slapped the table peremptorily with the joined fingers of his right hand and said.’ This brightened him up a bit. of taking pleasure and so contaminating a duty. A matter of origins. Enoch.’ He looked at me with a bright tense smile. You are among adults here. as I expected. not the punishment. then.’ I said: ‘No blood sport. beginning his attempt to master me: ‘Encourage devotion. Admitted. so I pushed on at Enoch again. rows of teeth glistening: ‘What now. endless struggle of his own invention. eh?’ Irad said sharply.’ Enoch coughed warningly. though I had believed before then that it was Methushael: ‘Why the piety. we should then admit to our ignorance and immaturity. their weak link. Oh. achieve regularity. sonny boy. daunting perhaps if 182 . Frolicking with your sons one and all. big boy? What are we side-stepping. Bucolic ease.

and it was dawning on me that it 183 . The swift fear told me how uncertain my position was here now. threads. Like kinks in a weave. provocative for two reasons. getting trickier. who had eyes for me only. when Enoch’s expression took me aback. What is meant by stopping here. like a fence drawing in around me. permitted Enoch to reveal a face to me. I said to Adah. looking at Methushael. Do you keep your socks on?’ Enoch finally spoke. An event. encoding this new limit on patience. but cloth nonetheless otherwise there is waste.Adah had not unknowingly given me some assistance. a knowledge again here unknown to me in its specifics. miss. ‘Temptation. I was about to ask them how on earth they were ever tempted. of a helpless woe. Like a curse. I said. All pervert origin. and said to me.’ Sin has a beginning. kid. back where I came from. I asked. Like pain. I was at last becoming impatient again. They knew they could send me away somewhere else. There you got it. A tightrope. and said with a quiet but complete satisfaction: ‘That’s it exactly. making a bad cloth. suddenly aware of the moaning Methushael. ‘Bound to duty. sister?’ and to Irad: ‘Bound to habit. to speak his thought for both of us: ‘One temptation only is required. Stopping is an evil to them. Conscious that Enoch hadn’t answered yet.’ I laughed. even though they suffer constantly.’ Enoch nodded emphatically. like trying patience to the limit. Threads. in other words.

as I called it. fit only for consuming.’ It was this banal. You haven’t lived yet. even as she fell forward. as though sinking down into a sea. especially Mehujael himself saying. her breasts squashing into the mousse or whatever she had been eating. Then she was as if falling forward. then?’ Adah reacted first. Adah hiccupped and her kin tried to pull her back from the table. and she said in a neutral tone. her eyes trying to express how she felt in lieu of words. but she raised her eyes to me.’ Mehujael caught my left wrist and shook it to attract my attention. a lurch forgotten in the terror of falling that way. ‘What Adah means. She looked as though she was falling. Eve?’ I realised then that they referred to a different temptation.’ Enoch said with a grating 184 . ‘a curse and a freedom preceding this curse. the blue suddenly bright. But you’re just kidding yourself. like rooms lighting up. a pallid sherry in colour. She had some kind of thick liquid in her mouth. one that is in their bodies. You think you are so different from us. imparting information as an aside: ‘Here you pay first. to have sight forced on her: ‘You are such a smart bitch. when he said: ‘Our suffering is real. It rises in us. But is that all. Miss. parts of earlier conversations returning. and strongly. no one gives us our pain. not a degraded woman. fearing worse. as rapidly as I could. and she spattered the entire table with the stuff. seeing herself as an animal. girl. and calling me a girl because she thinks I am innocent as yet. Eve.’ I was reassessing my concept of the problem.was not temptation. and the curse that followed on it. that caused my nausea: ‘What’s the problem. but nonetheless the degradation of body was evident.

showing him words as though lines on a page windows.ponderous tone. He was certainly impressed by the power of writing. Enoch asked me where the book had come from. ‘My husband. It also revealed the purpose of life. not having spoken for a while. I was genuinely puzzled and said without thinking. the nearest to joy in his eyes. At Irad’s urging he told me this: Before the city named for him was built. ‘Why pay? You don’t know what you’re letting yourselves in for.’ Irad asked Enoch. and so had not been able to tell his descendants the truth. I said plainly. ‘is that we have hope of salvation. then Irad closed his eyes slowly. They were peremptory out of excitement not anger. Enoch’s father had told him that his own father had a book from the hand of God. Irad had me tell Enoch about books and writing. The book was small but contained all the knowledge of this world. Cain often lamented that he had not been able to read that book. his chops filling as he clenched his teeth.’ Methushael nodded vigorously. who was accompanied by Enoch. and the role of mankind. and it was easy to calm them. otherwise the words would take over. and also I think somewhat frightened of contamination. I was interrupted today without much ceremony by Irad. ‘Is it the same book.’ A sentence needs a stop. I had to write for him too. father?’ 185 .

you see here: they are willing to 186 . only you have to tell them what to do all the time.’ I cut him off and said. a sudden sickening realisation. I sat on him. Enoch. I found a chair to sit on and said. his eyes already anxiously ahead to their far destination. en masse. I felt wonderfully aroused. but I said to him: ‘Why don’t you wait here with me. ‘You are the quicker. to another seat in me. again. as if the energy gathered for a good puke was being diverted. and I was about to tell them when I suddenly saw a catastrophe if I told them who my husband is. really.’ Enoch turned to go too. and a woman can keep him there. earnest. ‘Perhaps if you were to ask Cain?’ Impatience again. the scream more a habit this time as I found I was grasping something within that appalling realisation. but how boring to be serviced by a machine again in this city. I felt better. Blindness. I said to Irad.’ Once Irad had clattered off to the station. something I can only describe as ‘raw’. puking all over Enoch and Irad. endlessly capable. Go ahead now. of course. Enoch said. ‘Between mother and a tainted woman.They meant copy. You have my permission to show your grandfather the book I brought. I was hot. ‘And an untainted woman?’ I clasped his cock through the thin fabric of his pants and drew him down to me. It won’t take too long. I mean. a man can concentrate there. Once I grasped this. An obedient man. Eve. and then I was overcome. Every which way you like. the only way in the long run. for on the heel of the growing implication came something much worse.

’ 187 . ‘In pleasure we perceive our heaven. even for a moment. if I could believe you. Waiting is a kind of stopping. ‘More than you ever did. Sid.’ I picked up the mousse before me and swung it off the plate in such a way that it struck Adah full between the breasts mashed down onto the table. but the word ‘wait’ unusual for me. ‘Remain’ taxed me then. running down across her belly into the bush. Eve. Irad says: ‘Pleasure is an instalment of heaven. ‘I’ll show you. though Adah said to Irad. redundantly. But to wait means also to remain as you are.’ To me she said. conscious that the others were getting ready to speak also. to hide my intent. ‘And you thought he scared you. that broke Irad. and I grasp at ‘remain’ and I see darkness between lights. ‘Like coming home?’ and Irad said earnestly. who then sat glum in his red bowtie and jittering clothes.’ Surprisingly. finally drawing herself back from the table. Adah said to Methushael in acknowledgement of this. only pleasure is needed to tempt their pain that little bit further along. If I can get back to my account now: Adah’s reaction to my remark that they mightn’t know what they were letting themselves in for was trenchant: ‘We are making payment.’ I looked at Methushael and said jovially. a hopeless confusion of foods and liquids coating her entire chest and face.’ I was distracted then by the thought: who waits? I tried to think it back. ‘I would call you divine.’ I said. Even Mehujael laughed at that.be led.

each time along a different strand. to see Adah change her mood so wonderfully well. 188 .’ Then he went around and began to lick Adah’s face. ‘Food builds. the material now quite rigid. dear. A boundary of light and dark. It was like following a contour.’ He leapt and went in under the table.’ Mehujael said.’ To which I replied. I said to Methushael. Adah was saying: ‘Now. Adah fell silent. ‘Now. and she was still pressing her right palm to his face. prompting me again: ‘I never imagined I would see this. but now her left hand cupped his chin. frowned over me: ‘There is always only limited accommodation. dear. depending on your temperament on the occasion. and said. fingers splayed over his eyes. an opening in the other. Enoch. working back towards her arm. We must learn patience. Your father is coming. my lad.I was charmed by that. like a wave of some density.’ Irad was awake again. now nibbling over Adah’s stomach. and you followed this boundary. She’s your mother too.’ Enoch went on licking contentedly. darling. That night I wove in deeply to the dark. Remember what I told you the last time. remember what I told you about doing wrong? That daddy would be cross with you?’ I said to Mehujael. do leave off. suddenly. Adah laughed. ‘Oh. I walked in the Arena then on my own. towering Houses in one direction. you mustn’t do that. ‘You too. Enoch. ‘Not even when you inflict pain?’ Enoch was by now getting on to Adah’s left breast. eyes strictly down the way he was going. genuinely surprised for once. so Adah put her hand on his face and said. Mehujael stood up. Enoch began to lick the thick paste that coated her left shoulder.

I say Adam’s cure. Suddenly there was absolutely nothing. everything stopped. that my terror hit me like a lack of confidence. a lack of understanding. a lack of energy. for instance. Only that far do I understand what happened there. I stopped. until light began to glow again in the crystalline rock. Or extraction from this city. knowledge of a task to be done. Adam’s cure. It was only when I realised that I could go on. but that is no longer true. Only once was I anyway frightened. into the darkness. How intense one light alone is. I cannot unroll what has happened since I came here. and at once I retreated slowly.following the ground very closely to the very last sparks of light. For an instant in that darkness. I was tempted to panic and search frantically. For an instant there was no light. brought me back to memory of light. but I made myself stop. I can only make the best preparations. 189 . But I did move nonetheless. There is another task now. There is Adam’s Book. penetrate it as I penetrate light.

Eve dear. she did rub her knees together from time to time. though not urgent.Zillah came to see me this evening. She screamed. I nodded to the gaping Zillah and said: ‘Cock. you get away with it. lovey. pressing in as tightly as she could. simply.’ She laughed and held up her hand. and continued. looking at me intently: ‘I wouldn’t have thought you were a glutton for punishment. definitely not the elixir. up in the loft of his hut. and now Enoch. 190 . for the second time today. Tubalcain. a tedious journey to judge by her expression. Jobal.’ I saw Cainen at once. Zillah hitched her skirt on her thighs as though she was going to dance. Only tea.’ Zillah asked: ‘Pardon?’ Then she caught sight of Enoch for the first time and screamed to see him lying there. thank goodness. really irritating. ‘Oh. No explanations or apologies. Irad. don’t you worry. the heat of sheep a convenience to us. absolutely still. like he was stroking a fur or a fleece. even after I managed to rouse Enoch up.’ She said. and snapped: ‘It can’t be taught. and said. See? Am I right or wrong?’ I laughed a tight tittery laugh. my sweet.’ Now it became the two of us coming up sharply against a brick wall. Keep to the essentials. ‘No. and plopped with a thud onto a chair by the table. Methushael. Jubal. She had her hands over her ears. with gentle hands. I was powerfully aroused again. I mean. I know all about them. and felt randy. Twit. skin to skin all night long. ‘A nice man. his long cock limp between his thighs. really.

Enoch went for the others. Afterwards they all stayed
back for dinner. I had contrived a hurried meal, plain food,
poor wines, but Irad got onto a talking jag, trying to talk to
both Adah and Zillah. Adah looked tired, Enoch shamefaced,
only Methushael jolly at all, sitting up beside me as usual,
closer each time we sit together.
After the main course of dry meat and peas, Irad said
to Zillah, opening what was obviously a rehearsed gambit,
‘How’s the flute boy? Any better?’
Adah said wearily: ‘Why we bother I don’t know.’
Zillah says, ‘He tries, God bless him.’
Before the others could respond, I said to Zillah,
leaning around behind Mehujael: ‘Does he still play?’
Then Methushael said behind me to Enoch, his
aversion to Zillah evident in his voice: ‘She cannot be
permitted to blaspheme here.’
Zillah said, rolling her eyes up in mock alarm, ‘Only
when he’s good, dear. He’s awfully spoiled, you know.
Absolutely ruined.’ And Enoch looked over at her with
distaste and said, ‘She is Eve’s guest.’
Mehujael, who seemed in a kinder mood than usual,
then said to Adah: ‘You’ve never been expected to bother,
mother. Only a brother because of Zillah here.’ I said to
Zillah, ‘Remember, dear, that he is a composer not a
performer. He’ll need encouragement, if you ask me.’
Zillah looked stupid for an instant, the effect of her
cosmetics really, then said: ‘Cock, you mean?’ I nodded and
she said, ‘But that would be a pistol, my dear. I prefer a man
to be good with his hands, you see, so I can keep him busy. I
can’t stand workers who take it easy.’ Adah said to me in a
191

shrill voice, Mehujael’s banter having aroused her,
unfortunately, I thought then,
‘She can talk!’
Enoch looked at me with a beseeching expression,
evidently ghastly tired now, as though what he desires rises
from an emptiness in him, overpowering him. My mouth was
dry, no elixir here only sour wine, and the feeling of
revulsion was overpowering, to see such decrepitude in Adah
as well as Enoch, already eating into Irad, relaxing even
Mehujael. I said to Zillah, ‘Bring the car.’ I might be running.
But it might be something else, like another glimpse of the
path, dark here in a dark place of bone idleness. Zillah
smirked at once:
‘Right on, sweet.’
A nod in a moment and then we slunk away from
there, the last voice, Methushael’s, shouting in despair, ‘What
about me?’
You might well ask, Is this a new scenario?
I think this is real, I mean, real for me, Eve, who writes
this. Zillah is real, Jobal, Jubal and Tubalcain are real. But
only during that night, awakening from a deep sleep, did I see
how my task is best served by taking Zillah from the city, to
bring new life to my Home, rather than stale news from the
city. Tubalcain insisted on coming, as did Jobal. We didn’t
press Jubal, who was jealous of both Tubalcain and Jobal, but
I think in the end he preferred his brothers and joined us.
I approached Jubal with interest and said, ‘Hi, big boy,
how’s the fluting?’ He looked bemused, wonderfully hungry,
192

and put his arms around my shoulders and lay his cheek
against my neck, whispering,
‘Wooden, love, beholding your charms. I expire in
your arms, to see you so unexpected.’ Spoiled? Spoiling more
likely, to be roasted before he goes off. Zillah doesn’t know
what’s good for her, as Adah observed, she having handreared Jubal to the task of talking Zillah down. I said, ‘I’ve
got a replacement team. You can stand down, Jubal.’ I
managed to get to Tubalcain before Zillah did, who was still
tailing Jubal in the hallway, and to whom I said: ‘Back on
track, boy, OK? Shiftwork, but you’ll get used to it.’ I left
Zillah to work on Jobal.
Jubal is practical, which is a relief. There should be a
lot of organising to do, but it was hard to find things to
organise, if you see what I mean. I knew the city could resist,
if not stop me. Jobal’s memory was intermittent about the
journey. Naamah had driven out but Jobal had only followed
the tracks back. So I sent him to find the track for us, to hunt
the perimeter of the city, looking out for mountains in the
distance.
They were anxious days. I admit I allowed myself to be
diverted from some very serious considerations. I was aware
that light darkened for me, Jubal resistant, Zillah vague,
Tubalcain dumb. I can think of them now, to my relief, but
then I hungered for elixir on tap, dinner parties, vicious
chatter, half in love with decrepitude itself, like finally losing
all patience, and so all restraint, to be like an animal alone.
But to find one’s own animality requires that you first
conceive of animality itself, for only then could you apply the
193

concept and so know it. Only this insight sustained me then,
that first day, pacing the main room, sustaining me like a
brightness in their darkness, as I fought my desire to submit,
to return, to step down, to try to stop again. Later, I was
helped by the confusion, for then I understood the confusion,
like eating air or breathing milk. Elixir is a switching
mechanism, putting you on the down line.
Only then did I realise that the boys were with us
because they were uncontaminated, Lamech abandoned,
malice there useless to anyone. I wanted then to barricade
Zillah’s house, and gear the boys for a fight. Zillah, too, was
willing, but always in the wrong clothes, fearful of getting
hurt.
It surprised me that she had agreed so readily to come
back Home with me. I hadn’t forgotten about her conviction
that she had touched God, but the benefits greatly outweighed
the dangers. She will be my daughter there. She defers to me
already, has always done so, if you remember.
She said when I asked, second evening here, drinking
whisky in her lounge, a horrible sexy den, full of last week’s
handjives, ‘Anything you say, sweet. Get going when you’re
ready, OK?’ Her gestures are more expansive, not alone
drunk but a true dimension appearing, a queen denied a
kingdom. Then I gave thought to her rivalry with me. For a
while I did waver in my decision, until I asked, ‘Rivalry for
what?’ She is welcome to share-and-share-alike in my Home,
fair for everyone if possible. So I said, ‘We have to find a
way, Zillah.’ Her head lolled for an instant, then she caught
herself up and said, peering from her mascara caves:
‘Anyway suits me, dearie. I’m easy.’ Saying which, I knew at
194

once she was not. I retorted, ‘Since when has anything been
easy for you, Zillah?’ She came over and hugged me, a
curious lumpy experience, like meeting yourself, but when
did I last embrace a woman full frontal? She said, taking a
speck from the side of my nose with a long nail, ‘Since you
came, Eve. Give them someone else to look at.’ I laughed to
see her old wit and I chucked her chin, feeling the hardness of
her bone there, a dark sensation, that made me wonder all
over again, about Hands of God and what he left her, an
overburdened daughter in place of his absence.
It made me think again of betrayal, but as ever it was
difficult to place the betrayal, how it occurs and who was
most damaged. I said, ‘Mine will do more than look at you,
apple. Wait and see.’
Zillah laughed again, ‘Shift-work?’

195

Thus far in the confusion. Unable to break Zany Zillah,
unable to break Equable Eve, either. Two slick chicks
together, long legs, lean hips, small hard breasts, leather, get
it? More two mothers with their children on some eternal
coffee break. We were giddy, missing husbands, toddling the
kids from time to time to keep our hands in, boys raring to
go, sticking their little dicks out at each other. Fun? They
were mindless. By day four, Zillah and I had about got
through Jubal and Tubalcain, and we were tending to spend
time together alone. She was more racy on her own, no need
to play up to the boys, and I could ease myself into her
company, like lowering yourself into a vat of hot oil, how a
fish might feel.
Zillah has an advantage in this: she has a daughter and
so knew all the politics of the relationship of mother and
daughter, while I had mothered sons only. But Zillah could
not remember her mother at all, and I had no mother, so she
treated me as Adah had treated her, while I treated her as I
treat all my sons.
There was cheek here that had to be punished, sharp
slaps that took an effort, but were rewarding. She was far
more resistant than my sons, standing up to me to an extent
that surprised me, until I asked:
‘No one forced you, Zillah.’
She hung her head suddenly: ‘No one asked either,
Eve.’
‘But forced, Zillah?’
She slumped down, as though a conclusion had been
reached: ‘No. Welcomed.’
196

Zillah cried all that day and into the night. I kept her
company, though there was little I could do for her, letting
the boys in to play for a while, Tubalcain a bit stupid in the
face of his mother’s tears, sitting with her hand in his.
That is how it was when Jobal came back with the
directions we should take. I was still fully convinced that I
was fulfilling a better task this way, seeing the good that
would come of it. I said to Zillah, snapping her out of her
tears, ‘Load the car now, Zillah. Jobal will drive.’ She went at
once, tissue drying her face, sniffling, Tubalcain and Jobal in
train like lambs, and Jubal came over to me to say, ‘Harmony
holds the balance between melody and rhythm. I would
prefer to make music, if I may.’ I looked at him closely,
seeing him utterly unchanged despite his recent drastic
experiences. He mistook my look for a gaze of enquiry, and
so continued: ‘Song uses harmony to conquer rhythm, while
dance strives to imitate melody, harmony in the latter a
concern of instruments rather than of music. Only as song
does music find its way, hiding harmony so melody can be
alone for a while.’ I said then, nodding to him as though I had
only seen him now, that even Adah dotes on his music, who
hates him, ‘You fire away, boy. Go big, OK?’
We were no sooner in the car than Jobal wet himself,
and we all had to decamp again, clean him up and go
ourselves after all the fuss. Tubalcain said in the hall, his flies
already undone, his meaty hand rummaging in his pants,
‘Mammy says you’ve got gangs of kids, is that right?’ I left
him with a nod and went on. Zillah said to me, ‘Look, dear.
I’ve had time to consider.’
197

As a flash, the scenario came to me. One word, already
mentioned: betrayal. I said, suppressing my chagrin, ‘Cain?’
This was his play. A long game, you see? All the boundaries,
each a step down in a degradation, each an unfolding of
another world, a hell on earth. You see then that I duck this
insight, clutch at some kind of living, witnessed in Zillah, as
a remedy for what frightens me in this hell. Now this remedy
is withdrawn and a space appears, a place for another saviour.
I know you say to yourself, ‘Right! Got that.’ But I see
more. Why a saviour? Why someone else to do what we each
can do perfectly well for ourselves? Remember, I said this
was Cain’s Game, the City’s Game. It is a game of the fallen:
let me step on your back, chum.
I had stepped upon so many backs here. Was it now
my turn to be walked on, the final initiation into this society,
Cain’s people?
Zillah said, ‘No.’ She was surprised that I mentioned
Cain. ‘It’s only that this place is sacred to me. It was here that
Hands of God came to me for the first time. I worship that
memory, Eve. I cannot leave it.’
Strike off Zillah, and strike off Tubalcain. I said to
Jobal, ‘Got any reservations, Joker?’
He looked up at me for the first time. ‘Do you know,
you are bad news, lady. You are one hell of a swarm of bees,
a groping hand, a fiddler and a haver.’ I heard Adah’s voice
in that, so I said:
‘Show me the way anyway, will you, Wilson?’

198

on the far side of the river. I hadn’t bothered even to consider contingencies. I had made no earnest preparations. You see I leaped one way. heard birds. I remembered writing at the beginning of this Testament about how I leap to see the sun and the moon. as he usually does. which I had forgotten. as I did then. Nonetheless I was still confused. I thought then. he drove me out to it. I felt myself rising again out of the city. What would I tell Adam? Would it worry him and make him worse that usual? Perhaps he won’t care one way or the other. than the constant realisation that I had been given some bad news about Adam in the city. smelled flowers and trees. never once looking back at the city below. sun on my right. plodding thoughts for worry. How you think as you walk. 199 . slipped another. and above all blind. But also for relief. land and sky.He not only showed me. I got out of the car and started walking. Very careless or what? I started up that road like someone abandoned. I walked under a high sky. No. but the more I responded the more the source slipped to one side. as it were. the land rising gradually towards wooded uplands. I leaped there. you will reckon. Except for shoes. and the other concern appeared: I had forgotten something. I mean. resigned in a way that comforted me deeply. An evasion. and it is true that it was this realisation that upset me. the blindness of the city remaining in me. Adam’s curse. still worrying as I have shown. each step on this track taking me further away. more. The best I could work out was that it had to do with Adam. clear up there. not Adam’s book – even then I knew that it had had no discernible influence so far.

smell and taste rule. diverted. Irad stole. how Mehujael served. then I was no longer blind. on a road of petty self-serving worry. learning from Adah how to divest myself of skin. however.I won’t harp on the blindness more than I have to. Don’t misunderstand me in this. unknown languages yet. Adah suffered. I won’t say scales fell from my eyes. Enoch took. if a man appears not to want to meet you. I was still blind. I do not know anything. as indifferent to Cain now as Zillah is. though in fact more senses available there. But this is not how my blindness manifested itself. that supports it. and so on down to Methushael the romancer. And how I jousted with the others on this very point: confirming all of them in their ignorance even as I understood their blindness. was new and more than a little unnerving. which has a destination inferior to its truth. because though I didn’t know it at the time. The knowledge that I could go into the darkness should I wish. living there as I live in the light. only that I can see a true path. this attempt at stopping. what I would call a darkness then blinded me. the scales had already been removed. I was blind up to a point. Sight excludes all other perception but the crudest. No. a trivial circumstance. Sound 200 . Sound far away. smell close by. You saw how I tested this darkness in the Arena. there may be good reasons for this. Then. taste already within. touch engrossing: in the dark. as you might appreciate. the only one of them hard-working. For the sake of the truth upholding this destination I am willing to encounter this local end.

This word I have been thinking about. My curse. as light is. and on the other guide me now. one in Cain and so one in me. and I am 201 . or two events. but how does this on one hand change the fact of the curse.. as a way out. but above all this lay the awareness that I was interrogating principles now. a curse enacted there in the city. Not the nausea. feeling suddenly futile. anyway? I thought. another above that(.surrenders to scent and only the tongue touches. This is what I learned in the city. not seeking inspiration as much as looking for a place to hide a thought.) I broke off then. taste like eyes. It was wonderful to glean this kind of knowledge from my experiences. Cain is the strange man. Cain’s. that the dark is a place too.. Why assume an attractor? I mean. I went to the window and looked out at the trees around us. when events were in my situation the important factor. stepping it out towards Home? How most of all approach again that which sickened me so violently. I sent for coffee. Who else does he relate to? It was as painful a thought then as it is now. one in the city. Then I saw spurious reasoning. uncertain now whether there was only one event. Only symmetry. Why Cain. I see two curses. why do I believe I was drawn to the city? Jealousy. It was agreeable to find an intuition confirmed. stupidity rolling back towards me.

But I ask myself. which after all is what jealousy is. least of him in Zillah. Why jealousy? I came to the city on behalf of my husband. I could search only for what I know. and so most jealous of imitations. most jealous of Zillah. I see most of him in Adah. I see him in all their faces and bodies. 202 . It is not Cain. the trace of his presence to them. here once now gone. I would know him if I saw him again. I did not: I came to the city to meet a strange man. I cry now. I am truly amazed by all this. to be replaced. astounded: All this for a stranger? A man I have never met. Even so.jealous of those who already know him. Something I have lost. I am not convinced. Adam. least jealous of Adah. like a memory. except in the signs of his presence in the city. But he is known to me. that I do not know.

spanking along a stretch of new blacktop. He scratched his brow. ‘Here. Get cool.’ His eyes were an honest green.’ I said. raising his 203 . and said ‘Do you farm hereabouts?’ to ease him off some more. can we?’ Under way. dust clinging to his brow. its virtue. rank and slick. He leaned across me to check that the door was locked. The offside door swung open and a man leaned over on the bench-seat and asked: ‘Need a ride. I smiled at him and eased him off that way. a warcry. now. It was sweet and clear. and it stopped beside me. and pushed the packet across to me. winking. He was unshaven. certainly a supportive cry like ‘Get it off!’ We sucked chocolate for a while. but a dark vapour hung over it. honey. the road now entering the forest. A car came up the road. almost at the forest. the first that day.’ I hopped in beside him. He was pulling at some silver paper. nibbling a biscuit and drinking clean water from a nearby stream. He said after we had settled down to the improved conditions. glad to get a lift part of the way at least. babe?’ ‘Home. honeybunch. nails chipped by manual labour. huh?’ He gave out a raucous cry in a strange chanting voice. cooler and purer then. extracting blocks of chocolate. ‘And I might go a ways myself. which I could see.I tired towards evening. He leaned over to me and said. ‘You go far. active and appraising. he took another piece of chocolate. an inert mass. ‘Can’t be too sure now. pressing down on my thighs as he tested the leverage there. anonymous as water always is. The city was hidden from me by shoulders of the mountain nearby. have some chocolate. and found a rock to rest on.

I sat and watched the trees flash by. his chagrin well enough hidden. which is red and deep. I own the whole frigging lot out there!’ He looked at me with a wild expression. and said: ‘Well.’ ‘And the stars?’ He nodded grimly. It was near dark before he spoke again. then on the other. do you know. looking forward out the window as he spoke. slipping into it quietly. Why would I want more?’ 204 . I thought you would be the one to know. hopelessly mad now: ‘The stars too. face dropped. ‘It’s enough for a living. there you are now. except in his mouth. when I say own I mean only that I have free access and use of my land and seed. missis. hand open.’ throwing his arm out towards me.eyebrows. still in the forest. baby.’ I said promptly. first on one side.’ That quietened me. and went on: ‘I own all that your eye can see. finicky. taking another opportunity here. unusually. as many as we can gather. seeing that you got it so near. as though an unpleasant memory had come to him. We were climbing now the long slope up to the lower pass.’ He nodded at me now. When I get up to the sky I will own it. evening coming on. farm. as it were. But I will tell you in any case. coming out again as quietly. full lips that will not settle. ma’am. ‘Well. ‘Do you know. deeply corrugated forehead of a worrier. all a-jitter. so that I could not see the expression on his face: ‘Actually. do you say? Tush. sweetheart. ‘Do you own the sky too?’ He broke into a broad smile. I think I dozed once.

babe. 205 . with curious consequences. waiting for his pitch. saying in a matey voice. Get on with it. shaking it from time to time. Get in and do it. sure. to make sure it was his arm. where I had touched him. what gives. I said. ‘What more could you want?’ He raised the arm I had grasped and looked at it in a stupid. as it were. saying to him in a wry tone: ‘With love provided?’ He was looking at his shoulder now. looking as though something had come alive in him. doing it promptly: ‘Yeah. an instinct where nothing else would do: ‘Big?’ I trusted that he wasn’t sure himself of the meaning of the word.’ rolling his lips out to reveal his teeth. ‘You know. and shook his shoulder chummily.’ Strong emphasis on the last word here: I couldn’t understand what he meant by ‘big’. now my failure to understand what he means by ‘big’ threw me off my stride.’ I smiled. honey? Don’t you want to have some fun? Aw. He stared at me with his honest eyes and said. dumbfounded way. I leaned over and shook his arm companionably. So far I have managed the game with him.His words sounded so true. He was still astounded. I’m a little wary now. he defined the word for me. get it off. Then he touched the spot gently with the fingers of his right hand. and said in a low voice: ‘A man could want everything. come on. As expected. looking forward at the last green light of a momentous day. amazement evident in his voice: ‘Hey. Get big. babe.

forcing out a hearty laugh. old boy. There’s one fine girl there. girl? Didn’t want to have it big. don’t you.’ His response was so theatrical that I knew he had been deeply hurt by my simple truth. a painful crack through his thin work-cloth trousers. girl? I tried you very hard now. pretty babe. don’t you. when I saw you sitting real pretty on that rock.’ He looked at me in sudden anxiety. I said mischievously. what say we try it on? You know. his lips now jutting forward. did you. Yeah. hayseed. girl?’ Funny time to think of it. as though throwing something back over his head. girl? You only want to go home to your old man. hey?’ He drew a line between us and said. okay?’ 206 . ‘You understand that?’ He leaned back. looking forward as though sighting for a marker at the kerb on his side. anger in his green eyes: ‘Rich man. when he asked me what Adam had that he hadn’t got. girl? Then you want to talk about love. I sure did that. girl? You want to take it back up to him. why I thought to myself.Get on the track. what’s he got that I don’t have. He threw up his hands. babe. huh?’ He pointed: ‘You a rich man’s wife. sure. didn’t I. didn’t you. girl? Hey. Like that. but what is wrong with how Adam is now? This peasant put me in mind of that. didn’t I. come on sweet-like. though intended kindly: ‘Time to rest. girl? You got to admit that now. Then raising his right hand to me across his thighs he explained: ‘Why. ‘I don’t mess with no rich man’s woman. don’t you. slapping his hands flat on his thighs.

I say. lady. Benboy. honey. sure to be fresh out here.’ Shower. boots underneath. I laid my dirty clothes on a chair. so I made do with a silken wrap. saying in a wearily singsong voice. I was dizzy. ‘Thanks. securing it at my waist. easy chairs. Some clothes in there. Contradiction? Let’s be subtle here.’ He led the way. okay cherry?’ He was gone. hands on my shoulder. as I found out. low lights. Soft beds. too. I had just tipped the 207 . A drink waited for me. Can’s miss it. pale yellow walls appropriate to the location. going for the trout immediately. I sucked lemon as I chose from the menu. canvas slippers for my feet. if you like dress for dinner. so what does he do? Remembers. hands on my waist. drink now. a fresh feel to the house.The car left the road and followed a dirt track up to a small stone house.’ He helped me from the car. queen: every comfort our civilisation can provide. well provided for. kiss later. Let’s have our beans now. end of working day. okay? Understand that. deep pile. He shouted from somewhere. ‘Room on the left. big boy. this far in: Signals: divergence of carrier waves. the enclosure here a comfort for the first time since leaving Home. so dry it tapped my coccyx. On my feet. Menu in five minutes. honey. He says ‘no messing’. The dresses were all too small for me. I found out. and got myself clean and sweet. like walking on air. hands on my bottom. He said. opening his door then pausing to speak: ‘No messing. at last: ‘Full cuisine here. Touching what he has touched before.

green eyes smiling with fun. and filed the worst damage to his nails.’ He was momentarily glum. making both of us very expectant. Wish I had the money. hot in the bum. they coming in slowly. A strong 208 . black shirt with loud white stitch edging. as though diverted by something trying to attract our attention. George?’ ‘More like money backing you up. he looked me up and down frankly and said appreciatively: ‘You sure are a handful. honey.’ He had come closer so that the sudden mean tone in his last remark threatened the show. because of the narrow heels. ‘Ready for another. then raised his arms to indicate merriment. should I. Shows he can keep his horns in. is there. Seeing me over by the table. He has trouble balancing on his cowboy boots. talking with generous emphasis. ‘Shouldn’t say that. trousers with a thick black grid on a glaring blue. let’s. precious. we were both recalling memories. but as often silent. then said. baby? Your kind think money is vulgar. Nails tell. the word ‘different’ suddenly in my mind.’ He clapped his hand over his mouth. ‘Sure. I mouthed the only word that seemed to point the way: ‘Nothing wrong with money if love backs it up. I was aware that both of us had this experience: judging by his behaviour.’ Another hit to my body then we got onto the whisky. eyes open theatrically again. love?’ I was glad to see that he had cleaned his hands thoroughly. Again I had failed to understand a signal. We did talk. reluctance on our part. if you ask me. I said. smell of cooking food coming in not long after.last of that first drink when he reappeared. sitting about casually.

then the world contained many mothers. like shadows revealed by a beam of light. with new rules. If so. how caffeine brightened while alcohol dimmed. no guarantees unfortunately out here. shooting his mouth off for the sake of hearing himself speak. DIFFERENT. years ago. Do you see this? Once the word came to me. careless in his cups. I wondered then if the world contained only sons. a hurried meal determined by hunger. ‘And the will.presence. but its meaning like a congestion ahead.’ We had been talking about the virtue of drugs. the word itself as though spoken to me. ‘They used to say round here. I replied. as though he found a trace there of another voice: ‘Where there’s a bill there’s a way!’ 209 . the awareness that he had a mother lowering him in my estimation. mind you. changing lanes or entering a new place. My mamma used to say that the mind has its means. that madness was an act of kindness for some. requiring effort on my part. long finger jutting out from the tumbler in demonstration. that is excepting my Adam. The word pointed to difference. He said at one point. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask about the elixir of the city. a man who sought to escape. His reference to his mother concentrated my mind wonderfully. and were enjoying some brandy with our coffee. but I suddenly realised that I didn’t know him. Bill?’ He toasted me cheerily. then all the strangeness of my recent history became apparent. we had eaten by then.

I laughed at his pun. as though designed for children. only three bedrooms. The parlour is very pleasant. And I see it further in how nature softens all corners. even intensely quiet. grace. An enjoyable evening. but also a filling of space. to see the hawks and crows give up their work to suddenly flutter their wings and glide away down the wind. during the day while he is out working his land. for sleeping only. a curvature sought to overcome polarity. raising grain and vegetables. The house is very modest. To see doves tip up and glide away. a cottage feeling. Then I see this excess in the flowers and trees. especially a robin that sings in the garden in the evening. All birds study the ground from the air. like a 210 . but I find instead that I concern myself with strangeness and difference. flowers in a garden outside. the thick cover rolled back to clear a space for my paper. They also fly for pleasure. I want to think about finding a memory. both soft and transparent. who comes to the window at times during the day to see what I am doing. bask in the sun. I have become aware of birdsong. see how it seeks to be a surface only. wings tense for adjustment. forest looming across the path. quiet and chatty after all the tendentiousness of the city. punning my play on words. welcome rain. sitting at this dining table. why this man finds a memory in my body. It is very quiet here. though. The crowns of the trees sway in the wind. colour. harvesting fruit and making wine. All flowers look to the sun. compact rooms. which astonishes me for some reason. how a tree built of segments can yet sweep. and whizz down until they lose control or bank for another glide. economy.

but I witness in nature’s task of equilibrium how the remainder has effect itself. Like a being with a language. though I can see no such destination in sight. the water permitting my vision of the stones. seeing that the initial state of nature will not be the final state.reflection. keeping the stones clear for view. for instance. but then I am not natural. The strange is our first experience of this potential in nature. so what can you expect other than these outrageous abstractions? You see how I try to interpose a barrier: surface for nature. You may ask. the difference in all this? I know they are in me. mere existence the criterion for literacy. a power or a motion escapes nature at every instant. But I am thinking about strangeness and difference. We can make connections: we witness to strangeness at every instance. prepared for anything. I agree. We can know more than nature. where is the strangeness. Is it within or without? I readily admit that these thoughts verge on the paranoid. when you think about it. Like water. between rotting fruit and germinating seed. after all. the fact of our consciousness the power to integrate this strangeness easily by acknowledging our awareness of it. or understand difference. seeing the stream flash over a bed of stone in the garden outside. I wondered then if nature could ever know itself. We use words mostly to do this. but there is another way: Who goes ahead to prepare the way? An immensity. a 211 . the excess I witness. but also a potential. so he can point out the way to go to all things. God for us? Yet there must be a connection. I realise now. Something.

212 . I was crying by then. brave. I have spent two weeks here thinking about the strange and end up repeating his last words to me: ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way. A voice said in my memory. at this table as it happens. knowing at once that the speaker had done something which made a difference. something shared between differences.) Knowledge of difference is our only bridge now. tainted with unworthiness. The last words made me wry. of my own devising. (I smile at my inadvertent pun.bridge. that the first man I meet can tell me what to think? Like having a baby: he puts something small in you and later you give birth to a magnified copy of it. a sheer misery. how events are dovetailed. and that I knew what this was. It threatened to become a chant. a refuge from something worse. how disparate events can add up significantly. how will fulfils. Am I so impressionable after all. But could I get it back then? However hard I tried I could only hear a word echo: sill rill bill pill mill nil lill zill will dill till fill hill kill jill gill quill. and even wondered if Adam had led me on like that. I was bitter for a while. softly. haunted by a dark wave rolling towards me. but if we look we can see another bridge.’ Such anguish then. It was a drab time. that would still be here if I had not seen that I was remembering not learning. because its very inanity charmed me. though apprehensive: ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way. wet and dark. the revelation of my true ignorance.’ And it was then that I grasped difference.

closer every day? I fear delusion. the pure unfolding of memory. another person. an energy or power wasted. knowing this? We have achieved something by our own effort. grief in reserve. I see a curse. but my feelings during the crisis are important too. does another. as I believed then. showed me the way. too. piddling about. nerve raw. my curiosity about myself. while here I see something as though for the first time. not mine alone. seeing only the darkness then. having deepest curiosity satisfied. could not be annulled. Do I understand this by reasoning or is this another memory? As one memory grows here. I examined the words he had used. a power in us augmented as a consequence. But I watched its approach with dismay. I know.You are aware that I am now writing after the event. but see something brighter behind that curse. memory grow up behind it. blind copy. My feelings are as though water borne. too familiar. its light pouring forward over the darkness that comes about me. but – and here I touch that paranoia again – were not these abstractions guides also? Did they not alert me to my situation. as you can appreciate. that someone. While I watched for the familiar and the unexpected. otherwise placid. He had suggested delusion as a refuge from what can in this case only be a truth. but delusion is uncomfortable. of course. and greater. with thoughts about abstractions. but delusion is always familiar. pain all set to go. and provide me with a means to attend to it? 213 . I hadn’t intended to dramatise it so much. You see that I relish the experience. too. that was annulled by the curse. I try not to delude myself. the increase begrudged. Why delude myself. quick in response.

and instead went bashful and leaned over and caught my wrist. I’ve known only you since I saw you first. do you think you would be sitting here with me now!’ That startled me. like a child in abandonment. Sven?’ He suffered a small frenzy. yes? ‘Do you know me. that fastens on to you. and he washed his hands in his tears. I realised I had breached some rural code about direct questions. until he began a wild laugh. Hugh?’ He started at this. when I knew it was just another empty expression he used. saying. ‘If you knew me. over dinner. A vacant man. ‘When. This went on until I 214 . would I keep control? If you were on a dock. do you think I’d roll? If you were on the block. baby. ‘Only then. Ken?’ He began a loud bawling. which brought him to his knees at my side. baby. and he overcame his shock quickly and smacked the table and shouted. I could not interpret this gesture. ‘Do I know you. He appeared to be serious about his nonsense. a bird’s claw. I wasn’t sure if he was pulling me towards him or drawing himself towards me. Ben?’ He quietened in a vicious way. but much more here. then. saying: ‘If you were on a rock. pent up power. baby. I said to him after some amiable chatter about farming. skin soon glistening wet in the houselight. pain. do you think I’d stroll? If you were on a jock. yes.Acknowledge difference. would I be a troll?’ I scrutinised him closely. ‘Shucks. more specific. his eyes unfocused. baby. I decided to do that this evening. so I said. ma’am. baby.’ His hand is a hand of bone. I said.

Crying beats loving too soon. If I was a bird you would be too slow. So also is clipboards to stew. Now. taking up the last point out of convenience: ‘Are you a star.prodded his shoulder.’ It was far too complex to explain. far away. when he had dreamed of conquering stars. but I said. so he must thresh through all his hypocrisies: ‘Love by night. obviously. looking mad again. poor man. laugh by day. baby. he was expressing an experience. I’m afraid. I conscious that the food was getting cold. Crying beats loving too soon!’ He repeats with a shout. If I was on a cloud you would be too heavy. For sticky hair and a fixed grin Could never turn any organ-grinder’s. want the opposite. lady. music of necessity must hide its beginnings. If I was on a star you would be too dark. cry at eve. smile at dawn. girl. I’m afraid. sister. he pushing back in testiness. Yar?’ He can’t make irony at all. unfortunately. that was obvious in what he said: only the innocent. Lew?’ So the tiresome litany went on. most subject to time: ‘Who loves who. grasping the code now. So I ask. the wine sour: As the doorbell is to the man in the moon. and asked him what he was going on with: ‘If I was on a rock you would be too small. like sightings on a stormy night. to love first. as I had once seen before. however. 215 . sugar.

Lamech and Adah. a comforting bearer of the sad tidings. and seem settled to go on like this for ever. I decided to break this pattern as soon as I perceived it. simple deduction instead: he wasn’t Hands of God. hopefully. as you may have noticed. This was Cain: ‘Well. Having uttered his name. like those of Seth and Enoch. he wasn’t in the least more than a son. that somewhere in there a real being will step forward. ‘Are you shy. ma’am!’ You think that this is another role. and he had news for me. smallfry?’ Hey hey out there! You want to join us here? Okay okay just sing along here Right down on the line: Hey! Hey! Altogether! COME ON OVER TO MY PLACE! I lost patience and told him to sit up to the table again.too. I write in depletion. another in preparation. like an interest used up. a curiosity satisfied. don’t you? 216 . I felt a task completed. as I cautioned earlier. as you might fear. He had taken all this perfectly seriously. it sure ain’t Sam. an expectation disappointed. saying smartly: ‘Is your name Cain?’ No supersensible knowledge. I was sure.

naively.’ So quiet was the room that the voice pierced me. filled with an urge to be elsewhere. the loud checks of his trousers as though grating together with screetches. I felt. annoyed by the irrelevancy. a door opening. honest green light there. now alas a copy. honeybunch?’ The silence was palpable. but red-rimmed eyes like fire-fronts. I was under considerable strain then. I watching Cain’s face working as he chewed up a piece of crust. like a light streaming in from an open door. as it were unrolling before me. but it nonetheless helped me bear with the moment Cain finally got around to speaking again.’ He jerked his shoulders uncomfortably. and said in a sulky voice. Okay?’ He paused. saying so cunningly. an explanation once to explain everything. Cain. But coming. Even then I knew that two memories collided in my 217 .So I rested in trepidation. honey. ‘A way needs a clearing. and said. ‘Sure thing. woman. sweets. and the desire was so strong that I wished I was elsewhere: suddenly a voice said. a piece of advice. babe?’ I shrugged. to concentrate on what he was trying to say: ‘You got religion. doing something altogether different. Then I was electrified to discover that this was a memory. Cain’s eyes blazed at me. something burning up that a another greater might be seen. a coldness following the darkness. about setting off again Home. the visitor the only shadow there. and I at first thought that this was information. That is how I saw it then. context not available yet. ‘Then what would you say if I told you that God asks questions. you understand. Some of us ain’t even got that. ‘I have two prophets.

in the other memory. anger here becoming amazed joy that bears a duplicity. a lesson there utterly beyond my comprehension. honey. like a shark finding a good accountant. You ain’t just a goodlooker. He clicked his fingers and shouted.experience of Cain’s self-consuming eyes. Fess. then Cain’s green eyes again. as though linked by a third memory. still blazing with anger as he waited for my response. even now. masking guilt. each on its own centre. not alone the gesture of Cain. But two eyes: is one disc not enough? Then I saw only the spinning eyes. reaching for that difference I wrote about yesterday. ‘We must have answers. but freed simultaneously. Knowledge that God lacks. I got aims too. that is a false joy. chum. but also in a similar way in the action of my sight. I got brains too. how I see: my curiosity bearing a memory of something worth looking at. his own identity a fuel to maintain the memory of something those eyes had once seen. Cain. and sang out raucously I’m not just a bum. his eyes spin. remote. like a strict schoolmaster testing knowledge. son. I just knew it. ‘Garn. an idea pursued till it reveals its origin. I knew it. each eye flashing off sharp white lights edged by deep darkness. babe. In one memory I see blood pour from his eyes. A concatenation here too. I’m not just a dress. Reading those eyes enabled my memories come loose.’ He jumped to his feet and reached his hands towards me. but you sure are smart too!’ He halloed out loud. 218 . I’m not just for fun. at once in his role here and also another figure. I got speeches too.

determined to behave with some decorum now. and asked: ‘What’s new. froze there.I’m not just a front. drinking thin port before our coffee. red and nicked from work. His voice rasped as he spoke. hands meaty. trying to get behind the novelties. Andrew?’ At his suggestion we went and sat on the little settee in the parlour. He returned in 219 . I got corners too. the ear beside me clogged with dried eczema. the evasion palpable. matching his seriousness as best I could. But I persisted. An unworthy voice. the silence seemed slow to come. After all the yelling. He got up and left the room. He crossed his legs. brushing off all traces of his speech. a constant grinding of cloth as he rubbed himself down afterwards. he believes. full of someone else’s words. but I could only say ‘Pardon?’ when he finished. He smelled strongly of stale sweat and sour saliva. the dimmest part causing greatest irritation: NEW TODAY! Who’s to say? Twenty four more days to go! COME THAT DAY! Who’s to stay? Twenty four more miles to go! TAKE THIS WAY! Who’s afraid? Twenty four more breaths to go! PUSH TO PLAY! Who’s to pray? Twenty four more shows to go! I did listen to him. a peasant’s whine. runt. like bone grinding down. arranged his hands on the wide check of his trousers.

sleeping the sleep of the Dead like him. but the job done now anyway. spreading blood across the lower part of his face. I hope the account is true for you. so his eyes shone all the more. smashing it open in a gout of blood and brains. that you discover all there is to learn there. sugar. that whimpered in extreme fear. is all. Before he left the room. and said.a moment with a dog in his arms. He dropped the twitching animal on to the floor. mission completed. That said. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. seeing the blood most clearly. as he believes I always do. both for having completed a difficult account and for having completed my task down here. nodding to me: ‘Then you’ll have to put up with him. a wretched gizzling sputter on the coals. surely?’ He went and hawked and spat into the fire. ‘There. Adam abed forever. glistening in the light as it flowed out. I can look forward now to my return to Home. and said to him: ‘Not Adam. I looked at the broken animal closely. but without believing for a moment that it is anything like the whole truth. in the way my question was answered by Cain. eyes shining. Ma’am. rubbing his spattered clothes fussily.’ I am relieved now. he swung the dog’s head against the chimney breast. submerging his unstable lips. 220 . Catching the hind legs. He assumed I will sleep deeply in my bed. a man moving faster than he wants to.’ Not irony. He looked at me intently. And good night to you. and said pointing over behind him.

221 .

we here to see how Cain is now. Not so. Lamech driving. final lap. see Cain’s mark in them: the vacancy sought. passing me with a nosy. They were so worn down. Mehujael said. and had to be returned to him. and my very first thought signalled dread at being held up by them.’ Zillah bypassed him and came to me arms open. I thought my tale was complete. I felt strongly that there was something else to take. a large red coach backing in. ‘Where’s dada?’ I said to them all. looking very liverish. ‘Countess. though dreadfully curious. my dears. all the others just staring out. Like an evacuation. ‘Every day I see you. after all. which I keep before me for ever. It was Adam’s book. is a day greater for me. 222 .’ I went up and put on the road clothes. ‘I’m just on my way out. stiff. an absence too. the older ones showing signs of withdrawal already. but an absence before a picture only ever coming into view for his descendants. aggressive air as he looked down the hall into the kitchen. dear. Suddenly I remembered Adam’s book. smell of dust. Adah screams. we have you at Home already.’ Enoch said. a loud honking in the clearing. sunburned sweat still clinging. Adah waving.I’m afraid there is worse to tell you. looking thoroughly sick. pointing at me: ‘Look who’s here!’ They stumbled out of the coach. They hold back from Cain’s knowledge. happy-ever-afters. The first sign of this appeared the following morning. seeing in his face the madness induced by the experience that rendered that knowledge. as though being shaped to small boxes.

never of the end. a hand slapping wood hard in there by way of emphasis. unaware of my presence in the room: `’How can you hold on? It’s worse further down. JUBAL ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?’ I said in the small gap available here: ‘Enoch with some urgency. ‘Some day. Downstairs was in turmoil. Lady Eve. the incisive tones of Irad in the parlour.’ Irad said.’ Jubal turned to me with a smile.’ In the parlour I asked Methushael. you know. ‘What glows. torn between the desire to go on Home and the obligation to get the book back for him. Jobal and Tubalcain were slouched in the hall. Jubal. ‘Never a slut. cocking his head back towards the table.’ Lamech said to the others at the table. and went back and said to Adah: ‘Those kids are useless. sunshine?’ The atmosphere in the room surprised me. hands dug in their pockets. can’t even get their hands out of their pockets now. It would be necessary to speak to Enoch.’ but Jubal turned to his mother and said. Adah screaming in the kitchen. 223 . who was fidgeting by the door. and said: ‘With some interval always another note. I chucked them both under the chin to show them.. Adah. eager to slip out and play in the hall with the other lads.’ Adah screamed at him. glaring at me as though I had interrupted a serious conversation. Can’t think where you got that from. no doubt. dark with an unholy terror. though. and if Dick knows it then I can tell you that I don’t. My mother thinks only of the labour. ‘Uncle Dick told me.I was agitated then.. Methushael said in reply. as though this was a familiar argument: ‘Not if you settle down to family life. Lady. hand out.

sweetest. and he said. speaking loudly. The corridor leading to Cain’s room is in any case dark. staring at me with an undefinable expression.’ I said to him. You’re on the way already. Cain sat on a hard-backed chair.’ To Zillah I said. ‘One seed proves all seed. but she was not always so stupid. then I can only say that if the real fruit ever gets trout then you will have a lot of exclaiming to do. grandson. and I came to see Enoch standing before his father. ‘And only his return. zeros for ever.’ And Lamech reacted by saying. you see. favouring Irad for his rationality. ‘Beguile your time here. We await his return. As I watched he took the glass up in hand and poured some of the liquid into his 224 .’ I said on the tail of this. a bottle of whisky and a glass at his elbow. between genuine hatred and an overpowering fascination.Lamech. but Enoch is of immediate concern to you. at least. Adah is stupid now. before anyone else could get in. and let yourself spread out.’ I moved forward slowly towards his voice. ‘Cain. I’m sure. charcoal glowing. gracious lady. then a low light from a small pan. dad? If you thing I brung shame on you. hands outstretched.’ And Mehujael said to Lamech. She remembers. you hear. buster. ‘Sight of blood I leave you. ‘One seed gives you five. ‘No road without an ending. ‘as is to me. daddy. so that when I opened the door I went from dark to dark. between pinning up and pinning down. one life proves all lives. no?’ Irad said promptly. you hear?’ I left the room at once and went upstairs.’ Then Lamech saw me. and stood inside this place – I had been curious about it anyway – hearing Enoch saying. moving along with the rest of us. a table beside.

Not in my house. He seemed more weary than drunk. and said. no doubt. like extraction. and I said. What of the Word of God you say. Yes. it comes to me. as I have told you before. raising his glass to forestall him: ‘No words here. ‘Not to a lady. something dark. peremptory on purpose. ready for anything in my street clothes: ‘Give me Adam’s book. saying in an insinuating tone: ‘This lady cooks.mouth. Enoch. and something he now realised I bore. if you remember. I’m sorry. I mean.’ Enoch fumbled and then his trousers 225 . his eyes tracking away from son to me. trying to guess how much I had heard. moreover. dad. too. ‘What else can she remember. at once.’ He swung his glass towards me and closed one eye.’ Enoch spun around. where being ridden had unheard of connotations. He said. About stars. like a knife into a roast. ‘As if you knew what cutting is. the better to see me. son. cringing a little from Enoch. a lesson he will surely forget again. took a sup. too. great loss but long anticipated – you see how well I had measured Enoch. About madness. you pup!’ Cain’s voice appeared to cut into Enoch. or a real evacuation.’ Cain interrupted Enoch. He quailed and gestured weakly with his right hand. ‘A mistake. or consumption. then laughed sarcastically and said. To say what he said. that she does not already reveal?’ Now Enoch cringed. alarmed. no doubt. expertly in that gloom. his urge to surrender himself. struggling now between my attention. as though repeating a lesson. and said.’ Cain filled his glass. you wanker. miss. riding him.

If the woman embraces you she will lose goodness. ‘No. you mean. and said. ‘A taker. the flashes of recognition. leaving her to do the embracing. So I said to ease them as best I could: ‘Goodness cannot be traduced.’ Cain shrugged this off. you don’t half want God’s hand on you too. like an intelligence encountering another intelligence. but looked away from me. which gratified me in a novel way. I said then. ‘But not you.dropped to his ankles.’ Cain said. the dull red air suddenly congealing as my first sound came on the air: ‘You don’t know goodness until you enter into it. too.’ I paused to see who was listening. shrewd in that harmless way of his.’ I found that so astute that I involuntarily said. miss? Goodness is without hands. You are right to call goodness handless.’ Turned to Enoch and continued. frees you on the way. that this was dreamed up before Zillah’s time. son. ‘How can you look to goodness. and I think at that instant I experienced love. Another can come. Cain. Both were. It remains true once given. dad.’ But then another thought: Goodness gives a bearing.’ I said into this bombshell. though. I’m afraid. A new hope I cannot yet begin to grasp. Enoch said. seeing that temptation at once. How the woman loved to be embraced failed you. I’ll say that for you. ‘Hear. ‘You see here. judicious after a pause to digest what his son had said. Eve?’ I smiled. I give you both my love. and asked. I’m telling you. even so. ‘She saw for herself. honeybunch. hear. not 226 . on the other hand. chicken. I mean.’ Enoch looked closely at me. like an impartation. ‘Like a mother. The good man.

a treasure. Eve and your father have some private business to transact now. ‘Adam’s book. watching him as he excogitated like a fish. nit. opening then closing his mouth. gold for justice. and set the pages anew for his enjoyment. blue as for heat. please. The book opened easily now. I would not wish that frustration on Adam. ‘We just recovered it for the esteemed Adam. bark. ‘You run along now. wood and juice.’ Enoch turned to relieve a tension in himself. a comfort I 227 .’ They had used materials from the tree.’ I said to Cain. a pleasure for ever. ‘I see goodness in this. leaf. So well put together. now yellow as for sin. A happiness added here. and Cain said to him. green as for sickness. though none can read it. I found a chair over beside the little coal. Can you?’ I waited. red as for pain. leaving your hands free. the letters like stepping stones.’ I said to Cain.’ Cain drew it from a bag at his side and handed it over.kindness. This book will last forever. in a gentle voice. he said. Remorseless. Finally. I tell you. silver for joy. Cain said to Enoch.’ Cain said. easily handled. Now. The leaves had been reset in a foamy white substance. He pointed to it as I drew it towards me. lying flat at your opening. vaguely heated by it. ‘Sustain. son. saying. to be followed closely. son.’ The door closed audibly at my back. ‘A beautiful piece of work. if you can figure that. open flat out anytime. The book sparked. full of new things. ‘I once saw a book and was afterwards separated from it for ever.

invisible hinges. Cain reached into his pocket. as of a burnt oil on one hand. Not a secret. call of birds. only what was divulged here. except what I have gained already. of the strongest steel. so acrid and stinging. I could hear the wind outside in the trees.had to risk. Like what you have learned here.’ I sucked the chocolate as instructed.’ ‘Who would keep you?’ he replied at once. a new strategy. gloomy. like an entrancement. purpose as yet unknown to me. and let the devil take the hindmost. I am returning Home today. finding the appropriate context somewhat difficult at first until I realised that the partiality of the image would serve best. Isn’t that right?’ He shook his head. Candour was best. ‘No. Your lie. I said. babe. in my body. but I counted on this being a new role for him. ‘that’s better than any old drink. Cain. Earl. ‘A secret keeps me. bar lock. then stepped over to me and put a bar of chocolate in my hand. It was not 228 . a giddy unease. Cain. sweetheart. Adah shouting again. Clive. so I said. I said. With your lie you infect your whole family. The coal propagated a scent. with a quick kindly expression.’ he said.’ Cain had become menacing. Tell them what you did. the language I used twisting in me. You just suck it now. ‘Whatever else. Sid. Zillah crying.’ I put the book back into the case they had made for it. ‘There. ‘You live a lie. It cleared my head wonderfully. but otherwise also extremely delicate. making me suspect that this was another gambit: what is outside Cain’s door now? There was nothing to help me then. coaching to stay.

This must be true of all things. I moved then as though knee deep in dread. ‘Steal a car. I stood up. As I got to the door. you see. Adam’s for the sake of an unintelligible object. This is the secret of Adam’s book. to know what a book is not to know what a book means. compelling there. and so all 229 . and a nature. Nonplussed. The lapse of memory troubled me. but I carried it for Adam’s sake. I tapped his shoulder and went down the corridor in Methushael’s wake. pussy?’ I stopped and considered. Then I knew that I moved in darkness. the words flew away and I was left looking at him looking at me. and turned back to Cain and said: ‘Tough luck.heavy in my arms as I had expected. both a form. and my head cleared again. not mine – I was a servant to an obligation in this and so made the effort. a nature different from form. I remembered the chocolate. Cain said at my back: ‘Don’t you think I have tried. I said to Methushael. like a thread broken. John. The book. hiding myself in another’s service. we know it is a book. if you like. in my pocket. The box in my arms grew hot and heavy. getting the most terrific buzz from the box in my embrace.’ I had words for Enoch. Buck. I got that scent again. getting darker yet. Cain. performs its text. behind him Methushael. the way lost. My mouth was open and I could not close it. but we cannot read the book. we must make tracks now. So you try again. eyes agoggle. but in seeking the appropriate tone.’ Enoch stood in the corridor. and I broke off some and sucked on it. ascerbic here.

and water does not die from being still.’ I tousled Zillah’s stiff hair. ‘What a girl. you mean. but God reads Adam’s book. But as a book performs. seeing her breasts pendulant by means of a loose neckline.’ Zillah put her hand around my right thigh. pointing back at Enoch. looking up at me.’ She went still. ignoring Zillah’s chatter. some evasion here. Enoch reads Enoch’s book. rather I feel suspect. a guardian of that knowledge of the secret of Adam’s book. I squeezed the thin flesh of her shoulder. beside Zillah. origins elsewhere. 230 . her hand coming to splay itself up the front of my leg. ‘Dykes retain water. I laid the book on the table. her arm falling away from my leg. This knowledge does not dissolve the darkness about me. ‘So far reached the Hand of God. eh. the Word of God surely. as ignorant of a woman’s body as of a man’s. and added. ran my nail over the ridge and down. Here I hide myself. ‘Once it comes. Rest content in that. so also all things perform for their creators only. and looked at the expectant faces around the table. and said. which irritated me suddenly. lads.’ Mehujael said. Lamech put his glass down and said across to Irad. and I see light and dark side by side. seeing just how impossible Zillah was. ‘Truth will never go away.’ I said to Zillah. brethren. eh.things perform their natures. like mirrors. Her thumb twitched from thigh to thigh at my crotch. now coming into the parlour. greatgrandfather.

Irad said. not a problem. Eve. but soon realised that only my head was affected this time. dark and light mixed furiously without absorption 231 . I could see no spare chair. I said loudly. testily. hussy. I smiled for him. She turned on me immediately.’ I shot my eyes from Jubal to the door and he understood at once. touching Adah’s arm: ‘Bewail the loss of a son. had seen the size and shape of him entire.’ I looked over at Enoch again. ‘I’ll be out in a moment. I had to shake my head to clear it of the darkness there. Zillah. looking for an answer. I could only say to all of them. I mean. will you. so I leaned on the table. noticing that Zillah was over talking to Enoch. tell us something we don’t know. looking very cross indeed. Zillah was looking at her right hand.’ Methushael appeared at my left shoulder and nodded once. speaking to me but throwing a wary glance at Lamech.’ Adah was still screaming at Jubal in the kitchen. I took the box of Adam’s book into my arms and said to Methushael. screaming at me: ‘Huh! He came back the last time. the same twists and torments. aware that Zillah had seen him naked. trying to feel him up. the truth as I understood it: ‘I came with a question. love. really.’ The drag I felt in my legs still was draining me. hands fisted for support. Try and see. waiting only for me to distract Adah so he could fly the room. dear. You go ahead. wagging her forefinger at him now. He knows what’s good for him. I am not marked by Cain.‘It would reach a man certainly. ‘That’s not much of a help. Adah.’ I thought at first it was the nausea.

like a taint in the blood of her children. lover after lover put aside in depletion. She had cares and obsessions totally alien to me. The word here is ‘distillation’. A disposition if you will. and second that duty was love then. You see? Who would hold Zillah? Who could after Hands of God had been over her? But Adah was another matter. like a candle in the dark. why bewailing occurs. a second son because she was losing patience. of that seed. cupidity over duty. But Adah was so different in so many ways. 232 . first. her irritation a constant source of arousal. the fault here different. It makes everything so trying for her. a horrible obvious threat that I simply could not focus. unimaginable pressure on her at all times. I saw that Adah struggled endlessly to expunge an impurity. Not returning was the obvious import of Adah’s words for me.one of the other. a process of purification. both of us appearing stupid to an onlooker I daresay. not because she didn’t know any better. afraid of tears though capable of crying even so. that Adah was the daughter of the Hands of God. I thought. the man that which is purified by the blood of the woman. feel her tremoring hands on my skin. She hits those who cry in her presence. Then it came to me in a very strange way. An almighty fear just then. an alchemy of blood. to give herself a sense of reality. sensing too late the danger in Adah. Second son was the obvious import here. still looking at Adah. but only in my mind. trying to touch her breasts to me. Should I have cried then? I still don’t know for sure. I could cry for Zillah. Fine. then I saw almost simultaneously.

These thoughts took time. was my first thought. the flesh of her arm quivering with the force of her temper. waiting for us in the sunshine.’ I waited until Jubal was in the car before moving away from Adah. as you might expect. Adah said. and permits it to shape us. This is the wrong in doing evil. on the outskirts of decimal numbers always. eyes uncertain. saying as a distraction to my departure. and take upon ourselves the difference as the strain of consciousness. permitting evil now by will. 233 . left arm cradling the book. We overcome difference by acknowledgement. But if we acknowledge evil. and I said. Eve?’ My eyes were following Jubal as he went down the hall past the corner-boys and out to the car. sweetheart. her mouth open. ‘Cain likes his own company only. then it partakes of this strain in us. a game of signs.Weird. you permit then by acknowledgement of evil the entry of evil into you. but then I realised that Lamech’s son would be almost purely of my blood. and we stood there like a tableau. Or haven’t you noticed. just like Cain’s. ‘Cain’s madness is his way of keeping in touch. pulling away from my grasp: ‘I thought he loved Zillah. Adam’s blood a receding remainder. informing you like an infection. you know.’ The problem of difference is acute only in the matter of an evil. But he loves someone else. Adah replied tartly. my right hand on Adah’s arm. someone far away.

but with what limit? Tubalcain said in the hall. A cry behind me caused me to turn at the car. You might think I was reluctant to leave the company of the girls. her face brightened with a smile. Zillah came out in the company of Mehujael. everything familiar again. a relief in me. ‘Move it. In the spring. ‘Why take me if they can come?’ I said to Methushael. and I reactively clipped his ear. but also a pain 234 . ankles crossed.’ I shuddered as I walked. a final revelation already in me. eager to leave. now. Adah stood in the doorway.’ Though I welcomed the sunlight in the yard. I shouted spontaneously. regretting the sentiment even as I spoke: ‘You must come visit soon. feeling how curse could be laid on curse. sonny. I did not want this memory. but I assure you that I was conscious of taking treasures from that city. that therefore what I do not know concerning Cain need not count. maybe.’ Jubal closed the door behind me and asked. but I know that Cain’s fault does not lie with me. You will chide me for this apparent cowardice. eliciting a howl of pain. held only by a thread of memory. eh. Adah dear. looking intently at me. afraid it might keep me here in Cain’s house. dearie. waving. Weekend in the country. that I might not get Home again. ‘They’re still waiting for you to show up.’ The dark fell away within me. To Tubalcain I said. leaning against the wall. I still felt encumbered by the weight dragging my body. boy. arms about one another. to be sent away for ever from your Home.’ Jobal sniggered. I was glad to see.‘Like a banishment. ‘A jolly rouse-up. the darkness still in me.

As big as a woman’s tongue. saying. whose hands guarded the all too obvious. Nonetheless.lurking. Jubal retained territory not interesting to Methushael. disappointed in himself but no loss of talent thereby. 235 . his balls fondled. hard and interested. not a disease picked up in the city. and said. ‘What’s the score.’ Methushael said. eh?’ But later he was more careful. Methushael said after a while. ‘Anyone can do that for him. Eve?’ When he got no answer. but a truth learned. I lay between them like a frontier they could fight over. that we can forget. Methushael working to prove something. Eve. his fingers delightful to me unknown to jealous Methushael. ‘There’s a little touch there. ‘My fingers couldn’t reach all the keys. I told you. each claiming specific jurisdiction.’ I showed him by mime. sonny. bending and pulling me away from Jubal. he looked back. you ask. Jubal fearing pain more than Methushael and so always losing ground on my body. once the other reflex in Methushael came into play. then practically when he failed to grasp my hand signals. then stood up and came over.’ I shrugged. but consider the alternative: Methushael would rape a cat. bottom sized up. sunshine?’ He shrugged. Jubal knelt at my head and stroked my face and neck. ‘I told you. getting a whiff of my clothes after such a busy morning. A fair war. He lay on me and penetrated me sharply. and said. saying once in a moment of rest. ‘The road. I said to Jubal. ‘Hard-working like music.’ An earnest penetration. not looking back.

’ 236 .Later Jubal said. when Methushael was sleeping that night. A composition is a beginning. ‘Performance always repeats a prior performance.

mother. I told Jubal to take care of Lamech and signalled to Methushael to follow me. It’s because he cannot use a certain word. Mahaleleel a shirt on. an unbelievable uproar. Arriving late in the evening. Methuselah was stark naked.’ Which was true. ‘Hands!’ and turned to Naamah and asked. ‘Oh no. ‘I have never seen a more glorious specimen of the peasant before. ‘What’s this. kiss. once.’ He paused to think and I said to Naamah. my good man. no more. arms out like a blind duck stealing a landing. Lamech crying in the hall. kiss. ‘She can’t even look after herself. nodding towards Enoch. also pink. face aglow. I let him kiss my cheek. Her flimsy feathered dressing gown lay as a ball over by the door. Only Enoch was dressed halfway decently. his clothes filthy. so that I suddenly reached and touched her brow with something like relief. ‘Can’t you look after a baby even?’ Methuselah said from the couch. flip flops. arms out. followed dutifully by Enosh. Tomtit?’ This 237 . I grasped the situation in the lounge at a glance and went over to Enoch and hit him hard. I found a drunken riot. an air of having recently entered the room. I nodded Methushael to Cainen and he strode over to him and said. a new language?’ Naamah looked absolutely cute. crying ‘Mamma!’ followed by Enosh. So sweet. considering the state of her. Isn’t that right. She said with a smirk.’ To Mahaleleel I said.Home. a harmless sneaky look in her eyes. stained pink slip only. How long had I been away? I didn’t know. Seth ran into the room. Then Enoch got his breath back: ‘Forasmuch that flimsies lair use I will profligate my trousers.

’ Methuselah stood up and Mahaleleel followed him. then also grime will graze our greens. Hey. saying. so that I got down beside Naamah and asked her: ‘One word?’ She looked ironic. Worse there is here. ‘Forasmuch that shrills shall season sauces. ‘Throw out the weeds in the corner. work at night.’ I paused until he had quietened sufficiently. and told me. leading him with a gentle hand. Dictionary gutted. more suited to idiots. lover?’ I ruffled his long hair and glanced at Methushael by his side. taking trouble to tangerine tricks.’ Cainen said. ‘I get 238 . coming cores consisting copious carolling canaries. sweets. as though she was plugged into another game. who at that same instant opened up again. oh boy. ‘Brought the Army? Am I not good enough. ‘Let him talk to those who want to hear him.’ Cainen caught my glance and looked over at Methushael. the heat from his limbs radiating. to grow by neglect. missing mothers making misery many Mondays.’ But Enoch snapped. Sheila. sun every day. Don’t know what he means until he does something. Oh boy. and Methushael brought Cainen over. ducking danger’s droll discoveries dreadful. a feeling in me of crossed wires. you bet. Selma. ‘No one is asking you to. standing at my side. buddyboy? All for those who want. you know. Susan. but outrage opens on offered oil.interested me enormously. reaching to kiss. but botched butcheries break brittle bone. ‘Connotations. double even triple jobbing. clambering noisily as though caught red-handed. Charabancs were only white then. reel after reel. Sally. Seth said. Cherry. ‘I’m sure you will be.’ I turned to Enoch. then dropped his head sheepishly and said. then asked him.

but identity will always be a falling off. frolicsome. Jubal brings a cleaned up Lamech in. seeing after his words how he keeps his brothers in harness. ‘And a right tiddle-de-bump man he is. moss. as Methushael already knows. As much as I can consonant with staying in tiptop condition. hair waving in the wind. here marking Cainen down as a beastie.’ Naamah said. come. do anything for a handful. resisting the desire to push Cainen away too. frostbite. Princess. Figgins. birdbrain?’ Enosh wailed on cue and Enoch leaned over and said. his hand now setting Cainen’s hair for him to his best advantage. what a task. door. loudly. Jubal says to Seth: ‘I repeat myself.’ And I saw with a rush of affection how Seth could still convey his images of heaven. misery in his eyes suddenly. Where you land has strict roots in origins. gazing always at delectable rump.’ He paused to think.in practice. ‘How do these differ from your pictures. I lied in the murk of dayclothes once. you know. ‘Connote. alas.’ Methuselah was saying to Methushael in a low voice under Enoch’s roar ‘is frozen is not a tissue where hail is on hand. back in the clouds after Naamah’s voice: ‘Fear not. Auntie. Come. salmon. my beloved sister. come on along. we are bashing tantrums in the grove tonight. honest use. punishing them even as he pleases them. ‘Oranges. dirty knickers. I know. he chewing contentedly on a crust. is verbals plastinated with argument two-time. ‘I don’t mind honest business. favoured lad. finagle. ‘Who can compete with heaven?’ Methuselah got to his feet again and began rummaging for 239 .’ Mahaleleel listed. froze to death another dock.’ Enoch said.’ Seth said at my side. not specific. so I said to Seth.’ I said to Mahaleleel.

his clothes behind the couch. Naamah said, ‘Early night,
boys. Off.’
Without a word, they all rose to their feet and started
rummaging also for their things, except Enoch, who wailed,
‘Upon glorious lore as glowery as a dark drizzly
evening, bacon for dinner, pissed on beer afterwards.
Heavenfold lines the gutter, if you ever get there, scrub-adub.’
Seth said at the door, to Enoch as much as to me, ‘If
you want it, get it, if you don’t, forget it.’
Naamah cocked up her head at me, dragging herself to
her feet, pressing the wrinkled slip in against her body, heavy
breasts swaying sullenly, as they always do. ‘Fancy a cup of
coffee and a bite, honey?’
She pulled her gown on, tightly binding herself with a
silken cord at her waist. If she was overweight, then no one
seemed to mind. In the kitchen she said in the brighter light,
running her hands through her hair and fighting a yawn:
‘Don’t ask, Eve, too boring, darling. Do nothing for them and
they’ll do anything for you. Now, have some of this cake,
right?’
Chocolate cake, thick with rich dark cream. After our
first helping Naamah asked, ‘Why the Joker? Have you a
problem, dear?’ I felt tired now, the old familiar tiredness of
limbs, as though sleep had many tentacles, but I felt an
obligation to Naamah so I said, ‘Your escort, sweets. What
goes down can come up again?’
Naamah looked at her immaculate nails, considered,
then said, ‘Okay. Give me a few days to ease off the feed,
huh?’ I leaned over and put more coffee in her cup, then in
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mine. I was sugar high, caffeine open, chocolate easy, but I
said, following a plan that unfolded swiftly, ‘Now, toots.’ I
shouted, ‘Jubal!’ I ate cake with some concentration,
improving pleasure but also distracting me from Naamah and
her theatricals. When Jubal arrived, I said, ‘Get the car, now.
Hop to it.’ I stood up, caught Naamah’s arm and propelled
her out into the yard, into the cold dark air of night.
You wonder at my callous behaviour. I didn’t then,
consumed by my plan of action, do this, then that, as though
to shore up a reality changed: I can get Naamah away from
sight but not from memory. I say in wonderment then, ‘How
do you do it, chick?’ She reared back, ever touchy, and stared
at me in the light streaming from the side door, ‘You’re the
one to ask. After you like innocent dogs.’ There. Competition
at Home. Hard to take, I’m afraid. I dread the sight of my
room.
I put her in the back of the car and tell Jubal to take her
home. Goodbye curt, door slammed.
Jealousy makes me nasty.
On the stairs up to Adam I remembered his book in its
serviceable box, remembered that it probably lay at the feet
of Jubal and Naamah right now.
A wasted journey? Destiny? I remember that there is
always destination, at least.
The immensity comes again, though I am less paranoid
this time: destiny just a boundary condition, like a horizon on
land, your context, setting, situation.
Adam said, ‘Hah, help at last. I’ve been shouting
myself hoarse.’ Voice echoing in the bare room for once.
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‘When did you ever do anything else?’
‘She’s a slut. Won’t do anything she’s told.’
‘Did she ever have to, Panderer?’
I looked around his room. ‘Seth will be up first thing in
the morning. Stand by till then, tosh, okay.’
‘The book?’
I ducked: ‘Do you want to blind yourself that way
too?’
‘No one cares about me at all.’
I opened his window for him, showed him the stars
come out for him, like a treat for being patient all this time,
kicked his pot to gauge its load, said, ‘I do, husband.’
My room was untouched, though the flowers had long
wilted. Sleep came as I lay supine, fresh night clothes, soft
down.
I was Home, and I never once remarked it. But I was
glad then to be Home, and fell back into my own bed with a
profound gratitude, able once again to turn my back on the
world.

242

I rouse them out at dawn, a clear bright morning with a
stiff fresh wind. Seth I sent to clean out Adam’s room, Enosh
was enough to help him, good at sharing loads. In the
meantime I got Mahaleleel to clean out the kitchen. I gave
Methuselah the task of cleaning upstairs, Enoch to do
downstairs and Lamech clean the yard and byres.
I called Methushael and sent him to help Mahaleleel,
incidentally setting barb on barb, and when he was out of the
way I told Cainen to take the sheep back up to the moors.
I walked out in the park during the morning, confident
as always that the boys will do what they are told once they
know I want them to do it. Spring was late, grass still sorrylooking, half drowned, but the air was fresh and I walked up
towards the high mountains behind, grey rock giving way to
scintillating snow, breathing deeply, eyes closed, feeling the
keen cut of God’s own air, the only gift from my first park.
Later, returning along the river, I fell to thinking about
the absence of Jared, that his absence was completely
unnoticed. Even I couldn’t remember what he looked like. I
hear only his diddly music, a jolly little chap there, dancing
all the time. Then I remember Cain, and stop suddenly,
seeing all at once the affection that grew between us, how
much of himself he showed to me, how much of myself I
showed to him. Then I realised that his presence haunts me, a
pale figure surrounded by darkness, a gesture with his hands
that I do not understand, beseechment, despair, rejection. As
he was in the room when I left, but something in the gesture
so familiar, as though I have seen it many times. ‘Don’t you
think I have tried, pussy?’
243

Not exactly non-plussed, more surprised, realising that
my first insight into Cain’s city told me that it was a lie.
Cain lies.
This I saw beside the river:
Anything Cain says must be a lie, because everything
denies what he thinks is true: that he is in eternal exile, a
useless exile. This is his curse, but this curse is different to
the act that brought down the curse. My interest lay solely in
trying to discover the nature of the act, and had nothing to do
with his belief that he is in exile.
I agree, however, that Adam is also in exile and seems
differently affected by the experience. I am with Adam in
exile. I am in exile. But the curse is different, to affect a
different action. Adam is not alienated from that which
cursed him, Cain is.
I sat down.
Cain knows who cursed him.
This was not to be controverted. It explains so much,
who Cain is speaking with, in conversation with God. No
wonder the vacuity disturbed me, like a hole in the dark, cold
and distant. Cain acted in the absence of God, an act of
defiance, an act of revelation.
Yes, I know, but I do not understand it. I see bleeding
eyes, and I am shown the killing of an animal. Is this a truth
that makes the eyes bleed? Ah. Not a knowledge, as I
assumed, the dead animal is an analogy. But an analogy of
what, only the animal can die? There’s nothing new in all
this. So, why the curse of exile from God?
I thought about this for the remainder of the walk, the
Home dogs running a mile out to meet me. I could only
244

surmise that Cain discovered something new about animal
death, something that affected God deeply.
I could have given more thought to the clues I might
glean from this reasoning. How specific Cain’s curse is; how
it relates to his act and its inferred nature. What Cain’s
condition tells me about Adam’s and my own: Cain cannot
prove his curse, Adam can. Cain sees God behind his curse, I
see something that gave me the gift of love.
A fine sentiment to end a long walk on, until I saw that
the car was back in the yard. I was immediately furious at the
idea of her creeping back here after I’d gone out, with the
connivance of that little jack, no doubt. I expected the house
to be in uproar, but no, everything fresh and clean, a blessed
silence, everyone at breakfast by now. Lamech was standing
in the hall, his hand up to attract my attention. I nodded to
him to speak, and he stammered, swallowed a lot, but
managed to say,
‘Please, miss. But there’s a sadie to lay you in the little
room.’ This was so unusual that I asked Lamech to repeat it,
in case he had made it up on the spur of the moment, perhaps
picking it up from that bitch.
‘Please, miss, but there’s a sadie to lay you in the little
room.’
I patted his head and went, like an automaton, one step,
two step, three step, four step, fearing to think who it might
be, who I might want it to be. Zillah, sitting demurely as she
could in the big sofa, her legs leaving the ground, skirt riding
up, her knees knocking their old siren song. She jumps up,
245

visibly impressed by me and mine, and says, as correctly as
she can:
‘I heard Jubal was coming up and I couldn’t resist the
opportunity. Just to see you again, my dear.’ Begins to cry as
she continues, breaking into splutters, her tissue soon in
shreds, an awful humiliation in a few seconds:
‘I am most awfully fond of you, Eve. I couldn’t stay
away, even if you sent me away.’
I was strongly moved, though, by what she said: she
would refuse. I said, practicality best here: ‘Where will we
put you, Zillah darling? Everyone’s here now it’s winter.’
Zillah smiled suddenly, believing I was merely teasing
here, her face at once radiant, her eyes more lost again by
contrast, and shouted gaily, playing a game she believes she
recognised: ‘I’ll sleep with you, my dear. That will be room
enough for me, my pet.’
I turned my head at her, part anger, part incredulity,
and said, acutely as it transpired:
‘Lamech was right, after all, Sadie. You dig the girls,
yes?’
‘What,’ Zillah says, in character, ‘who says I am? Tell
me her name.’
How well Zillah can communicate her message even
so. Her. But wrong. I say, to mislead her for now:
‘Hands speak for themselves.’ As in Hands of God, as
in fondling is your limit anyway, another instance of a lack of
specificity. Zillah flutters here, sets off her jewellery, ringing
precious metal, scratching stones, clinking chains, looking
down at them. She said, in all seriousness:
246

‘My hands are temples to the Hands of God. My hands
bless, heal, restore. I touched God and was not cursed.’ She
laid her hands on my forearm, her fingers curving down to
grasp me. Her eyes were closed, and I wondered momentarily
if she was having a fit, the pull on my arms the weight of her
falling backwards. I went to support her, and she embraced
me too, pulling herself into me, head on my shoulder,
heaving ecstatically.
I’m not sure how long we stood like that, but time
enough for me to remember Zillah’s desire to press someone
to her breast, another act of the Hands of God, no doubt.
Standing there, her heavy perfume in my nose, bits of metal
and stone digging into my flesh in various places, I saw that
Zillah was engaged in a re-enactment of her joy: now sharing
the first embrace, her breasts crushed to him, an alarming
arousal in her, like an initial warning of something dire to
come, the boundary already crossed.
When I separated our bodies and laid her arms back
along her sides, she threw me a venomous glance, like an
animal interrupted in its eating, but I said,
‘It’s cock after this, for sure, sweetie.’
So much for candour, for Zillah replied:
‘My breasts shall feed millions, serial survival, two
teats only.’
I smiled at this for Zillah’s benefit, the enthusiasm of
the virgin, who is not aware of what lies between such pride
and the hungry lips, while thinking again of two, why two
teats, when either one or four would have been better.
By now Zillah had freed the front of her dress and
exposed her breasts. She cried at me, ‘For those who hunger,
247

but my slap to his ear sent him off on a tangent. and said. and asked him to repeat himself. continuing until he fell across an armchair. Look at them. looking particularly obstinate today. pumpkin. I said to Zillah. But it’s a no-win scenario your way. I hungry after my walk. Methuselah came out from the Garden and asked me. ‘Depends. loitering over a last cup of tea. I wondered.for those who wait. poppett. When he did he asked: ‘Weren’t you told before not to bare your bosom. Zillah? You know it’s vulgar. Eve.’ She turned abruptly and spat at him: ‘It was good enough for him.’ Breakfast was pretty well over by the time we got there. So suck on it. We sat down to a large meal. ‘Will the quest require a balloon mama?’ I stared at Methuselah.’ Who’s talking abut decorum here. this time to see if he could sustain that mincing tone: ‘Will the best require a 248 . décor must be seen not tamed. a bit stunned again by crossed lines. for those too small. only Mahaleleel at the table. a respite before cleaning up. Long before your time. little Lamech ran in and said to the sprawled Methushael: ‘Push.’ Methushael leapt forward. In response to the commotion. He was gazing at me ardently so he didn’t see Zillah at first. for those too lazy. Zillah too excited to notice anyway.’ Methushael ran into the room. ‘Stitch yourself back in. aren’t they irresistible?’ I looked down at her. and let’s go eat with the boys.

And yet a signal. who worked with a will cleaning the ovens. loud-ringing three blind mice.’ Methuselah pointed at Zillah and asked. Hands of God. baring a breast. now?’ I spun my finger in the air: ‘Over and out. I always say. ‘Embolismically. 249 . as it were. Can we afford it?’ Mahaleleel continued scrubbing as he reported in a loud voice: ‘Nothing withheld. Nothing beats interest. A distraction here. You’re in for more than that now. scout.’ I show scepticism.’ Zillah wiped her hanging breasts with a tissue and said. my dear. when Zillah caught my shoulder and said. Trixie. nodding sympathetically towards Methuselah: ‘He’s only shy. dear. Wait for Mister Right is my word for you. champion – on your heliotropic embrasure now.’ Over another cup of coffee I said to Mahaleleel.tantaroom?’ I was ready to spring up and twist his ear for his nonsense before our visitor. glancing to see if Mahaleleel was listening: ‘In for a pogo in for a shuttlecock. Nothing taken. dreamboat.’ I think I was right to worry about Zillah and Methushael squabbling. But not the obvious. Give him a chance to get a hold of himself. Something for nothing. and say: ‘He only wants to muck around. with the merest hint of amusement to betray myself. ‘An investment. my dear. looking over at Methuselah.’ So I said to Methuselah. as you may have guessed. ‘But he’s interested. making a show of us again. I’m sure of it – remember: Good enough for him.

finding the box shoved off into a far corner. Love is our view of a soul. ‘What else. When we encounter love we pause and choose. hard edges unwelcome. While I search I dither.’ Adam squeezed my hand in the dark. the question arises. It is a very great gift. ‘Here’s that book you asked me about. sometimes another’s. Love comes to us as an opening. obligado. often our own. found the box and hauled it up to Adam’s room. In the car I was both enchanted and stunned. never say never. during a break in the operation. you know. I marched in and said. Chuck. If love can stop us. a semper simper. the mood in the car affecting me. ‘You gave a lot that time. how does it stop us? Tonight I said to Adam.’ 250 . angel?’ It took Enoch to add.’ Testy as ever. In the car then I resumed my search. he replied immediately. an offering. You see. But Jubal’s voice reminded me and I ran out into the yard and checked the floor of the car. ‘Here!’ a gaggle of titters around him in there. only love can stop us. what does our cursed love do to us? I mean. Now.Yet another level: where was Jubal? I shouted ‘Jubal!’ and a tiny voice piped from the lounge. I wish I could do it that well. In one dizzy instant I see love there. ‘The tie in. Love is the power to do good or evil. however. like a heat trying to be a fire. a knowledge there once inconceivable. nothing more need ever be said then. old cock.

saying impatiently. ‘There it is. 251 . recessed lock and hinging. Well worth the trouble. and shouted in astonishment. tucket. raisin?’ I pressed the hidden catch to reveal the book within. ‘What kind of fucking book is that.Adam stared at the bright steel box. seamless.’ Ecstasy in his face.

surrounded by Enosh. hurrying down the Hall. Curious. that she might be more attractive than me.’ Enoch spun about and went back into the Little Room. nothing in it for him. ‘Elvers all of us cab disgrace of God. It was the wild phantasy. wind easing. But why. glad to leave her with her own. unmarked. Enoch came out to say. Only Jubal. In the hall. I had driven Zillah to make a fool of herself. perhaps. They didn’t say anything. but no jewels. I dress for the occasion. blue silks. porter?’ To which she replied: 252 . Continuing bright. only sat there together at rest.’ I understood that: Elders always have the grace of God. is good old Methuselah. a useless tussle with Zillah for blind hearts. I say to Zillah. I paralleled him and went into the Main Reception. bare tits like a beacon. Enosh especially thrilled. pale yellow light everywhere. making a play like any man. out on his own today. Zillah with her hands on all of them by now. Enoch. no perfumes. and now I was afraid of the consequences. Nonetheless there was a definite content: only Jubal and Methushael available. A day for silks. I showed him I understood by saying: ‘Juniors always by the grace of God. no doubt. I wondered. Zillah sat in court. the Army as before. is Zillah the enemy? I should have known this all along. Lamech and. but I must like the power of jealousy. I asked myself with returning rationality. I decided not to dress down. I know. ‘You rested. wrapped in raw silk. novel only for the new characters on stage.To my room then to dress for the day. once again. that possessed me while I prepared myself for the day. But where. as you might feel tempted to.

like yourself. Lady. anger at once at the sight of her. but what I did say was that I had a secret that she doesn’t know. full rigout.’ I nodded in understanding. Naamah understood. Naamah and I are husband and wife now. like you. ‘Knickers need incontinence.‘I draw the line at my knickers. continued. and saw Jubal and Naamah sitting side by side. flasher. I had intended saying that she was to stay away from here.’ There I left it until I got to the Lounge. I said. stairway from ear!’ But Jubal raised his free hand in peace and said. ‘We want you to be the first to know. and we would like you and yours attend. that Zillah in her modesty had teased me. ‘I brought untold. watched only by a resting Seth over by the bar. Remarkably. because she looked at me in an earnest pudding sort of way and said. if only as a wife. her wide face strangely innocent now. words issuing from my mouth different to my intention. We are going to take a house of our own out in the suburbs and have lots of children. I said to Naamah. having taken his breath.’ I was stunned by my own speech. you too. but incontinence does not need knickers. absolutely delighted with herself.’ Naamah was pumping his hand vigorously. ‘We plan to hold a reception to mark this occasion. Even before I spoke to them I knew that a victory had been won. Safest then. as though she fitted in somewhere now.’ Jubal. 253 . if you see what I mean. ‘I’m a married woman now. ducks.

hands bent back. like a child on holiday. bringing Jubal and Naamah over. To hear that said. as though seeing me anew. let no one tell you differ. like pissing in the wind. still gazing at me. as you saw. and said in a confiding tone. I went immediately to the Main Reception. Let’s. as though in thought. telling them they could have anything they wanted. twints. raising her arms at her sides. a tit-man in the making. Zillah filled with delightful delight. as though to say ‘Fancy that!’ but she said: ‘I have won over Cain.’ I was appalled.’ I shouted to Seth to man the bar at once. so I asked ‘To what. there’ll be no shortage of sons while my daughter is 254 . She smiled as I approached. Enoch watching her back. Zillah had escaped the compunction to mother. taking the short cut through the Ballroom and so entering through the Great Doors. ‘Don’t worry.‘Splendid idea. dear. her head swaying uncharacteristically. Even Lamech hasn’t grasped that yet. you know. faithfully echoed my earlier premonition. ‘But what if you need a son in a hurry? How would you restart against so much blind desire.’ I didn’t understand.’ Zillah stood up and took my right hand in both of hers. sweetie. I will breed millions. Like a scene transformed. ‘I have beaten Cain. when it came. passing it on to her daughter. The understanding of the victory. room of light. like courtiers. Lamech watching her legs as Enosh watched her breasts. and said. One daughter is worth six sons. Zillah?’ She studied me. late morning sun still sweet.

but giving them back is a distinct other. Tripping behind.working. Got that. ‘No daughter would permit it. though more an article of faith with me: ‘Give her son to her mother. and was rewarded when she spoke again: ‘Fuck. through the Great Doors.’ Why I said the last I still don’t know. I thought of it then as a rather stupid witticism. I answered her frankly.’ Towing her away. Susie. like a searing hot blade. Zillah asked me finally after a number of failures. honey?’ I heard a tone that chilled me. feeling such disappointment for her and I said to her plainly: ‘Palmistry practised. hey. stung by the sharpness of that hate. now that some assuagement had been given. Dorethea? Speak up the line is going down now. Beany. something grasped in one direction. mocking what I saw then as Zillah’s stupidity. But when Zillah retorted. babe?’ 255 . a hatred breaking through here. ‘Permit what?’ It was as though she had been blinded by what I said. ‘I heard what you said. honey. ‘Who’s talking about presents. honeybunch. out of the way for the nonce. that I know. ‘Off.’ I cut in and said. nothing understood in the other. I waited in silence. Once out out for ever. Biddy. across the Ballroom.’ He quailed and I took the opportunity to push him off towards the Main Reception.’ Methuselah came out of the gloom in the Ballroom and said to Zillah. sure only a bit of meat!’ I stopped and faced her. I said. about bleeding up but good. are you kidding? Bringing up her mother’s eggs is one thing.

‘Too right. Too fucking right you are. sister. sis.’ 256 .

You see that Zillah is loyal to experience. Naamah already waiting. ‘Cut for drinks. an ultimately endless program. and words interact as programs. Sucker. but often an illumination of other truths too. instead of springing back in terror. so I said. But a ‘rumoured Mystery Man’. No man could stay away from Zillah. bent over. My Mystery Man is different from Zillah’s Mystery Man. Matching programs for truth is painstaking.’ 257 . screaming when let. banished but hanging around the border. sharing there. I thought then that Mystery Man was Zillah’s Hands of God. and that she is trying to put her daughter to this experience. It was a sorry sight. forgoing sight. This seemed off the point at the time. I now actually look on a new plane of understanding. they do not bear meaning in themselves. talking to himself as usual. hence the rumoured Mystery Man. however little she gives. keeping in touch as I wanted him to. Seth polishing glasses. A word is a program. You see. unaware elsewhere. seeing now that words are echoes too. as though adding light to light. copying here. candle to candle. Jubal came forward to us as we entered the Lounge. how do I interpret that memory? First thought or reported sighting? Are you with me? Here I would be on my knees. but I still think that words are no more than mirrors. one truth. until there is sufficient light to witness to the whole truth. and Jubal with ‘ABOUT TIME’ written across his forehead. puking at full strength. These programs contain truth. more so because it had occurred so quickly.

I waved discreetly at the others to hurry in before the disaster became irreversible.’ That stirred them up proudly. Friday? You think someone is going to come in to see you here. ready servant. but only to say pretty savagely. the transition of the Ballroom calming him as it had done Zillah. falling like business paper. day-dreaming. ‘Longings as long as your arms. stopped when I reached Methushael. Dashed back down. No Methushael. empty. It didn’t take long to get the reception retanked reasonably well. making stony.’ I took the poor lad in my arms. exciting the women as usual. as we say as a curse. she often making 258 . I said to him. but only in extremes. until I began to feel anxious. general chatter for a while. shouting at his enquiry. loyal friend. maggot. grab Mahaleleel in the kitchen and sent him to serve Adam his rumtuck. tears in his eyes. Drinks all round. so that it could run by itself for a while. hitting Enoch as he passed. to find him there shouting for someone to come and get him some more rumtuck. but in the Little Room I find him sitting on the settee. Zillah was letting Methushael talk to her. hurting like heels on ice. ‘Who let you in here. We took the long way round by the Main Reception. ‘Fingers not in your mouth. ‘So you think you know it all. if memory serves. I listed everything off. though for no discernible reason. I had come in to see Methushael. sometime lover. plonked my drink on the bar and raced up as best I could in that dress to Adam’s room. Through the kitchen to the Hall. poor boy?’ He said. to see his thin city clothes just flatten everything they touched. don’t you?’ And stopped short.

an innocent interest. and went back to Jubal. ‘I did this because I am not Lamech’s son. Naamah and I are destined. so you can see that he could have her in small doses only. run him out from time to time to have a look at Naamah. suddenly hearing a piece of his music: and experienced again the lonely anticipation. set up another round. but I hauled him off to see to the luncheon. after illustrating the chord.’ I called out that luncheon would be in ten minutes. not because I facilitate Zillah and her schemes. Jubal said to me when I came back from the kitchen. not clear who it was directed to: ‘And when you get up to see?’ 259 . then I saw it as a man before something stupendous. I feel the evasion as a curse. I write blood now. troubled all at once. and so I said to Jubal. ‘Why can’t you get up and see?’ Seth asked behind me. Enoch the only stone. sharpness too much blood.asides to Naamah and Methuselah beside her. evading the horrible images that are now within me. Only Enoch could have broken through there. I would have proposed to Naamah long ago if I had known that. tinkling away to a fatuous B octave. having got Mahaleleel and Enoch to work. you could say. yet no more than a treadmill. The others are like bubbles in her froth.

‘Shark’s bait every time. baby. over Enosh’s shoulder. at her back whenever he can.’ I ignore him this time. and said to me. I hate party weepers. lifting her head towards him in what was intended as a promise of better times to come. No. before it gets dark. Naamah coming over to him defensively.’ Enoch said from behind her. Bailey.’ Naamah smiled for him. which made me ask Jubal. greens. Luncheon was delayed. Enoch was glad to help Lamech and pretty soon the car had gone.But Jubal said. Seth babbling away. ‘Regular crumpet of the boys of the Gourd. owing to Methushael’s departure. boisterous and jolly. her mother’s trait. focusing instead on Lamech. still Naamah and Methuselah at her side. Zillah became especially bright there. late into the meal.’ So I said to Zillah. baby. not one that I know. That’s why I had him shifted. bonging stout raisen. learning the topography of heaven. one of our younger wines. ‘Brimful. ‘Be is where it’s at. the only sober person in the room. a drunken Jubal listening intently. but we soon sat down to some excellent bread and cheese. well into our wine. Zillah had settled into the company of Methuselah and Naamah. Simply that Methushael was reacting badly to the happiness in the room and Zillah was having to bear that weight. I thought. Joker?’ 260 . ‘Who gets to see. Plan? you ask. Jubal and Seth facing one another on couches. she didn’t cause his misery. and told him to tell Methushael that he must go home now. bad for the party. The way it is. Why should she.

Jubal shrugged, helping Lamech grasp a crust, and
said,
‘Your advice, queenie. Remember? Do it by shift.’
More strange, perhaps, was the peace among the
others, no one jealous of Methuselah for hogging both Zillah
and Naamah, Enoch too shy even for jealousy and Enosh too
stupid, Lamech content in his mother’s lap, Seth too busy
talking to Jubal beside him, utterly unaware of Naamah on
his other hand. I glanced over at Methuselah and asked
‘Shifting what, spot?’ Jubal started and glanced away from
Enosh’s rapt face to say to me,
‘Testicular world. All the time I mean. Too beautiful
for words in my wife. Wait.’ He paused delicately, finger
movements quickly becoming mincing, then continued,
‘Wait. I’ll show you.’ He called across to Methuselah
and said, ‘Coming up, boy, eh?’ Methuselah was very drunk
by now, but he managed to say from the corner of his mouth,
‘By unending pursuit, Officer, flat on the board you go.’
Jubal laughed loudly at this, and Methuselah lost his balance
and tumbled onto Enosh’s vacant seat and rolled down under
the table. I said to Enoch beside me at once:
‘Bring him up, will you, Williams. Park him pretty in
the sun.’
Decimation: Lamech slides off my lap as I lean
forward to watch the operation. I say at Enoch’s back,
‘Lamech too, Douglas. Step on it.’ Seth is border-line, but
hard to judge, never having seen him evangelise so.
I say to Naamah, ‘A bumper with you, my pretty.
Bottoms up.’ New perspective, a wife must have bottom, like
an anchor, for her but also for her husband, until at least
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enough boys are set out to bear the strain. She drinks heartily,
eyes and skin very bright thanks to the alcohol and general
heat, liquid running on her cherry lips all the time. Zillah is
watching Enoch manhandle Methuselah, cursing him from
heaven for his relapse. I say to her now,
‘A frisk with you, scrumptious,’ raising my glass to
her. She drank in response, then said ‘A dike’s response is
always to hold back, sugar.’
‘Looking for favour, Clothilde?’
‘Favoured once.’
This could have gone on all day, except that Jubal
came back on air and said to Seth,
‘Scrimshawing as praying about the stern, joy knows.’
He looked at his greasy plate and sighed, slid to the floor
under the table. Enoch was already scrambling down from
the other side. I say to Seth to console him,
‘Mother goosed is another gander’s, olé.’
Zillah says, suddenly back too:
‘I don’t know, Eve old girl, but I can’t take this
daytime drinking at all. Reminds me too much of home. If
you don’t mind, dear, I’ll just go and have a snooze. Hold the
farce till then, children.’
I say to Naamah, ‘Cuddle a whale, would you,
princess. Merciless discomfort in that, they say.’
‘Let me pray, he said to me, Gammer, and we’ll rise up
together into a flatter bray.’ Naamah was picking bacon from
between her teeth, fingers gleaming, perfect nails
momentarily useful, as she spoke.

262

Even if she were my daughter, I could not love her
more. How promising the poor girl always seen approaching,
outstaying her welcome everytime, to be sure.
I say to Seth, ‘Someone hiding. Make him wash up,
and have one yourself anytime.’
I slept for two hours solid, stomach high with the fried
bacon, sour breath, Naamah on her back snoring beside me, I
believe.
I woke up thinking, What a mess! A chatter of voices
in my head, a momentary fear of being overwhelmed until I
decided to pass it all off as novelty. Then I opened my eyes
and saw the late afternoon sun, and realised there was still the
evening to go through. Just as I began planning for all
conceivable eventualities I clearly heard Adah shout,
‘And you cocked a snoot at us, ragbag!’
I pushed Naamah back, she kicked in reaction, raised
my head to see Adah in my room, Lamech over at the door,
fretfully picking at the paintwork. I said, wearily as I started
up again, ‘Truth always appears as an impoverishment at
first, Adah dear.’ And barked at Lamech, ‘Why did you let
her?’
Adah said, ‘Never had a chance, poor lad.’
I wanted most of all to soak for an hour, to clear myself
for the evening session, but all I could do then, rolling myself
off the bed and onto my feet, was to say to Lamech in
exasperation,
‘How could you?’
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He ran across and caught Adah’s hand and clung to it,
his back to me. A loud shout of anger downstairs then,
Enoch’s voice rising in crazed admonishment, and I grabbed
a wrap and said, as much to myself as anyone else, ‘That’s
where he is.’ I said to Lamech in the pantry,
‘My turf, sonny,’ and smacked him sharply across the
ear. To Enoch I said, ‘Mahaleleel?’
‘Clinging.’ I led the way, Lamech’s ear between thumb
and forefinger, Enoch by the hand, and went in to see
Mahaleleel. He was preparing the potatoes, humming testily
to himself as he worked at the sink. I said to him, dragging
Lamech forward, ‘Out, boy. Wholesale.’ ‘Oh beautiful
sinners,’ Mahaleleel intoned.
I was seething by now, wanting only to bathe, but
obliged to run around the House like a madwoman invested
by demons, the chatter not a novelty at all but a gruesome
memory. But even as I churned with anger I wondered in the
always cool part of my mind if this door could ever be closed
again after that first opening on Jobal and Naamah. I knew
that this rarefied warfare underway as two families came in
contact was not the significant issue, which had to do with
the truth about Cain, not Zillah or Adah.
It would be later in the night that I would understand
that I was wrong to look in Cain’s family alone for the fault,
forgetting about my family and especially about myself. Until
then all my attention was on Cain, seeing in his family then
only a reflection of him and so not worth study in themselves.
Zillah stopped me in the Hall and asked, ‘Can I help, Eve?’ I
did not see Zillah herself, only part of a fractured picture of
Cain, this fragment probing a specific part of me, and so I
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answered Zillah as I would have answered Cain, had he asked
me the question:
‘Goodness, what help could you give, sweetest? Run
along and look after yourself, dear.’
Actually patted her bottom as though she was a little
child, and sent her into the Main reception, the room she
likes. Enoch was still in the Hall, spare now that Mahaleleel
had taken charge, and the sight of him reminded me of
Jared’s absence and how we were down in figures, with
Cainen out on the moors. Nonetheless, I felt obliged to send
Enoch in to keep Zillah company for a while, giving her what
happiness I could here in my House. But I went and searched
out Seth and sent him up to fetch Cainen, the best master
available. Then I threw Jubal out of my room and went and
had my bath.
Later. Yes later. I find it hard to discover where I
should start. I could not shake off that sense of being
overwhelmed, like a wall of water suddenly on your head, but
of being overwhelmed by something connected with Cain
himself, not with his family. I had the manpower to deal with
them, everyway. Prophets, philosophers, geniuses, idiots, big
men, little men, beauty and the beast, cocks all sizes. Naamah
is suborned by Methuselah, Adah by Lamech, and Zillah
perchance by Cainen, Jubal by Seth, and Lamech by
Mahaleleel. Enoch and Enosh, who always imitates Enoch’s
fighting, are my reserves.
But the first thing I discover downstairs is Methushael
hanging about the door to the kitchen, trying to swap gossip
with Lamech working inside with Mahaleleel. There goes the
265

reserve, I thought, until I saw Enosh listening to Jubal and
realised that for the moment I was over-stretched. I would
have to sit in somewhere until Seth returned with Cainen. I
slipped smartly into the Garden with just a nodding smile for
Methushael, and went round that way to the Main Reception,
going in the little door under the tree. I said to Enoch, ‘Wash
the wall in the Hall, Hal.’
I sat down opposite Zillah, poured myself some tea,
and said to her:
‘Movement is like the Joker in the deck.’
She wrinkled nose and replied, ‘A problem examined
is not a problem solved, my sweet.’
I nodded, hearing Cain there, and then Zillah said,
‘You see better than that, angel, even I can tell that.’
She nodded abruptly over towards the rest of the House, all
her jewellery jangling, and said earnestly,
‘Queen of your realm, I should say, I’m sure.’
I saw Zillah herself for the first time then, separate
from Cain, his daughter but not cursed with his curse. She
was cursed with another curse, I knew that, but it was not
Cain’s curse, that was the point then. I saw Zillah talking
about something beyond Cain’s knowledge, both in her
admiration for my House, which Cain had never seen, and
her recognition of due regard, extinguished in Cain when he
was cursed by God.
That is how I first came to know Zillah, a great
revelation to me, and a source of deep pleasure. I said to her
then:
‘You haven’t done too badly yourself, considering,
Zillah dear.’
266

Zillah raised her left hand to her face, interposing
splayed fingers of rings and stones like the armour of the
homeless, and replied,
‘Get them well started, I say always. Get them out of
the house. Bit of time to myself now. Do the things I’ve
always wanted to do. Do you know, I’ve always wanted a
garden, a rising lawn north, catching the light of the sun in
high summer.’ Zillah faded into her image, her hand before
her mouth, eyes downcast, silent. It hit me just as she said it,
‘Like your Garden, my dear.’
I said immediately: ‘But I’ve an army here to take care
of it, darling.’
Zillah wagged her bottom energetically, elbows on her
knees, and said emphatically, ‘You do it yourself, lovey. I
can tell.’
I hadn’t been aware before that I tend the Garden
myself. The thought surprised me in a profound way, but I
didn’t think then of it as a memory but more of a knowledge,
something new about myself. I said to Zillah jovially, to
cover up my surprise, ‘I’m so used to it myself, don’t you
know. In and out of it all the time, I daresay.’ I babbled on
uncontrollably, ‘If I got a penny for every time I did
gardening, missis, well, I’d be very rich indeed. I still like to
get stuck in, like, pulling out weeds, sticking in seed, growing
the fruit, mowing the grass to keep us tidy.’
Zillah nodded patiently, absorbing all this with interest.
Then she said, ‘My mother once told me that all life started in
just such a garden, around a wonderful tree of life, that a
267

rainbow stood to the north above the tree, and that angels not
clouds drifted in that sky.’
I was astonished to hear my memory recounted so
vividly. Does everyone dream that dream? I wondered then,
but I remarked to Zillah,
‘What else, dear? What else would a mother dream’ – I
stopped the sentence, caught in a mesh of contradictions.
What a mother might dream for her daughter, but I have no
daughter, so how could I have this dream? I continued hastily
– ‘except a phantasy of her life.’ I hoped I had escaped by
means of the word ‘phantasy’, but no, Zillah says acutely:
‘No. She lamented the loss of memory, Eve.’
‘You remember, Zillah?’
‘Not till I saw your Garden, Eve.’ She watched me,
seeing my mind in my face, and then reached a weighed hand
to catch my right wrist, shook it gently to calm me and said,
‘No. I do not know who my mother is, Eve. Cain will not tell
me, if he even remembers now.’
I caught the hand that embraced my wrist and squeezed
it, feeling the stones cut into my palm, and said slowly to
mask my urgency:
‘You must remember some circumstance, surely, my
dear?’
Zillah tilted her head back, as though breaking a spell
and said with a false cheer,
‘Oh loads of circumstance, as you call it, Eve. Plenty
of that, I can tell you, my dear. Only one other man in the
place and my father had to go and ruin it for me.’ She began
crying a very fresh painful cry, her face twisted in real pain as
268

I went and sat beside her and embraced her thin shoulders as she wept openly. danced with sudden refreshing delight on her altogether twitchy bottom. her face a 269 . Let the men do what they like anyway. Zillah?’ Zillah shook her head. In a different way. the generosity evident now in how she put everything into herself. they only stay angry. The refusal of a father. Nonetheless. Cain marked me too. very deliberately pacing this.’ I said the remainder as a question: ‘Their purest man in your grasp?’ Zillah clapped her hands together. ‘Oh no.’ She stopped crying and considered this. ‘Exactly!’ she cried. ‘Do you ever hear two men together without hearing the snarling? It is we who get hurt. more like water pouring out this time. some overpowering experience there that she could not name. ‘I know. then began crying again. worst curse for a girl. wiping her makeup. arms out now. making it her own and so caring for it. tears and snot away. After a while. as she reflected on this.’ This did quieten her. not them. I whispered to her: ‘But you have Adah. Do you understand. Then she gave a great wet slicky snuff up her nostrils. I know. Zillah. dear. swallowed. wiping. Eve’ – she suddenly shouted at me. I asked her. Eve. and said. ‘She has cleared his blood out. ‘Why not yourself? Don’t you deserve the treat. I nodded in acknowledgement. though. Next I said.’ She began to splutter and cry again at this. anguish rather than the pain itself.this memory ran her through. Veronica. Zillah. I think.

the strength of his conviction. more an obstacle then a test. my dear. Descending. I wondered if she had even heard me. and I picked up some pieces of fruit in spite of Mahaleleel’s frowns. Jubal. Zillah. ‘Methushael.’ I stood up and said at her back. It was a dreadful time but it is over now. and so test him for what he does know. jewels in fire. She gave another great snuff up her nose and continued: ‘A girl is only the first hurdle. souls in torment.’ Zillah calmed somewhat and borrowed my handkerchief to mop her face. but setting the track for the rest. where another seeks what one has found. Adah. boy?” is to invite his anger. Zillah.red mass of tears – ‘what kind of hands a man like that has. A boundary condition. ‘Jubal?’ 270 . no one to watch Enoch as usual. saying. but watched Lamech closely while his eyes were turned.’ I nodded. what if he came back to you?’ There was absolutely no expression on her face when she looked back.’ Suddenly she stopped talking. So I asked him. ‘But. Naamah. the exactitude of memory. what do you know. her lovely eyes like flowers in a livid stream. To taunt a young man with “Hey. Lamech. Enoch doing some good work. What happens when one man finds another. The food smelled heavenly. hopefully not too demanding. ‘But I really must go now and dress for dinner. do you? Such a will for doing something once and for all. I popped into Mahaleleel on the way upstairs and asked him how things were going. and stood up.

‘In the dark?’ He didn’t answer. Jubal?’ Again his little cry. My thought was: that frees Enosh. I thought. I said to him: ‘Godborming alley. as though Zillah’s tears had stained my gown. In the Hall I wondered if I should run up and change again. Dirty little fellow.’ I laughed out. I found him out sitting in the Yard. losing power as he lost interest: ‘I’m undergoing conversion. Enoch a drunken heap in her lap. ‘Wanking again. a large evening sun. shutting his mouth good. No other word. I decided we were already launched and went out through the Garden to the Ballroom. rearing up.’ Mahaleleel’s dishcloth caught him across the chops. then or now. whole game blown away on that thick twit. at once. Disaster. for fear of dirtying my clothes. that. I didn’t fancy looking for him. I bet. Methushael a drunken heap on the floor. This. so I called to him: ‘Come here to me. I called out: ‘Jubal!’ His little cry came from the other arm of the room. dear Lady.’ Lamech inserted suddenly. trying not to look at the sun.‘Ballroom. out of range of vision anyway. Not a word out of him. might tip the balance.’ We went around the House in search until we discovered her in the Lounge. trousers 271 . On. I was surprised to find that everything there was still closed and dark. Adah toying away to her heart’s content.’ His cry came back: ‘Can’t!’ ‘Whyever not. Jubal.

‘Naamah?’ He shrugged. I only heard a while ago. ‘You know. too. pouring myself a drink. I haven’t had time. how she is nowhere to be seen this evening.around his ankles. and said to her conversationally. and change his napkin. the first of the evening. relieved to see a limit in all this. Strike Methuselah and Naamah. Adah. now that you have the spare off your hands at last?’ She rested down and said after a moment’s reflection. mam’. being dandled. and knocked it 272 . Enoch and Adah. I said. and thought. Evie. and put up with his crying. but I haven’t had a chance to think about it. dear.’ she replied. ‘Will you retire. Things fell into place like a load of bricks: my front was sagging badly. panting: ‘Training shows. correct strategy. examining the ground to avoid seeing his grandfather get wanked by a strange woman. but enough to worry about immediately when I thought of Methuselah’s constant proximity to Naamah. ‘Fusilier Methuselah reported. I said.’ I nodded understandingly. ‘Take him home with you.’ I laughed at her. my pet. reciprocity. Here goes. and submit to his fists.’ I wondered if any other cover was blown. So I considered wipe-outs. ‘Lamech?’ ‘Enough is enough for him. mutual cancellations. I said to Enosh. I guess. revelation anew for the poor lad. cocking his head now because his father makes a strange woman. what’s left? Two good men down here. but you’ll have to feed him. none there. especially worried about Cainen. you see. I don’t doubt.

conserve remaining forces. But a bad meal induces shame. 273 . and waited instead until Adah said at last: ‘Am I saved. ‘Yes. The word was ‘pace’. except the curse we all bear.’ Adah smiled in relief: ‘Then I can keep Enoch. to curb interrelationship. Then I think of Jared again. ‘A good meal makes a table. suddenly aware of something else. I said to Mahaleleel.’ The only way to prevent a rising is to create a depression. a torpor to cool any lust. a no-win situation. Music would serve well here. can I?’ I turned away. of course. the merciful obliteration of Cain’s blood. dear. his music lacking the knowledge of Jubal’s best. I shelved the question of why Adam had retired. Adah. and said to her: ‘The blood is pure now. but found none. no curse on you. Eve?’ ‘I told you. and lament his absence. Your task is completed. Buck. and said to her. That didn’t trouble me at the time. calling to an experience instead. Puck. I say ‘abyss’ here because I saw at that moment how things had already changed.’ By the time I got to the kitchen the other thing began to become clear. the sharp cee a pin that pricks touch. get everyone into step. yes? This is what you call politics: the control of hunger.back. a superb strategy. exhibiting great patience and tact. Adah. Here I try to control satiation. a thin thread across an abyss.’ I thought of Adam then and searched for some completion in him. I always keep my promise. I will make them reluctant to come here again. and saw only specific tasks facing Adah and her mother.

Where are they?’ I showed her. ‘Lamech?’ He replied. Zillah was dressing. now. and she said very loudly. so I went up now.’ Mahaleleel flicked his ear and he screetched and ran away into a corner. I shouted at the crowd of them. but you’ll never get rid of them. slipping into my room to freshen up first. Naamah an especially recalcitrant bitch at times like this.’ I didn’t stay any longer than I had to. The sight of Lamech moved me. I was surprised at having the right to peace. nipping on down to Adam’s room. The press surprised me at the door and I had to push through rather forcefully. her hatred of clothes. ‘Adam. chips in. ‘Go to the car and stay there. What would they find to do together? I had planned on going upstairs earlier. ‘Drown your sorrows all you want. ‘These stone rooms are very airy. evidence of excruciating pain in his face. But Jubal said then: 274 .’ I was surprised by this for some reason. I say.Mahaleleel titters in response as he strained to mix a thick paste in a large bowl. hand to his ear. all concealment. but Lamech. so I broke my rule and said to him. She said as she dressed. who is only mopping the floor. her spine sticking out as she bends. hasn’t he?’ The second question was for myself. till I could gain the presence of the great man himself. dear. ‘Can’t you give him a bit of peace? He has a right to that. dear. dragging the skirt up her legs as though it was reluctant to come any further.’ To Mahaleleel I said. ‘I couldn’t find the pads. watching the evening stars appear and breathing regularly the clean fresh air of the mountains.

’ But Adah said immediately. and said further: ‘Adam is a holy man. of 275 . will you. and. so Enoch said without grace.’ Methuselah nudged Adah and whispered beside me.’ Jubal glared at Adah until she quietened.’ Jubal turned in such a way that he distanced himself from all of us. big boy? It’s your choice now. ‘Adam thinks up is a place.’ Laws are strict for whiners. for one.’ I acknowledge that I tried to persuade Enoch. But the question had been asked. ‘Enoch. mother. ‘What is it to be. yes. and Jubal noticed this too. for he piped suddenly. my dear. ‘That you could think of saying it.‘It happens that I am talking to Adam. my soldier prophet. empty the slop. You gave him to me. and said. for shame. remember?’ Was I staggered? What have I been doing.’ Methuselah said. I was ashamed. I wondered then. somewhere to go. we curious why he had moved. ‘That it should need saying. wise. come up beside me quietly. am dying to know. mother. dreaming? Only then did I realise that I had given up Enoch. ‘I. intent only on the highest things. on the far side of Adam’s bed. looking away from Adam to Enoch. ‘I will go. ‘Hey. you can’t do that anymore. I said over to him. misusing love. then continued: ‘Adam says. Highest is a rotary motion…’ I interrupted him by saying. yet had our attention too. patient. looking from me to Adah and back again.’ Enoch swallowed and furrowed his wide brow.

at least in my hand now. ‘Slops. you slut.’ Adah flared with a venomous stare. by the window. ‘Complete bomb out. showing again her 276 .’ Zillah came in to Adam’s room and joined us looking out the window. Adam said. ‘Better than renting. mama. But when she continued I knew that she was appreciating my consideration generally.’ He came and sat on the floor beside Adah. Rich. Adah looked down at Enoch. Eve. Naamah said. and said: ‘I told you before.’ I said to Jubal. ‘Better than fingering. dressed in clothes that made her seem merely fat. ‘She’s a good girl. mother. Misunderstood. reaching up his right hand to grab her left.’ In the corridor I remembered that I had not spoken to Adam. over beside Adam’s feet. girl: play with what you have to play. She said with interest. You are such a considerate woman. I went back to the emptying room and leaned over to say. ‘A massacre. not a prize catch already lost. now.’ Adam looked where I looked. My prime bait. Cainen this time.course. pointing. sitting beside her like a turnip.’ Methuselah and Jubal started.’ ‘On wheels. slope assisting them. my dear. and saw then the two figures running swiftly. ‘I can smell him already. but not a bit of it: she was already thanking me for another of my sons.’ Out the window I saw a torch on the track from the High Moor. really.’ You see irony.

wife. as though a switch was thrown and something started. then he said in a cackling voice: ‘By what he knows.’ She paused very slightly. held out before him as though reaching.’ Zillah breathed: ‘Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful!’ I said to Adam: ‘We are not marked by Cain. I felt acute nausea. The complexities now. a happy copy. but original to me. not the wipe-out of past occasions. his hands free. please?’ Adam said: ‘I realise that Cain’s condition upset you. Eve. so I said: ‘You can’t just buy back. that I am glad you have for yourself from among all those whom you might have. ‘Can you repeat that. but a deep reaction in my stomach. is for me a copy. you know. tilting her face suggestively.’ 277 . ‘Tubalcain?’ The prospect wearied me. and said.’ Adam seemed to munch for a moment.independence from Cain. running his tongue from side to side between his gums. ‘I appreciate what you had done to God’s Book. Adam said to me. and I appreciate your good wishes. Zillah. Adam. to be honest.’ As I spoke I had an image of Cain. Thank you. yes.’ Zillah stared at Adam – she had never heard him speak before. It wasn’t expected that you two would get that close. able to acknowledge a quality in me unknown to Cain: ‘But what for you is an original. He was standing in his room. Eve. She said.

this secret language of yours. How does she know that Cain is impotent. I know. gaffer. Zillah.’ Adam looked at Zillah in surprise. I promise you that. I mean. I’ll be alright. no running figures to be seen now. She said at the door.’ She paused. still the torch tracking the path. except through some experience? Zillah said at my back: ‘You’ll talk about killing.Zillah said. I kissed his old brow spontaneously and said. loves. then said. girlie. Adam. He said sternly: ‘It won’t be gainsaid anyway. ‘Don’t waste your precious time there. ‘Don’t worry so. ‘How quixotic. Eve. wiping the skin I had moistened. leaving the warmth alone: ‘Who else to worry about you. don’t you?’ I was turning away from Zillah in my surprise: how could she know that.’ I marvelled at how he could accept himself so completely. jabbing the air with a metalled arm: ‘Cain don’t give a fuck.’ Zillah moved back in an unconcerned way as though she had totally forgotten Adam’s face of a moment ago. ‘There’s more to it than you think. how could she know something like that.’ Adam said into the darkness outside the window. I thought then. recollected. But what about dying? About never coming back?’ Zillah kept herself under admirable control. lunkhead?’ 278 . ‘But of course.’ She sneered at me. You know part of the story. then said. considering Adam’s expression.

as though happiness couldn’t look after itself? Then it annoyed me. don’t I?’ I disliked how he turned the last statement into a question. Methuselah’s superciliousness first surprised me. I give her some distance. Jubal waited until he had opened the bottle. I’m always ready. ‘You prefer pleasure anyway. ruthlessly. who was inside the bar taking down a new bottle of whisky.’ 279 . ‘What’s your pleasure quotient. evidently. I realised then. lickspittle. ‘Closing time. then said. ‘What’s with that bitch. poured himself a drop. and continued. I said. ‘Well?’ then got myself a double in the interval of expectant hush. tonight. his fingers now quite deliberate. sipped it. Methuselah said from down the bar. seeing just how shallow he really is. ‘I’m the best soldier you have. too. on your knees all the time. Methuselah? I thought you had retired.’ I turned my back on him and said to Jubal. mamma?’ I said to him.Downstairs then and into the Lounge for another shot. why skin happiness. ‘Like a pussycat. before retorting in a shrill voice: ‘As often as needs be. sugarplum?’ It looked then as though I would be the troublemaker tonight. I mean. as though I am to blame for his inability to be affectionate. as you well know. Before I could touch glass. already well oiled. blew a hole through my throat. I added.’ Methuselah twirled his glass reflectively.’ Why Lamech is the child he is.

I said to Methuselah. Zillah was saying.’ 280 . rubbing her right breast into his side. if I wanted that. get him now. ‘Oh but she didn’t tell me you were such a big boy. Naamah was saying to Enoch. Late night. I stared into my glass in an uncertain mood.’ ‘Well. Here. was fast approaching. ‘Did I send for Lamech yet. Behind me. windburn making his skin glow. will you.I looked around the Lounge as though searching for a face I could hardly remember. I fear. crossed over and gave himself a shot of gin. I don’t know. Seth came into the Lounge. The acoustics are especially good. to my relief. breathing deeply. and I said to Adah. my dear. It was very naughty of her. Seth said out of the corner of his mouth: ‘Coach party. you see.’ He moved away quickly enough. as though I was on track to get horrendously drunk tonight.’ Acoustics made me think of music. ‘We dine in the Ballroom tonight. her free hand vainly clearing hair from his brow. the pair of them facing each other at the little table in the corner: ‘Report all movements like a factory. now wasn’t it? Such a lovely boy you are. I would be grateful if you could refrain from shouting in there. Methuselah. and the time for getting off. Be sharp. Enoch staring at it with fascination.’ She had an arm about Cainen’s waist. I was cheered by this. someone missing even so. Mother. do you know?’ ‘No.’ She gestured with her hand.

coagulation. honey. I said to Zillah. was content for the first time for what seemed like forever. Vindication comes!’ I said to Cainen. imagined the jangle of his machinery as he ran off. ‘Beloved. baby. ‘Your play. for all love. You’ll become a vegetable if you’re not careful.’ 281 . muttering to himself fussily as he tried to catch up. turning her nose up cuttingly: ‘Possession induces resignation. and moved around him to face towards Adah. ‘Shop time.’ Adah cut across her to say: ‘Maybe not. sweets. ‘Wait in the yard. yes? Go. ‘Oh not here too. ‘Zillah knew Hands of God. Wet hands. What next?’ Cainen said at my shoulder. My good loyal Cainen. loverboy. when will I be good enough?’ I patted his lovely innocent shoulder. shay?’ I nodded at Zillah. the way prepared. Enoch-prophet.’ But Enoch stood up to his full height. said to Enoch.’ Naamah said. overcoming my reluctance to act here in a flash of anticipation. baby.He drained the glass and leaped over the counter and began sorting washed glasses.’ To Adah I said. raised his hands in the air and shouted: ‘Behold the path is made clear. for confirmation. ‘Tourists now. mammy. Then we feed. ‘Coach?’ He spat into a sink. Never you fear. but said at parting: ‘When we all are. go. I said. girls. like a guardian.’ Zillah said. I’ve done my bit by now.’ I patted his boyish bottom.

breaking into a kind of song: Girls all found me tedious Girls all found me dire Girls all found me cowering Girls all found me tiring Found me tiring Found me tiring Girls all found me tiring.Enoch said. Now I got to thinking About some countersinking Some monkey bus’ness Some funky dizz’ness Like In every woman’s arms Lies a child man or boy Between every woman’s legs Lies a man young or old In every man’s arms Lies a pillar thick and tall Between every man’s legs Lies a rail licking and falling Hey-yo! Take this down: From right on high it come Counterbracing our flight Here in this like flotsam 282 .

and so who else could make trouble? But Adah screamed loud enough to tear her throat open. The preoccupation with worthiness. reared up and shouted. as though she was down among the losers now. But Enoch. her proof of the Hands of God upon her. ‘Don’t you find beating helps?’ Zillah said. sweetie. I wasn’t worried at first. chicken?’ Adah put her hand to her throat and stared at her mother with a real fear. I always told you that. Adah shouted. remember. of a blessing tarnished. her father. ‘And you can’t keep your mouth from dribbling either!’ Jubal said to Enoch. my loyal son. bless him. the Mystery Man. ‘It’s in the hands.Here in that like bile Like nowhere man no more baby No more baby No more baby Like no more sugar never never Again Never ever again No sugar once Then never again Stung. I thought I was the Joker tonight. ‘I told you before not to make me unworthy!’ I saw at once how much different to all of them a part of her is. after a pause to ensure that Enoch was finished. as though in Hosanna: Of one sin all guilty Of anger are some Of low self-esteem is one 283 . was very evident.

then I was. the room was stuffy. like you. too many seeds sown by now. Wiping his mouth with a large white napkin. Enosh in Adah’s lap. no one would talk to them. stuffed hams. crop uncertain. Bonzo. sweating still after his long labour. just like something frying in a pan. Before I could speak to him. yes?’ Mahaleleel leered once at her and then dived on the wine. hungry dogs.’ She paused to look up above her daughter’s head. ‘Just as well it’s a warm part of the room. gulping it in his thirst. Zillah saying bitchily. gaping mouths. except once. I made no attempt to control what happened then. he retorted: ‘Or to tincture gold?’ 284 . marinated ribs. and I watched how my family grabbed the best seats. so sitting at our cooler end. air fresh. dear. Their food was cold. as you will see. in that strange gobbledegook of his. astonished in a bemused rather than blinded sense. Enoch and Cainen sat rapt. Seth was holding forth at that stage. nearest the Kitchen Yard. well. and Zillah asked him in an oily inviting tone. the finest floor. the light bad. then continued. resonant plain walls. looking down her nose at the little fool. Methuselah with his hand up Naamah’s thigh. ‘Though we could all do with another bit of heat. Mahaleleel came in and shouted in his most venomous tone: ‘Dinner!’ Utter chaos then.Methuselah arrived. bushed and alone. I’m wry now. ‘And dark.’ Mahaleleel joined us at that moment. food hot – while our visitors gazed at our Ballroom. Jubal holding her other hand. reverb roof.

finally gave vent to his rage. but before I had time to speak Mahaleleel and Enoch had jumped up and hurried out to the kitchen. he had praised the bit of work he had done for him. Methushael. of course. even Seth making an acknowledgement: ‘Supercharging semper alles. jumped up shouting: ‘Will nobody feed my son?’ I was shocked. and brought it himself out to the car. and the more we reached out. He chose all the food himself. then the more we reached out. and felt he owed him for that.. something flavoured cool.. How had I forgotten? Why do I punish him so? What secret link permits this? 285 . The more we shouted the more we loosened.‘Or to keep out the cold?’ Methuselah intoned drunkenly. laying out the table and serving him the first course. a final glass of wine together. squeezed between an excited Zillah and an excited Jubal. packed it carefully. and the more we loosened. of course. with Zillah especially merry.’ Some merriment then. a cacophony for the ear. Gales of laughter at all this. plastic action. Mahaleleel was doubly upset at having forgotten about Lamech. especially when Enoch joined her basso. gradations of movement at zero+ Rearguard really though they insist on watching. getting ready for a relieving dessert. shouting anyway – the reverberation quite remarkable. but what a rebound for the body.

the bitch showing face at last. Even now I marvel at how that obedience shines in him at all times. eh? Call that purity. they soon leaving. indeed. his blood almost pured of Cain. always on the go. ‘I’d toddle my tiddler. my dear. you cluck?’ Enoch said to me.Even so. glad we had got through the chaos in reasonable order. and barked: ‘Better keep your pussy clean. chicken!’ that I understood. altogether cosy. why did I do it? I sent him to the car and he did it at once.’ By now I was trying to work out which of them was the Joker. eh?’ And I thought. imagine a mother not feeding her son? That was shame. Zillah was furious now. ‘Then let’s hear wives going. as though he had been buried alive in the ground beneath us. relief. little boys can only pee. But then I denied him sustenance. a surly expression appearing. It subdued me. connected with the word ‘chicken’ I think. Zillah said at her side: ‘Keep your hands clean. but while knowledge can be verified by intent. a rage I had never seen before. his capacity for obedience. certainly when Adah said. ‘Baring your breast to everyone. She pointed at Enosh in her lap asleep. sweet but slow. conversation picked up. call that pleasure. too. here I was obliged to sink deeper into an experience for verification. leaning forward to confide: ‘I hear husbands coming. But it was only when Adah shouted. mamma. more than a little tipsy by now. I now see. just like that. like an evacuation. just you watch me.’ A thick flavour in my mouth suddenly. so stag tonight as usual. But still the question.’ I smiled and replied. dears. I said 286 .

not of truth alone. Eve. His blood on my hands.’ 287 . my dear. ‘Yes!’ ‘Lively neighbours?’ ‘Yes!’ ‘More men?’ ‘Yes!’ ‘No women?’ Adah smiled wryly. so I concentrated on Adah: ‘A house in the country?’ She breathed. ‘I spoke of understanding the truth. is the truth.’ she replied smartly. then spoke. to ease the dangerous passions here in these two women. ‘How astute. and I wondered what had disappointed her.’ ‘The only tact here. beginning to nod with emphasis. ‘Tact can work wonders. lover. beaver.’ Zillah stopped and looked at all of us.’ Not Zillah. ‘I do not understand what happened. her anger still there. then.to Zillah as though inter alia. making a baby not love? So I stayed Adah and said gently.

Jubal the least drunk driving. between the windows. End of dinner. ‘No coats. believing honour is involved. Tubalcain. families facing one another. Then straight out to the car. who helped him at this stage. then Mehujael. a splendour of scarlet tonight. both eager for combat. sit them down in order.’ To Adah I said. Methushael. Car loaded. ‘Off to bed. sonny boy. I said to Methuselah. that he might not be able to cope at the bar. assuring me it would keep him away in the open for half the night. But Cainen was on to it quickly. and things could go seriously wrong if that happened.’ The quickest way was across the Kitchen yard and out the Kitchen door to the side of the House. I went and sat under our Icon. the great drapes drawn. When I got to the Lounge at last. Seth and Enosh to greet the tourists. as though he all the time expects more tourists to come through the gate. Cainen. exchanging banter to rouse up the travel-weary tourists. Jobal and Irad. Chop chop. a drink in every hand. like dogs guiding sheep into the Lounge. Get on with it. Seth and Mahaleleel. Enoch. fathers against fathers. and Enosh looks all the time behind them. Out they went in a toddling line. He stirred up the dogs to a fine deep roar. I found an already frozen tableau. Naamah with Methuselah and Jubal.That was that. Like a 288 . then send the car off down the track. fool and idiot to beguile them. expressing Seth’s real anxiety. Enoch. They drift them. Seth talks his nonsense to them. then pause while the coach pulled in and debouched its passengers. It was during the melee of loading them that Lamech escaped. Zillah trailing. Adah. eh? Good. as Seth sees it.

sending the support units back. ‘No cause for you to complain. as I expected once I saw Irad Bugger Boy talking to Cainen. I mean. punks. closest to me. subordination of flanks. my sons facing Adah’s sons. firmed up at centre with deep wings. At once I saw the power of our array. as it were. a true battleground. ‘Cain. I found myself as though a border between two forces. We cleared our lines.throne? Yes. a parrot on the trot. whatever next. but also a magisterium: a case to be tried. Understand that I didn’t choose this.’ we saw their disposition. and said. I was about to put Enoch and Enosh into their centre and so break their lance. then deep in conversation with Jobal.’ Mahaleleel moved out like a pike on a perch. only fronts. sat facing me across at the Main Doors. while Irad trembled with infatuation. But the other flank was troublesome. definitely thinking he had a chance tonight with this innocent little lad. In Tubalcain’s taunt. directed at Enosh. touching glasses even. and 289 . we did roll them over. ‘The stunt rattles too.’ Given Zillah’s presence. dicky witnesses so far. Enoch laughing at the fat sanctimonious peasant until Mahaleleel said to him: ‘Not wavy anymore? Like it used to be. This woman has always been good to you.’ Enoch’s retreat was tumultuous. I’m sure I don’t know. and said to her son. ‘No stunts. I don’t believe he had prepared for just what he had been put to that evening. leaving Enoch with some little comfort. when Zillah walked in with a little grin on her mouth. no habeas corpus anymore.

’ Nodded at the ferocious Seth. shouting pitched above Enoch’s: Pissheads all! Irad said emphatically. drained his glass – tossing it behind him – and pulled his shoulders back and shouted. Design a gate! Plan a way! Brethern. fuelling the battle high he was on.permitting Tubalcain to swap a few words with his mother. ‘How can you bear to be with such a rabble?’ Tubalcain answered him. ‘We should fill our own glasses. however. that he had jeered them because he could not bring himself to do or say something else. I. longest time ever apart. ‘Drink!’ I could feel that Seth’s anger had another source. But Seth’s anger communicated itself to Enoch. Come on down To trouble Town Kick a can beat a man! And Seth at last leaped up. and he stood up. the kind of utter amazement that can switch to ferocity in an instant. ‘Who do you think washes up?’ Irad shouted. leaning across an already oiled Jobal. went to the bar and took 290 . chums. I have never seen Seth behave like this before. perhaps intimidating to those who master others as a matter of course.

can you? Seth obliged again. knowing full well what they were drinking. who said in his longwinded way: 291 . evasive action. no women to hand. And they drank from the same glasses all night. unforgivably gloating I know. are you? Soaking up your dribble. sloshing the piss to the brim of each glass. doing the decent thing by Tubalcain. are you? Sitting in your piddle. Seth watched them while we fixed another round for ourselves. and went from glass to glass. saying. the stench of old resinous piss hanging over them. Enoch spoke then. They played Mehujael next. Enoch. another tremendous chorus: Pissheads all! They drank the stuff. but leaving him in the other line. but this was a defensive action: Hoping for the nipple. if only for harmony.’ I filled the glasses of Irad. Mehujael. old brandy. ruining old port. are you? Fraid to cause a ripple. and peppery whisky. because it was going to be a long hard night of it. Jobal. ‘You must drink all this up before you get another drop in my House. are you? Can’t hold your tipple.the bottle of very bad wine. reserved for the ignorant to save waste.

the other closely attentive. Fill no gap in the other. Ha! Ha! Ha fucking ha!’ And Enoch pronounced. as it were. the scullion coming to help with the serving of us. but I believe both parties have found their feet. brother. We are taken to this capacious waiting room.‘A moment. the savage offspring of a savage woman. getting a little riotous. drunken brutes. Then you come in to hold court with us. served a constant stream of refreshment. if you see what I mean. mother. Rah! Rah! Rah! Do it! 292 . shouting theatrically: ‘What? Our piss? Not on your life. please. while waiting we are entertained by the ragged bruising wit of the countryside. mate. Now. noisy. brother. brother. That’s first class old stale congealed piss of the oldest sourest ram up in those mountains. A warm reception. seated in broad comfortable chairs. Then that potboy bitches because he has to wash up afterwards. you will agree. my lady. And what do we find? We are greeted on arrival with warmth and courtesy. You make us drink your piss. We had expected strangeness here. We expected you to be ignorant. Seek not in the mother. you got it. one man wonderfully informative. Why? What else do potboys do but clean up behind us?’ Mahaleleel laughed out in genuine glee. Seek not in the brother. Find out from another. I helpless for once. if I may. madam and gentlemen. you name it.

never you fear. Eve. poor Enoch most wretched – hadn’t touched a drop of it before now – I said to them all. that they were out on their own. Size one another up more closely. ‘Let’s finish up our glasses. if you will believe me. no troubles. ‘Cain has no magic. Walls of brick. in pitch: Cold invigorating winds Come first in spring: Hail to awaken the earth again. walls of stone. drain his glass and say before wiping his mouth: ‘You persist in misunderstanding the nature of the problem. of course. Pat?’ As they drank. but superior in the rear. if you wish 293 . but I wasn’t surprised to see Mehujael stand up.Seth intoned more softly this time. and have another drink. still we are superior in the rear.’ I forestalled Enoch. pointing at Tubalcain. my boys. Bubbles. suckers for their own propaganda. I should have seen this coming. lads. as some of you might agree. There is a greater case to be told. as you will notice: ‘Fonder in the hand. What do you say to that.’ Meaning. Now Irad had his say. At last they found something agreeable to everyone. brother. so we could drink a few toasts. fooled by thinking they were stronger than they turned out to be. still smitten with our Cainen.

nor do I remember such a moment in Cain. its operational weakness. do you blame me? We are cursed for this love. I wondered then: what do I remember about choice? Only now I remember: love breeds choice. a greater crime to judge. utterly revolted with himself. I know I evade the question here. You have wiped him out. ‘What Cain did was true.’ Enosh suddenly piped up in his bright idiotic way and said: ‘Pillage if not true!’ I said. not knowing this. but I didn’t know how I knew it was true. his Alleluia of Jays: 294 . What do I remember. I live in the hope of overcoming this curse. I fear to learn what I cannot change. a truly sour look on his face. ‘Cain has no destination now. ‘Destination’. I followed a different strategy. only now do I realise that this is the greater crime that Mehujael spoke of: the curse placed on us. do good to the beloved or do evil to the beloved. Not a curse on Cain then: he could still choose. seeing Cain’s jealousy only now. no verification. Again. We salute you.’ Enoch then. irritated by the twit’s interruption.’ I knew what I said was true. that other word. harking back to another word that accompanies ‘misunderstand’ in my memory of the event. yes. gentlemen. And. seeing his power of choice. That word comes to me again now. I said to Enoch.to use this analogy: a greater court to sit. Then. Jealousy.

right? Alright! Two jays strapped to a line Says one jay. neither Jubal nor Jared here right now. miss. and scouted for a diversion. ‘Not a punishment. I’m fine Says the other jay.Three jays all in a row Seizors all out for jays Jay’s is prized. 295 . Drinks all round again. I missed the music. Seth said to Enoch’s back at the bar: ‘So what are you doing here if you don’t want to know?’ Good question. A memory expunging. Zillah said from the floor behind her settee – looking for an earring – on her hands and knees in that beautiful dress of mine. but I knew also that we were outgunned in this department. Me too! One jay alone on a spire No more to conspire Or rattle a wire Singing fall de lal de loll! Singing fall de lal de loll! No jay now on anyone’s pipe All gone where good jays go Singing full de lul de lill! Singing fill de lul de loll! Enoch wiped his soiled mouth and said sternly. fair lady.’ Goodness. as it were.

will you. might be hurrys. ‘Give us a hand here. attached it to his mother again. Can’t keep it up. Must be in stronger brackets. We do. by saying smartly: ‘Find your own level. baby. too late by then. world’s whine. found the earring at once. ‘You too.’ Zillah said to Irad.’ He balled his fists in an empty gesture of his panic. ‘You must offer some guarantees. 296 . sweetie. a complicated procedure. might be hellos. so I said: ‘Swells all the time. gaffer. breaking and entering. fitting rather than feeling. Consider halves today. Might be buggery. Might be hurrahs. Might be a bad harvest.’ Zillah was back in her seat. fixing her earring still. like everyone else. her hands bent in a tense way.’ I risked Cainen. ‘Brackets.’ Irad said. jury. Missus.’ I waved him away.’ To Cainen she said.’ Now Irad leaned forward.‘Shine a light anyway. beginning to stake the middle ground between us: ‘The case may be molestation. dear.’ Tubalcain ran over in panic. endurance. refugees already.’ She stroked his bare arm. buster. and said. ‘Reconsider your options. I’ve lost some metal. sunshine. a night for a fight. She said to Cainen. that he would succumb to the old queen. dear. interference. able to dismiss him: ‘Let your intentions be your judge. Might be Saturday night.

But I just want some of the cream. nodding in laughable earnest: ‘Out of our city anyway.’ Irad leaned towards me and spat: ‘You are insatiable.’ Zillah stands up and turns away. gets the mother instead. his usual peaceable nature perturbed by strong liquor.’ Tubalcain hardly moved. interrupted. to bring their case into the open. ‘Drinks?’ 297 . boy.’ Bottle above her head. staring at the tips of his boots: ‘Tries for the mother.’ But Jobal. Ped’s worst pash. ‘Tries for the boy.Jobal was prodded into action now. You truly are. whining to his father-brother beside him. gets the sister instead. and now he said to me.’ He turned to his fellow fathers and said. ‘Adah either wants chutney or else she asks for sauce. ‘Pussy’ll show you cream. gets the son instead. you know. I decided to cut deeply then. shouting: ‘Tries for the brother. Son’s best catch. Was he surrendering. then they must believe they have no better to offer me. never you mind. walking slowly towards the bar. became cranky. or was this a strategy to suborn me? If the latter. plaintively. men.’ That interested me. The risk in the frisk.

just as Mahaleleel went rogue: ‘Try for the boys. the carpet about his chair stained dark in some way. to prevent contamination.’ Mahaleleel was otherwise. poor sod.’ ‘Admitted that all our actions have purpose. surely?’ 298 . our world.’ interjected Enoch.’ Tubalcain coughed. How he was trained to keep men away from women. always. then said laughingly: ‘A broken wheel is an accident.The sadness of Irad. I said to him. the brick killing you while the heat keeps you alive! Impersonation. you glass-eyed fucks! You think that because you have a mirror at home that all’s safe with the world! You think that because you throw away your shite that your world is pure! You think that because Sunday comes once a week that God must have created the world so that he could put Sunday in it! You think that because pricks come first on Saturday nights that God made Sunday for men. draining his glass and throwing it behind him in careless abandon. then turning to me. if you please. but only after me. ‘so that all actions have histories. as though to remind his pals of their purpose here tonight. in and out frequently. the dick thrilling you while the beat keeps you on jive! Here’s to Saturday night. you little weeds! Interpretation. lads! Hey-ho! Hey-ho! Hey-ho!’ Irad was bright-eyed again: he said in a confidential tone. anyway! Insensation. if you like. in comfort. mincing it good and all: ‘Perturbation. ‘Capacious pockets for money. miss. rather that we cause no accidents. But it is not that our purposes become history. You know. you low animals! Masturbation. pushing himself upright in his seat.

always chatting men up: ‘On a rail. only for effect. and so it was left to poor Irad to stick out his neck again. did you say. after all the din: ‘Miss blisten all boys cannot ink?’ Mahaleleel had by now recovered enough from his last outburst to be tempted to try again. but he seemed somewhat bewildered. censure this time not praise: ‘Redeem every last buck brothers! Esteem any good luck mothers! Supremely awestruck fathers! Ice cream every fast fuck. dark eyes glowing in an accident of light: Who weaves eternal toils Who reeves internal coils Who leaves infernal boils That spout most precious oils? Enoch roared. suckers! What is strange? What’s in range? Brothers! Brothers! Get this down! This is how it is! Always bag lining gaffers! Always in orange uncles! Always on toast sisters! Here like five! There like wafer! And then like layer! Then severe! On a rail boys! All the way okay! Alright!’ I expected Enoch to join in here. saying quietly. as though surprised he couldn’t understand Mahaleleel.Mehujael wrinkled his long snouty face.’ 299 . jumping up in great agitation. old chum. though I suspect he was also testing the field: ‘How well do you know your actions. Brethern? Reflexivity! Regression! Digression! Get on! Set in! Going soon come later! Lovely!’ Seth was certainly startled. guvner? More like a nail from here. much less Seth.

‘Speak for yourself.’ Zillah yells in false heartiness.’ Seth was on my other side. ‘a man’s better than his keep if you feed him up proper. He must cook and skivvy for them. turning to me at his side: ‘Your beauty surpasses all that I see. lads.’ ‘Oh don’t worry. What do you know what women can do?’ Mahaleleel cocked his head. watch his hands now. pointing at Mahaleleel as though he was mad. Babu. bursting with energy to spare. as though God 300 . Mahaleleel went off to find his glass and get another round for all of us. Now Enoch came in. He walked down to Irad. head back.Zillah put Cainen down and struck Irad on the shoulder in mock-playfulness. by all accounts. loudly.’ Mahaleleel said to Zillah. Ha! Ha! Ha bloody ha!’ Rebuffed so smartly. sweetheart. must fall in love while in this menial role. back in his place finally. Always at it. that’s what I always say. ‘Fly-boy. sitting forward in case he might hear some interesting conversation. Usually the most reserved of man here. miss. ‘A woman’s worth her keep. mister. very quietly. locking hot eyes onto hers. chuckles. Zillah’s voice bringing him up this time. if you will forgive me. the visitors have completely thrown him out. bowed low in mockery and said loudly: ‘If you will pardon me. but I don’t see that that is any way to speak to an angel!’ Bowing low to Zillah in a profound practised gesture of courtesy. Irad said at his side.

filled her glass again. You love him all you can. Mahaleleel said to someone. don’t start now. then said. saying in a screetch: ‘Oh yes let’s do!’ I poured her some special port. ‘Why forgive blindness. as though he would have liked to say more. that is. He said to her directly. I said to her in passing. Trudy?’ She bounced up. until Mahaleleel came in to recharge his tray and saw her. sailor?’ This made her gloomy. ‘Mother. ‘I didn’t take it. then. see her sitting like a frump. Look. I’ll fill you in turn if you would just be patient. touching a bitterness. his right hand fisted on his hip. unfortunately.’ I looked down at Zillah.’ Caught out. and she moped over her drink for a while. looking at the lights reflected in the countertop: ‘Where away. Look. twisting his glass between his two hands. please. I ask. He said to Enoch. I only cleaned that bit. please.’ 301 . you know.’ To me he said beseechingly. all their guns fired off. Enoch could only withdraw stiffly: ‘My rudeness. so I felt we could afford to relax for a while. all a-glitter.might someday appear in one of us. you can see how clean it is there. after all. you know. No one else cares about my father. On my way to the bar. got it into her pretty fast. in extenuation? I do wish you well. sir? How would that serve. The battle seemed to be over. All his old peevishness had come back. Madame. ‘Like to help. the disappointment very deep now.’ His hands went on waving after he finished. ‘No gap in the line. pretty useless bunch.

that then impelled him towards her. pulling him back.Zillah caught his hand. The Queen might be dead but I say every time. I knew Mahaleleel would be away for a time.’ Mahaleleel shouts. not just then but shortly after when his head of steam blew the safety valve. more frantic now. telling him her awful news. shouting. Enoch only needed quietening. her hands communicating with him. her right to his left. too. into her bony lap. ‘Mother! Oh for goodness sake mother! You’re not listening to me are you? You never listen to me. a shapeless pile in her arms. no matter what I say!’ But Zillah kept hold of him. I was interested at that point: Enoch had new experience to communicate to God in his heaven. drew him back to her. ‘Whoa there. Seth opened for him by preparing the stage. unbelievably warm for all that. Down. perhaps God might tell Enoch something new. as though she was the permission for an attractor to come into operation in him. as it were: Seth’s scenes whimsical: Yo! Flimsy frolics frantic: Yo! Trim sheets for his head: Yo! Seven pigeons done in red: Yo! Many omissions mantic: Yo! Comical musical: Yo! 302 . long live the Queen. boy. sunshine and hail afterwards. A last strangled cry of ‘Mamma!’ and Mahaleleel was gone. down he went onto her knees. In the meantime.

Sammy? Three Days say could it be any stranger? Don’t tear the curtain! Don’t stare don’t dare don’t care… 303 . Drink malt liquor. Then Enoch got the go-ahead and he bellowed: Sugary shingles. I was almost three down. bandits’ bewilderment: New product new prod prod Act now overcome cashews. Enosh under a chair somewhere. Irad and Mehujael fought their bewilderment. Cainen by the door to the Garden. Nevertheless. Could I be fairer. sowing further seeds of discord. He crossed his arms and shouted at Enoch beside him: ‘An army not a committee! I told you!’ I looked about. Some army. chancery Patience.Only Mehujael remained in resistance. only one casualty. as Enoch. Thrice in the frost once in the front Sent in the post found in the font: Crazy juniper mere castigations New product know it when you see it: Talking soap dancing stool frowning – Beat any pride meat any offals. Seth’s nonsense was a diversion. arcane negotiations becoming drunken puff-ups. Mahaleleel under assault. leopards coke.

’ Luckily the chair was in my way: I would have fallen flat on my face when I turned abruptly to march from the room. With Enoch out I had only Seth left. clutching the thick drapes: Irad was pulling Jobal from his chair. drawing the heavy drapes back for the purpose. I took a deep interest in the night outside. so I decided on a final ploy. But would they notice me either? ‘Don’t say you haven’t been 304 . a violence in my arms: my reaction.’ I felt like breaking into a Zillah-kind of weep in front of the lot of them. Mahaleleel. the two Great Windows flanking. and behind the Icon was the thick northern wall of the Lounge. my own play. And that was it. I stated as clearly as I could. but keeping margins to help the cause. restrained to the end. the youngest beginning to whinge. Cherry. Genuinely frightened. I turned at the window. hours to get home.That was Enoch in flight. My head was sore already. suddenly over the top. a weakness unto surrender in my legs. clean the place up before you go to bed. see them off. body parched. large as ever. ‘Off you go. Take your brothers with you. Irad dismal. a mucky fight. because this was not the way out of the room. the High Mountains. but no. Nothing to hug. nothing to beat. then goodness. not much in the circumstance. finally seen to be half-hearted: ‘If not the truth. To cover up twice over. finally. I had feared he would throw himself about as he always does when it’s just family. the room like a battlefield. Lucky also. to our visitors. was behind my chair. Seth. an untidy irresolute air. I stood up and said to Enoch. our famous Icon. I had forgotten that I was on my way to a colossal drunk.

Lamech said. trying that way to get through to them. seeing the gleaming ovens in the Kitchen. Enoch whispered to Irad and Tubalcain: the latter glanced at me. when Lamech says at the door: ‘Men are not pillars to anchor women’s emotions. saw that the path through was clear and so set off. scraped and red from exposure: a sandwich in one hand. I thought then my outburst had brought back my fear that I was the one to stir things up tonight. can you?’ I looked down at him. intense delicacy was called for. Each had his head down. ‘Make sure you take him with you. an involuntary naïve act. Fight destiny some other way. stubby nose – feeling the Joker again: ‘And you can’t deny me. the false modesty of a man who knows he’s on to a good thing.’ I smiled wryly to hear this.warned!’ I screamed at them. but it was overwhelmed by the fury that rose in me on hearing his wretched grating voice. you worm. all expectant or trying to conceive in that room. Mine watched Cain’s brood with expectation: this was my last bolt. at his raw face. Eve. that put-upon tone.’ I turned towards the door. a glass of beer in the other. But I must record that I had a feeling about the Joker again at that moment.’ 305 . either. watching my approach with interest: ‘You can’t deny me. I walked slowly. I said to Enoch. However. He was very dirty. His kin stared at him.

Mehujael said. who said to him: ‘Lording it over hives. Can. For two Hours. Let us in or let us on. Seth kicked him behind his knee. No.And with that I sweep from the room. Skulking For crumbs touch for a drink meat for The other Enoch cracked Enoch hard on the head. don’t you? No dice?’ 306 . sprinkle to the brim. done-a-bit. a whimpering Enoch. Heat the tin. barking at Tubalcain with customary impatience. awake sparkling on the bright morn. ‘Rise up cousins! You’re nothing but booze on the brains mates! Take a tray there please!’ Irad ran away. felling him. Eve. good night’s sleep.’ I looked at Lamech in astonishment: so did Seth. Eat the remains. and a busy Seth: ‘If I lose a mother. Enoch decides to start up again: Ingredients: Sugar again and again. what do I gain?’ Lamech said. all do. but Tubalcain said to me across the fallen Enoch. ‘A step on another.

I guess. I decided to go up and drink my tea in his room. ‘You haven’t answered my question yet. Winsome. I wondered what Adam was doing now that the stars are hidden. Quite stumbling.I made tea in the kitchen. swallowing as he tensed to say to me. Never thrown angle-ring dikes before.’ Tubalcain was talking as I came into Adam’s room. really irritated that the visitor should use my name freely: ‘Your hard on jelly here. up and over. hear what he had to say. I bad two left odour sheep. head in hands. Lamech was perched on the side of the table. you know.’ Seth replied: ‘There sat wrack. neither coin. the cold stone step. then I shrugged that concern off: Adam could always come down if he was hungry enough. I didn’t have to worry about him anymore. I kicked his thin thigh and urged him to go into the kitchen. my boy. Then I thought with a new startlement that Adam could choose. eating another sandwich. I wondered if he had been liquored and fed. Middle of the night.’ Adam said hootingly.’ Having remembered Adam. where it is still warm from the ovens: ‘Tell Seth I said you were to have tea. In the Hall Enoch sat slumped against a wall. swinging his feet. Eve. not used to alcohol anymore. He said to Seth: ‘Brilliant flights coming in. but stopped abruptly. Mehujael sat on the bottom step of the stairs.’ Zillah looked 307 . Irad pleading with him to get onto his feet. Carminative if not outright miraculous at times. everything clinking and clicking with sharp-cornered sounds. darkness utter beyond the window.

that rejection I felt in him. I sat in the chair by the window. that strange nonsense. judgement. I heard Jubal’s music. so alien. composed at times of my experience of the city itself. consumed by some deep bitterness. approval. and went and fixed the drinks. They left me alone to brood. facing Adam almost directly. only Adam a bit concerned. never having seen me like this before. each memory begging for something. a curious even intriguing couple. hoping for a miracle. for him as much as for what he 308 . the city. as viewed from the room I worked in. explanation. otherwise I was going to crash in about another hour.’ She got up from her perch on Adam’s bed. I drank my tea. stretched out before me on the bed. that I could not begin to separate out all the strands of memory. voices. perhaps she does enjoy Mahaleleel. most of all Cain. completion. furnishings. the window facing into the courtyard lighting up at times in a wonderfully crystalline way. even though nothing to be seen tonight. as he lay looking out the window at my side. I could not move then: the memories crowded on me. black.rested. so big. a true profound pity. and said tartly to Tubalcain: ‘When the mother comes to want the child is time for getting out quick. the overwhelming familiarity of Adam’s form. But through all this went a dark thread. how Mehujael appeared on our first meeting – stuffy – I could see the tree clearly. Quigly. The strain was like a heavy dark plank of wood. For Cain I felt pity. the tree. like a screen that permitted my recent experiences to return to me with such force. faces. but as often a clear picture of Cain sitting at his little table in the dark. so heavy. Cain.

Thick iron bar. a bit indulgent I think. full of adoration. perhaps easily – Cain is not a genius. mates. If Cain had been in the room. her eyes rising. Right?’ Enoch replied at the door. but he was very tired and I suppose he needed something to keep him going: 309 . cold to touch but fucking durable. tired but game still.’ Adam cocked his head towards Zillah as though to indicate the subject of what he said then: ‘Like Cainen’s. mates. as she breathed: ‘Hands of God. inadvertently or otherwise. The shepherd. sunshine. as though he had just gone mad: ‘Like Iron. I would have embraced him tightly. and I will buckle down to it. Billy.had done to earn rejection by God. dear.’ Tubalcain said: ‘Handful of wool better?’ Then more loudly to the room at large. And yet no one does it. So where did Cain get the idea from? I said to Zillah. inserting myself into a gap in their chat: ‘Where did Cain get the idea from?’ Adam glanced over at me with his oh-there-you-are face and said: ‘From his brother. good lad: ‘Light it is said can shine forever if let. Then I saw the extent of Cain’s blame: could anyone else do what he did? I realised immediately that the whole point of the secrecy was that the action could be repeated. I mean.’ Zillah’s face went radiant.’ He began to shout now. Toss me a bottle.

confident that she has a good handle on her husband. You know what I mean? Doesn’t mind me going out in the evening so long as I come back and give him a good time.‘Yoke my steam.’ She laughed indulgently too. boy. canes. quite content with herself. how much better do you want. but feel that flesh. the tea making me a little too bright now. Don’t you. pity heaven.’ Tubalcain smiled. to be sure. Brindles. ‘I think it is time I was off. I’m deaf in one ear and can’t be bothered using the other. put up a finger. get it inside you!’ Adam chuckled with about as much indulgence and said: ‘No use railing in here. He said. so that rather than complimenting his mother. all glinting to heaven too. I said I’d be back about four. But my Lord said. mother?’ She laughed a full laugh. brethern. and at the door she turned and blew a kiss. everywhere you see me. a rain of conifers. eh? Get on with it. glad tides at sea. man of iron. my lords. suddenly his old shrewd self. Have hope.’ Zillah said. my lad. but I checked myself and reinterpreted what he had said. mortimers. eh? Go on. saying: ‘Zillah likes to flog it. and 310 . cold to touch but going to last for ever: ‘As good as gold?’ I almost called him the Joker. I answered both questions to see which he would choose: ‘Woman like to toy. and laughed again with the delight of it all. hitched her hip suggestively. licked it and held it out towards Zillah. Underweight. he was asking me why a mother would cling to a child. Juicy. Tubalcain was watching me watching Zillah.

God giving curses…’ I interjected. Hands of God. ‘You seriously consider the specifications of God. ‘Can God lie?’ Adam said. God in heaven. I turned in the room and said. Enoch said to Tubalcain. chuck?’ He continued after a pause of appreciation for himself.’ The tea was magical.’ I caught Enoch’s elbow and moved him smartly down the corridor to Adam’s room. looking over at me for an instant. Enoch?’ 311 . ‘Who says God knows everything. sudden memory guiding my tongue: ‘God asking questions?’ Enoch turned to me in astonishment. as though about to skid into the wall opposite. stumbling up the stairs. he with a lean to the right. suppressing my breath to speak plainly: ‘What question did God ask your father. Dan.’ I said to him in the presence of Adam. let’s see how it stands. woman? I went to the head of the stairs and shouted loudly: ‘Enoch! Get up here this minute!’ I was gratified to hear an instant bustle in all the rooms downstairs. at home with his memories: Who are you? How do you know you are vulnerable to me? What did you do. ‘Now. everything too bright. missing a lot of detail in the glare. clear eyes. I shouted at Enoch. ‘Just hold everything now. big boy. unsteady step in the hall already.strutted away on her thin shanks to their bedroom down the corridor. Easy. ‘Come on.

When he was sufficiently rested.’ Enoch wiped his mouth after a decent toast of self-congratulation. and he smiled broadly and applauded. Only Tubalcain seemed to understand what Enoch called ‘Analytical’. and Tubalcain was good enough to fetch him a drink of water.We let him sink into a chair by the door. cleared his throat. But then Jefe did not tell Cain what his secret act had done: that henceforth and forever Cain will witness to Jefe in pain only. spiting yourself?” Then Jefe said to Cain: “Better the swan of goodness than the duck of desire. He said to me. do you hear?” And then Jefe said to Cain: “Where is your brother?” And Cain. holding up his hand to forestall us further. said in reply: “I do my own work. but he said at once: ‘Cain says he does this to make atonement to his descendants for the awful 312 .” And then Jefe said to Cain: “What have you done?” And Cain heard the world under his feet groan as if in pain. And Cain began to feel the pain in himself. Cain did not tell Jefe what he did. going on then to obviously recite a story from his childhood: “Why are you sulking: puss on the ground. detained by Jefe.’ Paused. miss. he said: ‘Best I remember. ‘Cain’s act is a secret he keeps from God. You do yours. smiling at my puzzlement. we waiting in utter silence. Analytical: forgive the irony of Jefe knowing the result but not the cause. Thank you for listening to me. So Cain went and lived away from the Land of Pain. it was.

miss. Milkmaids-aMilking. miss. my boy. Boots and Buckles Boys. none of your dirty chat in here. We’ll have respect from you for the head of the House. and had started into a second cup of tea by this stage. unknown because unwitnessed. Succubus Blues. everyone’s favourite tap.curse he has placed on them. of course. though no one believes him about the curse. If you’ll forgive the crassness of “virgin”. but sure got a lot of what comes before. new show in town. I ask you: Got any of what comes before hanging out on the street. where I could rival the stars in the eyes of my husband too.’ I said to Tubalcain. and I replied by way of a parable to inaugurate Irad into our regime: ‘Boys hung out once on the main street. ‘Are you serious?’ Irad said anyway: 313 . Gondolier. ‘Now. this evening a tall blond came up to them and asked if one of them might have change. you get it? Anyway. Now Irad came into the room. not a nubile woman of great promise. Mermaid’s Gallop. jealous for once. the Up and Over. until Tubalcain said. hung tight. every night.’ ‘Gee-up!’ shouted Enoch. Haw! Haw! Haw ruddy haw!” So. if you think about it. looked over the men and said to Adam: ‘Where the boys hang out. and. Virgin curse is hardly anything at all. ‘He taught me the Two Hand Reel. yeh?’ Enoch said severely.’ I had gone back to my chair by the window. but an unused power. Skeet?’ Irad feigned shyness. One of the boys said in reply: “Ain’t got no change. over here! Sugarstick.

you filthy man!’ He leaned and stuck his head out into the corridor and shouted very loudly: ‘Methushael!’ I said. Did he come? asked the Lord. Only when called.’ He shook a finger at Enoch slumped by the door on a chair too small for him really: ‘Don’t you deny that.’ ‘Who to?’ ‘To whom.”‘ Enoch tried to draw himself up in his chair before replying forcefully: ‘No such thing. ‘Where is she?’ ‘Who?’ ‘My Zillah.’ ‘Zillah is married. ‘Run out of dick first. I stalled.’ Adam said. Every day. butcher. cook and canister. don’t you worry sonny boy. always jumping up and down. Did he go back with the women?’ Enoch said. perhaps shocked by the depredations of alcohol he had witnessed. Enoch. Mahaleleel. to me: “Bugger boys. ‘We’re running out of girls. grovelling for some reason. you! You said. mamma baby. ‘Did he go? asked the Lord. ‘Out.’ To me Methushael said plaintively.’ ‘Still?’ ‘Has anyone seen him?’ ‘No.’ 314 .’ Methushael said at the door. wondering what going is if coming is so wanting. twit. Such a nuisance. asking.‘It was my job. I say alarmed.

’ Enoch intoned. intensely. ‘Stay stuck foff hif you fink I’ll oil any feels in here. say?’ Looks around in desperation: ‘Hey let’s see how the big boy shakes out. Yes.’ ‘Puff puff. Not that kind of party for me.’ Irad breaks into a stutter. Ha Ha Ha heaving Ha!’ Enoch said to Irad. in such a public place. no way José. he said. trying to get off into the air. ‘Irad. ‘Finger alone fantastic. I should know. boys. It’s already very late. oh no. legs wrapped around his thighs. feet tripping under him. but ten is not tenfold. you know. He sure looks well equipped. Headlines and topical features only. if you please. cruelty in Cain’s brood. Report assessment. suddenly furious. Understandable. ‘Right on!’ Tubalcain said. Let’s see how it all hangs together there. severity in his voice again. but it is common knowledge that you wank into a thimble.’ Like a fountain spewing water. ‘Come on.’ 315 . like a giraffe in prayer. like a woman in his arms. Adam says to no one in particular: ‘Birds for dark lanes.’ Mimes the Big Boy. you guys.’ Methushael said. Methushael. Irad. ‘Trousers down. my boy. I onced too. Methushael said: ‘Shy of girls. ‘If you’ll forgive me saying it.’ Tubalcain mimicked. I said to him afterwards. Cows for bells. Geese for cars. okay. Once with Adah is often enough. what you say. pick on someone else.Enoch said. we go an’ hang out with the Big Boy. Hey.

pinning him about his chest. will you. Was this the Joker? Irad? I nodded to Enoch and he blocked the door. Johnnie Fire Cracker.’ Enoch caught him from behind. like peas. keep your sordid transactions to yourself. lad. Steep them often. Adam pushing a quick hand up under his shirt. you 316 . Now. for he replied: ‘Woolly slipover often. Whatever next around here?’ I said. pointing at him in contempt: ‘Nor welcome either. and answer me this question: “If willy winks for me. you know. holding Irad’s back to him.’ I looked at Enoch in surprise. boys.’ In the ensuing silence he continued lamely: ‘No hand of mine was made unwelcome.‘Grüss Gott. and then I said to Irad. what does wally do for you?”‘ Methushael seemed to know what Enoch was saying.’ Enoch shouted derisively at Irad. shaking his head slowly: ‘My my. let’s get this over with the minimum of fuss.’ Irad’s shirt was drawn back to a gasp of astonishment. Great Gaffer. I protest most strongly that I am being wilfully and knowingly misrepresented here. and shouting ‘Wowee! Get a look at this. And wash your hands. trickster.’ Irad shouted: ‘Misrepresentation. Tubalcain caught his pants at the bottom and pulled them down. We studied Irad’s equipment until Enoch said. ‘Alright.’ Enoch said in exasperation: ‘Look Methushael. catching poor Irad’s eye: ‘Nothing to be ashamed of now. bear up brightly. Bluebells. You don’t know where your hand has been sometimes. How many times have I told you to wash your hands before as well as after.

boys.’ To the rest of the room I said: ‘So. you ginks?’ I raised my hand. God asks about a woman’s action.’ paused.know. Methushael’s phantasy. boys? Well. I thought then that perhaps we had gone as far as we could without Cain’s evidence.’ Irad was by now frantic in Enoch’s embrace.’ Later in bed. I said to Methushael and Enoch: ‘Get Cain out here. not so funny is it. chisler?’ He nodded. what is the third then. I raised my third finger and said ‘Third.’ 317 . then first finger: ‘One. third then. ‘Act upon fact. Sleep tight. I said to Tubalcain. So what’s his third question?’ Silence. before pact. it’s like this. God asks about a man’s actions. is that it. I tell you. Two. impacted colon in memoriam. though not enthusiastic for such a handout. Priority. paddywacked. Byee. ‘Well. and only from us. honey. contemptible outsider. the shameless wantonness that disproves by its excess. God expects answers from us. superior because rejected. but I noticed he was embraced with an element of delight at novelty. end of Irad’s Mystery. smooth again: ‘Before tact. Cain as virtue.

but the smaller room would give him no privacy. For polishing the woodwork. and Lamech for the drains. Jobal. spread out about behind him as he lies abed in the Great Window. then Seth in the Hall. The Ballroom seemed excessive at first. It took me some time to work out where best to place Adam downstairs. room to sit down and relax. then Lamech lifts the foot. So it was after breakfast that I could arrange my men in a relay to bring Adam down to his new room. roused out the House and set them to work. Now Enosh springs up and takes the foot of the bed. opening directly into the Hall as it does. how he had made a choice. 318 . with Tubalcain and Mehujael for the furnishings. downstairs so he could be among us more now that I understood what he had done. in teams: For cleaning the stonework: Lamech. Lamech in the Yard. He would need to be south-facing again. the bed travelling across his back. cleaning and polishing. Cainen in Reception and finally Tubalcain in Adam’s New Room. directed by Enoch. a place where that which is seen does not see who watches.I woke fresh. Adam can receive his friends with greater comfort. hardly up to working today. Cainen for the yard. Enosh. the head being taken by Jobal. I concentrated on the new room for Adam. a spring morning at last. Seth and Irad. followed by Enoch and Irad on the stairs. this time Mehujael taking the head. first Enoch lifts the head of the bed. eyes tracking east to west and west to east. Enosh rolls forward. but I moved the furniture about to create a focused intimacy. while Jobal rolls underneath. watching the universe rolling on for ever.

Most of the view from the window was familiar to him from his time upstairs. having once stopped? After a moment of silence Adam said. which I will let Enoch have now. I decided to go. it promptly slid off and slipped across the floor to the window. Rollo. patience.’ he huffed. It was a clear day. ‘Patience. as we cleaned out his old room. I was surprised and hurried down to Adam’s New Room and asked him why he had thrown the beautiful book away. don’t you? All of us running wild behind Adam’s back. I found the restored Book of the Secrets of God thrown in a corner. muttering. ‘Patience comes from nowhere. looking up at the ceiling. ‘It slipped in the exact same direction. It took him a while to collect himself. patience. Afterwards. but the breadth of the range of view delighted him.’ I put the book on his bed.’ I went to the window at that point and looked down. We experimented with sitting about as though visiting him. so I could see down across the foothills to the plain below. doesn’t it?’ I was caught off-balance there. as I thought it must. but said to him anyway. the 319 . ‘shows how often your lot cleaned the place out. sucker.’ Then he said: ‘I didn’t throw the fucking thing away! It slid off the bed and slipped into the corner. which became a form of musical chairs. I was astonished by the very notion. Besides. ‘There!’ even as I wondered if I had seen Adam’s leg move. how could Adam move again. Not from a knot in your cock. You see the pattern. the possibilities of which at once began to intrigue us. Adam shouted. patience.

I put the book down again on the floor and said to Adam. crying. rolling before my eyes yet meaningless to me. the city directly in my line of vision. Adam said behind me. but the words now strange. glinting a myriad of colours. and saw the city again light up. shapes.River snaking down its centre. images. and this agitated me so much that I ground the book into my body. and all the fantastic forms. 320 . squashing it to my breasts and belly. making it sound like an obscure joke: ‘It must smell. words forming. and. his last words like some residue draining out: ‘To high heaven. That was enough for now. forms. But the script was unfamiliar to me. feeling the material give way slowly to my embrace. my dear. The city below suddenly glowed like a great field of precious stones. no retrieval. glinting in the afternoon sun. and then words. It was the arbitrariness of the last play that alerted. Now the script is clearer to me. ‘I knew those buggers wouldn’t let go!’ I picked up the book and held it to my breast. then images.’ I nodded and he exulted. like a language broken up and redistributed arbitrarily. I bet. To come so close and yet fail moved me to tears. letters flowing over all that colour. shouting.’ I picked up the book again and held it tightly to my breast. commas. Arbitrary distribution. full stops. ‘The city.’ Adam looked out the window again. I held the book even closer. semicolons. and then the roll of language seemed to slow down and words became clear.

’ Roused up. Then I could see why he had thrown the book away: the book was full of numbers. seeing it for the joke he had expected. All of us finished at about the same time. I found that the script was familiar. she shouted at my back. like a recognition. that he must be very far away if that is all we get to hear now. part admonishment. wandering along in a silk bathrobe. cup of coffee in her hand. chatting about what we had done and how wonderfully well everything looked on this 321 . I said to Adam. ‘Hey! Too right. Ironic now. you chick. following one another without break from first to last page. I opened the book out of curiosity. not in itself. I said. ‘Got the little boy out at last. Things were fine for a while. but by means of a kind of overscript in another mode.’ As I was leaving the room I heard a sound behind me. sweets. Fancy that. that most likely had been added by the science of the city. laughing uproariously. but I did think after the sound. part teasing. have we. I met Zillah in the Hall. ‘A Book of Numbers.I wondered then if this was the point at which Adam had thrown the book away. so we met down in the Lounge for a drink before dressing for dinner. but very compressed. in wry acknowledgement of his taste for economy. sweetheart!’ I was only too glad to have Mahaleleel for the kitchen and so carried on up to clean Adam’s Old Room out and leave it prepared for Enoch tonight. When I finally calmed down.

I mean. Naamah too. Lamech sat on Zillah’s knees in perfect contentment. What goodness could be offered to Zillah. at the table. bless it with many toasts. when you think of it. But I felt someone lacking. so I steeled myself for this evening. Mehujael. ‘You up to it yet. I thought the situation serious. whose son is homosexual. or Mehujael.fine spring day. while Enoch on the other side kept an eye on him. who would stand on my right? Not high magic as you might think. see that he keeps his hands to himself. and poor poor Jared. Zillah. and Irad? Who could stand beside Enoch here on my left. I saw that Enosh and Jobal were comfortable in the company of Mehujael. 322 . Jubal. Naamah. missing my soldier Enoch now. But also. Enoch to Enoch. to balance for me. but I managed to leap in before it went any further by exclaiming in my dizziest voice. ‘Sardines!’ I distracted them long enough to move Cainen over to talk to Tubalcain. but it was a roller. I know a contrary table when I see one. because it is all the same to her anyway. and thought of all who were away tonight. still absent when I remember him. or Irad. Methuselah. more like preparations for war. Who of them could counterbalance my three queens. my Enoch with Methushael. while I set Seth to watch Irad. Adah. giving one way only. but I could see no other way to keep them apart. prey finely balancing predator. but gratification that consumes everything except itself? Enoch perhaps. boy?’ He moved his forefinger suggestively. Then Irad had to say to Cainen. I wondered if Seth was even up to it.

ice forming about us: ‘Dickheads think they have cocks dipped in sugar. stopping at ‘discovered’. Then she admitted.’ Zillah was momentarily confused. I say. I replayed his words. actually. thank you!’ Tubalcain said to Seth behind Cainen’s back: ‘A correspondence of terms must signify. then Irad’s buried us in a world of dark ice. ‘Who told you about incest. fearful of a joke. frozen from even remembering what he had just said.’ Mehujael echoed me. waving Irad back impatiently. ooyay!’ Cainen snarled audibly and ground out between clenched teeth. as though he wanted to have something out with his father. It’s very demanding. actually. ‘It’s the shift work.’ Irad said. fearful of betrayal. I turned to Enoch.’ If Enoch’s words had been icy. and asked him. ‘Work then play. ‘Tis left. don’t you think so?’ But Enoch said at my left. It wasn’t clear then if any of the others had spotted the trick or let Irad’s chill chase them away. a look of wonder in her face as she glanced from me to Mehujael. genuinely confused.After the soup I said to Zillah. tone surprisingly exact. ‘Just because you think you discovered incest don’t run away with the idea that all this is being done just for you. looking at Cainen with a fond simper. his most severe tone. dear?’ 323 . as though you discovered how to punish your father for what he did. as it in reply to a question: ‘Heart is left. Eve.’ Irad answered in a wrangling tone. ‘I’ll do the shifting. reaching to touch Zillah’s arm. Shifting them. Jonas.

Father and Lover never worth the trouble. a daughter or a son. ‘Cain claims to have married his mother. No man has ever known his daughter in our city.’ Mehujael said ungently in reply to this: ‘Where do it say that. now that he had got this far: ‘The question of what the daughter did is immaterial until the question of how he could know his mother and his granddaughter without knowing one of the persons involved. ‘Don’t you know. we settling back contentedly with a fine wine.’ Mehujael settled down in himself. This is Cain’s Ban on us. ducks?’ Irad said down to me with biting emphasis. and there is no son.’ Lamech happened to be clearing up after the main course. Joker? Not in my book it doesn’t. another man’s woman again. brother.Enoch looked at me in surprise. his granddaughter. it says. if my memory serves me right: And Cain knew his mother and granddaughter. smoothness less interesting than expected. Thus Cain did know his daughter. but his daughter remained without. But we have a daughter. incidentally. but not his daughter. Lamech should. ‘That scrub-a-dub!’ I waved him back to his position in the room and said haughtily. but not in the full sense. asked abruptly.’ Enoch grunted impatiently and shouted at Mehujael beside him: ‘No! Cain was stopped! Cain had to content himself with his granddaughter. Try it for yourself sometime. There. to await our trifle. but Lamech won’t. He said to me. 324 .

She shouted. so that the ceiling fairly vibrated.‘You’ll scrub plenty of dubs here. End of signal. though you could see her thin little groin.’ To Irad I said. sugar and icing balanced on it. never you mind. rivalling the queen beside him: he said disjointedly: ‘Macaroon. Lamech immediately brought more trifle to her and Mahaleleel filled her glass again. and began to pull at her clothing. counting the rings on his fingers. to have contrived to keep me a place at your table. She is extraordinarily skinny. ‘Why not. iron bar.’ 325 . ‘We should tear them off afterwards. bumboy?’ Irad began sweating at once. clearly. so hard to remove evidence. a credit to her talent as a dresser. she sat back at the table. actually. on his knees for days. Joxer. once and then for all. Full stop. Says he shites his trousers at the sight of her. the sway of the jelly intensified by the weight of cream. Eve. you tired bunch of suckers! I’m going to show you what I think of you all!’ Naked. looking over at Lamech at the wastebin by the Garden Door. Her little breasts looked as though they had always drooped. and got to work on her trifle. her thighs had no stretch marks whatsoever. sugar-stick.’ Zillah said. vulva drooping as though nothing worth enclosing there. he calls her. ‘I hate you all.’ Zillah suddenly screwed her eyes up tight and screamed very loudly. A voice at my right said softly in my ear. Seize her on first opportunity. ‘How good of you. Hate stale cock. Nothing sets so fast as a man’s prick. A dangerous hoor. hosepipe. with its pathetic bush.

and I saw the conjunction of his words. though it hurt me deeply to make that witness. I am glad I witnessed that longing when I did.My heart leaped there. Cain’s words. ‘a place at your table’. moved me deeply. 326 . his observation. and my earliest deep wish. and felt then how deep my longing is.

that we are marked for good by our first experience of being alive. With Cain seated at my right hand side. but it was then that I had the first intimations of the vast change under way among us.’ Adah said loudly as she plomped herself down on her seat. that we cannot do something sets the tone of our lives. 327 . always blindness.’ I had paid attention to Cain only. I had the thought that a memory is like a branch of a tree. Naamah said at my back: ‘Oh goodie! Opera tonight!’ Zillah was naked. only the end product as she ran around the table and threw herself into her father’s arms. an easier expression on his face. and I knew that the thought was true. A completely different person when out. They had not been long in the House. that the earlier it is the greater it can become. Cain said to me. ‘Worse being lulled than gulled. ‘Adah always warns against excessive trust. so I did not see Zillah’s transformation. Blindness. that is our first experience. these thoughts concatenated and I suffered a confusion worse than before. crooning over and over: Oh daddy it’s been so long They all told me you had gone But I put it down in a song: Of fatherhood you are the paragon. Mehujael opposite appalled by the sight of her bare arse wiggling and bouncing madly as she tried to climb up onto Cain’s lap. But even as I registered this insight.We made a second table for the others. discreetly. knowing their way around. It always amazes me. a horrible sinking feeling.

naked still. Rules of Engagement trouble me not Acts of Estrangement tumble me out Tracks of Derangement probably rut So rover don’t go far So lover don’t go far. shouted airily: Give your life for a love they ask me each day Miss your wife for a dove Kiss your dog for a bone Shine out bright lad they cry to me each day But I make it with the boys Finger first honest then you guys. disgusted. so that we had to content ourselves with her back in her chair. Away behind me Enoch sang out to Mahaleleel: Heaven favours blessed lovers Pure in deed sure in need Seven angels wait on such lovers 328 . sulking because her daddy spurned her. and he was moved to say moderately. but he was quick to recognise extenuating circumstances when seen. but she fought him fiercely.Cain was taken aback at first. I told Lamech to dress Zillah. his hands on a naked woman against all vows. Mehujael. Mahaleleel refused to do it.

Seth said with a lilt: One to two three two four Makes three and twenty six all told But two one to eighty one Gives one and a nought too as you can see. getting into the swing of things. I piped in then. 329 .Three to two four to one Oh pain of love Indeed such toil love tasks us Honeyed you will come oh pain of love Three to two for a team Four to one for a scream. Over laughter. the lower table quiet as they gobbled up their food: Contrary wives tell you lies my loves Ascertain you know take it slow dears Feel your route in the night mates Don’t stop till you’ve struck rock Jock Silly little Jim keeps his head in Silly little Jane steeps her migraine In vinegar Sing vinegar In vinegar In vin In vin In vin Egar.

as bad as any of us. Tubalcain rang out hastily: 330 . For instance. keeping our glasses upright. not to offend your susceptibles. my control. but not so. I seemed drunk no doubt. good meal behind us. I repeat. but I could not understand why we had to speak in such absurdly exaggerated ways. at least not till I’m better ready for it. is for your convenience only. I could not understand why we behaved as we did that night. to give you a jolly little read at rest-time when anything else would be too much trouble. I remember that Zillah came on next. my dears. I had enough of it with one ridiculous outburst and I didn’t want to do that again. slumped in her chair: Hard chair blues My arse is done sore baby My nose is gone sour lady This is hard chair blues Hard chair blues This is hard chair blues My mouth is long sore complainin. plenty of spirits left: we cleared places in front. It’s not nearly as easy as you may think. The confusion remained in me. What do you think? Are things worse than I say? Will you not be punished if you fall? You know the answer in your heart So. I understood perfectly well what was being said.By then we were under way. Perhaps my blitheness.

Adah now entered for the first time. This seemed to give him inspiration. bawling from her side of the Ballroom.’ faltered and then suddenly broke down in tears. waving his hands over his head. Adah also feeling free to complain in my House.Pillars of bars bright like stars Pieces of gold like banalities Sugarstick ladies saddled uptight The jockey is eager the nag all affright. because he suddenly started up in a bass: Binding by brass buckles and stays Where a mother might prefer golden chains Belted by beef straps and leather Where a brother might expect bold claims Prompted by preyful bushes and bulls 331 . Jubal replied to her in a mock soprano: ‘Nectarine onions. over near the Yard: Rolling rolling hayfields at night All else flowing but the grass is stuck In the ground only a stupid wind for company So roll on roll on bewildered grass Nod to the wind kid the wind that you know what’s said All that’s said all that’s said By a stupid wind. Vehement is the word.

Where another might expect old games. Naamah jumped up. and jumped over to the angle between Cain and I. He was very surprised. staring at 332 . to say sweetly: ‘Consistent persistent.’ Suddenly jumping up in the air and shouting: Going down On the town Pulling up Take a sup Who to say who to know Getting on Having wan Sing along Keep it strong Who to say who to know Where’s he from It’s heaven high What’s he do What he does Who to say who to know. Then: Prettified stuffing for goose and gander Where a mother might expect cold stains. clapping her hands hurriedly. Zillah rose in consternation when Naamah dropped her big bottom into Cain’s lap.

I was thoroughly at Home now. otherwise they get used to it. then judgement. now. laugh. If I say that Zillah was piteous. even used to the new-found function of the Ballroom. I could see no solution even though I knew perfectly well that our masquerade would propose one. as though she knew what she dared. resolutions and such. my pity was as much for her obstinacy as for her desolation. Methuselah opened now. as though his tongue pricked his mouth: The sun rises sweet at dawn Water stirs leaves hang The day commences with a bang At once light colour and motion Sailing alone oh sailing alone All alone on a high blue sea Laying about oh laying about As steady as a yellow cheese 333 . honey. I said to her in a soft voice: ‘Put something on. stark naked and all bone and limp flesh. slightly mad.his hands lying across her thighs. but she jumped up again with a little. always punishment. once Mahaleleel and the other one refreshed the tables for us: he sang in his intellectual tenor voice.’ The third act is about solutions. like a court in deliberation.

It comes it goes it’s still it blows The fire it gutters before catching The water warming in the woman’s palm Dissolved drunk love like wood glows Love like wood loyal love like wood holds. looking intently down to the lower table: ‘Do you usually eat like this. Jobal and Lamech drowned out every other sound in Adam’s New Room: Bury my bush in your sweet mush Honest dearie I do Play like a boy over every little toy Ray ray really we do. the momentary relaxation of a man who no longer believes in himself: Alone we fight Half of the night The other half Drinking drinking When friends come round We clean up the ground Sit quite still 334 . moved by his now haggard face. Then I replied to Cain. Cain whispered to me in a plain recitation. the trio of Enosh. Eve? Or is this something completely different?’ Before I could reply to assure him.

Talking talking When the gang’s here We hit the beer To each other Singing singing So let’s sing a song As we drink along Together All loving all loving. The word was ‘ground’. grinding it out like a good peasant: Speak of night then speak of silence too Speak of who waits at the door of silence too Think of the thread you hold think where it leads Think of the place you inhabit now Why a thread if you are not lost Speak of drips then speak of stars too The starry roads oh the starry roads So many rights on so many ways 335 . I said to Cain. The nausea was light. as though the sun shone out of Cain’s face. ‘Did God ever touch you?’ It was the turn now of Cainen. not Cain’s doing but another power. mainly I think because singing as I was distracted me. who stood up for his piece. a response to a sudden image and a word in my ear. my utterance echoed clearly to me as I sang ‘gang’. The image was uncanny.

drinking and eating heartily again. To his bowed head I said: ‘Cain. re-evaluating his estimation of me. his innocence for once reminding me of his father. Enosh. kissing my fingers first. thinking again of the glow I had seen in him. It is brighter than the sun.’ I nodded in agreement. no response. flesh still in tone. I saw the mark of God on you. 336 . ‘And so unmarked?’ Cain looked at me shrewdly. loosened his gown and let it fall to the floor. I’m afraid: ‘As stupid as you ever were. God had sent him away and God had marked him at the same time. its smoothness remarkable by contrast with his worn face. Loudly. Cain. as lost.Find a road oh find a road The thread a place to begin with in your palm. but no life in him. I said to him. despite the fact that I knew very well that Cain did not interest me in himself. Eve. He bowed formally. No one paid any attention to Cain. what kind of experience would require such a grace? Cain leaned over then and said: ‘A God who curses need never touch. as fearful. and I wondered for the first time if Enosh’s idiocy was not a kind of grace.’ I signalled that he was to dress. God did touch you. But then I wondered. My disappointment was deep. As blind. but said in any case as he clearly had intended: ‘Marked?’ He stood up. I asked. for his burden if for nothing else. And yet pity remained.’ I touched his brow. my disappointment evident. he said to us all: ‘I am unmarked! I am unmarked!’ His skin was pure.

Tubalcain said to me: ‘Why is Cain crying. Eve? Why should Your faith be greater than my error? Your vision more true than experience? Irad and Methushael sang from opposite ends of the room: Sweet joy with my little boy Browsing the night away Come the day as it may When my boy sprouts oh boy oh boy! 337 . and said: Am I to believe you. his eyes so steady and seeing for once.Then a bustle at the Yard Door and Lamech and Mahaleleel run in. Love’s like this so hang on there Dirty work for one recuperation the other One mucking for a mother the other her mother So in love we are for the fun for the fun. mops in their hands. dearest? Did you not want him after all?’ Cain raised his wet face to us. to chant: Oh well we scrub and scour pots and pans While you make merry hell in here We won’t keep you long oh boys no Not long at all will we keep you here.

another a fool. perhaps. but said before turning away: Induced curse. Who’s to say who’s to say: he can’t say. Perhaps another three by your leave: 338 .I shrugged at Cain. Now another Big and bold sight of God light of man Absolutely fascinating believe it you can! Three more before you go: one’s An idiot. No error ever made. Enoch started then. three fish all at sea. with surprising vigour: Finale’s come and then we’re out. mate. There’s another all in a muck Can’t stay dressed can’t stay can’t stay! So to a daughter mother of a brood Got to go got to go: can’t say no! A man now for a change: old hand now First son of the first one to sleep with mother Susceptibility there. Persisting in goodness against all odds. Well here I go in a rousing shout: There’s one marked with the mark of another Whether by God or the blood of a brother. the third The salvation of man. half turned towards Enoch on my left.

friends: Raise up your hands and give a cheer For the girl that I speak of might otherwise hear: On wings she sings On legs divine she glides A haunch I could eat A breast I could drain A waist fit for squeezing A body fit for seizing A ready wit for teasing! I returned the compliment by saying: A story’s end could never be told If it were not already retold.He’s smart she’s a tart he’s a fart Even yo-yos are tripartite. Now it’s late I agree but just another three: These are scrubbers three. These are yang and yin a wheel in a spin One into the ground the other heaven bound. Last of the lads father and son of a father’s curse On that father. The axle you ask: him the one heaven-bound. And the choice bit. Are there more you ask: a few I say And with your indulgence here they are: This one’s adaptable not knowing where to begin. one on his knees One on his toes the last out on a hill. 339 .

enunciating each word with care: ‘Don’t use the blood. I called it the Mark of God. Cain. Raising the clenched fist to me he said hoarsely. Out with it. staggering forward a step or two. head down. a quiet moment: ‘What error. the result of his action. but some peace in him. curse to man. won’t you? Blood’s no good. took his elbow to steady him. ‘This is the power of the blood. losing my wrap at the same time. impressed on his whole being. checked to see who was near.’ Then he saw that I did not understand him and he went limp. and observed: ‘Tell me something I don’t know. How Cain hungers for God’s attention again. Eve! Blood rules blood only: gift to man. lank hair about his ears. In the Garden. and said. a trace in him. or interference by God? What did I see in him? I looked again and again after that first experience. some trust in me. as I now remember. Pass the word on. What blinded him was still not clear to me. perhaps a muscle pulled.’ 340 . but only the memory of that sun came. I admit that I didn’t fully understand Cain’s situation.I put on record that even then I knew that the vast change had not occurred. Cain?’ He was limping slightly. was it his act. I caught up with him. Eve. seen before in his eyes. He glanced up. as we streamed out over the grass to the Hall and out to the cars.’ He balled his right hand at his side and tensed every muscle in his face until he looked like a statue of himself. but the mark I saw then as now the mark of God’s attention to Cain. I asked Cain.

vaguely sinister in the light from Adam’s New Room.’ He shook his head slowly. Eve. an amusement twisting his face. and said: ‘You are persistent. Seeing that. ‘Blood is life!’ He smiled with satisfaction. definitely liking these answers: ‘Third: curse. do you? Have you asked yourself why you don’t already know? No?’ He gave me no time to answer this question. I think.’ I nodded in appreciation and said: ‘Second: grace. I said: ‘Hardly a tautology. his look now appraising me. I saw the worst now in Cain: his shame. Skip it. woman. Cain? Not after all this effort.He stopped and looked at me closely. his lips working up and down as though words should be following right then. Very well then. Look. but said. alright. making a game of it now. ‘Alright. Eve.’ He stiffened his shoulders.’ Again he concentrated. moving me away from the others towards the darkness under the tree in the corner. I’ll give you that. what do you want me to say? Give me the words then.’ I said: ‘First: fall. He nodded indulgently.’ I sniffed at his condescension: ‘Nor anything else.’ 341 . a good question with a good answer. then said: ‘Jealousy. ‘So you want to know. then said: ‘Love.’ Cain concentrated. another notch: An act cannot be tautological.’ Smiled at him.

He replied immediately: ‘Darkness. 342 .’ I shook my head wryly and left. none the wiser. after all.

seemingly. a conviction that I should try harder with Cain’s problem. I did not. his will a matter more of history than choice. Temptation and surrender. what Cain will not accept. experience blinds Cain to truth. I stopped Adah in the Hall about this. a victim of his own freedom. I was prepared to clear off to bed for the rest of the night. Eve. finding good as well as evil there. anxious. almost all of it. seeing no further then. Truth is of choice. Writing this. with blood? Jealousy. not of act. an obligation to try one last time. and asked her: ‘Is it only a matter of blood. ‘No. there we are joined. dear?’ She flustered. but who believes he could never make a good one now. but go on to choose again.’ She touched my arm. Though Cain succumbed to jealousy. Why did Cain do what he did. and I walked away across the grass to the door to the Main Reception. He believes an experience speaks to him. Then darkness.That was that you’d think. But I have not stopped out of fear. Jealous of what? Love. caught off-guard. perpetually in thrall to his own actions. His experience told him he was worth less than nothing. That night. what we after all have in common. I asked myself why Cain was unable to choose again.’ 343 . but a sense of incompleteness gripped me. As you no doubt noticed too. because she said involuntarily. loss of love. I am pleased to say. tells him what it is. ‘Enoch will not stay. Someone who made a bad choice. a nervous sympathy. a shameful man with a shameful secret. I begin to see what joins Cain and me. but instead succumbed to curiosity. fearing rebuke.

honey. I turned away. after muttering her husband out of her way: ‘Even accidents involve choice. Zillah said at my back. Would you join him for a moment?’ I waited till Cain had made himself comfortable in his corner and we were alone in the car. ‘He can’t be mine if God wants him. Now doesn’t it?’ I went to Zillah. peering at me against the glare of light from the House. a metaphor. a habit. then smiled complacently and replied: ‘Speaks for itself. each grave as though they conveyed an icon. Adah added. catching her as she boarded the coach with Mahaleleel. miss. and asked her. I think.’ Rebuked. dear. mother. seeing the mask I was failing to understand.I stared at her. not a response. saw Cain come through the front door supported by both Enochs. now can he?’ I said to this. Eve. so that Mahaleleel said with visibly enforced restraint: ‘Make your imputations to me. a piece of evidence in itself though only a copy. as though responding to an invitation. an analogy. ‘My father would like to speak to you.’ I turned to her.’ Enoch called over to me. He rubbed his brow tightly. and said with his eyes closed: 344 . lighting up the Drive for them as they go: ‘How it is out on the track. as a last resort: ‘Don’t you eat what you bleed?’ Zillah cringed before me. ‘And if God didn’t want him?’ Adah put a finger across her lips in canny assessment. She shrugged.

believing that knowledge is enough in itself. making a question of man. He reached up his right hand. phantasy.’ Cain looked at me as though he had made a serious mistake about me. and Zillah blames Adah’s jealousy. at least. giving God the power of truth. He was more loved than I. Eve. ‘What secret. as though to touch a sacred object suspended about an arm’s length right from his brow. Eve?’ ‘What God doesn’t know. Cain. looking at his hands. He said in a low weary voice. Cain. Evasions. fate in him as much as in me: ‘God knows everything. as though he has been talking to the wrong person.’ I paused to see how he would react. But he said nonetheless. Why do you hide it behind the burden of a secret?’ Cain slumped again.‘Adah will tell you Zillah’s jealousy is to blame. his arms and head falling in a way they had often done before. But I tell you. of course. God asks questions. so he over-rates knowledge. 345 . So I said.’ I said to him. In this I read that Cain connected his own error with these strategies.’ Cain deflated. to have shut of the whole subject once and for all: my jealousy is to blame. after all. ‘But questions imply ignorance. Cain is not a thinking man. Eve. a kind of inevitability he failed to recognise in what he told me. I said before he could formulate his response: ‘Misunderstanding.’ I was disappointed. hoping to convince this last time: ‘Yet he left you a mark. Lies are also possible. is possible.

always covered by one name or another. as much the aftermath of his night out hitting him. now I saw that his secret is also a copy of what impelled him to create the secret itself. but then I remembered that there was nonetheless a secret involved. an action never nakedly before us. of course: I had already seen how the present Cain is a copy of the Cain who acted. who asks questions for confirmation only. I saw a boundary in myself. making a slow sweeping gesture with my right arm.It was possible then for me to ask Cain for the truth entire. and that if not a secret from God. a startlement of some kind. Yet I felt that the secret was somewhere in Cain. the Enochs guarding the door of the car. like a trace. wrongly or correctly. You see there the limitation of knowledge? The question of what to know. Cain was dazed. I spoke to Cain in a wise way in order to impress him. then it is a secret from us. between what I could know and what I should know. I was prepared to do it. as the course our discussions were taking him. in actions that must be interpreted. the fading hum of the coach outside. Not I see the limit lies in how we interpret actions. lies or phantasy. Before this I had understood the limit to knowledge to exist in what goes before knowing. The question for me was this: should I trust Cain’s judgement. the instance of knowing a revelation of an origin not merely a recognition. This line of reasoning brought me to see Cain’s secret in a different light. my fingers as though uncurling to him: ‘The seed leaves its mark everywhere. after all.’ 346 . that he ought to keep his secret from all mankind? It was a valuable time. I had time to think there.

hastily. We have the power to make names. and said: ‘His blood cried out to God. such as it is. Who else does any lamb know?’ As I spoke I saw the truth: human blood is like that of the animal. not mine. his preoccupation with error confuses me in a particular way: I have said before that his error. that an act was committed – one with dire consequences for us all – then perhaps I could glimpse the secret itself.Cain nodded abruptly. arms resting on his knees. frightened by this new insight: ‘But we have names. Cain. almost biting my tongue as I did. serves to hide the secret from scrutiny. to lull them. but it cried his name. Now I realised that it was out of shame that he kept his secret. Eve?’ I said at once. It was then that I realised that I was not the one to question Cain. ‘It’s mother’s of course. I was even preparing lines for the Enochs.’ He looked at me with a final candour. I stood up and walked over to the door. like a key to open a door. I spoke again. saying to Cain behind me: 347 . to protect himself. head slumped forward. I was assuming that if I could persuade Cain that no error was committed. but Cain suddenly sat up and rasped: ‘What has that to do with making a mistake?’ The disappointment with Cain was much greater this time. not us.’ I wanted to leave the car then. seeing the witticism take on a horrible truth. like an animal in its lair. and asked: ‘What name does the blood of the lamb cry out. before Cain had time to reply.

’ No Enochs at the door after all. so some lines went wanting. The air was unusually sweet for early spring. 348 . We were further from the House than I had expected. but I attributed this to the profound silence of the night. and I breathed it in deeply as I walked across to the House. dummy. I was quite close before I realised it was not our House.‘Let me know when you find out.

Spotlessly clean. silvery. the furious interlacing of the deepest and the lightest of the yellow tones against a clear background. and saw how the primrose paled and paled. everything in its place.That I write this is a signal of my return: you’ll see what I mean. a haunch being hung on a hook in the wall. always too big for a few. perhaps. the yellow of flowers. At once I felt that power here in the Ballroom. crying out for warmth and colour. The Little Room was bare. You might find in this a kind of symbolism. a desk and a chair. So the Ballroom is very fine. fire and wood perhaps. the matt whites as though in motion with the shining whites. Here the colour predominating was yellow. attenuated. set out against a background of woodwork. flowing all around me. for instance. and I saw the pattern of the wallpaper in the Main Reception. groups of seats so that you 349 . how you might dance in that room. letting you know that the house is yours while you are there. a restless surge in the room of very great power. I went through to the Main Reception. but the wood gleamed a rich strawberry hue. like a clear water. inviting a similar flowing. primrose. daffodil. as you would expect of a true ballroom. Then the Lounge. a river. but I felt it more like an appeasement. Rarefied. no more. As a lounge should be. permitting people to gather in intimacy. I went into the Hall and looked into the Kitchen. an end to resistance. Is this a phantasy? No. the first principle of hospitality. but you could also see the good sense of a welcome at first warm then reserved. Not from my perspective. But it was only as I crossed the room that one memory from the preceding room came to my mind. dandelion.

which repeated to me in an endless anagrammatisement. even a world – the music was so strange – very different from what prevailed 350 . and I had only two strange names.’ We both enjoyed the duel of compliments. looking as closely as was polite at him. I replied. The question of his name in important. then.’ Seated.always looked at one complete group of other. surely. The upshot is that he ceased to be the Beautiful Stranger.’ We drank for a while. This thought. for he smiled and said. So when he stood up and gestured to the chair beside him.’ ‘Only what it knows. never seeing chairs in random spreads. ‘What they see. the names ONO and KEK. only the letters. though by now quite separate names. reaching his right hand to escort me to my seat. There was music being played somewhere. to distract me from something. suddenly became an unwitting truth. intended as ironic. I suspect this was a trick to play with myself. I was dizzy after the tour of the House. in an atmosphere. as it were. as though at the top of the house. designation unknown as yet.’ ‘Your mind is your own. But on that night I could not remember those names. but became the beautiful Okekon. and obviously I thought of the word so intensely that I. surely. He gave me no name. those I thought I had deciphered from Adam’s Book.’ ‘Your eyes are your own. ‘You are beautiful tonight. a pale sherry. each aware of this in the other. ‘I must reflect you then. strictly alternative readings of one script. very minute and modest. so I will deal with it here. invested him with this name. I saw the name Okekon as though wrapped around him.

watching the liquid react. I asked him. how knowing something wants to be more than the thing known.down here. ‘Pretty far in fact. Even when he began to twirl his glass at its stem. lifting his hands so as to show me his palms. a power of endurance indicated. a definite word though an anagram as I explained. Far enough for you. the last thing I was prepared for. enjoying its initial freshness.’ He nodded as though nodding like that answered a question. giving it a soapy quality. I suspect. I said. ‘What you think is something like jealousy. he continued: ‘I know you think you can choose between irony and hypocrisy. concentrating on this task. the other by misdirection. the music I strained to hear. giddy but promising.’ 351 . the sherry. more thick than I had expected. Even so. but I saw more clearly the texture of his skin. the politesse.’ He filled our glasses from a silver flask. When we had sampled this new sherry. Eve. I did not see where he was leading me. but both serve to obscure. and went on: ‘But it is more like the excess in knowing. the cap satisfyingly tight. Not until he said.’ I readily admit he lulled me. ‘I must go. as though there was any more to know. no more than a copy either? I put my glass down carefully on the little table and stood up.’ He paused and drank again. of a very soft but strong skin. one by indirection. Was this man. the dye less evident. My disappointment surprised me. they are the rails you ride. His hair was softer tonight. the aftershocks of the previous rooms. ‘Are we very far from ‘Noxville?’ He smiled at the mention of the city and said in a neutral way. I called him Kekoon then. as though he was conscious of the possibility of talking too much.

Eve.’ I knew he was crying. water streaming out over his fingertips and falling down onto his clothes. At the door I looked back and saw he was holding his face in his hands. I said without turning around. breathing the night air with a measure of relief. It’s not safe for you. the Back Yard was joined by the Kitchen Passage. As I walked away. and it was only as the nausea struck me that I realised what I had said. The horizon before me glowed a dull red. turning white to grey.He indicated the door at the back of the room. You see what I mean by survival now. Konoke called from the door at my back: ‘Not that way. free of the spell of the House. My first awareness then was of the Kitchen. and so on to the Back Door.’ I stepped out on the grass.’ The nausea completely overwhelmed me.’ he said in a tone of recognising a limit in me. Eve. I spoke matterof-factly. he said. felt my face lift. where it usually is. my head in a sink. A feeling of inevitability in this finally brought me to recognise that I must understand what causes the nausea. the memory arising first in my tongue. Then I 352 . both taste and speech. I turned to him and said. ‘Is that a fire?’ ‘It’s not true. but not touched by disappointment. The nausea was severe for a short while only. a slip catch and I was out on the grass. saw his brow relax in a profound relief. but as though a city at night on fire. between the Ballroom and the Lounge. not of the sun I knew at once. As I expected. ‘Damage is always done. ‘I loved you once.

to absorb shock. seeing even myself copied out now. just as smartly as before: ‘Except your pride. where he took a blue gown from a press and wrapped it round me. Now I could use it in reverse. Eve. That is not a copy of anything. He smiled nonetheless. you have concluded falsely that there must be a donor. I said to him. despite a resurgence of the nausea. Eve. That you control love. my clothes destroyed by the nausea.’ We went into the Main Reception.’ I had not fully collected my wits at that point.’ Onkoke stiffened at this.’ I chose to oblige him. then please do. mainly because the truth would have a permanence here: ‘Because you know that love is a gift. saying: ‘Your time in the city is having its effect. you have become the Tempter. I mean. more acting out of a memory that remained otherwise dark in a troubling way. to protect me from the shock I created when I replied. When I had recovered sufficiently and was sitting down with a welcome brandy.remembered his relief. he said to me. I’m afraid. how I appear to him who loves me.’ The nausea was obviously intended to act as a sponge. 353 .’ I was wry. Banished. I love you. I want to hear you. He replied forthrightly: ‘Not to you. I said to him on an upswing in my spirits: ‘I’m a late edition. You made yourself the Donor of love and in so doing interrupted the fated flow of love. Eve. seated on the other side of the table: ‘But you are a stranger. Walking though the Ballroom. ‘If you have more to say. and then remembered what I had said. not clear if he disliked the crass tone or the new limit I betrayed.

a fruit cake and wine.’ Nekook nodded deeply. not the love you invent to suit yourself. again in that. You bear love as a knowledge. Not mine. flowing like water.’ I heard his word. I see how intelligence entered your eyes. evil as well as good. ‘real’. breaking cake with my fingers to hold his attention: ‘A love of your making only. And freedom to love again. more his natural self. then continued: ‘Such a love need be given only once. under the tree. a new duel.’ Seated again in the Lounge. Okkone observed. carefree. thinking as he did: ‘I see always my first glimpse of you. not so erect or watchful. immediately curious. I said. lighting them up. responsive as a butterfly. ‘No. Eve. He spoke slowly. I loved you because you brought me something I needed for a condition I was ignorant of. And you?’ 354 . of what love can do. watching him listen intently. I surmised.’ I paused.’ I held my hand up to forestall him.You generate a love in me that mirrors your own self-willed love. ‘But it is love. to impart that truth to another. whether in play or earnest I wasn’t sure. hence your great beauty – which I thank you for disguising this time – giving to the one you love that knowledge. as you approached me. Eve. having paused to see if I intended continuing. Then something shared for all eternity. and I understood at once why God is afraid of you. a child-like gesture. so I stiffened in turn. Let me finish this time. This is the love you bear as the being you are.

’ This. I said at once. Now I see him in the love only. Tod?’ I knew at once that this quip was altogether wrong. to resolve a problem I wanted to avoid. to raise me up again. You see? Unlike you.’ I paused again. as though taking up a narrative: ‘I saw my power over you but I was good to you. a glance. I slipped back to the urban patois. which did surprise me though I wanted a greater shock: ‘I don’t want to forget. then concluded: ‘Worse than ignorance. saying: ‘I saw God in love. feeling like water yet floating freely. There was a childlike guile in this too: how tears answered a question without admitting anything. that its putative truth was an addition by me. Eve. trying to break this new gloom in the room: ‘Want to play God. abstraction. Up to then I believed that I had defined my relationship to him in a way I could handle: once and for all. I think. now let’s be friends. silent tears that once again flowed over his hands and down onto his clothing.’ I thought of Cain’s banishment by an unloving God and saw how much worse the punishment of a loving God is.’ He nodded. Eve. a distraction.I had entered his memory vividly. waiting to see if he wanted to speak. was the turning point of our meeting. I need someone to hold on to. Okenok began to cry again. 355 . a little crushed in fact. resuming: ‘Did you see God?’ In the garden I saw God as a wall of fire.’ Ekonok nodded deeply again. He said. ‘In jealousy.

and said: ‘The memory holds the key for return. for one or for all. as though to say this is the lot. how he didn’t 356 . perhaps.’ He was interested in what I was saying. and I was agitated by this. upstaging me: ‘Could you love nothing?’ I was frank. Love calls out to love.’ ‘Why spread the memory? Not for our good.’ I interrupted him. And one principle. This is the will.’ He was wry now. pocketed it carefully. yet I felt a growing impatience. This is how we shape our actions. as though not used to clothing.’ He looked at me as though in a trance. still in his trance: ‘You place three powers. you mean?’ Now I made a fish for the secret: ‘Why search?’ He made an emptying gesture with his arms. his eyes glazed. ‘You cannot love nothing. that the natures would be lost in arithmetic: ‘One power. This is how we know we are alive. not God or man. There could well be a secret.Like a secret. but there was still a question to ask: ‘Why isn’t goodness enough?’ He wiped his eyes with a large white handkerchief. if you please. of choice. to good or evil. Whether what I was saying is true or not was immaterial here. as though staring down at some great vision. What I was telling him had no interest for him. before answering: ‘And stop searching. but I was afraid of his numbers. one pure. Eve. That phrase jumped into my mind as I watched him cry for me. two accessory. He said. Choice the transmission of love. I daresay.

I’m sure something can be done about it. He was in fact behind me when I turned in the Hall. through the Main Reception. that I had been too hard on him. his living bond for ever. took a slice of fruit cake. I’m afraid. opening it for me. not at least that I could hear. waving his hands in placation. and made my way out to the Hall. He walked me down from the door to the car. of course. The smartness in me made me want to laugh at him. There is no otherwise here. ‘I see it differently. Eve. Don’t jump to conclusions. Enokok only fuelled my anger when he said: ‘Your need for shadow is understandable in the present circumstances. Kooken blind to an obvious truth. Wait now. in his experience of love.’ I was staring at him in a kind of dumb awe. But why otherwise?’ I stood up.question my assertions at all. wondering what on earth he was talking about. ‘Wait.’ I was relieved that the car was waiting for me outside the Hall Door. my temper mollified. looking away beyond the car to the dark night. 357 . He said. my love. trying to control myself. An end in itself. a defence. as much to catch his attention as hurt him in any way: ‘This is not a theory. I said. but also a truth. The cake was delicious. Eve. not wry anymore. I had banked on its being there out of the knowledge that I had nothing to lose than with any great confidence. but originating in him.’ He jumped up at this. and I thought then. perhaps sentimentally for what he had done for me.’ I nodded. more than anger now. seeing the difference in his beauty. bitingly. a growing grief. I said to him instead: ‘You cannot go back. I laughed and drained my wine. He was not crying this time.

a passport into Heaven. a bit pompous on purpose. son. I do not strive in vain. I said to Nokeko. But I love as much as I can. bent to kiss it fervently. Bat?’ I reached my hand to Knekoo. waiting for me. What’s keeping you. ‘Drop in anytime you’re passing. in correspondence with God in their mutual love. But can he see love like that? He found love in God. never you mind. as I do. ‘You begin to understand. as he did. arousing desire only before absenting yourself. God did not curse me but I do not believe he loved me. ‘Down the path. always in its own sphere. Eve. even so. All I know is that God cursed you twice.’ He took my hand and looked at it. You steal love in the belief that you can add it all up into a God-like love.’ 358 . making God an object of knowledge. Tubalcain said inside the car: ‘Hands always out for traces. to be honest. but love can be separated from God.You might think I am playing with words here.’ He looked more himself now. to impress his growing impressionability: ‘You think love of God made you a god too. Sam. You think God is jealous of you. He said slowly. something of his old curiosity back at least. but you also believe that God still loves you. while you love least. saying. God cannot be separated from love. seeing love forever after as an attribute of God.’ I leaned into the car and said to Enoch. Love as an end in itself I can grasp. an attribute of himself too. Adam and Cain once each. ‘Tell him about heaven. I am not certain.’ Enoch came out and said. not attempting to impress me anymore. over the sea. up in the air.

if you can help it.I turned into the car. ‘No jokes about the stuff. I said to Tubalcain. sitting in the nearest seat. catching the last glimpse of Onekok as the door slid shut.’ 359 . goblin mine.

PART THREE 360 .

it created a memory for me of that complex idea. I understood this in a short time. because his last words induced a deep shock in me like some muscle deep in my body which responds only to what he said. This took a long time to unravel.My remark to Tubalcain was sheer bravado. the words coming to me in series. of course. never you fear. A word came to me. It was that specific. A concept. either a great conceit or a redundancy somewhere. But it is like being one with God. two becoming one. I do not. but without ever having experienced it. not so the other lesson here: He knows what convergence is like. a pure experience forever unknown. not choice. no gestation needed. that being one is sufficient. but where 361 . This was necessary. while the stuff persisted. the others sleeping through the night. though once again the old problem of interpretation – is this a memory or does he still experience this union? I think it is a memory I witnessed to.’ I did not respond. but I did understand that cessation was animal. Though Tubalcain quipped in return ‘Goblins help no end in the mine. the word ‘stuff’ replacing a more complex idea. ‘cessation’. most notable the question of his experience. about convergence. But the word served in one other way. a mad concatenation. first ‘stuff’ and then ‘cessation’. modelled on sexuality but connoting also an instant birth. not one becoming two. sweets. but sat in a profound daze. that love has a new lesson. In the end I grasped the limit in all this. but he had already reassured me. driving the other word out even as I spoke it. so that I knew exactly what he meant. and I knew that there was a choice even there. His words did frighten my body. but he holds to that memory as though it is a promise.

I was cranky with the shock of the night. I don’t imply that cessation is like that alone – merely something beyond comprehension – but also indicating a kind of stopping. I mean. too much to absorb. but also in its own way a unity. honey.’ We arrived back early evening. like the last word at night. In the Hall.else would you find such an idea.’ I’m going forward a bit to report this exchange because it was only then that I caught a glimpse of our new problem. The thought is arcane and only written here to serve as a clue. in a rush and so irritable. ‘No rock to roll. that is its reality. diverted from here. impatient with Enoch fiddling with the door and downright rude to 362 . instead a warm evening. as it did for me. believe me. An ending like autumn. which surprised me. very tired after such a long day. but then where are you? I don’t know. spring never coming again. I replied. morning never coming again. I fell asleep then. I slept with that knowledge. gammer. what the problem meant to us. to understanding the reality of cessation. The point for me was that cessation was real in some way. mamma. steady gold sun. Like a divergence. I was content. for once. Naamah stopped me and said: ‘Fat chance a dance. eh?’ ‘No meat to beat. I had expected early dawn sun’s glare behind the mountain peaks. yes.

promises.’ I said to Lamech. what?’ The mock-joviality helped slow Cainen down. you cluck. Lamech extremely comfortable in Naamah’s. another surprise.Lamech. ‘There.’ Naamah said to Cainen. Tell him no one else can do it here.. I mean. hoisting her new drink with anticipation: ‘Huh! Promises. dear.’ Enoch said to Seth. shepherd. his whole chest rumbling with ancient mucus. I said to Naamah: ‘Having an interest helps. Seth said in a whinging voice: ‘Struck down in an act of grace. and shouted in a vile temper: ‘I can’t cook Mahaleleel. who charged out of the Kitchen as we entered the Front Door. you.’ Tubalcain said at my back. I rumpled his hair and said in a derisive tone. ‘Grace needs context here too. sure. then said to Naamah: ‘Find a brake soon. ‘Do everyone this time. Cainen came out of the Lounge and glared menacingly at Lamech. Never forget that. buster. maman. saying to me. there.’ There was uproar in the Lounge. speaking to Cainen as he passed me on his way over to the bar: ‘Tender mercy. earnest with sympathy. toasting all.’ Here he had a fit of coughing. to see how he could curb his rough ways at her beck.’ Cainen was apparently to serve everyone.’ 363 . else you’re out on your own.’ Zillah said. Seth in full flood. made worse by the presence of Zillah and Naamah. I ask you. While the hours away.. ‘Tell him he has to do it.’ She drank and swallowed appreciatively. Enoch cosy in Zillah’s lap. who to unclear at first. ‘Cainen says do it. little lad.

Thank you thank you thanks very much. old girl. rather than turn around. Seth settled in his place. She asked guilelessly: ‘Should I.’ Lamech put his head around the door and bawled: ‘Slops!’ Enosh rolled off Zillah’s lap and was gone in the wake of our cook. thumb in his mouth. as she termed it.Enoch was looking out at the evening. ‘Keep your hope up. as gently as I could.’ I said. at the golden mountains above. a genuine appeal that illustrates how and why she kept her hand in. conceiving an affection for Naamah then. saying: My Lord has such a fine nose That he sprays nectar wherever he goes My Lord has such a fine eye That mickle a muckle escapes his spy My Lord has such a fine ear That he hears the bubbles in your beer My Lord has such a fine touch That he softens even the hardest butch. I say. won’t you?’ She was trying to sneer at me. becoming winsome. anyway. then continued: ‘Keep your hand in. Naamah shrugged in reply and said.’ She sniggered in a deliberately provocative way. and he shouted back at us. then she switched. ‘Turn and turn about. do you think. 364 . Eve? I find it harder each day to remember why I should continue to hope. like.

turning around now to go to the Main Reception.Cainen said to Naamah. are chopped logs for the fire. my irritation mounting. my dear. his work done for the moment: A happy lap is cheap Fill a seat till you eat. didn’t we?’ She followed me into the Main Reception. ‘We brought Adam down the other day. do you hear me?’ Again I was delayed. bank on it boy. I said absently to Naamah. and it was only on the word ‘meat’ that I remembered that Adam was now in his New Room. over half of the universe available for his study. Gloria. but there will be only one Eve. do you know that?’ Enoch turned stiffly to survey us. like a desire for rest from strangeness. back at the bar. In the Hall Naamah caught me up as I have described. speaking as though fascinated: ‘You two are the spitting image. Adah simply staring. as in a trance. so I said to him ambiguously: ‘I’ll always remain.’ 365 . Enoch rising at our entry. a larger dissatisfaction looming. glancing back at Adah from time to time before saying: ‘Your incarnate no doubt. Zillah tittered but Tubalcain cut across her to say: ‘If cheap leaps are in the air. I sighed and decided to go to see Adam. her hair racing out in oily coils as she screamed theatrically. Ginger?’ Naamah shook her head furiously.

Methuselah seemed to be walking aimlessly about. She said. Adah coming into my line of vision. and run. no one will. taking in Adam’s steady gaze heaven-wards.’ Cain turned slowly in his chair. and with a sneer for their cravenness. Tuck in now. Tough but true. Naamah said to Methuselah. pulpy face from too much weeping. to him as much as to me: 366 . Chip. her breath screetching through her nostrils like a dragon. Dick. so I was obliged to continue: ‘If the boogie man can’t get you. ‘Pat me back if you like. ‘Say it now. gang. The light in the room was eerie. an unpleasant – and unanticipated – side effect of the room’s new design. we went on into Adam’s New Room. ‘Down. the only word for it. tore again and again until it hung as ribbons from his waistband. Mother. The matt surfaces glowed like fire. Naamah says at my back. I think – and it soon went horribly wrong for me as I saw Enoch’s face become mournful. while the glazed surfaces gleamed of blood. the sun a great red ball to his right. looking away out at the glorious evening.’ Naamah continued forward until she was nose to nose with Cain.There was a lot of bravado in this – obviously. touching the backs of chairs with hypersensitive fingertips.’ I trusted her judgement.’ From the corner of my mouth I said to Naamah. Cain sat by the bed. Adah tore at her face with already broken nails. ‘A word before you go.’ Grotesque. Enoch grips the neck of his dress and pulls the garment apart with little visible effort. I said to him.

’ Cain said. Adah said to him. drawling. all the same to me. and said. ‘One two three.’ To me he said.’ Tubalcain’s mood did not lift but once I saw that he was dealing with a problem. Tubularcock?’ He laughed. let’s. during the main course. 367 . ‘Is that boy mad?’ Tubalcain called over from the door to the Lounge: ‘Not from the Perspective. what does a spume do. But earlier. ‘You can’t beat bars for fun. catching his arm in against my breast: ‘Let’s dress for dinner. My. don’t you think?’ Even so.‘I saw him once like the noonday sun. Anything is all. first time for ages. Cain. aren’t you a lucky boy after all. enjoying his discomfiture: ‘No one cares but Naamah. patting his shoulder to calm him as she did. ‘She’s put you up to this!’ I said. Nuncle. you know.’ Methuselah came trotting by. He said. I let him be. not a dissatisfaction with himself. Later. over dinner. I went over to him. an index of his foolish trust: ‘So spoon a tune.’ She kissed Cain on the lips. shouting out in a forced hilarity. ‘Without you to mutter then utter dust. you know. grease mingling with her tears now: ‘If a plume sticks out.’ I wondered why he was so maudlin. Skinner.’ He replied calmly. more than a hint of impatience in it. he gradually settled into a quieter mood. recovering some of his usual good humour. looking after Methuselah. sweet fucking anything is all. ‘Spume flicks quick. Enoch had said across to Tubalcain. sugar.

first response a deep 368 . No anger on this fabled night No fuss now the story’s right. George. They were accompanied by a sensation of wrenching. almost apoplectic. induced a deep loneliness in me. lacking the support of a reason. as though I was now alone with my body. my intention. That’s when the vast happening began. my teeth grinding. loud enough to annoy: ‘Not a tourist trap. that he preferred to be mad rather than bad. I knew it at once. There was nausea too. hands and feet trembling violently. seated beside him.Teaser. Seth. heard all the words roll out to remind me: carthorse porphyry fire dinner tree disgust angel concatenation terrapin train cabbage coelenterate fruit analogy nuts night rich white ray yawn cloud god way right whale garden might say year dragon over tight bay sole joist wile may flight ray lay music stops power visitors no you don’t me ono kek word hall rise but he will come to me too if you use that word hail about time too. I said to Tubalcain. But the nausea. an explanation. an inability to understand Enoch. a horrible reverberation in my bones.’ The very obscurity of the remark was enough to rile Tubalcain. said into Tubalcain’s ear. as though part of me was being torn out.’ The red sunlight was still pouring in through the Great Window at that point. either. fury in his face. my strength. as though seeing him for the first time. fuck you!’ Cain shouted down the table. stirring us all up. so he shouted back: ‘Can’t beat them for noise.

lulled by its comfort.’ Adah snorted. ‘So long as you know where you are going. not this one. mother. mother. This was my first intimation of what I have come to know as boredom. surely?’ Naamah. ‘Not much fun in this one anyway. I could not fight it at once.’ Then he started shouting again. believe me. but soon a rage rose in me. unheeding. like a shadow. a strange darkness. and shouted over to Zillah. his touch restricted to metal: ‘Better than beating the meat. arms extended to include everyone in his audience: This one rots this one weeps 369 . The world seemed to slow down as it darkened. ‘Slops on Sunday?’ Then the dread came. and I said to Enoch beside me. a depressing rattle. in a spin because of Cain. and he shook his head sagely and replied: ‘No. The next one is better. as usual. ‘Wednesday’s blues on Monday!’ Lamech said.pity for him. seeing the limit of his sight. Cobber. sweetheart. an abandon in her now she has found what she believes she was looking for: ‘When love commands all might?’ I said. for once. firmly. is it?’ Enoch was suddenly quite serious. like a trapped animal would. as I suppose how a mother would speak to her daughter. suddenly like a net dropping over everything.

is that not so?’ Enoch observed to Zillah beside him. 370 .’ Zillah gave a great screetching gale of laughter. like a reminder. are a nincompoop!’ Amid the laughter that bathos received. rewinders?’ Seth said to Cain. sire. ‘Testiness startles. what’s next. don’t you think.’ Adah turned to Methuselah. smiling widely at Naamah: Nuptials make merry on love Uncreased sheets at first All stiffness banished at the end Guaranteed – bless you – for life. ‘Sir. beside her. Ostler. then you. the silence helping his frail voice. missis.This one coughs this one wheezes Disappointed love lasts longest Ending once and only once Love’s an ember glow for ever Love’s a river love’s a drop Love’s an Arab love’s a Jew Love’s a Jane love’s Andrew Love’s a costume love’s an eye. Methuselah said to his father: ‘And love’s a hand where it belongs. and said over to Seth: ‘Testicles. Cain said. do you approve of your daughter’s knowledge? If you do. and said smartly: ‘Not where it is. startling poor Lamech opposite. I wonder.

Tubalcain led the applause, magnanimous as ever, and
we all followed him, Enoch crying out in ecstasy:
The next one, brethern,
will tell you the truth,
will sell you fruit.
The next one, kin,
will take you in,
will forgive your sin.
The next one, cousins,
will pack you in dozens,
will bake you in ovens.
The next one, all,
will give you heaven
will charge you eleven,
not seven as tendered.
More laughter, some mystified, but laughter
nonetheless, and we settled into a jolly mood. Except poor
Adah. She cried out in very real pain:
‘You cannot increase without a decrease
corresponding. Going round and round like a top. Oh,
mother, Have I done wrong? Your brood lusts for you.’
Zillah threw up her right hand in an expansive salute,
and replied:
‘Bon appetit!’
Cainen took this in good humour, looking down at
Naamah, ‘And in so doing, does that which is directed, I
mean, historected, or was it genuflected, neglected?’ Before
his vacant face – Cainen with a toehold in civilisation, all to
371

impress a woman – Zillah said with a smile, as though
rattling something between her palms, ‘Like nuts in May,
screwdriver, ho!’ Naamah blushed, actually blushed, at this,
and put her hand across her deep cleavage, saying:
‘Like all the time, mechanist.’
We cheered this sally, none more pleased than Naamah
by our affection, and Seth said, ‘If a number two can have
you, all number twos can.’ Naamah said smartly: ‘A number
three can go free, too far for number two, daytrippers.’
Methuselah replied at her side: ‘Lie on your back, girl, give it
a twirl, dear, first one for free, scale of rates thereafter.’
Another bathic, jeered as usual, Methuselah taking it
all in good fun. In a more mellow tone Enoch said: ‘Blood is
one, takes two to make one.’ We all nodded in agreement,
actually dismissing the whole matter of lineage in this vote. A
large step, you will agree, but I have said that a vast change
was underfoot here. Lamech came out of the kitchen to shout,
‘Bread for increase! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!’
We fell silent in the face of that. I asked, honestly, of
everyone present:
‘If one cannot do, can billions?’
I was surprised that Enoch replied, staring at me with
honest conviction, ‘One doesn’t lose by addition, mother.’ I
sighed as quietly as I could, not wanting Enoch to see my
disappointment. I had always sensed this limitation in him,
that he could not move by his own power. Nor can he make
music, as his father does, so instead he shouts the most
colourful fantasies to impress us and to impress himself, to
affirm his immobility. The latter is obscure, I know, but
consider that Enoch is my biggest son – you can see how
372

gravity would appeal to him as a way of keeping his brothers
down. In his big-ness Enoch feels God-like, better than
everyone else.
Are his visions true? you ask me. I can only answer,
they might well be. But if you ask me if their truth is
valuable, then I can only say no. Enoch bears a memory of
excruciation, as all my descendents do, Adam’s talk, Adam’s
memory, of loss, of abandonment, of rejection, cursed,
damned, duped. And as Adam viewed this horror against a
background of a fair garden of which he was lord, like a God
in his heaven, so Enoch – like Seth before him – sees his pain
in heaven, his God telling him about sin, but not about love.
My reply was intended more for the others in the room than
for Enoch himself, who has less need of it, if Adah spoke
truly about his impending departure to the Lap of God:
‘One remains unchanged, but distracted by reflection.’
But it was Enoch who responded first, leaping to his
feet in agitation to say to me:
‘If there is not one to begin with?’
I leaned back in my chair away from the looming
Enoch, genuinely surprised at the extent of his knowledge.
He interpreted my surprise as my shock at hearing this
terrible news for the first time, that another power challenged
us. He bent closer to me and spat out in tyrannical rage: ‘I
speak of a danger, mother, not of a mere opposition.’
Enoch thought I cringed before his judgement, in fact I
was avoiding his hot livid breath, a stale fire, old dragon of
the Garden. But Zillah in any case answered him, speaking in
a low firm voice, as though teaching a lesson: ‘What
constitutes the difference, Enoch?’
373

Adah screetched suddenly, not at once clear if she was
answering Zillah, the words garbled a bit by the food in her
mouth:
‘My sin I confess is that I like it. There! Do you hear? I
like it! I like it! I like it!’
Zillah said tartly, ‘So what’s new, you silly girl?’ And
then to Enoch, to remind him that her question was for him,
‘What do you do when you are up against it, soldier?’
Enoch shuddered all over, his eyes rising to heaven, a
broad grin on his face. He squawked, ‘Again!’
Zillah seemingly obliged him by saying, ‘When your
back is against the wall, sailor?’ because Enoch shuddered
again, this time shouting out in ecstasy,
‘Again!’
‘When you’re going flat out, spud?’
‘Again?’
‘When it’s in the bag, man?’
‘Again!’
This would have gone on for ever if Adah hadn’t
interrupted them by climbing on to the table and start to take
her clothes off, shouting: ‘So you don’t fucking-well believe
me, do you, you rotten bastards? Well, I’m going to fuckingwell show you.’ Naked, she strutted down the table to
Naamah, squatted in front of her, pudenda hanging, tits
sagging, and shouted at her, ‘I fucking-well like it too, you
dirty little tart!’ Then she gets up turning, swaying slightly
with all the drink she’s had, and marches down the table to
me, bent over, waggled her hanging dugs and screamed:
‘You just wait and see, queen bitch, when I get going
here, ALRIGHT?’
374

She straightens up, turns and walks down the table
again, this time more slowly, waggling her heavily creased
bum, lifting her breasts, asking,
‘Who’s first? Who’s first?’
Cain said as she approached him, hurt in his face for
her madness, ‘They’ve all had you already, you dope. Stick
with Lamech, he came twice, he might come again.’ Naamah
said, to complete poor Adah’s deflation, ‘Fat old slag.’
Methuselah climbed onto the table to support her, an act of
kindness initially, but supporting Adah is very little different
from embracing her, so they fell into a heap on the table,
scattering food and utensils all over the place as they thrashed
about, Methuselah then on top of Adah, riding her with
delight, she working hard to bear him up. There was a lot
pent up in Methuselah, after hanging around with Naamah
and Jubal for so long, and it all came out then, he shouting
over and over. ‘The hoor’s monkey! The hoor’s monkey! The
hoor’s monkey!’ until Adah got really going, her arms and
legs wrapped around him. The men at the table groaned in
sympathy, reminded of their own humiliation at the mercy of
Adah. The exception was Tubalcain, who was in a position to
say,
‘Who taught him, I ask.’
I gave him a playful cuff on the ear, which drew me a
quick shy smile, feeling my old affection for his essential
modesty, and said to comfort him, ‘But we needed Naamah
to switch him on.’
I think it was Naamah and Cain who led the exodus to
the Lounge, not a gesture to the pair rocking and rolling on
375

the table, should you think that, but simply another stage of
the evening, now that all the food had gone we had nothing
else to do but drink.
Naamah didn’t interfere this time, so Seth ran about
pouring drinks for us as we settled down in groups for a chat
and a natter. There was the Top Table, which always appears
at our gatherings, despite all our efforts to prevent it. That
night, though, we formed groups as though a masque
rehearsed, Tubalcain and I with Naamah and Cain up near the
bar, Zillah with Enoch, Cainen and Lamech at the middle
table, and Enoch and Enosh stuck around the far table waiting
patiently for Seth’s attention.
Zillah said, provocatively, pulling her tight skirt further
up her thighs in order to relax,
‘Is it my turn next time?’
Enoch leaned across the table to whisper shrilly, very
angry:
‘Who said there’s a next time, rewinder?’
Lamech, beside him, lisped in mockery:
‘Goose and gander is a wet time, reminder?’
Naamah contributed next, cutting in just as Cainen
opened his mouth in annoyance, saying with a merry laugh:
‘Was it ever any other way for you, mother dear?’
Enoch shouted up, a drink in his hand at last,
‘It’s everyone’s turn next time, gang!’
Enosh at his side said, chortling at his own excellent
wit:
‘Everyone’s turn all the time, bang!’
Tubalcain whispered to Naamah, ‘Who would you
save, sister, since saving’s what you’re set on?’ I turned at
376

once and caught Naamah looking at me with a peculiar stare
in her eyes, as though her eyes were a picture and yet true,
bright green like grass. Tubalcain was still looking at his
sister, only becoming aware now of his gaze, so I said into
that blind moment, eye to eye with her,
‘We’ll do our own saving here, daughter.’ I smiled pax
and Naamah relaxed, nodding, her full lips pursed in a
momentary peace, and Tubalcain said, wryly,
‘Who wants to be saved?’
Finished up in the kitchen at last, Lamech came in to
join us, smelling strongly of sweat and relentless toil. He
said, throwing his hand up in a vain attempt to appear grand,
‘I do!’ He walked over to Zillah, grabbed Cainen and
marched him down to join Enoch and Enosh. He came back
and grabbed Enoch and dragged him down to the far table.
Returning, he caught Lamech by the scruff, hauled him down
and plonked him in Enoch’s lap. Crying, ‘Seth! Seth!’ he
brushed Zillah’s table clear of the glassware, drying it off
with his large handkerchief. When Seth came he ordered
whisky for himself and his wife, ‘Hop to it, boy!’
He paused then before looking at us, his eyes settling
on Cain, as our weakest link. He braced his broad shoulders
and squared off to Cain before barking aggressively:
‘Out of your sulks then, Ancestor? Hope it doesn’t take
too long to get back into the swing of things, yes? The old
parties, I mean. Remember, Ancestor, the wild parties? Are
you ashamed of them now, Ancestor? Bow-wow! Bow-wow!
Bow-wow!’
The latter hardly does justice to the actual sound, if a
dog could sing the blues it would have come out like that. A
377

happy blues; dogs like being dogs, most of them anyway. The
intelligent ones. I wonder why I repeat myself. What else
would a dog want to be?
A strange thought, both for the indirection of its source
as for the indirection of its import, and I let it prompt me to
say to him, not challenging Lamech yet:
‘What else would a god want to be?’
Even so, he took this badly, whirling in his chair to
face me, staring until I turned to face him, when he
spluttered:
‘I don’t impute bestiality. I do apologise, a metaphor
was intended, the promiscuity of dogs, no more, I assure you,
no bestiality, I swear on my grandmother’s name.’
Naamah interjected quietly, but obviously, to me
anyway, intent on pushing this through:
‘Then bow-wow, junior. Bow-wow now.’
Zillah said, rubbing her hands with an ambiguous glee:
‘This I want to see, oh boy, oh boy!’
Seth arrives just then, and we all decided to go again,
and in the general fuss and bother the promising
confrontation was avoided, at least, as it turned out, for a
little while anyway.
Enoch roused it all up again once we had started into
the new round, by jeering Cainen, the one most likely to fight
him:
‘When I put them down, greatgrandgaffer, they have to
grow to get up again.’
Cainen looked intently at Enoch, to judge his true
mood, then replied: ‘What I put up stays up until it’s ready to
come down again, greatgrandson.’
378

Enosh went under the table. Enoch’s weakness lay in his blindness. greatgreatgrandson. banging his legs against the legs of the table and chairs in the vicinity.’ Cainen was strongly tempted to go for the weakest of them. It was only a question of time then. gonads providing greater warmth than hitherto recognised. ‘Up your noodle too. trip-hopping as he approached. Cainen falls over under the table. Tubalcain was engulfed in merriment at the sight of all this. swung about and pulled Lamech out onto the floor. spot. so he marched over and landed a huge haymaker to the side of his head. bare boards down there. so that he shot out of his chair and slid across the floor. squirming in panic. at the junction of brow and temple. ‘Fucking tush.Enosh said aimlessly. ready for mayhem. ready for anything himself. lolling in Enoch’s lap. There. Enoch’s sight cleared in time to see Enoch push Cainen.’ Lamech said.’ At this point Cainen got his feet under him again. but his capacity to sustain punishment allowed him to ride out the assaults Enoch hurled down on him. but he knew that the other two would gang up on him. he knew what to do but not where to do it. Enoch pushed Cainen in the side. would Cainen succumb to pain or would Enoch succumb to exhaustion? 379 . vengeful now. Enoch came up to him. Cainen bent to deal with him. and he managed to jerk out to us three that ‘One sees solutions everywhere. Cainen’s impulsiveness let him down at first. So he punched Enoch in the face. guffawing uncontrollably.

Lady. Cainen walked up to the Middle Table and sat down on Zillah’s left. Naamah called to her mother: ‘Zillah. and implored. ‘I am a free man! I can have what I want!’ When Lamech got up off the floor and brushed himself down. He leaped up. ‘My sister first. Cainen raised his hands in the air. fairly rattling his teeth and sending him sprawling onto a rug beside his chair. Joker. Tinsel?’ The back of Cainen’s hand kept Lamech from going further. of course. Got that?’ Cainen jumped up. 380 . please. We need access. dear?’ Then Naamah said to Cainen. but by God I’m always ready!’ Lamech sneers from his side: ‘Fucking mountain-men now.’ She pulled a long thread of silk from the front of her dress. and stepped to her side. I have always wanted to.Enoch was beaten for the first time in his life. pulled Cain from his chair and took his place. wound one end around the ring Zillah threw to Tubalcain to pass to his sister. face before signalling that he was to come and stand beside her. He leaned across the table.’ Naamah appraised him for a while with a remote. What else out on the reservation. I’m rough. can I have a big ring. I know. buster. mad with victory. deepening her cleavage. Ever since the first time I ever laid hands on you. some cruel bruises and cuts to his body. He gasped to her: ‘I want to be saved too. ‘Drop your pants. almost royal. upsetting the glassware. not Cainen. Tubalcain said. ‘Oh yes. he now tempted again to pick on the weakest. he was staring at Cain. breathing deeply.

back to your pasture. you fool. but followed instead Naamah’s intention. I believe. 381 . but consider how dissatisfaction spreads in a group. But Naamah rumpled his sticky balls and said. together for the first time. How Zillah bears distance as a kind of snobbery. a drop in morale. in memory of me. seeing at once of course the burden of Enoch’s warning of danger. can you?’ You probably wonder by now what humiliation has to do with salvation. too many potential supporters disabled. What if they have strange blood. I looked for a secret plan. Not a palace revolution.’ Tubalcain sniffed Naamah’s fingertips then and commented: ‘Honest sweat. Can’t fault that now. from Zillah and her phantom lover.and then wound the other end of the red silk thread around the neck of Cainen’s cock. revolutionary metaphysics and new vision. my dear. the modesty of her children the modesty of the father. thinking of my polynomial suitor. prodding them with hot pins all the time. a dismissive gesture to inflict on him. rubbing her fingers together before sniffing them. men too. lulled by the familiarity of the carnival atmosphere. more curious then about her true objectives. ‘Carry this always. Go in peace now. The ring pulled his semi-erect organ down. mapping Naamah and Tubalcain. I wondered. This sounds like a phantasy. Cainen of the sheepfold. Not the women alone does he stir up. I did not ponder that aspect at all. and as you go watch the gold ring sparkle as it dances on the end of your tool.

I served them tea here. I know. nothing at all. almost as though someone else used them now for a higher purpose. What a horrible mishmash of a family. get on.’ Then she said impatiently. if I didn’t give it to them.’ Tubalcain said seriously: ‘Out. believing that Methuselah’s victory over Adah deserves some praise and goodwill. ‘Not honest love. Only one more night. We repaired down the Hall first to the Little Room by the Front Door.’ I looked around me. We sipped for a while. 382 . but she said sweetly. You’ll frown on that description. Naamah. too lost in my insight to pay attention to the others. no one else did either. and sat over by the window together. fondling one another. as though running in neutral: ‘I wish he would. ‘Home!’ I told Seth to fetch the coach around and begin stacking them out in the Hall. drinking port and toying and chuckling like two children with a secret. Then Adah and Methuselah came in. hot and sweet. and said to Naamah. I clutched at ‘modesty’. ‘Get on. light fragrant tea. I said. spattering herself with drops of tea from her cup.Is this still phantasy. treating it as a trace of goodness. Nothing like what I had planned. cherry?’ Naamah’s eyes glazed. Only Tubalcain and I. Naamah said roughly. time’s tight. I wondered then. Well. hearing the commotion in the Hall outside as Seth made preparations for departure. Zillah and Enosh were still in our seats. stark naked.

To recognise a refugee you have to be at home somewhere yourself. lies. everything already lost or everything to gain. that it. but same exile. sincerity. seeing how even he swam in this ocean of fault. and watch the movement of forces around me. Naamah said to me. ‘Tar brush now. yes?’ The pathos was unmistakable. ‘I’m actually glad for the mummy. Polynomial coming into the open at last.‘Get him by the throat. ‘What’s keeping you. So I said parabolically. ‘Give excess to another. head bent to Methuselah. but harder then to judge her sincerity.’ Naamah said: ‘Give us what God will not give us. please.’ I pointed at Adah and Methuselah and said. perhaps. I could afford to be philosophical. Meths.’ Both giggling uproariously then. greater perception perhaps. in measured force.’ She balls her hands suddenly and shook them in the air.’ Zillah said. curses. don’t you see. love. ‘Why can’t someone start me up too?’ 383 . making what appeared to be her play at last: ‘Refugees. shouting. as though he had rehearsed this conversation already. honey? Go for it!’ Naamah spread her hands out before in real pathos: ‘But you must give us love first. mistakes. giggling as she whispered loudly. then by the goat. I was sceptical. Tina?’ Adah ignored her. Was something on offer here. ‘Mutuality implies exchange between equals. remember?’ Tubalcain said. you know. I think she genuinely likes Methuselah.

you dirty little boy!’ he was genuinely surprised. luggage loaded and so on. sonny?’ In a louche tone Seth retorted: ‘I only play with mothers.Adah said patiently. never having before heard a sister fight with a brother. Zillah looked little Seth up and down and asked. not merely surprise at Seth’s odd behaviour. little girl. a dire humiliation I knew nothing about. gorgeous. Then he grabbed her hair in a great hank and pulled her over. boiling up into his eyes. dearie. waiting for the right moment to bring the flat of her palm down across his hateful mouth. thinking that Naamah had gone raving mad. becoming frightened now. Now Seth’s lips swelled with the first rage.’ Seth came into the room then to report that everything was ready for departure. lad?’ Seth responded with a never before seen leer. but when she screamed at him. I think. ‘Can you push turnips. Her eyes widened as he drew her in to him. Naamah took advantage of the interlude to ask him: ‘Could you start me up. ‘Depends on the turnip. saying. also some awful memory invoked.’ That stopped Zillah for some reason. ‘But everyone has tried. how the tourists are corrupting him. and he 384 . I say. believing that they all come to see him. even as he felt obliged to retort: ‘I’ll say what I want!’ Naamah grabbed his ears now and began shaking Seth’s head from side to side with vigour. ‘How dare you talk to me like that. do you think. Seth easily rode this out.’ Naamah ran up and slapped his face with all her strength. Seth fell back onto his bottom.

but I’m telling you that I didn’t do it. Naamah. Impulsively I touched her mouth. honest. forefinger tracing the ridge of her nose. will you.’ Seth stopped hitting her and said with a practical emphasis. the fullness of her surfaces. darling. shouting. Our blood only. suppressing my joy to be speaking directly to her again: ‘Not bad so far. ‘He is our son. feeling how her lips gave to my fingers. Now Naamah’s eyes narrowed. go and accuse me if you like. the purity of her complexion. She ran after his staggering form. suddenly in her face. my smile broadening in admiration of her beauty.’ Naamah turned to me quickly. but this time Naamah side-stepped and pushed him hard to one side.’ 385 . and turned on Naamah. ‘Tell me who started this! Tell me. as of recognition. and she said in her most truthful voice: ‘I did not. and if I did not love her before then I loved her from then on. please.’ I caught her shoulders and braced her.lurched forward and butted Naamah’s brow. the lightness of her lines. Eve. ‘That’s it!’ She paused.’ Now Seth’s eyes opened even wider and he lunged forward again. a light. as she said in a curious contralto voice: ‘But I don’t see myself in him. Adam and I. tell me who started this! Go on. so I nipped over and unspun him into a chair. ‘That’s it. and I said.’ I could see Seth heading for disaster. then said.’ Naamah’s eyes widened now. ‘You hit me first. nostrils flaring. I say! I tell you to stop swearing and you hit me. Try for more disjection. and she said emphatically.

how expressive her eyes are. Then we recovered ourselves enough for me to say to her. how she pulsed in my embrace. entirely knew. her arms around my back. Once I grasped this. most pure blood in him. protecting you against the worst.’ I remembered then. It lulled both of us. Naamah. ‘Three things only I have for you.’ Naamah stiffened and looked 386 . I understood then. not Seth. eyes as though mesmerised. and three is this assurance that I will cleave to all our descendants. showing you the better in relief from pain. ‘You’re a daughter.’ It really was a flash.’ I put my arm across her shoulders and drew her down to my neck. The blue had cleared in her eyes. It’s in you too. into her ear. ‘You are beautiful. I said. shining cartilaginous flesh so perfect for nibbling.’ I fall in love in an instant. I will show you something. sinking away into a peaceful repose. ‘You’re right though. my eyes devouring all the curves and whorls there. He stood before me and said. and he says. one is this love. ‘No daughters. resolution of anxiety for me. you can do what you like with me. honey.Naamah shook her head in wonder of me. the blue of clouds heralding a storm. I relinquished my hold on the deeper memory. and said to her. Eve. She said in an empty tone. as though knowing what she said. in a vivid flash of memory: He said to me. two is this knowledge of the power of trust. not in heaven. It has to be Lamech. light clearer than before. to guide them. but it impressed itself on me indelibly. feeling the flush warmth of her skin.

and again she returned my hugs and braces. I ruffled her hair in affection and hugged her tightly.around the room in growing heat. and I fervently hoped it would last. reminding me of handle-bars. Adah was in remarkably good form. Zillah was very subdued. down and up again. I said. a shy glow on their skins as they approached me.’ 387 . after a big kiss on my lips. Methuselah doted on her. ‘See you soon. I said hastily. ‘You switch him on. already planning ahead I could see in the set of her mouth. both now walking with the same gait. still brooding on her memory no doubt. a shape I will always want to feel again. hardly a glance for his mother. not him. a bite. throwing arms and legs out as though they walked on air. so that I felt the full shape of her wrapped across my own body. Some poetry in that. a little kink in the centre. how the join of her lips curved smoothly. and walked with the others into the yard. surely?’ Naamah bowed her head as she smiled at the irony in that. a mood I could not fathom. a bird in flight. laughing out in my joy to be with her. People are always better happy. baboon. Naamah.’ She gave me a wry look. but I knew she would obey me. Mine. the bulge of her upper lip creating a smaller curve there down and then up. arms around one another. I’m sorry to say. ‘No. Then Naamah and Tubalcain came out together. though no harm in that if the mother is up to it. Naamah nuzzled my ear with her gentle nose and said. I sent Tubalcain to get Lamech and bring him out to the coach.

if you wish. I signalled to him to lead me and we boarded the coach. Let that be the extent of your victory over her. darling.’ I kissed her lips.’ He raised his hand to stop me. stepping back from me. next door. ‘Is that all you got out of her?’ I said at her back: 388 . as though to create a field between us. bank on it. In my ear she hissed with tremendous excitation: ‘Baboon see you soon.’ I did stop and I did listen. too?’ I caught his cheek between thumb and forefinger and tugged his elastic flesh lightly. I enjoy your companionship and your playing. and then stepping forward. please listen for once. and I intend to continue to. ‘Sucker for the image. will you? My mother has given her daughter to you. ‘And sucker for you too.’ I leaned on Tubalcain as I watched Naamah climb into the coach. Eve.’ He was suddenly serious. Eve. ‘I know. laughing. She was watching Naamah take Lamech into her cabin.I touched her right breast with the back of my left hand and said. and then saying. Tubalcain. Anyway. Zillah’s cabin was second down on the right. I’d be a poor substitute for such flesh. No. my duty is to my mother. not meat. She shouted. she turned and pressed herself in tightly to me. baby. ‘Listen. my left hand around her waist. though no one else around. I’m into metal. and he said in a whisper. ‘Takes one to know another.

Perhaps a nightcap. dear? To see him. and I was saying: ‘Adam. wriggling almightily. ‘Oh to be with you for a few more minutes. ‘And they’re in no hurry anywhere. still some party mood left. ‘Look at the one you brought home. hardly fresh. not sure whether to cry out or put up with the truth. if you must know. was it?’ Zillah quailed before this taunt. ‘Why not then.’ She waved drunkenly around her and said loudly. ‘Can I come with you. She put her fingers to her lips. conflicting assessment.’ Zillah stood up and pushed her skirt down on her hips.‘What do you mean by that?’ Naamah looked out into the corridor and said.’ 389 . then she chuffed her hair.’ Zillah relented a little and said. That’s all tonight. cocking her ear. chuck.’ I was surprised. I must do that before turning in. ‘Whyever would you want to see him. She caught me by the arm and pulled me into her little cabin. then whispered. and said a little sharply. dear? Sure he is no relations of yours. Eve. How could I possibly answer it? Then. but reserved judgement.’ I responded to that. sprayed herself and said. Eve dear?’ I stopped and thought what a funny question that was. ping. hearing Naamah coaxing Lamech next door out of his torpor. I can tell you. I mean. ‘Are you sure you haven’t forgotten to do anything.

’ It was dark in the shade of the tree. snoring loudly. Once she was naked.I relented now and nodded for her to follow me. I want to tell you something secret. but slowed a bit in the Yard when she caught up with me. blouse another. rucked zips. wanting to mask her face and body as she spoke. prancing like someone resurrected. But in the Garden. Zillah said in agitation. grace not touch. we set off up the stairs. then got her down the stairs. ‘This is great! This is great! This is great!’ She was like a child again. Very well then. slender. a fierce struggle of twisted straps. and we set out across the Garden to the room we now called Adam’s New Room. shouting out over and over. swear that you won’t tell anyone. the result was loss of some of my clothes. but would not return for her clothes. and then with a shout of ‘Oh damn!’ tore all her clothes off. down the corridor and into what I only then remembered is Enoch’s Room. the two of us suddenly hilarious. 390 . I pulled Zillah from his room. I set a good pace down the corridor to the exit. sticky grooves.’ hesitated. She quietened in the Hall. She said to me. pulling on my left arm. She seemed to be struggling with her clothes. but Zillah would not come out under the stars. ‘Eve. ‘Promise you won’t tell anyone. beauty not feel. bra riding up and knickers slipping. it hardly mattered. Go on. his great dome jutting up from the pillow. I stripped off the remnants. Eve. In the Hall. then from Enosh’s. then from Cainen’s. her skirt twisted one way. she danced up and down the Yard in the starlight. sportif. But she was right. where he can see half of everything nearly.

as we approached Adam’s bed. It had shrivelled up into his pubic hair. uncomprehending completely. The smell was strong. to see that his eyes were white and milky like cream. studying the heavens as ever. Eve?’ I was surprised by this. I said jovially to him. pleased that I had come so close to knowing what it is like to have a daughter. and nodded only.’ I said. if I can be ironic first of all.’ I nodded in understanding. Zillah?’ She pointed. ‘There. Zillah said. who’s down ice scream?’ Funny thing to say. She kissed his tiny cock and then stood upright and said with a wry nod. Save you a lot of trouble. where is it?’ I looked. Our feet slapped then on the parquet flooring. ‘Can I give it a kiss. ‘What’s up. ‘His cock. I pointed closely. There he lay. Is that what you came to see. ‘Where’s what. I drew her on into Adam’s New Room. sounds for all the world like cold fish hitting the ground. doc. ‘Where is it?’ I was irritated by her interruption. to cover for my prolonged absences from him recently.’ She nodded as she peered closely. She glanced at me guilelessly. for heaven’s sake. I was satisfied by how clear and tidy everything was. even funnier. and said.‘My mother was not jealous of me while my father was around. really. Zillah? You could have asked me. When she seemed to have finished speaking. ‘never too late unfortunately. superb work by Lamech and his slops. ‘For what? What on earth are you talking about?’ 391 .

Eve – Eve. I grasped his shoulder and propelled him the rest of the way to Adam’s side. I turned him to face Adam and asked him without any fuss: ‘Do you understand Adam’s condition?’ Seth looked at Adam’s eyes. He clicked his fingers and said. pressed the lower part of his buttocks. easing herself down onto Adam’s little dick with a long drawn sigh of happy relief. I went out into the middle of the Garden and called softly for Seth. listened to his nose. oh what’s next? I fear to think. You know – ow – what it – tit – was like – like – How – How – big – big big – he – he – he – was – you – you – you know – ow – ow – EVE!’ I lifted her down then and laid her on a settee over near the window. suddenly saying testily. 392 .’ He looked at Adam’s face again as though for information. I fear to think. When he got to me. and recited: Silver thread from here to hell Silver thread from here to Eden Deserved in all cases with one Exception darkness there secret too A reversible egg we wait to see Gloom and toil her friends consume Treacle’s back sweet and sure good for you Boom boom. ‘Adah – and – I – used to – to spec – ulate – about – Adam. and went one way then the other. gathered his wits. ‘Got it!’ He paused. She shouted down to me between bumps. straddling Adam. ‘What’s next.Zillah was up on the bed. Then he nodded as much to himself as to me.

Marbled green flesh. always jealous of other wives only. he said emphatically. I said to console her: ‘I’m jealous of other women too. the rictus making his already plain face so ridiculous that I had to laugh at his antics. as a kind of last gasp: ‘Hands of God no match for Adam’s smooth cock. and we heard muted ructions as he searched through all the rubbish there. she knows so little about men. smiling as the pain eased. Good. whispering over and over. blue lips. Hearing me.’ Heaving a great breath. I was right to insist in the first place. he plumped up and sang in bass: If you’re as glum as my bum Then we’ve got to hold your chum With trick sublime to fill the time Till it comes your go Bimbo Now Seth dived in a fury under Adam’s bed. Next in line now. whooping loudly.’ She stood up. Only his hair and nails unchanged. black bottom. Zillah.Seth grinned to himself in private triumph. my dear. ‘Yes! Yes!’ So it goes. wasn’t I?’ Poor Zillah. white eyes. ‘Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!’ As the pain eased she walked faster. But I don’t let that stop me loving your daughter. I thought as I listened to her. straightened an imaginary tight skirt on her hips. What a 393 . I studied Adam then while waiting for Seth to get on with his business. so that by the time she was going through the door to the Garden she was running. then moved tenderly. Zillah said from the settee.

in his arms. ‘Ah. Look. sweeping past all of us. smelling strongly of piss and sweat. like a thin black band sweeping past me. obedience to enticement. I thought. the one that had held Adam’s Book. The shock of memory was very great. ‘Fat boys have incentive to wait. I swear to you now. like something ended then something begun. ‘Can you help me open it. Fat boys are out this season. shafting it on Seth’s nonsense: ‘New game. seeing obedience written on each memory. obedience to curse. Tubalcain made himself bend down to Seth and say.’ A flick of his finger and the steel box sprang open to disclose an old pair of work-trousers.’ He unbuttoned his dark blazer and shoved his right hand deep into the pocket of his slacks.’ He brought the box over and laid it at Tubalcain’s feet and looked up to say. but Seth took a deep breath and pressed on. lover. ‘Adam’s blood has ceased. obedience to Judgement.’ I said to the distracted suitor. happy with himself yet. he said cheerily. unable to see beyond that appearance.great lesson. a real gap. regarding me fondly. only my Adam gone. sweetest?’ Seth came round Adam’s bed with the stainless steel box. Can’t find the confounded lock anywhere.’ Obliged. We all recoiled. as he approached. there you are Tubal. whistling tunelessly. Then the gap appeared and disappeared. just the man I need. Seeing Tubalcain. I stood up again and said to Tubalcain. gingerly uncoiling the trouser legs to reveal a small piece of what 394 . and said. All my knowledge of Adam passed though me. ‘What are we waiting for then. little loss in the relay. obliging me to sit down.

’ His expression was wry when he did look at me. you know. feeling a triumph for some reason. his blue eyes bright. a sweep of feeling represented thus. dizzy in your throat. and he said: ‘Or their lust for each other. Eve!’ I tilted my head at him. even when he obeyed me. so I said to Tubalcain. as you might expect. like tea only stronger. feeling at once that this was becoming a silly conversation – this was my embarrassment 395 . staring intently at me. Whatever it contained it opened you up. still looking away: ‘To be candid. ‘For all. very pitted and fibrous. He said to me. It was still sweet. a jazzy liquor on your tongue. expanding his arms before me. that was the game. actually towards Adam’s Book lying there. as though listening. Love is stronger than death.’ Tubalcain nodded slowly. and in the new clarity I saw that Adam had known about death. Seth ran back to show us this.’ He looked away for a moment towards the window. but we underestimated the power of human love. ‘Adam knew. melt in your mouth.appeared to be a black mouldering wood. and I qualified him: ‘And for strangers.’ I smiled. singing melodiously. especially his love for his God. then he said. Mould I’m told makes things grow For growing and growing one must sow Forgive the mould be bold take a bit Best piece on offer so go for it! Only I took a bit. lingering flavour.

I turned to Tubalcain in a flat mood. boy.’ Seth was fiddling under Adam’s ear. Never seen the gang so flat out. On and on. expecting something sensational.’ Seth was bowing. Trick in this Co-glow wormed Uptake sure Else sorry New trick then. curses. ‘Going good. He rammed the stick into Adam’s open mouth and stepped back hastily. I said to him. Tubalcain said at my back. can’t find the flicker. knowing my expectation was a phantasy.’ Tubalcain said at my back. ‘Great party.’ Nothing happened to Adam. Jolly good. Jimmy. Seth said at my back: ‘This has to be seen to be believed!’ I said in any case to Tubalcain: ‘Once is enough.’ A click and Adam’s mouth opened. Eve. Pass it along. like discovering a joke where a secret was intended. that way of being rather than another. Interrupting me. muttering. ‘The word is better times coming. 396 . and so I said to encourage him. gulled by Seth’s antics. that it could be dead. suddenly feeling my naked body as though a disposition. ‘Curses. Seth was bubbling with triumphant mirth. but a disappointment nonetheless. that it was alive. raising the mouldering stick above his head in an uncertain gesture.at his clumsiness – and also that it had a direction that frightened me. shouting in a treble.

‘Are they needed. and swung the astonished Tubalcain around by the hand that restrained in sheer jubilation that there was a joke here. this time to assent to a strategy.’ I laughed at this. glad to talk about himself now: ‘Funny you should ask that. that suddenly appears in your love. hammer hand. and took his clothes off. Say when. honey. to see how death can sweep through love. thinking I have finally gone mad too. Think about it. ‘Bristles make me tight. Nothing has changed. then you’ll see. on my hair. We walked side by side down the Ballroom. believing I had crossed the gap already and 397 . throwing them in a pile beside the bed. am I right? Suddenly now I am frantic. I have seen that gap. He said. conscious of one another. the confusion worse now. But beside Tubalcain in the Ballroom I saw it differently then. I know. looking down.’ Being on the subject I asked: ‘Has Zillah seen you?’ Tubalcain shook my wrist in his strong hand. nodded again. a veritable caress. You don’t believe this. arms grazing. no bearing without sex. No sex without baring.’ I said. only a new knowledge. remembering the old adage. catastrophically wrong for Zillah. ‘What makes you big. Dinky. Junior?’ He smiled. Like a soft brush. boy?’ He smiled in false-embarrassment. Sex is like having your eyes closed. so absurd. ‘Mother keeps her eyes closed. But now everything is changing.

straddling a bit as he walked to make space for his big bag. then an utterly ecstatic cry from Seth. and his feet were pounding the boards towards us even as we stopped at the door and turned. not distinct to us. The puzzle. hot rodding? Use a screwdriver. ‘My mother’s a fool. You should know that. which so perplexed me yesterday. shouting. and I thought he might feel a bit rejected if he sought any insinuation in what I said. appeared in a kind of originary form then.’ I stopped and looked at the receding Zillah too. ‘When?’ I looked up at him and said.’ Zillah climbed onto Adam and began jumping up and down vigorously.that it was already gone.’ Speaking of whom. Eve. shouting a gay nonsense. I deflated again. Tubalcain was silent at first. ‘Your poor mother’s an innocent. on the contrary he said. ‘Remember who she is. He came up screetching at the very top of his voice.’ We turned away and resumed our walk to the Garden Door. 398 . Iron Man. please!’ He glared at me: ‘She was made a fool of. But no. and said as the last joke left. ‘Huh. like my sis. and said to him with a slight severity. I tell you. ‘I’m coming! I’m coming! I’m coming!’ Tubalcain looked back at her and said. Zillah came running through the Garden Door and runs past us sobbing. for I said in half tease.’ A scream behind us. with a cavalier gesture to my belly. and tired of it: ‘Found something harder.

tilting my head to look down at him. I said to him.‘You won’t believe this! You will not ever believe this! But something’s happened to Adam!’ No false hope left. saying over and over. mommy?’ I shook him quiet.’ 399 . ‘What is it. ‘Getting bigger. shouting hysterically. I walked a pace or two with Seth. and getting bigger. in an even matey voice. who said. and said in a confiding tone. pushed his hair over to one side and said to him. his frenzied features. clawing fingers. twisting toes. Seth?’ He turned to me.’ She looked back at Adam and the tree growing out of his mouth. his little even teeth glowing in his soft pink mouth. then asked in a moment of lull in him. ‘Now! You’ve got to see this for yourself. ‘Glad I insisted on getting in early. Eve. A TREE! A TREE is growing out of daddy! Oh look mummy! See how it is going up and up in the air! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that absolutely marvellous. ‘What is it. being gracious only.’ Seth looked at Tubalcain with renewed hope. ‘We have one at home. absolutely stunned. getting bigger. Seth?’ He caught my arm and started to pull me forward with all the impulsiveness of a child. ‘Oh. Sorry. I wouldn’t be able for that. dribble on his chin as usual.’ Now Zillah arrived. mammy! Please come! Bring your friend if you like!’ Tubalcain nodded to me his assent to this. ‘See one seen them all. I’m afraid. radiant with excitement.

Reduced friction.’ Tubalcain said at my back. ‘Come when you want.In the Garden. ‘Come any time you like. Just say when. Lamech lay sprawled out on the floor. dear. dear?’ I mimed belts and buckles on Tubalcain’s body to show her. I turned away before the door closed and went into the Kitchen to make tea. leading into the Narrows by the Little Room.’ More of this in the Hall. as much from necessity as the Hall narrowed suddenly as from his desire to protect her. Eve. without much guile: ‘I always let them go again. some shadows to navigate. whispering behind his back: ‘How did you manage. we flanking Tubalcain. resisted the urge to rub them together in exultation. honey. I could feel him draw close to his mother. you see. I 400 .’ To Tubalcain I said. easily embracing her frail body. ‘I made the harness myself. a lot to drink that night.’ I put my palms together. ‘It’s not a club. how you must surrender secrets to departing guests. dear. and stood in the door like a good hostess.’ I shook my head.’ Zillah fell down in the Yard and Tubalcain was obliged to hoist her up in his arms. Zillah said. ‘I always get them to try again. I said to Zillah as she passed me without a nod. Spitfire. saying. Zillah said to me. going stupid-drunk very quickly now. Frightfully sensitive. almost babbling. and carry her aboard the coach. saying. as you seem to think.

so I playfully buzzed his cheek. and contented silence once he found a bed for himself alone. hands before his face in modesty.’ He had the uncertain smile of one who is rarely thanked for his efforts. ‘But I’ve got a job here. some shouting back and forth.’ He cleared off forthwith. 401 . ‘Don’t sleep down here. when I ordered him to go home at once. but if he didn’t want to go I couldn’t make him. loaded the tray. haven’t I?’ That troubled me. scurry of his boots on the stairs. and said. then slamming doors for a while. Find a bed upstairs. He jumped up. and had it hoisted up on my hip. ‘So long as you get up early.kicked his heel until he woke up. when I said to him. saying desperately. Go. I pondered as I made the tea.

This is how it appeared to me last night. Methuselah. that anyone can kill anyone else. The vast event was simply the understanding made available by Adam’s death. what he had sought to keep from his family. No. our power to choose good or evil. Adam’s death. at least it accompanied that vast happening. can love cross it? Does it need to? My thoughts fogged then. didn’t you? As you have seen. My new friend. Let me explain. I went up to my room pondering the extent of the changes that had occurred. pleasure or pain. Lamech and Mahaleleel off my hands. 402 . How is it possible to love beyond death? The gap that appears at death is very deep. truth or lie. a white haze and deep deep blue behind and above. we didn’t know what to expect. it was an anti-climax. I knew from almost the beginning that Adam and I would die. our capacity to love. In Cain I saw the more frightful truth.That was about it that night. This is the curse of God on us for having recognised our capacity to love. if I may detain you a short while longer. Now in Adam’s death I feel the curse of God touch at last on its real objective. Forgive my qualification. You expected that event to be the catastrophe. Proper cook at last. that mankind can exercise this curse as a power over one another. But it was the vast happening I had sensed approaching. I think one thing and by the time it is written down I have thought something new. the confusion now like an enveloping glove.

each time my theories and speculations fading before a kind of unity. Not much consolation to a grieving widow. only perhaps the word ‘capability’ and the image of always being in action. 403 . I see something else there. you might think. but after a while. like a body of light of which I am the tip. like dispassionate. crucial: no stopping it. lying in bed now. I have thought about it often today. like vigilance. ever. I can see no more than this now.I asked if love needs to cross the gap of death. like skilful.

Already the branches were spreading out under the hemisphere of stars. ‘I said once is enough. I was heartened by this. didn’t I?’ Great satisfaction all round. I said. on his feet in no time. Tubs. I got up and looked out.’ Sure enough. yelling fit to rouse the whole house: ‘Is that the word. reddish leaves like palms unfolding. seeing a more willing Adam there.Adam’s Tree went through the roof during the night. as though musing: ‘Knows where he is going this time. October 1995 404 . Eve? Is it? Is it?’ Only his face pressed to the pane shut him up. Tubalcain stirs himself in the warm bed.

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