Friday, June 11, 2010

Cymbal #31:: The Paths of Jean Valjean

When your friend and mine, Jean Valjean, left the town where he was born (it would be too much to call it his home) on that morning, the sun had not yet risen. It was for the better, anyway, as the streets were empty and he would avoid the eyes of those who were not strangers. His limbs were stiff from sleeping in the cold stable, and the void in his stomach was crying out for sustenance. Ignoring it he walked on, past the gates of the city, which had just opened to let out all those whose long day in the fields had begun.

Gil Scott-Heron - Your Soul and Mine - 2010

At dusk, at the crossroads, the abandoned crossroads which lead to the four towns which lead nowhere, Jean Valjean sat for a long time on an old cenotaph and thought about the things he had done and that he was running away from and that he was leaving behind. He thought about the things he was leaving behind and how they were the result when you subtracted what he had done from what he had been given. All the time, his belly cried for bread.
Bat for Lashes - Trophy - 2007

He slept fitfully, unsure of the direction he would take in the morning. But if you wait long enough at crossroads, the world of spirits will take notice of you. The earth under him shifted and he woke. He sat up and watched in mute astonishment. From the intersection of the two mudbeaten paths, a flaming eminence rose. Its body and face were consumed with a tall and fierce fire. Each of its four arms held something. At the end of one arm was a whip with three tails. Another arm held a dagger and a blindfold. One held two ears of corn tied together. The last held the bridle reins and spurs of a horse.
Slowly the spirit rotated till its arms were aligned with the four paths. He did not tell me, nor did he need to tell me, which arm had pointed in which direction.
Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here - 2010

When he rose in the morning, the earth of the crossroads was undisturbed. He looked long at the purple mountains to the south. But then he shouldered his bag and went back the way he had come, back to the town he had left the morning, to see if he could add to what he had left behind.

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