I AM A CAMERA IMAGINATIVE WRITING & THE IMAGE created and taught by Adam Shemper
SUMMERFIELD WALDORF SCHOOL & FARM • SPRING 2013 Isaias Puentes, Ivy Baker, Lili Chambers, Megan Reilly, Salma Qazi & Siena Shepard
I AM A CAMERA IMAGINATIVE WRITING & THE IMAGE created and taught by Adam Shemper
SUMMERFIELD WALDORF SCHOOL • SPRING 2013 Isaias Puentes, Ivy Baker, Lili Chambers, Megan Reilly, Salma Qazi & Siena Shepard
The views in this book are the authors’, and do not reflect those of the Summerfield Waldorf School. This book was made to promote student writing, photography and publishing. All proceeds from the sale of this publication will support student trips.
Cover photo credit: Arthur Tress
CONTENTS Dreams of Tomorrow by Megan Reilly! !
Animal Noises by Siena Shepard!!
Alive and Crawling by Isaias Puentes Portrait of a Hamlet by Salma Qazi! Fly Away by Ivy Baker
Let it Fade Away by Ivy Baker!
When I Arrived by Lili Chambers ! !
Baby and a Jukebox by Megan Reilly! !
All-American by Megan Reilly!
Evolution Through Observation by Siena Shepard!
The Garden and Interior of a Church by Salma Qazi!
I AM A CAMERA: IMAGINATIVE WRITING & THE IMAGE SPRING 2013
I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! --Christopher Isherwood In this 8-session workshop, students wrote creatively about the lives of people and places in photographs. To inspire them to write, students chose from a variety of images, from art photography to documentary to photojournalism. Through the process of working with words and pictures, students began to discover the similarities and differences between the way people are represented in pictures and the way characters come to life in a story. As well as the way images give us an immediate visual sense of place and the way stories use verbal description to slowly reveal a setting. In the end, six students wrote in a variety of forms, including vignettes, short stories and poems, that were full of rich and deeply-felt descriptions of character, mood and setting.
photo credit: Adam Shemper
DREAMS OF TOMORROW by Megan Reilly
The grass sways back and forth dancing in the wind like bodies in
endless motion. The scene is reminiscent of the bottom of the ocean. A whole world comprised of many beings all cooperating together to create the most magnificent field. As I wander through the grass, it tickles me, brushing up against me, enveloping me, as if I was in a cocoon.! ! The air is crisp and intoxicating, the sky like an oil painting. My long chestnut- brown hair dances like the grasses in the sweet breeze. It whispers to me, filling me with a warm feeling of joy and peace. This brightness pulsates through my body, radiating through me as if I just drank a cup of tea. I close my eyes, standing still, holding this image in both my head and heart, just standing here feeling this feeling. ! With my eyes open, I realize my walk has led me to a beautiful, wild canopy of a tree. I quickly dart down the last stretch of path to reach this monument. My slight fingers caress the back of the tree, tracing its mature lines and wondering what its story was. If only nature could speak in an audible way. I desired to know the wisdom it could share. It could whisper to me its secrets, tell me its truths and wrap me in everything it felt. I fall back into the golden hue of grass that encases me in an embrace. I look up. I am curious and haunted by the brilliance of nature. I wonder, What could it teach me?
ANIMAL NOISES by Siena Shepard “Roar, I’m a crocodile!” I said. ! “Crocodile’s don’t say ‘Roar.’ They don’t make any noise,” said my twin, (who was younger then me). ! “Crocodiles have to make some sort of noise,” I answer back. I proceed by diving under the water and wrapping my arms around his legs and pulling him under with me. We wrestle for as long as we can hold our breaths. ! When we return to the top, my twin retorts, “No they don’t make any noise, or else the lion or the gazelle would hear it. Plus lions already say ‘Roar.’” Isn’t my brother the animal expert. ! “I wonder what sound gazelles make?” I ask myself. ! “They also don’t make any noise,” he stated, and tried to sound smarter then he actually is. To prove his smartness, he jumped on me and dragged me back under the water. We started an underwater battle again. This didn’t last very long. I hadn’t taken a very good breath of air, so I came up rather quickly. I accidentally hit my head on the fountains edge. ! “Ow, ow, ow, ow! That hurt,” I cried. ! “Ow, ow, ow, ow, that hurt,” my twin laughed. “That’s the sound a Jonathan makes.” I hit him. Then he hit me. Then we hit each other above the water. Water was flying everywhere, splashing as high as the tallest giraffe. ! Mother began to shout at us, threatening that we would soon leave. We stopped, and looked at her innocently. She gave us the stink eye, then went back to reading her magazine. ! “I suppose that gazelles make a sort of swishing noise with there tails and ears,” I said. Then, as an experiment, I put my hands up to my head, made gazelle ears and began to swish them around. My twin looked at me funny, turned his back and began to climb on top of the fountain. ! I went nearly underwater, with only the tip of my head and eyes above the water. I slowly stalked my younger twin. He wasn’t paying attention and I pounced. I let out a mighty roar that would have impressed 4
the mightiest lion (not a crocodile). He screamed and fell into the water flailing his arms like a monkey gone bananas. ! Laughing, I said, “And that’s what a Carter sounds like.” I felt triumphant, like a monkey who found a banana. He stood up in the water, and began to ignore me. He took up his own quest and began to try circle around the whole fountain on only his hands and feet. It was a very slow process, almost as slow as a sloth. ! I stood next to him on the inner circle and looked down on him. ! “Move,” he said. ! “No,” I replied, “What happened to you ignoring me.” He ignored that statement. ! “Move now.” ! “Never in a billion years.” ! “Please.” ! “Nope.” ! “I’m going to take a picture now, come on over boys,” mother called. I moved over slightly, and took a pose. My twin was too busy with him self to hear her.
photo credit: Jim Hodson
photo credit: Sally Mann
ALIVE AND CRAWLING by Isaias Puentes It was cold and felt just wrong. When I entered the swamp, it was unlike any I had ever known. It plain scared me, the thick mist I’ve only ever seen in movies that depict the lives of hideous creatures. The roots crawled over the earth like spiders the size of cats. My combat boots slogged through the soft muddy ground and disturbed the almost heavy silence.! ! As I stumbled through the dark and rough terrain, I felt guilty for all the deaths I’d caused in the past month. What had I been thinking when I found and kept that jar of fluorescent blue chemicals in North Korea, back when I’d been deployed there as an officer in a covert U.S. Special Forces unit. As soon as I resigned from the military, I discarded the chemicals in this swamp far from where I lived, without thinking about the repercussions. Never had I considered that the liquid would mutate and poison the wildlife. ! As I walked through this God-forsaken place, I heard a branch snap beneath my feet. The sound shattered the atmosphere and surprised me so much that I lost my balance and fell on a small tree that swayed and creaked with a deafening screech. That’s when I heard it, a scratch, and then a heavy sound of footsteps of someone or something big moving in the darkness. Then silence. I stood there as still as I could, leaning on a tree for support, and listening to the soft sound of trickling water somewhere in the near distance. My heart pounded in my chest. I knew the night was young and that I had to get out of this hellhole before the mutant wildlife decided to come for me. ! As quiet as I could, I searched my pockets for anything useful. I found nothing. I had changed before I left the hotel. I realized I left everything there. I could picture my phone, pocketknife and wallet on the table, where I left them. With my face in my palm, the last little bit of hope died inside of me like the coals of a fire being stamped out. I felt afraid and alone. ! Something was out there. I had to wake up, collect myself and move any direction away from this place. A newfound warmth surged through me as I felt my instinct to survive. So I pushed forward into the darkness, hoping, just hoping, to see the light of day once more. 7
PORTRAIT OF A HAMLET by Salma Qazi
photo credit: Edward Steichen
Youâ€™ve just spoken. Your words hang in the air, then the last echoes of them fade, like the final strains of a dying song. You can feel sweat on your forehead. Your makeup begins to cake uncomfortably like a Greek tragedy 8
mask of your face, golden and grimacing, as ill-fitting as the mask of Hamlet. You recite your dry lines with a dry tongue. You move in routine circles and fling out your rehearsed gestures toward the unmoved face of the mammoth-audience. ! The audience, shrouded in darkness, like bats hanging in a cave waiting for the right moment to rush out shrieking to ruin you. You can hear them rustling in their seats, a massive beast you can’t get a handle on, as you kneel beside Claudius’s throne. Your movements grow frenetic, as Hamlet ! begins ! to ! ! ! crumble, ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! second ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! by ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! se ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! co ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! nd, before you manage to glue him together over yourself, as every line you speak marches unstoppably to here, to this line, to this moment between the teeter and the fall. ! “Find your Hamlet!” your director would say and give you an encouraging pat on the back. Your Hamlet is still gone. ! The audience waits. ! You sense their hive-mind breaking apart. They’re becoming people again, people with kids and nine-to-five jobs and no magic in their lives. Your next line hovers in your lungs, waiting for its cue. That is the question, you almost say, before courage deserts you, steals with it the last rags of your character. Now you’re simply an actor, John, over-heated, uncertain, kneeling down-stage center, as if in supplication. That is the question. ! Not, To be or not to be, but rather, How to play this part? This part that they’ve seen a thousand times, this speech that they’ve dissected in English class and memorized for high school productions? ! Hamlet has been subsumed by John. ! You have nothing, just four words and an empty hole where your character should be. ! Think Hamlet, you tell yourself. You close your eyes. ! And, then, magically the audience is gone. It’s just you alone in your chambers, your father dead, your mother wed and Denmark rotted to the core. You feel the chill of stone beneath your knees and the ever-present horror of your father’s ghost whispering in the back of your mind. You speak. 9
FLY AWAY by Ivy Baker
photo credit: Arthur Tress
The bell rang and drowned out the sound of my teachers voice as she finished up her lecture on...ummm...I forgot who. I got out of my seat and rushed to my locker. It was a warm spring day and I itched to get out of school. Though I had to wait for John first. He was always late out of class and I was thinking of leaving him, going to the batting cage with Tim. But, of course, we had to wait for him, because this journey would not be the same without him. It was the last time I would see my best friends.! ! I had to move to California for my step-dad, â€œPaul.â€? He had to go there for his job. I still blame him for my depression. ! John finally walked through the doors of the school. He had a 10
black eye, AGAIN. John was never the most popular person in the school. He never knew why he got beat up. And I never knew why. None of us did. ! Tim on the other hand seemed like he should have an awesome life. His parents were both lawyers. He had a maid, and a really big house. Though his house got dark and cold easily, and his parents were never home, and he didn’t have any siblings, so he would call me up a lot to hang out. Now that I think about it, his life wasn’t all that great. ! Now I’m just a normal kid with a mom, dad, sister and dog. We live in a normal house and have family game night every Thursday. My sister is 3 years older than me and is a huge drama queen. I’ve never been good at making friends. Tim and John were my only friends. Some people say you need lots and lots of friends to have fun and to survive in middle school and have a good life. But I think having lots of friends is messy and dramatic. ! As we made our way through the forest to the cage, Tim said, “We are really going to miss you Liam.” ! “I’m going to miss you guys so much,” I said with a sigh. “I’m so mad that I have to leave!” ! The rest of the way was silent. We finally arrived at the batting cage. We dropped our things and ran to the side and started climbing up. John pushed Tim down as a joke and said, “Race you to the top.” Tim, with determination in his eyes, raced to the top like his life depended on it. I was the last one up, and the last to fall on the netting, where Tim and John had fallen. We laughed. ! I talked, but not about me leaving. We avoided that completely. We talked about the past. We told each other new secretes and then after talking for hours we laid on our backs and basked in the sun soaking everything up. No one said or did anything. ! I wished I could’ve stay forever with my best friends and never leave. But I had to go to a new place, a new house, and I didn’t want that at all. I wanted to stay in this paradise, lying in the sun until the end. ! Once it got dark we headed home. As we said our last good-byes tears of pain filled our eyes. “We will always be best friends,” I said.
photo credit: Arthur Tress
LET IT FADE AWAY by Ivy Baker
This place used to be full of life. Full of joy and spirit. But now it’s an abandoned roof and a forgotten ship. It’s cold and wet and unpleasant.! ! Before my family left for a new life, there was day where the sun shone and the farmers sold their harvested crops and the mothers sold clothing they made. That was a magical day, playing with friends, running around, chasing chickens and having fun. ! Then they came with their guns and giant machines, killing anything in their path. I ran to where my parents hid and they embraced me and covered my face from the horror. That is why we moved away. ! It’s so sad. It was so unexpected. So many of my dearest friends died that day, and the worst part was that I had to watch and couldn’t do anything about it. ! Now I’m here a year later and the wind is blowing in my face and a shiver runs down my spine. This place I see before me is no longer my home. I must let it go. Let it fade away into my past where it belongs.
WHEN I ARRIVED by Lili Chambers
Once I flew on a plane to Hong Kong. When I arrived the sidewalks and streets were littered with wet cigarette butts. The air was humid, heavy with warmth that made it hard to breathe, as if a stack of bricks were on my chest.
photo credit: Lili Chambers
I was once on a ferry floating on an emerald green sea. The breeze blew in around the passengers stinging their faces with longing.
photo credit: Lili Chambers
photo credit: Robert Frank
BABY AND A JUKEBOX by Megan Reilly
This room is full of both the future and the past. A beginning and an end. A baby and a jukebox. ! Light shines through the loosely arranged roof. The walls are sturdy, but the washed out colors and creaky floorboards suggest nature will win the fight.! ! Well maintained, but forgotten, the building is worn and clean. The windows and bright atmosphere make the place feel safe, trusting and warm. A large, beautifully decorated jukebox glimmers in the sun. Still in excellent condition, it evokes a bittersweet melancholy and a yearning in me for it to be played. ! It stands out in this quaint building. The story of the jukebox intrigues me, wraps me around its finger, makes me want to dance, swing and dive into its music. And the silence around it begs to be interrupted with the Pandoraâ€™s Box that is the jukebox, just waiting to be opened. As I picture the music flowing out of this sentimental machine I want to be transported back to when this building was full rather than stripped bare and lonely. ! The pair of chairs suggests not many people still spend time here, and the space doesnâ€™t indicate that anyone knows how to fill the emptiness. Though thereâ€™s a baby slowly exploring the inside of the house. And, perhaps, to the people who are here now, this place may evolve into a home.
ALL-AMERICAN by Megan Reilly
photo credit: William Eggleston
I get to the grocery store, clock in, change and begin another day on the job. While my friends are off at the local diner I try to scrape a living. If only this was easier. ! I may have the white picket fence, but I don’t have the perfect life. At school I was captain of the football team and secretly smart. I am an allAmerican boy, always working hard. My friends know I work, but they think it’s only for the money. They don’t really know I break my back ‘cause my 18
pop can’t stop drinking and my mama can’t stop crying. ! My job, football and school are my only escapes. I want to get out of this tiny speck on the map and make something of my life, myself. Just ‘cause my parents rejected me doesn’t mean the world will. I have so many good things going for me. Only one more year until I’m out of here. ! ! I am so tired. But I just have to keep moving forward, pushing towards my goal like a steam engine, like the way I push these grocery carts. Their metal frames rattle in a disruptive, strange rhythm. When I hear this, a calm washes over me. I position my left arm on top of the carts gently, the way I would place my hand on a horse. It gives me a sense of reassurance. I cling to the cart handles (as if they were a lifeline) with my other hand and guide them through the door toward their destination. ! These feelings and complexities are constantly evoked in me when I work. Though today, rather than being overcome by pessimism, there’s something different stirring inside. As I push the silver, clattering carts through the doors of the store, I am hopeful.
photo credit: Larry Schwarm
EVOLUTION THROUGH OBSERVATION by Siena Shepard Standing in a field, surrounded by the elements, you have a sense of wonder. The fire is bright, the most forward and open. It is the loudest, the most aggressive and energetic. It breaths life into all things, and yet a picture of death hangs around its existence. It is the most feared out of nature. We see it move, we hear it, the rumble and the roar. ! Oh the roar of fire! ! It starts with a spark, then a crackle. Tremendous growth can happen within a second. The roar sweeps you up, confusing you, making you run through a maze. When it speaks it will always be heard: a voice of rage, a voice of reason, a voice of warmth. ! Warmth. What man needed to excel, to evolve, the tool of all tools. The heat of fire, used to create the trowel, the sword, the steam engine. So great, that they say the gods brought it down to us. We would be in darkness without it, but we cannot overuse its power or it will turn against us. The worst way to die, the best way to live: fire. ! You look to the fire as it burns toward you at a rapid pace. You laugh. It looks so joyful, so alive and friendly, you want to let it run through your hands, to play. You run to the fire, feeling the warmth on your face, a warning. You ignore its sign and lunge for the fire. Its heat magnifies until it burns you. You scream and retreat to a cold distance. Your fingers throb and sting. The heat stays with you, swelling up and becoming as red as the fire. Tears well up in your eyes and you feel betrayed by the fire. The feeling stays with you, and you eye the approaching flames with distrust. You see it increase speed as it comes toward you. You feel your new pain. With one hand holding your burn, you remember the touch of fire, and you feel fear. The fear of pain and the fear of betrayal. ! So you turn to water, your source and ally. You cross the stream, a natural barrier against fire. The water is cold to your touch, and soft, friendly. You can feel it heal your wounded hand, cooling the reddened skin and washing away the pain. Stooping down to drink, you take your uninjured hand and make a cup, bringing water to your mouth and letting it run down your throat. 21
! Water cools you. It is home and familiar, sweet and tasteless. It breaths of calmness, trickling down the bed of rocks, not caring about anything, knowing that nothing can be done to completely stop its movements. It listen and cares for you. In small amounts water can be resourceful, the element that keeps you alive. But gather enough water together and it will team up against you, rallying to destroy an entire nation of people. It retreats from its shore and comes back with reinforcements. Although it will destroy a town, it will let you leave this planet in peace. It will fill your lungs and let you sleep. ! Sleep. You think, Ah, sleep. How nice it would to let your body relax, rejuvenate. Sleep lets you go into another world, a strange world, a experimental world. This world is your own, it lets your imagination run free. Nothing is unusual there, although it may seem strange. There must be secrets, though we may never remember them. It hides itself from us, taunting us with vague pictures and memories, yet it is a safe place, letting us go there whenever we want. You love this place, and going there makes you and the world happy. The grass feels softer on this side of the natural wall. You feel safe, so you let yourself lie down and become one with the earth. ! The earth, what we come from, what we will end up as. It shall always be our home, no matter where we go, where we end up. Six billion years old and still just as strong, just as sturdy, always there. Soft and hard, tall and deep, round and sharp, it takes all forms. Icebergs to deserts, deep forests to open plains, all open for our exploration. It only shows us as much as is needed to quench our thirst, our longing for information, until we dream up some other idea. We have dug, we have flown, we have swam, we have gone everywhere we can, and where we canâ€™t go, we pout and cry until we come up with the technology to drill, float and explode our way through the world. We not only want to know where we live, we want to know on what and how we live. Yet, the earth will not let us hear its deepest secrets. Never would its share its heart, its root, its core of existence, for it asks the question, What would we do with the information? ! As you lie feeling the grass between your toes, a gust of wind picks up. You sit up and watch as the wind moves the grassy savanna in waves. It touches your face, and moves your hair, bringing up images of flight and freedom. The wind is quick. It has lots to say and little time to say it. It brings things and takes them in return. Wind makes you stop, whether in the day, in the night or on the ocean. But it brings rewards, from the hot, 22
parched days of summer, to the colorful, red days of autumn. It moves objects. Even when it might not mean to it can bring down the tallest of buildings and the widest bridges. Destruction! Thats what you will think, but the wind only wants to say something more, something bigger. Eyes: it has many. Nothing can be kept from the wind. It is everywhere, all-knowing. Wind doesnâ€™t die. It is reborn again and again. And gives its knowledge to anyone who will listen. ! Listening. If you listen to anything, it will have a story to tell: the metamorphosis of earth, the movement of water, the energy of fire and the speed of wind. All things bring up stories, memories, like individuals crawling through tunnels and finally reaching the light. They come from anything and everything. A reminder, an inspiration, a physical entity bringing up mental pictures which turn into a thought. They can be good and they can equally be bad. Nothing can control it for it comes to us naturally. Bring all these things together, and you get Â a perfect image, a melding of all things natural. ! As you observe your surroundings, feelings emerge, not of peace, but of comfort. You remember a time when this was our dwelling, when these were our only resources. Our beginning happened here, in these places. Our evolution happened with our first breath of air, our first step on ground, our first sip of water and our first burn of fire. ! How ironic that with these simple things we created a generation of new elements, and therefore, a new group of people. Instead of returning to our simple heritage, we took the high grounds, explored outer realms. We eventually went to different planets. Manipulating and controlling all phenomena, while forgetting that it is these individual sources that gave us life, our beginning. ! You think these thoughts. Time passes. The fire burns out, the grass and trees turned to dust. The wind leaves, finding another venture, and the water slowly trickles away. Everything is gone, but you are still there, living, breathing, holding everything in your body, in your mind. ! Fire, earth, water, air. They will come again, with time. ! Time. It is the true master of our world. It is the only substance that will extinguish all things. No one can escape our fate with time. It is an event in our short lives that we donâ€™t realize or accept, for no one really wants to see the end, to die. Even nature must die. The only difference between us and the elements is that we have not, cannot, will not, accept our friend time. We fight to disconnect from time. We feel it as a physical 23
object measuring our days, weeks, months and years. We do not see it as a force, moving us through the days, weeks, months and years of our lives. Without time, there would be nothing. No past, no present and no future. There would be no change and nothing would have happened, be happening, or will ever happen. We would stay as we did at the beginning of everything. ! We could never understand this, this concept of time, the beauty of the end, the relaxation of nothing. Nature understands its fate, it doesn’t fight, for it knows that even if it dies, it will be reborn, not as its self, but as a new force. The fire will spark up again. The earth will grow and mold. The wind will always be back. And the water will never truly be gone. It knows its place in the balance of nature. ! For imagine a world without balance. Nothing would be as it is now. Without water, we would live in a desert wasteland, our throats dry and cracked. Without fire, we would live a cold world, a world with absolutely no warmth, no light. Without air, we wouldn’t be able to talk, to sing. Without the air in our lungs, we wouldn’t be able to speak. Without the earth, we would float around with nothing to stand on, no place to call home. Each and every one of these places makes you sad. You weep, knowing you are alone. You weep for some time and become tired. Tired mentally, physically and emotionally. You have never felt this way before. ! As sleep crowds your knowledgeable mind, you lie down and close your weary eyes, and let it take you to a place, a new place. A dark place and a light place. This place is everything and nothing, it’s far and near, scary and calm. It has been a long journey. At the same time you come to the end, you find a new beginning. It calls to you and you answer. ! Suddenly you are awake. The sky is blue and the grass around you is green. It’s new, although you feel you have been there before. You take your first step, and find your legs are wobbly and feet unsteady. As you master your movement, you cross a stream into a field. There is a fire, and you stand next to it, feeling everything.
photo credit: Larry Schwarm
THE GARDEN AND INTERIOR OF A CHURCH by Salma Qazi
photo credit: Eugene Atget
I. The Garden
The garden is empty. The pond, which had once thrown back the faces of queens and princes, now reflects an abyssal white sky, caught between billowy shadows of wiry trees. The statues stare at each other helplessly, hands flung out and bodies contorted into carved, still beauty. ! The grass misses the glide and brush of silks, the tread of careful feet, circling and turning in music-less dances. The air is thin, and clean of perfume and laughter. The wind moves through the yawning sky and blows past the trees, racing through the garden without pause. ! As evening comes, the statues are painted human. They are dressed red and gold and dying orange by the sun, before the last rays abandon the garden. The briefly illuminated pond grows dark. The cold fingers of the statues grow colder. The trees continue lifting thin branches to the sky. Night steals in through the shadows in the grass, the chill of the air. Slowly, sparingly, the stars begin to glitter dispassionately down at the empty, mourning garden. 26
photo credit: Charles Clifford
II. The Interior of a Church ! They prayed as Rome marched in their streets and broke into their small rooms. They prayed, as horrified people fled spear-points, leaving behind houses with openings like eyes, windows shattered and empty, broken shutters scattered over the ground. They prayed in the Coliseum, blinded by marble and deafened by screams, while they faced down lions and gladiators ! They prayed as they erected their first churches, as they gilded glass mosaic tiles, as they painted the stern mouths of saints. As their churches were desecrated, and the sacred eyes blackened. As the lucent walls of Hagia Sophia were painted over in curling Arab script. As the empire fell, they prayed and wept. As churches turned to brothels to inns to homes to empty-eyed buildings. As ages passed. 27
! They prayed as Michelangelo cursed the Pope, and, with paint in his eyes, stared at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, hoping he was not damned. As the churches of the French Goths grew high and stony, while light shattered into different colors on the floors. As Notre Dame burned once again. As Eadfrith traced out chi in the Lindisfarne Gospels and invaders torched Lindisfarne. As Pope Urban II raised his cross against the East and as Dante wrote the Inferno and dreamed of fire and as Milton dreamed of the Fall, as a host of Florentine Davids slew their Goliath and as marble Jesus lay in the arms of the Pietaâ€™s Madonna, and as the bright panes of Amiens were set into the walls and their filtered light sanctified all who fell under it. ! And they prayed even while Muhammad stood outside Mecca and fought, as the students of the revolution stormed Chinaâ€™s temples, as the Hebrews took step after bloody step out of Egypt, as Aurangzeb smashed calm-faced Hindu idols and the Buddha starved his way into enlightenment beneath a tree. As Hatshepsut built a temple for her tomb and as Phidias carved out the eyes of Athena enthroned in the Parthenon. They prayed and prayed and prayed.