Watching the Medieval Mystery Plays
       and Thinking of Milton

                              Performed by a South African troupe
                                      at the Spoleto Festival

Lucifer is speaking Xhosa, Afrikaans, English; the hell
mouth of one self-begot; flames escaping the open
stage floor. In the galley above, Raphael explaining
fallen brightness should consider itself less than
perfection; evil the loss of degree, the failure of
patience. The man next to me reeking of after-shave,
golden chain around his neck; his 60+ years a flaw
in hotel mirrors: astringent unguents the distilled
memory of Eden. He’s suffocating us. A sweet raw
chemical tracking through our lungs, upending
taste, a mineral heaviness in our words, until
later in the warm air of Charleston, meanings fall
unprovoked from us, unimplored, the grace of evening
filtering down from stars that burned out so long ago.

John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
Contents | News from Home