Three black candles, by Alexandra Cretté, translated from French by Claire N'Gwete Freymann
Symbols bow and dwindle when the night falls, when the full moon eventually emerges in the pristine twilight. Wherever your own twilights may be. In these twilight zones of rough forest where the impressions left by man vanish sooner than a fly’s droppings, Writing is alive – like an ant trail.
Like the last grey drop of rain. Like the mist rising out of the damp soil – Writing lives and then stops living, incandescent and transient, oblivious of its original purpose. Men scatter along complex, tentative roads. The sea-like forest, surrounding them with its deafening whisper, recedes. We are writing from the core of a decaying edifice. At the heartbeat of some fantasized cataclysm, as if rushing towards the edge and for the witnesses of all the tracks we might leave behind.
We are writing thousands of narratives by souls who will not claim to be right, or empowered, or free. In a world which is, once again, crumbling, we are writing to life the thousand rivers whose beds are human trails; they gush forth, as if struggling with the world. And then as if making peace with the world, once their beds are cast.
What will be left when our torments – like ourselves -- are dead?
We burnt down three black candles to dispel invisible enemies. To dispel our inner fears.
Then we set about writing.
While we are writing we are drifting away in order to bring to life, in our tongues, a tune which can be heard. Travelling thousands of miles, from one ocean to the other.
We are writing the thousand rivers that flow across the land from all sides, the land like an open womb -- spread out, female, obscene -- joyfully voluptuous, provocative and fruitful, confronting the faceless will to turn all things into ashes.
For we are not done yet.
We are not done with Meaning -- this imbroglio of wavering and mutual misunderstanding. We don’t have to smooth it all out. We don’t have to make it all homogeneous and similar. Quite the opposite. We must retain the tangle of those things which elude us.
Not because we want to be hermetic, but because we want to retain what is still meaningful. What is left for us to understand ourselves, together.
Retain the fluidity of life, pursue the quest for deep-seated or surfacing Meaning.
Regardless of that which is only showing.
Language is our home -- open to each and every one of us.
Three black candles dispelling death -- against the mass of a falling night. And beyond, the noise of all things living is teaching us music, dancing -- the world’s language.
Some of our languages are smoke signals, some impose themselves on other languages, some isolate, some gather -- and we have to make a choice. But our languages speak to us without our knowing, and, while we are reading a poem or a novel, they take us beyond the limits of pre-determined meaning to the place where we belong. To the place where our trail winds on.
Three black candles are shielding me, where sideroads cross, when Man is the greatest predator living.
Three black candles against the disaster of the world, placed by chance on the trail of Writing.
Text written on the 3rd june 2020, in Kuwano's village.