Liber Jonae CAPUT FIVE Page TETH


That's overly severe, unduly harsh.

Contracts are akin to property lines.
If the corpse doesn't land on loading dock
In only a few hours, Jonah, from now,
I'd fare better to slit my throat myself.
That knife, though, had also disappeared.

Why, said Marguerite, if corpse had knife,
And dexterity enough to slice flesh,
Did it not cut the gallows rope itself?

It was, I think, a supernatural knife,
And unsuitable for such mundane tasks.
You don't saw rope with an enchanted edge,
And thus, if rope is there, the knife is not.
There's strict etiquette that operates
And keeps a blade dormant until required.
Take, for example, fabled Excalibur,
Withheld in darkness, kept out of sight,
Until it's produced at just the right point.

I'm not sure it's the same principle, bird.

All magic cutlery works likewise,
Drawn free of scabbards, placed down by plates,
And poked, stuck or swung, by rigorous rules.
I'll not now demonstrate each case,
Each blade whose legend or name I retain,
But should, woman, you doubt, consider this:
Do the suicides slash open wrists
With machetes soiled by sugar cane sap?
What uncouth soul employs the same steel
That filets fish or amputates a leg
To bleed the lamb that's blessed for sacrifice?
It's common sense to avoid such offence
And keep them apart, in separate drawers,
Stone axe in cave, chainsaw in shed,
A razor blade near the bathroom sink.
Would you want that holy, flaming Sword
That God's Judging Angel shall one day wield
To pare away the grave from risen flesh,
Meanwhile used to spread butter on toast?
Suppose, Marguerite, it were your soul
That arose tainted with crumbs, smeared with jam?
And that's why the Sword is nowhere nearby.

Let's return to the driver now, parrot.
I'll leave aside the next question I'd ask,
On what tool it was the driver employed
In the first place to cut the body down.

As soon as I knew my cargo had gone,
I put my foot to brakes and turned around
And sped the hearse back to the gallows tree.
The corpse was there, hanging, just as before.
Rope twines, it seems, self-reunite.
I cut it down again, loaded it up,
And headed off, but going faster now.
That speed, however, did me no good.
Again came knife, again came riddle,
Again a trick question easily solved.
And once again that corpse disappeared,
And again I drove back to cut it down.
This has now happened some twenty times.

Did the driver recite all the riddles?

No, Marguerite. I didn't know then
What knowledge and power I might have gained
Had I gone one step further and asked.
But such was how slowly my thoughts advanced,
The holy grail, trailed by bowling trophies
Belting out loud, celebratory hymns,
Could have flitted by and gone unremarked.
Each riddle solved revealed, I know now,
A little more of how non-memory,
For which a cold flesh serves as back door,
Interpenetrates this universe.

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