Soon twilight befalls. The tenebrous sky is, as if an unfathomable box room, laden with countless blinks, translucent, sorrowful. Throughout the apparent illusory, immense pan of window, Ivan gazes long at the landscape outside, his hometown which he notoriously knows: flickering opulent neon signs, densely-packed skyscrapers, and a stagnant and shrunken harbour. Everything that comes into his view defy nature, corrode its intrinsic and darken its radiance. The longer he stares at such a decadent ambiance, the heavier he feels his eyelids until they are beyond his control. Yet he also knows that he will be, and is always a prisoner of work, and can be temporarily released when he clears up all the tasks on his office desk.
The clock inside the office neither cheats nor deceives her master, and ticks and tacks with fidelity always at a pace so slow; she is the most loyal warder in this world while he, Ivan, is the poorest slave whose soul has long been melted into chyme for long, and whose conscious are too scattered and too desultory. His sense of reason has perhaps long been left in the former empire, the empire whose sun was claimed to have never set in.
When Ivan is about to fall into an abyss of misty despair and stays in a trance, he sees all of a sudden a white rabbit holding a pocket watch in his right hand, passing by him and dashing towards a big hole, the existence of which right below where the office clock is hanged bewilders him. His instinct however tells him, it may be his final chance to enjoy the reunion with HIS Alice, the Alice who is as sweet as cherry flowers, the Alice who is forever his admirer. Unwaveringly he thus follows the rabbit, jumps down and down the tunnel-like deep hole until he hears someone – someone who owns a familiar feminine voice – reciting some lyrics well-known to him:
You praised the rose in deep vermilion
But not the one in pure surplice;
The twin roses’ embrace for no purpose
Reminds me one golden pavilion
Where all rosy, white posies spread
Among a natural bed where you can rest
You stared at those two devils for long,
So long, too long to shut down your eyes
Too limpid to ask what has gone wrong,
Too vague to confess if you are shy
The couple goes apart like sky and sea,
While souls shall still be bound as you can see.
Ivan cannot remember whether he has heard of them. Maybe he once wrote them. Somewhere. Someday. Elsewhere. He acknowledges that he is some narcissistic, crappy poet and gets always embarrassed whenever his work is mentioned in front of him by others. But strange enough, he feels agreeable to her. Her voice is as savoury as a bottle of strong, mature wine produced at Champagne. At one instantaneous moment he wonders whether she is an embodiment of Aphrodītē about to offer him the most divine song of consolation. It is a pity that a harp, through which the world’s most natural and harmonious notes are played, cannot be seen, or the accompaniment must be the perfect match of her voice.
[To be continued]
[Poem first written on 16th August, 2015; edited on 5th June, 2016]
[Featured image taken on 8th July, 2010 by James Au]