Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Daedalus Describes the Maze to King Minos

The bull is a herd animal, Your Majesty. To contain him successfully we need to bear this in mind. Isolated and taunted, he will go mad with fury and solitude. Therefore,  built into this maze will be a series of reflective surfaces: mirrors, polished stones, broken glass, and the like. These will fragment and multiply the monstrous image. It will be at once belittling and enraging.
The bull is a herbivore, with carnal longings. We will plant those herbs that speak to us of meat: mustard seed, thyme, mint and garlic. He will eat of these and his own flesh will be fragrant and mad for wine or blood.
We will undermine your monster. Let there be great pits. His bellows will echo piteously, and hearing his own cry amplified will give him cause to fill his lungs and low for more or less of what he cannot have.
Let your bull-man have space, Your Majesty, but not enough Just as he can feel his shoulders start to uncramp, we will construct a lid, studded with broken stars and a pale moon-curve of light on which to bang his unlovely head. Let's spin your bull into a circle, a bull ring at the centre. Let the capes of invention flicker and tempt him to madness. We will devise the picadors of desire, let nymphs dance in the shadows and disappear when he rushes them.
This maze will encode the seven circles of hell for your monstrous bull-child. The first circle will be appetite, the second image. The third, freedom proffered and snatched away. In the fourth circle let us place temptation of a spiritual sort. He is kin to all the bull-gods of antiquity. We live in modern times my Lord, but let us not forget the potency of the old religions. In the fifth circle let us suggest peace. We will plant it with daisies and pipe in the smells of milk and green grass. Your bull will sense the trickery but not be able to put his hoof upon it. Six, of course, means reversal. The whole thing inverted and played again. How will he know it's for real? he won't until he enters the seventh circle, where he meets the very shape of his terror, for here at the very heart of it, the maze is adorned with the god-like novelty of man. In the end, let him lock horns with those who dare. Perhaps the sword will strike its own reflection in the shield. Perhaps this bull's peripheral vision will be his saving grace and not his downfall. Perhaps it will fall to chance in the adrenalin-scented evening. But just perhaps, let's say, it will more likely fall to the cunning devices of the labyrinth.
Applause unfolds inside King Minos' heart. He nods. And Daedelus gets the job.


jennifer button said...

Poor Minotaur - trapped in such a cunningly designed torture chamber.
But I suppose we all inhabit labyrinths of our own making; chasing monsters we have created. I recognise Daedalus's cynicism, his cunning plan to seduce and taunt the beast, while misleading the king into thinking he has the upper hand. Who are we kidding if we think we can control our own fears by locking them away - even using them as weapons against others?
What else you have written? Do you have a book out there? If so how do I get hold of a copy?
Keep scribbling - I like your style. Jenny

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

And I think of your mother painting your being, "Girl from Taru Ushti"