|Little Prince by Milan Cupka|
Last night, I took to reading the entire book, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I have been reading a lot into the similarities between Paolo Coelho's The Alchemist and Jewish-Algerian folklore, particularly the tale of The Sabbath Lion. With The Little Prince I have now found a third counterpart to the incredible comparative mythology and collective archetypal resonance which these narratives offer to a keen mind. I could of course go on and on about the engaging metaphorical richness solely within The Little Prince, however I will stick to a fundamental theme within three of these works.
The desert is an iconic symbol for the immense solitude that opens before a life lived for oneself, or as Coelho writes, for one's Personal Legend. The desert is the ultimate symbol of regenerative emptiness that provides the ground on which the traveler sets out before ending a journey of the soul. The Little Prince itself, closes with a simple drawing of an imaginative desert landscape. That "single event" as de Saint-Exupéry says above, is the recognition that ahead of us lies an expanse of desert. And on seeing the desert open, our dreaming emerges. As de Saint-Exupéry says, "a stranger totally unknown to us" and as Jung says, "that there is someone else in my house". American expatriate writer Paul Bowles also illuminated the desert similarly in his book, The Sheltering Sky
See my related post: Desert Wanderings: Reflection on "The Sheltering Sky"
There is talk of a global calamity. The sky opens our eyes to the inimitable beyond. The solstice night tempts our minds away into the cold dogmas of apocalyptic paranoia. And then, a shift. The star light bends in a waking instant. I see through the unmoving universe, to an orbital flux in the atmosphere itself. Our planet has moved off course!
|Planet Earth 2 by Lena Luss Luyken|
I feel as the only one, risen up to unparalleled sight. As a shifty character in The Little Prince, I inhabit my own planet as a sole entity, unable to move from its narrowing horizon. But my planet moves, and now the cold begins to gather as our sun becomes more and more distant. I traverse the edge of the darkening atmosphere.
|Evening Prayer in the Sahara by Gustave Guillaumet|
I see into the Sahara night. Young boys play soccer among the ancient ruins. An old man enters the edge of the desert from a ruined city street. Both ancient and modern meet at the edge of the desert, and lament the last orbit around a dying sun.
Unctuous pull from the umbilical poor,
My unending desire for a madness
Inherent within revolutionary culture and the curtain’s aftermath
Beyond ironic civil warlords and the innate lust for earthen ore,
Lore and gore,
Multitudes fornicating over oceanic test-tube breasts,
Blessing the fatherland journey past the mother’s nest
Out of time
Whereupon sits the cosmic being,
Presidential yet aware of universal law
“To correct the broken backbone of history
Civilization looted in the ashtray night!”
To calm social panic
And sweep our American blushing under the oriental rug of timeless intoxication
For a new sky,
Seeded and reading to be…
excerpts from "Reading to be..."