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Jean-Louis Barrault As I lay dying

Heavy storm was sweeping dark Paris streets
Lit with dim lights that dreary November night 
With ghostly shadows lurking in the corners
Cold wind dancing with dirty wet leaves fallen 
In the water pools in the middle of the street
It has been raining already for three weeks
Everybody was getting impatient and
Anxiously praying for a long waited relief

Behind the closed doors of Theater de I’Atelier
Filled with mythical spirits of Champs-Elysees
That gloomy night a magic was about to happen
The stage was sunken in the darkness yet
While audience quietly was taking seats
An imaginary world was opening behind
The heavy black curtain that was hiding
The secrets of magic of the theater
And was slowly rising to the ceiling

The center stage circle was bright lit
With dark corners filled with imaginary 
Shady creatures crawling slowly towards 
The center like moths attracted to the light
It felt like a fiesta of the creatures of the night 
Unexpectedly stunning confused audience
White horse emerged from the darkness
Like a fool moon sliding over the edge 
Of a heavy cloud in the center of the stage
Stopping for a moment glancing shyly
Then jumping over the edge of precipice 
The horse hit the ground with his hoof
Terrifying sound left his wet snout
He leaped and flew towards horizon 
That was emerging on the backstage
With dark heavy curtains rising
And opening the view in front of
Audience suspended in disbelief
Of endless prairie going forever
Touching the edge of the sky
And extending itself like a lazy
Snake towards the milky way
Stunned audience gasped

A quiet moment passed by 
And then a young man appeared
In the middle of a vast lit stage 
Sitting on a horse and smiling
In a victorious way like someone
Who just tamed a wild mustang
Just like he was trying to tame his pain
For all those long unbearable days
While his mother was lying in bed 
At a small window to the backyard
And watching a coffin to be made 
For her from a raw three trunk
That smelled like wind and the sun
She knew she was slowly dying 
And quietly waited till preparations 
Are made so the moment of death 
Can come over like a welcome guest
And take away her lonely aching soul
Which used to be like a white mustang 
That was dreaming of being free and wild
Running green fields and chasing clouds 
But was tamed by the hardships of life 
And was reduced to a battered drought
By everyday heavy exhausting load
She was getting weaker every day
Every night that was passing by
Took her strength bit by bit
But her spirit was not dead yet 
She made an extreme effort 
To stand and walked slowly outside
To see the moon and the sky 
Filled with stars and a big dipper
Friendly smiled into her eyes
Her white long hair was flying
In harsh cold wind that night
Like a spider cobwebs spread wide
Touched the nose of a white horse
He made a quiet sniffing sound
When she leaned on him and died
She was holding horse with her arms
Her empty eyes were staring at the sky
Young man sitting on the horses’ back
Grabbed her swiftly and pulled up
Like a light body of a sleeping child


On a bare wooden floor of the plain stage
Hypnotized enchanted audience saw
A young man holding an old woman
In his arms on the back of a white horse
Who was crossing the universe towards
Shining bright twinkling star North
He was flying far away from the sorrow
To the light that lifts the hollowness
Of the arduous earthly life

It was a single mime on a plain stage
But his movements gestures and face
Created artistic full blooded alive 
Image of Love Hope and Escape
Audience saw a trinity on the stage
In a few different kaleidoscopic
Dynamic emerging and fleeting ways 
Brought to life by a willpower of a man
Who squarely believed in the magic of stage

A year ago he was in a creative daze
In the middle of night on the stage 
Taming a wild horse till exhausted
He fell down on a bare cold floor
Slipping in a deep like death sleep
He was walking in a prairie filled with
Tall wild grass reaching the clouds

He got lost and his heart was beating loud
Then he saw an old woman who was lying
On a dry grass floor at the water pool
With long white hair spread wide
With empty eyes staring at the sky 
She looked at him and died
A young man her beloved son was
Feverishly trying to hold indomitable 
Horse with his young strong hands
So he can take his pain away
And he would not have to feel
The loss and to think about 
The dialectics of death and life

He saw a horse a man and a woman
In his vision that night very late
Almost in the morning when sunrise
Was coming through the window 
And the horse was hopping away 
In to the opening gap of the 
Bleeding red morning sky
Melting into distant disappearing
Constellation of milky way
When he opened his eyes 
He was deeply shaken by the image
He saw in his dream last night
Which expressed the essence
Of sorrow despair pain and loss
The image of a man woman and a horse
So he knew he had to try
To tell the story on the stage
The way he saw it in his daze

The audience was very quiet
When the stage curtain fell down
Announcing the end of the show
On the bare stage on the plain floor
Magical world that opened the doors
Into delicate realm of shapes and forms
Had a strange effect just like a raging storm
That was gone by the time of the end
Bringing unexpected agonizing relief
That Aristotle called the effect of catharsis
Or the purge of a suffering wounded soul
That couldn't find peace in the real world

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016




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