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Friday, July 19, 2002

World Supply

By E. RL. Barna


There is enough wise silence.


Under the Holy Land and Fertile Crescent and Empty Quarter it waits in measures big as dead seas beneath the graves of certain Sufis, Bahais, Druses and Kabbalists, its music unplayable in the key of Asia Minor. We have not begun to exploit it.


If flows through Africa like a swollen jungle river steeped with the lost remedies of tribal herbalists, seeps northward like civil war from unjoined wedding song to unled work chant, finally spreading beneath the sand-grind of the Sahara, varicose hieroglyphs of the old maternal order.


And in Europe still so much not so much in the vaunted spaces of vaulted cathedrals as in the stones themselves and everything made and unmade from stones, the bones of the saints only their masonry, Canonic Civilization a child's drawing connecting those post-glacial dots.


And in Asia, of course, steep stone faces watching its vines adorn them, entire terra cotta armies marching safely through it while over them ropes of yellow dust keep whipping those who have forgotten their ancestors' burial places.


It is the highest, snow-capped peak of the Amazon and the lowest, steaming swamp of the Andes, the earthquake waiting lavalike beneath the cracks of contested national boundaries it is the unconquered empire that wears the storms off Cape Horn as crown.


Even in the outbacks of the outlands it is everywhere and everywhere as eager and quiet as a crocodile's stomach, as a shark's in the ocean uncomplaining about the need to be ceaseless..


The Americas? Like deafness after shouting we have more of it every finest hour, game-critical minute, global market uptick, race-winning electronic split-second: avatars, gurus, yogis, swamis, lamas, mullahs, rebbes, roshis, senseis, shamans, council elders a whole preschool of color-coded xylophones banging out tunes by skipping its tones.


Somewhere there is the story about the tyrant

who tried to fill the wise silence but fell into it,

but long ago it was lost, no one knows it.


It will always be there.

The clearness of the air.