The man lived in the city.

The city was a city of industry. Its streets were busy and its buildings neat, regular and well-constructed; it had beautiful gardens. The people of the city were tall and strong and full of energy. There were rich, and there were poor, but few were destitute. Everything in the city was well ordered and for most of the people, for most of the time everything lived together in harmony. 

The man lived in the spaces of the city. For although the city was well ordered there were always gaps. Things that got left undone, things forgotten and times when there was nobody in the right place at the right time. The man made his living out of being, not exactly the right person, in the right place at the right time but somebody who was around and could do it good enough for the time being.


The man never made his fortune in the great industry of the city. But there was enough happening to enable him to scratch and scrimp a living. Gradually he came to trust himself and enjoy his variegated life fitting into other people’s stories.

Then, one day the news came. The invaders were approaching the city. Nothing could be done to resist them. The day had come and they would swoop on the city: barbarians upon the carcass of civilization, no one would be safe. Flight was the only option.

The city of great industry organised itself for flight. People took their belongings and piled them in trucks and carts. Carpets, tables, chairs, ornaments ... everything they owned piled high in wooden trucks and hand-drawn carriages. The people began to walk. They trailed for miles out of the city - a dusty snake of humanity.

The man could not walk. Maybe this was why he had never made his fortune in the city. He had to carry his pain around the industrious city like the people now carried their belongings upon their backs and carts. And now he could not join the general exodus for his feet always ached - they were weak and no doctor could ever cure him. So when the people left the city as the invaders came near; the man remained in the city.

The man was in the city and it was deserted and he was completely alone. The busy thoroughfares were empty. The streets quiet. The great, well-ordered buildings vacant. All that hurried down the avenues of the city was gray dust blown by an empty wind.
The people had all left but he couldn't join them on their journey, his journey was different and he found himself reflecting on his life, on God and the human condition. He thought to himself “I must stay here. I cannot walk. I must await my fate. If they kill me I will die, if they do not then ... what will I do?”. As he waited in the city he wondered what he would do. He came to realize that although he was not a great man of the city of industry he needed it. He lived in its gaps and fed upon it. “But what am I to do now?”. This question was his whole life, waiting alone in the great empty city.

Then he realised.

“I can tell stories. Everyone enjoys stories. Even barbarians enjoy stories. I can tell them all the great stories of the city. I will be a storyteller!”.

And he felt a great contentment.


What am I to do in this vast city of human emotion?

How am I to live in this complexity of human greed?

I am surrounded by lies

The slogans of barbarians

The wiles of propagandists

With the good people of the city truth has fled

And I am alone in the streets of cliché and claptrap


Only one thing I can do: Sing the Sweet Song

Tell the story of Truthful One

We've the wistful tales of home

And celebrate in words

the bloody birth

the gorgeous life

the ungentle death

Of the Word made human, humane flesh