Two flashes of / MEN GOD FORGOT / By. Albert Cossery

From / The Barber has Killed His Wife

By. Albert Cossery

“I know what men can do,” said Chaktour.
“Well, tell me.”
“I’ve only known it since this evening.”
“Tell me the same.”
“Men can poison their wives, o Haroussi, they can also revolt, and hit their
overseer.”
“That explains nothing.”
“It explains everything. Now I see it clearly, so clearly that I’m frightened. The
fault is in this pile of clover. I was sleeping in my misery, smothered by it and
not thinking of throwing it off. I didn’t understand life without it, and then the
child arrives with a pile of clover. And all of a sudden my misery became insup-
portable. I suffered like a man burnt alive, whose eyes have been torn out so
that he cannot look around him. A pile of clover, and the way of another life
was revealed to me.”
“What life?”
“I don’t know how to tell you. There are things announcing themselves in the
air which tell me that our blood is not utterly cold. There is still much warmth
and life in us. A warmth capable of many miracles.”
“Are you going to set up as a sorcerer?”
“No, not I. Look at this child crying. He is cold, no doubt, for he is naked
under his robe. He has not eaten since this morning. But he is the bearer of miracles. He is the sorcerer of tomorrow. I was asking myself just now, buried
in my sorrow:
‘Who will save the child?’ Well, the child will save himself. He will have arms
strong enough to defend himself. That is what the air is saying around us. Listen
Haroussi …”
There was a silence which stretched far away, to the end of the muddy lanes.
The wind had stopped blowing. The misery of the world was at the climax of its
destiny.

Men God Forgot

“What drew him towards the outside was not the student, not the goat, not even the man in the down-at-heel shoes who joined them. Simply the street, like a blanched life-drained cadaver, fettered his whole attention. Never before had he seen it look so monstrously real, lit by the tired face of the moon, quiet and grave. There was about it, as it were, a sort of despairing dignity. You might have thought that the street had been killed by the weight of its suffering, that it had that moment died after long agony. It was old, the street, hobbling and twisted with age. Some of its houses were already crumbling in ruins. For years now it had sheltered the petty life of men. And now they had elected it to express the extent of their weariness. Naked beneath the prodigious brightness of the moon, it revealed all that men hid in the depths of their beings, the little hopes, the hates so huge. No longer could it hide anything; it cried out its despair from every corner.”
― Albert Cossery, Men God Forgot

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