Theme for a Tapestry
The general is generally not an angry man, not the type of man to cut off ears and collect them for future dinner parties. And yet something will have to inspire him to inspire his troops. Rumors have the general’s men at eighty-one and the enemy’s at one thousand two hundred. A massacre sometimes sounds like an extremely dark country night full of ripple and stir. On the night before the battle, the general wakes from a dream he cannot remember, suddenly as if emerging from water. The sensation left him is of a tunnel through which he hears occasional gun music, but cannot sense any light. It feels like his soul has been pick pocketed for a prolonged moment, not without a certain uncomfortable pleasure. Years later, when the craftsmen and weavers work on the depiction of the historic event, the tapestry will bear an uncanny resemblance to the dark tunnel of the general’s dream, as if the maker had been present in the general’s mind for his stunning tactical vanguard. They will decide it is too large to be contained within one tableau and they will decide to divide up the final work, but should it be a triptych, should it be more?
“Theme for a Tapestry“ first appeared in Birkensnake 6