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In those long periods when books vanished, when memory was the only way to record that the earth went back to the time (almost legendary) of one’s parents, when it seemed possible that cities and roads, villas, harbours and fleets, marketplaces and farms were the product of some beneficent magician, springing into being somewhere around the time of one’s birth. In those vast eras when the companionship of trees, the profound critique of flowing water and the wayside stone’s almost haughty refusal to comment seemed perfectly adequate as a guide to the perplexed. At the time when night was never sure that dawn would come to interrupt it and not some other event like a shower of burnt-out meteors or perhaps afternoon would reappear and play itself backwards through the previous day. To be human meant to breathe, possibly to eat, have sex, feed a baby. To be human meant always to be heading backwards, towards less and less, towards zero. Rain fell and entirely unpredictable things flashed across what might be the sky or else the dreamscape of one’s closed eyes. Forests grew down into stillness. Lakes appeared like hollow hands offering the soft petals of extinction. And always at the edge of sleep came the voices: “You have ten minutes, ten days or ten years before the vanishing of the world in death – what is it that is worth saying?”

(fragment from A paraphrase of certain writings by Leonidas the self-exiled, compiled by Omeros Eliseo)