Sophie Ko

O soul! lay up all earthly

goods in store,

Thy mead with pleasure’s

flowerets spangle o’er;

And know ‘tis all as dew,

that decks the flowers

For one short night,

and then is seen no more!

O cuore, fa’ conto d’avere

tutte le cose del mondo,

Fa’ conto che tutto ti sia

giardino delizioso di verde,

E su quell’erba fa’ conto

d’esser rugiada

Gocciata colà nella notte,

e al sorger dell’alba svanita.

Omar Khayyam, Quatrains, 243

© Copyright Sophie Ko 

The Raw Shark Texts

*

Imagine you’re in a rowing boat on a lake.

It’s summer. Early morning.

That time when the sun hasn’t quite broken free of the landscape and long, projected shadows tiger-stripe the light.

There’s the occasional sound of wind and leaves and the occasional slap splash of a larger wavelet breaking on the side of your boat, but nothing else.

You reach over the side and feel the shock of the water.

You pull your arm back, holding out your hand. You close your eyes and feel the tiny mathematics of gravity and resistance as the liquid finds roots across your skin, builds itself into droplets of the required weight, then falls, each drop ending with an audible tap.

Now, right on that tap stop.

Stop imagining.

Here’s the real game.

The lake in my head

has just become the lake in your head.

I could’ve been dead a hundred years before you were even born and still the lake in my head has become the lake in your head.

Behind or inside or through the 221 words that made up my description there is some kind of flow.

A purely conceptual stream with no mass or weight or matter or ties to gravity or time–a stream flowing directly from my imaginary lake into yours.

Next, try to visualize all the streams of human interaction, of communication.

All those linking streams flowing in and between people through text, pictures and spoken words, streams through shared memories, casual relations, witnessed events, touching pasts and futures, cause and effect.

Try to see this immense latticework of lakes and flowing streams, this huge rich environment of all information and identities and societies and selves.

Now, go back to your lake, back to your boat. But this time know the place for what it is, and when you’re ready, take a look over the boat’s side.

The water is clear and deep. Broken sunlight cuts blue wedges down down into the clean, cold depths.

Don’t move.

Be very still.

They say life is tenacious – life will always find a way, they say.

Be very quiet.

Keep looking into the water.

Keep looking and keep watching.

Tilda Swinton reads The Raw Shark Texts

by Steven Hall