Mr Eternity

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

There was a writer,
Called Arthur Stace who only
Ever wrote one word.

He wrote it again
And again, and again and
Again. In Sydney.

In Australia.
For thirty-five years Stace just
Wrote, ‘Eternity.’

He wrote nothing else.
Five hundred thousand times he
Wrote it in chalk,

On public buildings,
On the steps of the law courts,
On police stations,

On football stadiums.
On libraries, pubs, restaurants
Public lavatories.

Up church bell-towers
And on the Sydney subway;
Paving stones and roads.

And when arrested
He’d claim to have permission
From a higher source.

“It’s a glorious word.
Travelers to eternity
Is all that we are.”

This is what he’d say,
By way of explanation.
He’d use yellow chalk

To echo sunlight
And the warm glow he believed
Lay in store for us;

Or he’d use blue chalk
To indicate the blue skies,
Suggesting heaven.

They didn’t last long –
Unlike their infinite theme –
They’d be washed away,

But mysteriously
This one word spoke to people.
People were intrigued.


       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His parents were drunks
And Stace was illiterate.
A state ward at 12,

Then he took to crime,
And drinking raw spirit and
Getting into fights,

Till tea and rock cakes
In a homeless shelter led
To the Rock of Ages.

He’d heard a preacher
Mention eternity and
Liked the syllables,

And its copperplate –
The script’s swirls and flowing curls  –
As carved on grave-stones,

Where eternity
Outlives everything there is.
Stace fell for the shape
 
Of the word itself:
Whirling spirals, just like a
Galaxy in space.

Someone carries on
Mr. Eternity’s work:
There’s a graffiti

In just the same style
At Byron Bay, Australia.
It reads, ‘Eternity’,

On a clap-board fence
Near a large caravan site.
‘Wait for it’, someone’s

Written beneath. Then
Someone’s written below that,
‘Why wait. You’re in it.’

Heathcote Williams

 

 

 

 

 


By Heathcote Williams

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One Response to Mr Eternity

  1. Fred Proud says:

    His internal dialogue must have been quite unique.

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