‘In my beginning is my end’ – Friday QuickFic

by isabelrogers

Faber Academy have started a QuickFic competition on Fridays. They tweet a prompt, give you 250 words and a few hours, and let you run with it. Today’s prompt was that wonderful motif from Eliot’s East Coker.

I was intrigued, and this experimental flash is the result. [Update: it won! Very chuffed. You can see details here.]

In my beginning is my end
East Coker, Four Quartets. TS Eliot

I feel the wind lift me and my atoms fall like rain.
Reaching the top of an Escher staircase
there is no up or down.
Direction is an illusion, a lie told by gravity.
I remember this. I remember dying.
Life is an oiled slide round a Möbius strip.
I remember the start of it: the gasp of astonishment.
The scrabble for air, for a place. For my share.
That lie we are all told by those who were here first:
it is the short-term view, the haves defining the have-nots.
Those of us who have seen the other side can say
it makes no difference. Time is so old-fashioned.
Be a saint or a murderer, a glutton or a fakir:
control your destiny. Is that a lie too?
This disease is eating you from the inside. You cannot
hold on to those memories, the mosaic of childhood.
If I tell you one truth, it is this:
learn to let go. Lean on the wind. Trust.
You ask me for forgiveness – you have to
submit to the flesh. One body at a time.
Our rules may seem harsh, but grow accustomed and
all will be well. There is logic in renewal.
You must believe
in beginnings. The ouroboros cannot eat itself
forever. There is an end
we cannot see. But to start your journey you must look into
your heart: that locked box

[now read it backwards, line by line – this is where the experimental bit comes in, especially with punctuation]