“Felled, dazed, silent, he has fallen; knocked full length on the cobbles of the yard. His head turns sideways; his eyes are turned toward the gate, as if someone might arrive to help him out. One blow, properly placed, could kill him now.”
That is how Wolf Hall begins. And it keeps going on like that. One blow at the time, one sparking remark after the other. Mantel said the idea for the book came with this sentence: “So now get up.” The whole trilogy is pretty much built up on this. And, it is actually catchy and… forceful. You know he’s on the ground, almost finished but you also know he’ll get up. And boy, will he get up!
It could make a good slogan. It could have been written on banners in Greece before the election. Tsipras could have chanted it while laying out his plans to end austerity.
It could have been printed out, white on black, and held up in line with Je suis Charlie!
It might have been as old the legend of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Just think how often they would have said it to each other. I could fantasize hearing Shamhat telling that to an Enkidu who is no longer the man of the wilderness.
It could begin another story. Or stories. A lot of them. Most of them. It could be our story. The Tree of Life.
It could be part of a poem about the old grandmother whom I see each Tuesday afternoon bringing her rascal grandson to his English lessons. Will she ever “snap”?
So now, let’s get up!
We have work to do!