Interested in Language
(still from the English Patient)
Looking up with service binoculars in the Gothic church at Arezzo soldiers would come upon their contemporary faces in the Piero della Francesca frescoes. The Queen of Sheba conversing with King Solomon. Nearby a twig from the Tree of Good and Evil inserted into the mouth of the dead Adam. Years later this queen would realize that the bridge over the Siloam was made from the wood of this sacred tree.
At night in the camp bed, his arms stretched out into distance like two armies. There was no promise of solution or victory except for the temporary pact between him and that painted fresco’s royalty who would forget him, never acknowledge his existence or be aware of him, a Sikh, halfway up a sapper’s ladder in the rain, erecting a Bailey bridge for the army behind him. But he remembered the painting of their story.
He helped the mediaevalist off, collected his equipment and walked into the church. A colder darkness. A greater emptiness, the sound of his
boots filling the area. Once more he smelled the old stone and wood. He lit three flares. He slung block and tackle across the columns above the nave, then fired a rivet already threaded with rope into a high wooden beam. The professor was watching him bemused, now and then peering up into the high darkness.
What does the red words actually mean?