In this first episode we meet the narrator, Arcady Robinson, who insists that the story he’s about to tell — of “seven years and fifty weeks of his life” — is absolutely true. Indeed, he has proof. Two pieces of proof:
First, that a bunch of strange debris was found on a vacant beach in Mercury Bay (and if his listener wishes to search further, several hundred people can be found dead at the bottom of the sea, at a location to be described in Episode 5).
And second, that he doesn’t know how to make things up; because if he did, well, then he’d be an official “writer,” that is, a published writer (which he isn’t), and the New Zealand Board of Arts (which has rejected his grant application) has made it very clear to him: one can’t be acknowledged as a writer, and receive a grant, without being published first.
In fact, claims Arcady, not only is his story true, but it’s a story known around the world, which of course — in our modern age of “typus excessus” (a.k.a. blogging) — threatens its very truthfulness.
He now begins his tale: About how he found himself alone one day on a boat in the Hauraki Gulf, and how he fell asleep and had a dream. This is where Episode One ends, with Arcady promising to reveal more in Episode Two, broadcast tomorrow on Radio NZ “Nine-to-Noon” at 10:45am.
A note about the verse:
Twelve-line tetrameter stanzas, with a mostly iambic cadence (although the rhythm is varied), and a rhyme scheme of abbaccddeeff. Some lines, of course, were cut or altered to fit the audio segments.
An example of a stanza from episode one:
O! That moment of immeasurable ease
which comes on gently rocking boats
in warm contented weather! One floats
as if on Time’s eternal seas,
a million years slip by with every
lurch and lulling pitch. A reverie
held in wobbly balance between
a savage sleep (pre-Pleistocene)
and playful, sweet Arcadian reason;
that moment between our circadian seasons,
half-Somnus, half-genius! Asleep and awake.
To live in that balance, what poets we’d make!