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Petru Leahu’s Clay Book

And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. (KJV, Revelation 5:3)

The books line up on shelves like the dead in graveyards. The book comes to life only when a hand picks it up and opens it. Any book hides a mystery within its covers. And the mystery reveals itself gradually, once the book is opened and its pages turned. Opening a book is as sacred a gesture as it is bathing a newborn for the first time. When the last page is turned and there is nothing left, the book falls silent. And once it is returned to the shelf, it goes back into its tomb. Closing the book is the same with closing a whole universe, rolled back like a scroll in the hands of its creator.

The hidden gets back where it belongs, although it still lives as a memory in the reader’s mind. A fragile memory, doomed to oblivion. While, in the beginning, the content of the book is alive and clear, as if you were watching the world through the glass of a window, in time it becomes increasingly hazy, as if you were looking out through a translucent curtain. Then, between you and the reality of the book come up one by one: a drape, a blind, a wall. And the memory of that book blackens. This is the true silence of the book: when you remember almost nothing about it except its title and author. Thus, the book becomes a mystery once again. It goes back to the start.

After a while, your hand reaches for the forgotten book once again. You miss trying to find out the mystery that spelled you some time ago and put you in an state of euphoria. So, you reopen the book. Curiously, though, its content is no longer the same. Because you are actually the one who has changed since you first read it. You are someone else. You have become a palimpsest of overlaid, shuffled, forgotten texts, which have turned you over time into the new, older, but not much wiser man you are today. You become the books you have read and, not least, those you have forgotten. You are some sort of a graveyard of all those letters mixed and locked up between the covers.

What will you do, however, when on top of your table there lies a sealed clay book which cannot be opened by any means? One day, I got such a book from a friend. He didn’t say a thing and gave me no explanations, but merely suggested: some time, you will write about it. Ever since then, I have been moving it from one table to another just looking at it. I feel the urge to open it, but then I remember that it cannot be done. It’s sealed. I weigh it in my hand. Its mystery is forever bound in the earth from which it is made of. Sometimes, I say to myself: it is a work of art, it might be a sign. At other times it seems alive. I look at it and listen to its silence. What could you say about something that keeps silent? About something that cannot be opened or browsed?

When there is nothing left you can do by yourself, when all your ideas drip out of your mind, fall to your heels and you step on them, it is only meet that you should turn to books once again. Somewhere, there might be an answer hiding. The Big Book, Revelation, Chapter 5: Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (KJV). Here is the answer, which is actually a question. Petru Leahu’s clay book is nothing but that: a question-book. The answer is suspended right there, in the winding of this question mark. The mystery, the hidden is not inside it; there is only earth, rather than words. The answer is to be found outside, in this object that one should behold, feel, smell, weigh in the palm of your hand and move from one table to another to the very end of your world as a human being. You will become, then, one with the question-book for you will go back to the start, back to the clay and earth, waiting for the resurrection, forever and ever, amen.