How it is, p.9
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       How It Is, p.9

           Samuel Beckett
 
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  me at least him I have still to ask what becomes of me at least when the silence I stop then start again opener or capitals and in the hairs against my ear the extorted voice life above a murmur pestle on kidney louder clearer and what will become of me when I have it no more I’ll have another quaqua of us all I didn’t say it I didn’t know it then my own I didn’t say it

  no nothing I said nothing I say it as I hear it I said always brief movements of the lower no sound Pim’s voice in my ear that I’d have it always and life above not possible otherwise our little scenes blue by day always fine a few fleece clouds the stars by night heavenly bodies never dark ad libitum confidential between ourselves secrets a murmur always and what is more in my opinion I hear it such a question I murmur it my opinion such a question never crossed never could my mind such a doubt my opinion I hear it murmur it never never

  in a word Pim’s voice then nothing life as we say little scene one minute two minutes good moments then nothing even better not a doubt Kram waits one year two years he knows us something wrong there but all the same two years three years in the end to Krim they are dead something wrong there

  Krim dead are you mad one doesn’t die here and with that with his long index claw Kram shaken pierces the mud two little flues to the skins then to Krim right for you they are warm Krim to Kram roles reversed it’s the mud Kram we’ll leave them open and see one year two years Kram’s finger skins still warm

  Krim I cannot credit it let us take their temperature Kram no need the skin is rosy Krim rosy are you mad Kram they are warm and rosy there it is we are nothing and we are rosy good moments not a doubt

  in a word once more once and for all Pim’s voice then nothing nothing then Pim’s voice I make it stop suffer it to stop then set it off again that I at last may be no more then at last be again something there that escapes me since how can I opener capitals and not be it’s impossible it stands to reason there’s reason in me yet

  in a word more lively that’s what I was getting at I’ve got at it I say it as I hear it more how shall I say more lively there’s nothing better before Pim part one more independent seeing my own little scenes crawling eating thinking even if you insist an odd dim thought losing the one and only opener hanging on to humankind a thousand and one last shifts with emotions laughter even and tears to match soon dried in a word hanging on

  nothing too to be sure often nothing in spite of everything dead as mutton warm and rosy always inclined that way ever since the womb if I may judge by what I know less and less that’s true of myself since the womb the panting stops I murmur it

  even Pim with Pim in the beginning part two first half first quarter more lively when I think that I could as I did train him up as I did conceive that system then apply I can’t get over it make it work my undoing for ever since it’s clear eyelids part close again quick I’ve seen myself quite clear ever since nothing left but voice

  Pim’s then quaqua of us all then mine alone that of us all mine alone after my fashion a murmur in the mud the thin black air nothing left but short waves three hundred four hundred yards per second brief movements of the lower with murmur little tremble flush with the mud one yard two yards me so lively nothing left but words a murmur on and off

  so many words so many lost one every three two every five first the sound then the sense same ratio or else not one not one lost I hear all understand all and live again have lived again I don’t say above in the light among the shades in search of shade I say here YOUR LIFE HERE in a word my voice otherwise nothing therefore nothing otherwise my voice therefore my voice so many words strung together to the effect first example

  to the effect it is leaving me like the others then nothing nothing but nothing then Bom life with Bom the old words back from the dead a few old words his wish he is on my left his right arm about me his left hand in mine in the sack his ear against my mouth my life in the light a murmur a few mouldy old reliables azure that never dies morning with evening in its train other subdivisions of time one or two usual flowers night always too light whatever may be said to the contrary safe places one after another infernal homes he will always have me with him a murmur of moments at will from the long pest that did not finish us then yah solitary rat from head to foot in the dark the mud

  and to the effect second example no Pim no Bom I alone my voice no other it leaves me I leave me it comes back to me I come back to me or finally under the lamps third example and last under the ideal observer’s lamps sudden flurry of mouth and adjacent all the lower brief dart of rosy tongue a few beads of froth then sudden straight line lips gone no trace of mucus gums clenched arch to arch he suspects nothing but where am I flown then sudden same again then then where do I go from then to then and in between but first quick make an end of life in common end at last of part two leaving only last at last

  YOUR LIFE HERE long pause YOUR LIFE HERE good and deep long pause this dead soul what appal I can imagine YOUR LIFE unfinished for murmur light of day light of night little scene HERE to the quick and someone kneeling or huddled in a corner in the gloom start of little scene in the gloom HERE HERE to the bone the nail breaks quick another in the furrows HERE HERE howls thump the whole face in the mud mouth nose no more breath and howls still never saw that before his life here howls in the black air and the mud like an old infant’s never to be stifled good try again HERE HERE to the marrow howls to drink solar years no figures until at last good he wins life here this life he can’t

  questions then DO YOU LOVE ME CUNT that family cut thrust to make an end got there at last if he remembers how he got here no one day he found himself here yes like when one is born yes manner of speaking yes if he knows how long ago no not even a rough idea no if he remembers how he lived no always lived like that yes flat on his belly in the mud yes in the dark yes with his sack yes

  never a gleam no never a soul no never a voice no I the first yes never stirred no crawled no a few yards no ate pause ATE good and deep no if he knows what’s in the sack no never had the curiosity no if he thinks he can die one day pause DIE ONE DAY no

  never did for anyone what I for him animate no sure yes never felt another flesh against his no happy no unhappy no if he feels me against him no only when I torment him yes

  if he likes to sing no but sometimes he sings yes always the same song pause SAME SONG yes if he sees things yes often no little scenes yes in the light yes but not often no as if a light went on yes as if yes

  sky and earth yes people poking about yes all over the place yes and him there somewhere yes skulking somewhere yes as if the mud opened yes or turned transparent yes but not often no not long no otherwise black yes and he calls that life above yes as against life here pause HERE howls good

  they are not memories no he has no memories no nothing to prove he was ever above no in the places he sees no but he may have been yes skulking somewhere yes hugging the walls yes by night yes he can’t affirm anything no deny anything no so one can’t speak of memories no but at the same time one can speak of them yes

  if he talks to himself no thinks no believes in God yes every day no wishes to die yes but doesn’t expect to no he expects to stay where he is yes flat as a cowclap on his belly yes in the mud yes without motion yes without thought yes eternally yes

  if he is sure of what he says no he can’t affirm anything no he may have forgotten many things no certain little things yes the little there was yes such as having crawled a little yes eaten a little yes thought a little murmured a little for himself alone yes heard a human voice no he wouldn’t have forgotten that no brushed against a brother before me no he wouldn’t have forgotten that no

  if he wants me to leave him yes in peace yes without me there is peace yes was peace yes every day no if he thinks I’ll leave him no I’ll stay where I am yes glued to him yes tormenting him yes eternally yes

  but he can’t affirm anything no deny anything no things may have been different yes his life here pause YOUR LIFE HERE good and deep in the
furrows howls thump face in the mud nose mouth howls good he wins he can’t

  ABOVE the light goes on little scenes in the mud or memories of scenes past he finds the words for the sake of peace HERE howls this life he can’t or can’t any more he was able once how it was before the other with the other after the other before me the little there was nearly all like me my life here before Pim with Pim how it was the little there was I’ve said it I’ve been able I think so as I hear it and say to make an end with him a warning to me murmur to the mud quick quick soon I won’t be able either never any Pim never was never anything of all this little quick then the little that is left add it quick before Bom before he comes to ask me how it was my life here before him the little that is left add it quick how it was after Pim before Bom how it is

  quick then end at last of part two how it was with Pim leaving at last only part three and last how it was after Pim before Bom how it is saying as I hear it that one day all that every word always as I hear it in me that was without quaqua the voice of us all when the panting stops and murmur in the mud to the mud that one day come back to myself to Pim why not known not said from the nothing come back from the nothing the surprise to find myself alone at last no more Pim me alone in the dark the mud end at last of part two how it was with Pim leaving at last only part three and last how it was after Pim before Bom how it is that’s how it was with Pim

  PART 3

  here then at last I quote on part three how it was after Pim how it is part three at last and last towards which lighter than air an instant flop fallen so many vows sighs prayers without words ever since the first word I hear it the word how

  no more time I say it as I hear it murmur it in the mud I’m sinking sinking fast too strong no more head imagination spent no more breath

  the vast past near and far the old today of the extreme old even the humming-bird known as the passing moment all that

  the vast past even the humming-bird it comes in from the left I watch it fly lightning semi-circle deasil then respite then the next then then or eyes closed it’s preferable head bowed or not before the storm brief blanks good moments brief blacks then zzizz the next all that

  all that almost blank that was so adorned a few traces that’s all seeing who I always more or less so little so little there but there little there but there no alternative

  before Pim long before with Pim vast tracts of time kinds of thoughts same family divers doubts emotions too yes emotions some with tears yes tears motions too and movements both parts and whole as when he sets out to seek out all of him sets out to seek out the true home

  there then more or less more of old less of late very little these last tracts they are the last extremely little hardly at all a few seconds on and off enough to mark a life several lives crosses everywhere indelible traces

  all that almost blank nothing to get out of it almost nothing nothing to put in that’s the saddest that would be the saddest imagination on the decline having attained the bottom what one calls sinking one is tempted

  or ascending heaven at last no place like it in the end

  or not stirring that too that’s defendable half in the mud half out

  no more head in any case hardly any no more heart just enough to be thankful for it a little thankful to be so little there and sinking a little at last having attained the bottom

  a little cheerful the less you’re there the more you’re cheerful when you’re there less tears a little less when you’re there words lacking all lacking less tears for lack of words lack of food even birth it’s lacking all that makes you cheerful it must be that all that a little more cheerful

  how it was that’s lacking before Pim with Pim all lost almost all nothing left almost nothing but it’s done great blessing leaving only sithence how it was after Pim how it is vast stretch of time before Pim with Pim vast tracts of time a few minutes on and off added up vast stretch eternity same scale of magnitude nothing there almost nothing

  clench the eyes I quote on not the blue the others at the back see something somewhere after Pim that’s all is left breath in a head nothing left but a head nothing in it almost nothing only breath pant pant hundred to the minute hold it be it held ten seconds fifteen seconds hear something try and hear a few old words after Pim how it was how it is quick

  Pim quick after Pim before he vanishes never was only me me Pim how it was before me with me after me how it is quick

  a sack bravo colour of mud in the mud quick say a sack colour of its surroundings having assumed it always had it it’s one or the other seek no further what else that thing could possibly be so many things say sack old word first to come one syllable k at the end seek no other all would vanish a sack that will do the word the thing it’s a possible thing in this world so little possible yes world what more can you ask a possible thing see it name it name it see it enough now rest I’ll be back no alternative some day

  stop panting say what you hear see what you say say you see it an arm colour of mud the hand in the sack quick say an arm then another say another arm see it stretched taut as though too short to reach now add a hand fingers parted stretched taut monstrous nails all that say you see all that

  a body what matter say a body see a body all the rear white originally some light spots still say grey of hair growing still that’s enough a head say a head say you’ve seen a head all that all the possible a sack with food a body entire alive still yes living stop panting let it stop ten seconds fifteen seconds hear this breath token of life hear it said say you hear it good pant on

  on and off as if borne on the wind but not a breath sharp and faint God’s old clapper old mill threshing the void or in another mood as though it changed great shears of the black old hag older than the world born of night click clack click clack two threads a second five every two never mine

  no more I’ll hear no more see no more yes I must to make an end a few more old words find a few more not quite so old as when Pim part two those are done never were but old too vast stretch of time this voice these voices as if borne on all the winds but not a breath another antiquity a little more recent stop panting let it stop ten seconds fifteen seconds a few old words on and off string them together make phrases

  a few old images always the same no more blue the blue is done never was the sack the arms the body the mud the dark living hair and nails all that

  my voice no objection back at last a voice back at last in my mouth my mouth no objection a voice at last in the dark the mud unimaginable tracts of time

  this breath hold this breath be it held once twice per day and night the time that means to those under whom and all above and all about the earth turns and all turns who hasten so from one goal to the next that but for this breath I would fancy I hear their hastening feet hold it be it held ten seconds fifteen seconds try and hear

  of this old tale quaqua on all sides then in me bits and scraps try and hear a few scraps two or three each time per day and night string them together make phrases more phrases the last how it was after Pim how it is something wrong there end of part three and last

  this voice these voices no knowing not meaning a choir no no only one but quaqua meaning on all sides megaphones possibly technique something wrong there

  wrong for never twice the same unless time vast tracts aged out of recognition no for often fresher stronger after than before unless sickness sorrow they sometimes pass one feels better less wretched after than before

  unless recordings on ebonite or suchlike a whole life generations on ebonite one can imagine it nothing to prevent one mix it all up change the natural order play about with that

  unless unchanging after all the voice we’re talking of the voice and all my fault lack of attention want of memory the various times mixed up in my head all the various times before during after vast tracts of time

  and always the same old thing the same old things possible and impossible or me my fault who can find nothing else when the panting stops hear nothing
else the same old things four or five a few adornments life above little scenes

  things said to me said of me to whom else of whom else clench the eyes try and see another to whom of whom to whom of me of whom to me or even a third clench the eyes try and see a third mix up all that

  quaqua the voice of us all who all all those here before me and to come alone in this wallow or glued together all the Pims tormentors promoted victims past if it ever passes and to come that’s sure more than ever by the earth undone its light all those

  from it I learn from it I learnt what little remained learn what little remains of how it was before Pim with Pim after Pim and how it is for that too it found words

  for how it would be when I had it no more before I had mine that vast pit and when I had it at last that vast stretch how it would be then when I had mine at last and when I had it no more mine no more how it would be then

  the moment when I would need to say and could not mamma papa hear those sounds slake my thirst for labials and could not from then on words for that moment and following vast stretch of time

  movements for nothing of the lower face no sound no word and then not even that no further point no more reliance to be placed on that when it’s the last hope look for something else how it would be then words for that

  from it all that of that so little what little remains I’ve named myself the panting stops and I am an instant that old ever dwindling little that I think I hear of an ancient voice quaqua on all sides the voice of us all as many as we are as many as we’ll end if we ever end by having been something wrong there

  namely days of great gaiety thicker than on earth since the age of gold above in the light the leaves fallen dead

  some on the bought flutter on to the reawakening black dead flaunting in the green shit yes some in this condition manage two springs a summer and half three-quarters

 
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