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21 The Hermit

hexagram-21-hermit‘MUSIC FOR THE hermit. Unlike heat and light, this is a gift he’ll struggle to refuse,
sitting in a grotto in his busker’s cap.’

He calls himself Coyote. Of his thousand burglaries he is proudest of those
that might be attributed to forgetfulness – a book lent to a neighbour, a
half-eaten loaf fed to the birds. Children also make good suspects. A note
is nailed to the porch door: ‘Please don’t break in. Write down what you
want and I’ll leave it out for you.’ That would be a relationship surely?

1st – The Hermit’s Cousin
His holt is a childhood den, known to the old gang. Sandwiches are left in
greaseproof envelopes with a get-well message– a summer cold has been
heard. For his birthday, a classic study of the Picturesque – a relief: he
feared a surprise party in the copse, candles dripping among the pines.

2nd – The Hermit in Love
Rocks are for flinging into a gorge, trees for dismembering. Wild nature
has exploded out of paroxysms of desire. Your challenge is to invite a
lady to your lair. This prospect appals. The secret? Listen to the wolves
that reared you. Ignore your fair-weather friend, the nightingale.

3rd – The Republican Hermit
Disarmed of spikes by munitions men, this is the easiest of parks to
trespass in. That camp on the single islet of the lake, unfairly described as
‘foul’ by a diarist, is where the skeleton was found, a vodka bottle tied
around the neck – escritoire of all those angry letters to the Queen.

4th – The Would-be Hermit
Face muscles flinch defensively like a bush in a storm. The big outdoors
gets caught in the eyes in meetings. Occasions are alien. Yet the bank
would open its doors to a tree sprite with savings, a crossword-solving
brain in caddis-case camouflage. This is the leniency she seeks to escape.

5th – The Rainforest Hermit
A lone survivor in a narrowing tribal cul de sac, he hunts and dreams at
the safe end of a thirty-mile radius of immunity. One rescue worker died
from an arrow in the chest: the tribesman was pardoned. The no-trespass
ruling is strictly enforced. His native aura holds back waves of logging.

6th – The Robotic Hermit
He’s dented from the fall – some of the tree roots would be taller than
his stride. Control overrides his arms and legs, switching from auto to
program. Hopeless! And the neck fails to articulate – the gearing’s gone.
Vision is frozen: blizzard of falling leaves; conkers like asteroids.

All six – The Hermit Scholar
The beard’s zoography is an omnishambles, an ecosystem spreading, yet
thoroughly systematised. He is the midwife of rare births, the lengthwise
witness – at right angles to the stars. Trespassers are welcome, even
predators if they dare, and know their place on the terrestrial food ladder.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos


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