Advent Calendar 11th December 2011: In search of Arcadia

A new chapter, and a new continent. Michael Davidson is now in Zululand in today’s South Africa. He’s running a pig farm together with his 16-year-old “partner” and lover Mervin. He has also learned some basic Zulu. We read from page 111 (chapter 7) in The World, the Flesh and Myself:

The sorcery of Zululand’s splendid innocence hadn’t worn off: I wanted Arcadia, an idyll of unending tenderness; and thought that ‘we’ – I and a boy, any boy – had merely to live together in sunlit candour for life to flourish and happiness to be infinite.

I hadn’t learned, of course, what every paidophile has to learn – that the lifetime of his loves, if he gets any, endures no longer than his boy’s beardlessness; they pay the penalty of a butterfly’s freedom and, as a child out of last year’s clothes, grow out of themselves.

Not rarely, they ease into friendship; but that fierce and mystic delusion which is the sexual lunacy cannot span more than three or four years at most: suddenly, overnight like an overblown flower, it is dead; the unique and magic boy has become an ordinary young man, and one can look at the curve of his cheek without feeling a pang and an ineffable joy.

Ideally, if one can use the word in so reprobated a context, the paederast is, as the Greeks knew, a pedagogue: his loves should pass in succession through his life as pupils progress through a master’s class; and like the master he should see that each owes him at the end some mental or spiritual growth. But this is an ideal scarcely possible to attain, in this prying world, outside parts of Asia and the Mediterranean.

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