The Sandman, through the ages
In dreams it comes. When
Names repeat things happen,
Then it becomes more than
A dream, signs come…Then
History repeats itself…again.
Stars would move with furious
Fascination across the skies. Eyes
Will call them many things…truths and lies.
Eyes above and below.
Nature would fall out of control, or was
A path was set in motion long ago.
They saw it then…to know it now.
1556 Nuremberg, Germany…
‘A world full of talking boxes!’ Grandpa
Laughed loudly. ‘Oh yes, Jon, I remember
That dream of yours of the future!
That the world would be full of
Such things, what a joke! Little
Boxes they hold in their hands and
Talk to machines that run the world!
That is ridiculous!’
And the family sat around the table
Laughing so hard as Jon sat humbly
With his sister Freda regretting
The words. ‘But I saw it.’
‘Sure, you did. Sure, you did.’ Grandpa
Laughed. ‘And I suppose people will
Sit around all day attached to these
Boxes doing nothing else? What
Nonsense! Who would believe that?’
‘Who would cook and prepare, or grow
All the food?’ Grandma laughed. ‘What a life
That would be! To have everything done for them!’
‘Well, I don’t know,’ Mama said, ‘To
Have something that cooked the food,
Or washed the dishes and washed the
Clothes would be so nice…What more
Could anyone ask for? It sounds amazing.’
‘Nonsense.’ His father said. ‘It would never happen,
It makes no sense. What would people become?
It sounds as if someone has too much time on their
Hands for dreaming, eh?’ He nodded at Jon. ‘Talking
Boxes. Moving pictures. Where do you get these
‘And I suppose those talking boxes
Would do all the thinking for them?’
Grandpa laughed. ‘Then who is really the
Masters of the world then…The people or
These machines? Why would they invent
Such things? It sounds like chaos waiting to
Happen. Some future.’
‘To make things easier, Papa.’ Mama said to
Them. ‘The wonders to explore…’
‘Then there is no reason not to have
A world of Peace.’ Grandpa said firmly. ‘So
Tell me, Jon…Did you see a world of Peace
In the future that you saw?’
Jon said nothing, he just sat quietly…
Again, regretting all his words and sharing.
‘Well?’ Grandpa asked, insisted.
‘But maybe one day…’ Jon finally answered.
‘But maybe one day?’ Grandpa laughed.
‘Nonsense! Then the future would be chaos
If they can’t find Peace with all that convenience…
Then we should trade places with these people
Of the future…So they see how real people live
Instead of some make believe future filled with
Machines. Mark my words…if that is the future,
It will be chaos…’
‘I think someone needs to spend more time
Chopping the wood, and cleaning out pens…
Chores! We are getting old, your grandmother
Is sick…your sister is fragile…Sons are supposed
To do the work, this the way of things. You need
More work to do young man. Look at you…
You’re getting too round from all those dumplings
And sausage and cookies. More work!
You can rest when you are older. Now go and stack
More would for the stove…tomorrow
You can take the goats out to pasture after
You clean out the barn. And make sure no
Wolves get them! The does will be birthing soon,
I won’t lose any this year, we cannot afford
It…Now go and do as I told you then get
To bed, you have a long day tomorrow.
Jon followed his father’s orders, then
Fell into bed and fell asleep fast…
Nightmares chasing him…Always the
Same, of glowing red eyes watching
Him, stalking him…Of strange faces
Of people he didn’t know. All the while
Above in the night sky…the stars moved
In strange shapes and flashing colors.
Some noticed and saw as they peeked out
Their windows late at night, wondering what
They were…but most were too busy, or
Dismissed the strange lights…it made them
Too nervous to think on such things.
The next day, Jon did as he was told doing
All his chores quietly while the rest
Of the family did theirs. There
Was a lot of time spent alone on farms then, far
Too much to do. And families weren’t just
Families then, they were you’re reluctant
Peers and friends, you had to get along.
He 16 by this time, and had grown too round
Like his father said, finding comfort in food.
But no one really saw, aside from Sunday’s at
Church where neighbors gathered with their
Children. He was so quiet and shy, he never
Talked to them…he never understood how at
Church people talked so much; it all seemed for
Show. How the children laughed so much.
He didn’t understand the socializing and
Smiling; so many didn’t really care inside.
Were they bored or just passing the time?
Afternoon came and Jon found time
To rest their herd of goats in the far meadow
By the river. He took out his bread and
Sausage and sat beneath a towering old
Fir tree to let his mind wander…Just
Another day, it didn’t matter what day of
The week it was they were all the same.
It wasn’t long before he heard the sounds
Of laughter coming from somewhere
Up the river; his ears were sharper than most.
Boys were playing and yelling, splashing
Having fun. He stayed perfectly still listening
Waiting for them to settle down and go home,
He tended to avoid people that way. Minutes
Passed until their sounds faded then he heard
Them call out some farewells to each other
Then nothing. A silence followed, though
Jon lingered on the last sounds…it felt
More quiet moments…sounds of the birds,
The river running, water against rocks and
The shore…the goats chewing on grass.
Then there was some clumsy crash nearby,
Falling on the tree beside him in the brush.
Someone had been watching him.
A boy leapt out from behind the tree to
His right, dressed in a loose white shirt
And tan pants…half wet. ‘Well Hello
There little man!’ It was that tall blond boy
From church, the big strong son of that
Farmer up the river that raised the cows
And sheep. He had 3 sons everyone
Admired, big strong boys that all the
Parents and the children fawned over;
It was a bit overwhelming how they fussed
Jon jumped to his feet in panic, but said
Nothing he only gasped.
‘No, no, no I didn’t mean to scare you.’
The boy said holding out his hands with
A smile. ‘I was just watching you. I
Only wanted to say hello. I heard the
Goats and wanted to see who was here,
Jon said nothing, just watched.
The boy was built like a statue
He had seen once in the village as men
Were delivering it to some rich place
In the city.
‘Can’t you talk?’ The boy asked
Confused. ‘I’ve seen you at church,
You never talk to anyone.’
‘Hello,’ Jon said.
‘Just Hello?’ The boy smiled as
He took a step closer, he had never
Met anyone so quiet. ‘I’m Heinztel,
My father is Danut Bruder…we have the
‘I know who you are.’ Jon said.
‘Oh, you can talk.’ Heinztel laughed.
‘Well that’s good to know. My friends
And I have seen you at church. You
Are so quiet…How come you never
‘You saw me?’ Jon thought he was
‘Why?’ Heinztel was confused. ‘Of
Course I saw you, people see each
Other you know.’
‘Oh, alright.’ Jon had no idea what to
Say, but it made sense.
Heinztel just kept smiling and looked
Around then looked at Jon and then
Sat down calmly beside him. “What
Are you eating?’
‘Sausage and bread.’ Jon answered. He
Was not accustomed to company or
Talking; or anyone so friendly.
Heinztel wiped back his wet hair and
Then his face with his sleeve. ‘I’m so
Wet, I was swimming.’
“I heard you.’ Jon only said.
‘So how come you never talk?’
‘Nothing to say.’ Jon answered. A pause.
‘You’re hungry, you want some bread?’
‘Yeah,’ Heinztel grinned. ‘I am hungry.
How did you know that?’
‘You keep staring at the bread.’ Jon said.
He gave Heinztel some and they ate
‘You need to talk more.’ Heinztel said.
‘People would like that.’
‘Why?’ Jon asked. ‘My family would
Rather me not talk at all.’
‘Why?’ Heinztel asked.
‘They just would.’ Jon answered.
‘You would look a lot better too if you
Relaxed a little more, opened up a
Bit. The other kids would talk to you
‘I would look better? They would?’
Jon was confused at his words. ‘Why?’
‘Don’t you want to?’ Heinztel asked.
‘I don’t know, it would mean more
Talking.’ Jon said. ‘People sure talk
A lot. But I don’t think they know
What they’re saying…they just talk
Heinztel laughed so loud. ‘So true!’
He shook his head. ‘Well you notice
Things. I never heard it put that way…
‘It’s hard not to notice that, people
Like to talk a lot.’ Jon answered.
‘You know, I like you. How about
We be friends?’ Heinztel said kindly.
‘Maybe I could get to know you
‘OK.’ Jon agreed, but was surprised by
‘Just call me Heinz, like my friends
Do…only my parents call me Heinztel,
It makes me feel small and dumb.’
‘I can understand that.’ Jon said.
‘My name is Johannes, but my
Family calls me Jon…They must have
Gotten tired of calling me Johannes or
Were bored with it.’
Heinz laughed. ‘You’re funny too. I like
That. Everyone says I’m funny too,
A performer…That’s what I want to be
Someday, a performer in the cities
And entertain lots of people. I want
To get out of here…do something
Different than this. Don’t you?’
‘I don’t know. There’s more than
Enough people here.’ Jon said. ‘A quiet
Simple life seems much nicer. I would
Like to be stronger though…more like
You. I think my family would like
‘But what do you like, what about you?’
Heinz asked. ‘Who cares what they
Think, people worry too much about that.’
‘Who cares?’ Jon was confused. ‘The way
People talk and act, they seem to care
Heinz held his breath then laughed. ‘True.
Alright, you have me there. But still
You have to get past that. You don’t
Want people who judge you constantly
Around you, do you? Be yourself and
Be with others you can be yourself with.’
Jon’s eyes widened. He had never heard
Such reasoning before, “True. I really
Like that. Are you sure you’re not
Heinz laughed. ‘The Philosopher Farm
Boy. No. See that’s why you need to
Talk more…meet other people.’
‘OK.’ Jon nodded with a slight smile,
This was new but good.
Heinz just went on and on to get Jon
Talking, but he really was friendly
About it. Small talk at first, then
Ideas…He found that Jon could draw
And had other talents, unusual intuitive
Talents unlike he had ever seen; which
Intrigued him. It was plain and
Direct communication…something others
Missed from a far.
This became their friendship, every week
They would meet on weekends at the same
Tree by the river…to talk and sit and
Share stories. For Jon the world opened up,
And for Heinz, he got to know someone
Unlike he ever met. He helped Jon get
Stronger, and Jon shared more…it was
A good influence for them both. But
Then Heinz kept wanting to talk more
And more, he introduced him to the
Other boys…but always kept Jon aside
Special, like best friends or brothers; Heinz
Was 2 years older.
Months passed this way…and over time
Jon changed in many ways, even
Physically he transformed and became
Stronger like Heinz, as they swam and
Played and Heinz showed him habits
He learned from his family about eating
And standing and behaving; it was
Sort of Heinz project, a successful one.
And Heinz became more introspective like
Jon, quite a thinker. Jon’s talents inspired
Him, but his intuition fascinated him;
Heinz was just fearless that way. It was
A strange friendship at first that his other
Friends teased him about, but then
Became jealous of. Until eventually he
Just started spending all of his time
By the following summer Jon was 17
And Heinz 19…They were sitting by
The river eating lunch on their usual
Saturday when the other boys came
Around to go swimming nearby, they
Were men now and some of them had
Started to get married. The attitudes
Among them were changing to more adult
‘So are you going to get married like Peter
And the others?’ Jon asked.
‘Not here I’m not.’ Heinz simply said.
‘Why?’ Jon asked.
‘Because I want to get out of here.
I just don’t want this life here.’ Heinz said,
‘You still planning to go to the city?’
Jon asked cautiously. The idea of
Bigger places made him nervous.
‘Yeah.’ Heinz sighed with a smile. ‘Come
With me? It will be fun, you’ll see.
You could draw or do anything you
Want there…be something new.’
‘I don’t know. More people?’ Jon asked.
‘You have to get out of here.’ Heinz said.
‘Get away from those bruises you always
Have. You think I didn’t notice that?’
‘You did?’ Jon asked. ‘It’s normal to have
That…now and then.’
‘Now and then?’ Heinz laughed. ‘If I had
That I would have run away a long time
‘Frank and Peter have bruises all the time.’
‘Frank and Peter throw logs at
Each other. And Peter is a klutz.’
Heinz laughed and nodded.
‘I know what you are saying.’ Jon said.
‘But I am telling you something bad is
In the city. I can feel it…I can see
The shadows there waiting.’
‘So, stay away from them.’
‘Shadows do not know Heinz’s philosophy
Of taking chances to pursue greater things.’
Jon laughed. ‘Shadows see something good
And want to run it, that is what they do.’
Heinz laughed. ‘Ok Ok…let me put it
This way, let me tell you a story.’
‘Oh, this will be good, I can tell,’ Jon said.
‘You have that look on your face…like
I am going to get you to do something
Whether I like it or not.’
‘Yeah Yeah, just listen.’ Heinz went on.
‘Do you remember that boy last year,
His family had the farms with the goats
And sheep and pigs? Erik was his name.
He was tall, big shoulders…Not Henri,
The one with the dark hair…the
Other one with light hair…He used to dive off
The top of the bridge?’
‘Yeah Yeah I remember,’ Jon nodded
As he paused to think. ‘He
Went to the city…then came back and – ‘
Heinz nodded, ‘He hung himself. That’s
‘And this is your story to get me to
Go to the city?’ Jon’s eyes widened in
‘It was not the city that killed him,’
Heinz explained. It was the people here
And the criticism…first they built him up,
Then they tore him down. They called him
Stuck up…he wasn’t at all. Do this
Do that…the endless harassment and
Judgement. He came back…something
Happened to him…The way they treated him…
It was awful. To watch someone slowly
Break under that…And then they all
Bowed their heads and said how sad…
Like they had no part. I can’t look at
Them now. That’s why I have to get out
Of here. I wish I would have known
What to do. Understand?’
‘That’s awful.’ Jon said looking down.
‘Am I any different than he was?’
Heinz wondered, then looked solemnly at
His friend. ‘The hatred, the jealousy I saw
In people…I swear you make me think
And notice things. I need to be stronger.’
Jon laughed. ‘You don’t need me to think,
You think fine already.’
‘But why did he come back?’ Heinz asked.
‘What did he see, what happened there?
You see things…what do you think
Jon thought carefully, careful words. ‘Something
Terrible. I think it’s everywhere.’
There was a strange light that shot across
The clear blue sky above them. ‘Look at
That!’ Heinz pointed. ‘It’s a sign see.
Come on, let’s have an adventure, come
Jon thought long and hard. That light
Was more than he wanted to know.
‘Something terrible is there.’
There would be more stars moving in the
Sky that night. They were always
There, hovering or moving…whether anyone
Saw them or not.