Exile and the kingdom
By Albert Camus

How silent the desert is! Already night and I am alone, I’m thirsty. Still waiting, where is the city, those sounds in the distance, and the soldiers per-haps the victors, no, it can’t be, even if the soldiers are victorious, they’re not wicked enough, they won’t be able to rule, they’ll still say one must become better, and still millions of men between evil and good, torn, bewildered, O Fetish, why hast thou forsaken me? All is over, I’m thirsty, my body is burning, a darker night fills my eyes. This long, this long dream, I’m awaking, no, I’m going to die, dawn is breaking, the first light, day-light for the living, and for me the inexorable sun, the flies. Who is speaking, no one, the sky is not opening up, no, no, God doesn’t speak in the [61] des-ert, yet whence comes that voice saying: ‘If you consent to die for hate and power, who will for-give us?’ Is it another tongue in me or still that other fellow refusing to die, at my feet, and re-peating: ‘Courage! courage! courage!’? Ah! sup-posing I were wrong again! Once fraternal men, sole recourse, O solitude, forsake me not! Here, here who are you, torn, with bleeding mouth, is it you, Sorcerer, the soldiers defeated you, the salt is burning over there, it’s you my beloved master! Cast off that hate-ridden face, be good now, we were mistaken, we’ll begin all over again, we’ll re-build the city of mercy, I want to go back home. Yes, help me, that’s right, give me your hand. . . .”
A handful of salt fills the mouth of the garrulous slave.