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Nigel Gordon

Clouds of Glory by Mihangel

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This is a remarkably well told story that does not work out quite as you would expect and raises some challenging questions. I have always enjoyed Mihangel's writing but this I think is amongst his best.

You can find it here:

http://www.awesomedude.com/mihangel/clouds/clouds.htm

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I've just finished reading it for the second time, the first a few years ago. As usual, Mihangel entertains, enlightens, and makes me ponder. I concur: incredibly fine writing, and his intelligence shines through like a beacon, as always.

Highly recommended, as are all his works.

C

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I got started on Clouds of Glory late last night and ended up reading it all in one sitting. I think that it worked out the way it should have. It showed real life, and how it often happens. I came away feeling good about the story, and about Tom.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I got started on Clouds of Glory late last night and ended up reading it all in one sitting. I think that it worked out the way it should have. It showed really life, and how it often happens. I came away feeling good about the story, and about Tom.

Colin, I quite agree it worked out how it should, it is just that the way the story developed is not how you expect from a lot of gay fiction that is around. It does, as you say reflect real life. Like you I ended up having a good feeling about Tom.

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Another good dose of the Welsh from Mihangel. The finer points of the culture presented through places and people all wrapped in a delightful story. It's easy to embrace his characters with the empathy he builds into their real life feelings. As always I enjoyed the little twists in the plot and the exposure to the literary works he quotes. A story that makes you think and keeps you engaged. Like Colin, I had to read it at one go and I'm glad I did. My thanks to Mihangel, a welcome addition to his story page.

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That is a sustaining problem with Mihangel's works. This was a short story and meant to be read in one go. The problem is, I tend to read his longer stories in one sitting, too, because they just seduce you. They're all difficult to stop reading, once begun.

C

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Lovers share a sacred decree –
to seek the Beloved.
They roll head over heels,
rushing toward the Beautiful One
like a torrent of water....

...We search for Him here and there
while looking right at Him.
Sitting by His side we ask,
“O Beloved, where is the Beloved?”


-from Rumi, Ode 442


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Another wonderful and rather liminal tale from Mihangel come to AD. Huzzah!

My dad turned me on to FitzGerald's translation of the Rubaiyat when I was still in single digits. It's magical.

You'll find stanzas attach themselves to you, and sooner or later you'll weep at their truth.

Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and best

That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,

Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,

And one by one crept silently to Rest.


The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

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What is the name of that poetic style? 1st, 2nd and 4th rhymes, 3rd not.

C

The style is a Persian style of poetry called a Rubáiyát.

That is why the "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" is called such.

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I need to read it a couple more times to wrap my head around it. I wasn't disappointed on the first read.

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I need to read it a couple more times to wrap my head around it. I wasn't disappointed on the first read.

You won't be on the second or third read either, it just keeps getting better and better each time you read it.

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Thanks, guys, for all the kind words. Clouds was done twelve years ago, and I don't remember what prompted me to write it. But I do remember being pleased with it then, and if it still has the power to please, then I'm more than happy.

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Cole, from: http://www.enotes.com/topics/rubaiyat-omar-khayyam

I quote:

FitzGerald freely adapted the original quatrains, adding many of his own images and giving disconnected stanzas a unity of theme, tone, and style. He stayed with the four-line stanza of the original Rubáiyát, rhyming on all but the third line, though in a few instances all four lines rhyme. The result, known as the Rubáiyát stanza, employs an iambic pentameter line (ten syllables, five of them accented) and is crafted so that the third line, FitzGerald explained, “seems to lift and suspend the Wave that falls over the last.” The final line usually gives the quatrain an epigrammatic force. FitzGerald also combined parts of some quatrains and arranged the whole collection into what he called “something of an Eclogue,” a poem with a rustic setting that uses dialogue or soliloquy. He also gave the poem a framework appropriate to its astronomer author, opening at dawn and ending at nightfall on the same day, when the moon rises and the narrator, who identifies himself along the way as “old Khayyám,” is no more.

SPOILER ALERT

As for Mihangel's story, I join the ranks of those who stayed up all night, lest I should depart on the unknown journey before I finished reading Clouds Of Glory. The literary merits speak for themselves. This story demands inclusion in any list of superlative stories.

This story is beyond gay fiction, it is a gift to humanity's love of beauty, truth and romance. It reinforces Oscar Wilde's statement from the dock during his first trial (Regina v. Wilde) that,

"The love that dare not speak its name" in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as "the love that dare not speak its name," and on that account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it."

However, Clouds of Glory goes further in its ability to cross the barriers of religion and mythology of many cultures, including the most modern scientific rational arguments for non-belief. Mihangel has achieved this, whilst maintaining the human spirit's affinity for life. In that, this story must have been a labor of love. Extraordinary!

Thank you Mihangel.

Here is a link for the song, Calon lân, as sung by Only Boys Aloud

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Cole

As for Mihangel's story, I join the ranks of those who stayed up all night, lest I should depart on the unknown journey before I finished reading Clouds Of Glory. The literary merits speak for themselves. This story demands inclusion in any list of superlative stories.

It also demands to be seen by a much wider audience - any of you guys have any idea of how to get it out there?

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I couldn't have said it better than Des... all that and the combination of my fascination with the Rubiyat and that most stirring Welsh song Calon Lan... brought me to tears... and that's tough!

Glad you brought this moving story to AwesomeDude, Mihangel...

Mike

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This is my favorite story, by any author, straight or gay... ever.

I don't say that lightly, I stopped and thought for a while but I cannot think of a story that feels more true or more worth reading.

Incidentally one of my earliest memories is of a near vertical wall of rock that passed for a back garden, seen through a back-parlour window, when I was four or five... in Blaenau Ffestiniog! Tom, would have approved of the relative my parents were visiting.

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I got a text message from Nigel Gordon telling me that I must read Clouds of Glory, that was last week and I only got round to doing so today. Must say I'm glad that Nigel sent me the text. This is by far one of the best stories I have read in a long time. Just wish more readers could get a chance to read gay fiction of this quality rather than presuming that gay internet fiction is up to the standard of Nifty.

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Reading this story a second, and then a third, time just now,  I think it must be Mihangel's best—both profound and beautifully expressive—though I may well have said that about other stories of his. Thanks to the Dude for bringing it back to our attention.

[Spoiler alert]

The maturity that Tom gains as he realizes that his friendship with Isaac will never deepen, the joy and subsequent pain and eventual joy that Tom feels as he gains, loses, and gains his soul mate—all of this resonates deeply in me.  Well done!

peter

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Here are the lyrics to Calon Lân in both Welsh and English.

 

Colin  :icon_geek:

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AARGHH! Why did you have to do that, Des?! I thought I'd cried ten lifetimes of tears when I first heard this when OBA first presented it. (And the thousand or so times I've listened since, too.) And now it starts once more... 

Caution: Vocal degrees can be hazardous to one's (mental) health!

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3 hours ago, ChrisR said:

AARGHH! Why did you have to do that, Des?! I thought I'd cried ten lifetimes of tears when I first heard this when OBA first presented it. (And the thousand or so times I've listened since, too.) And now it starts once more... 

... and with a somewhat insincere pre-apology, I'm gonna lay down another link. I find the Only Boys Aloud rendition more moving than the one by Katherine Jenkins, because of the multitude of voices, but all of BGT drama and accolades just distract from the performance, IMO. So, here is a less decorated version:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAQzsT_wXVc

I've never been to Wales but feel a bit of Cymruphilia, inspired by songs like this and by Brother Hwntw's stories. Huw Jones, whom I haven't gotten to yet, is also on my list.

p

 

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