The Master and The Fool: An Archer’s Tale

The accomplished archer, the Master if you will,
handed the bow to his initiate, who many referred to as the Fool.
The Master pointed at the target, some fifty feet or so away,
and instructed the Fool to hit the bullseye without aiming.
The Fool drew back on his bow, cutting a taut figure of symmetry
on this windless day, then suddenly wheeled around, facing backwards,
and shot the arrow in a gliding arc into the target-less air.
What are you doing, the Master reprimanded.
Can’t you see where the target is?
The Fool smiled shyly and set down his bow in the grass.
Yes, that’s why I shot my arrow where I did.
The Master, who was noticeably perturbed, walked over to the target,
and rapped his knuckles against its demarcated center.
THIS is the bullseye.
The Fool, who did not want to contradict the Master, nor generate conflict,
responded, somewhat evasively—Well, yea, I guess it is … can I show you something?
The Master walked back to where the Fool was standing.
The Fool raised his hands above his head and made broad, sweeping, circular gestures,
saying—The air is everywhere, right? So, just as I was about to shoot, it suddenly came to me that if I were to ignore the limited target with the marked bullseye and just shoot the arrow into the air, I couldn’t miss.
Miss what, the Master questioned.
The target. In the air, there are no targets. So in a sense, everywhere is the target. Very freeing, don’t you think?
Yes, but, but—the Master stammered, his brain no longer cooperating.
Or perhaps that is just archery for fools, I don’t know, the Fool grinned littleboyishly.
The Master placed his hand on the Fool’s shoulder and said—Or perhaps it is strain of wisdom that I missed, that my knowledge and skill as a master archer blocked me from seeing.
And so the Master and the Fool spent the rest of that windless day doing it the Fool’s Way,
simultaneously hitting every single bullseye and none at all,
and laughing like children nestled in the cushy lap of Eternity,
where arrows are destined to kiss air, just because.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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