They probably sat around tables, in a room lit only by olive oil lamps, a few small flames, sometimes steady, sometimes weaving in an unseen movement of air like a passing zephyr disturbed its burn and the ducking, flickering flame cast moving shadows across the eyes of the students of the prophet,
their noses casting dark inverted funnels of shadow
on creased and bearded faces as they remembered their mentor,
Isaiah, long gone in body, but more than a zephyr in spirit his voice echoing even as they reflected –
“Forget the former things! Do not dwell on the past! See, I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it?”
And they shift nervously on creaking benches. One clears his throat. Another lifts an earthen challis of wine to his cracked lips.
“Do we dare write this down,” asks the youngest one, leaning forward, finger bent to the parchment of the scroll, his head scarf unravelling. “Right when our people are at their lowest? Does this not simply tease them?”
And the oldest of them, crows feet splaying from a twinkling eye, smiles at the youngest. “Yes! Write it down! Let them know that all oaks begin covered in dirt. Do you not perceive it?”
And the stylus scratches, and the words form letter by letter. Forget the old way, so you might perceive the new, already growing, under the dirt.
And outside the room the passersby hear a burst of laughter.
Among the guardians of tradition and those who cling to old forms like an old woman her purse, the prophet’s students sing:
“Forget the former things and do not dwell on the past. I’m doing a new thing. Can’t you see it?”