Aside

Alice put her dress on, her leggings, did her hair and drank a beer  she reattached her eyelashes, checked her email, did her nails  Then she drank another one  She liked cheap beer in the morning, cheap beer for lunch  for dinner she ate nothing but black licorice and roasted peanuts  she worked in the city for a rich old person who never left the bed, she made tea  she ran errands, she looked forward to her death  Alice was in her mid twenties, had three close friends whom she never spoke too  She wasn’t close with her parents , probably since they were dead  didn’t have siblings  didn’t have a cat but she had one cockroach that she called Miss Billy  MIss Billy didn’t talk much but ALice didn’t give a fuck  Her one and only boyfriend was a transvestite who worked at a gas station  Her name was Catherine C. C.  Cat C,C, loved pink nail polish and old Christmas carols  She swore up and down to Alice that she had the biggest dick  in this fucking small town  Alice knew it, the math teacher knew it, everybody knew it  it was you know Kentucky

 Alice had dreams of leaving this town, buying a cat off a crackhead  A red one she preferred  one she could sit in a tree with and daydream about talking cats  little kings and pompous dodo birds, long trips to somewhere than here  a ferry boat ride, some sea lions and her first time smoking a joint  Take a hit kid, breathe it in, hold it, hold it, ok exhale  being a princess in the forest has it’s moments  I get to to get stoned with these dudes wearing camo  at first they don’t know what to think of me, i usually have twigs in my hair  birds on my shoulders and a moss outfit I made for free  then one of them usually says all drunk, “hey man, it’s a fairy person man.’  i shrug, the big fat dude hands me a joint and they all just stare at me  we get high, they ask questions, i don’t speak they back away slowly  i get up and walk back to the Hotel my parents own four miles away  take off my dress, get in the shower, change my clothes, go back to the woods  those red neck motherfuckers are cheaper than a drug dealer

 Doctor what do you think of Alice? I am afraid Doctor that she might hurt herself  No, she won’t she is what we liked to call in medical school, a starstruck slut  one of those girls who can’t grow up but loves the dirty things in life, shall we say?  the dirty things?  yes, nurse.. those dirty things  dirty nasty daddy craving cock guzzling, cum whore special girls, you know  the kind that wears 80.00 stockings from a factory in Japan

 What about Pocahontas?

 That girl is what we call troubled, she believes she is something she is not,  she believes it so strongly she will put herself in harms way  just to prove a point  She needs drugs, Nurse, lots and lots of drugs  in a shot, in a pill give it to her or I will  Ignore her imagination, if we ignore her made up self for a period of time  She will realize she is not a child, she is a young woman  she needs to act like it

 Alice smoked some meth before her therapy appointment  it made her calm, she was so anxious without it, she needed it to be happy  happy was something she had to be, otherwise she would sink  sinking like her heart, that she didn’t even know existed  until she wasn’t a virgin anymore  meth was something she just happened upon  like a fucking labyrinth in the middle of a shoe store

 Pocahontas hated group therapy, she wanted to go back into the woods  sleep the day away with the tree trunk stump thing that looked like a unicorn  she didn’t understand why her Mom was making her do this shit  It wasn’t like she had problems, it was not her that was fucked  it was everybody else, she was free in the forest  why couldn’t anyone see that?  She was not about to explain her revelation to a fucking therapist  they never understand anything  Snow White was born to loving parents, a happy couple.  They loved her, cherished her every smile in pictures up on the mantelpiece but then they died.  Snow White was sent away to live with her Aunt Helen who locked her up in the attic with the rats tied to a chair. Snow White was afraid at first,  she calmed herself by singing the lullabies her mom had sung to her when she was young.  She was ten when her Aunt Helen let her out of the attic  but by then Snow White was already fluent in the beautiful language of the rats.  Snow White had dark hair glossy locks that craved the outer rims of space  She was perfect but insane , she plotted Aunt Helen’s terrible death with relish  that bitch deserved it  it was meant to be  the rats told her she would be happier, she could finally cry  Alice got off the bus, lit a cigarette and flicked the ash. It was eighteen past four, she had twelve minutes until hell. Might as well get a couple drags or three.  Alice walked across the street past the drug addicts fixing in plain daylight, she thought about what the doctor had said, schizophrenia, anti social, oppositional defiant disorder among other things like nymphomania. She used sex to treat the pain of what? she didn’t know, it was just there this gnawing ever growing presence. The only thing that made her better was cock and beer, sometimes drinking tea and riding the carousel at the park that nobody ever went too anymore. A couple days ago, she had bought a cat off craigslist, a red one with blue eyes she called Dinah. Yesterday after she smoked twenty bucks worth of meth, Alice and Dinah sat under the willow tree day dreaming about New York City.  She was supposed to go to this stupid group to work on her emotions, how to talk to people. Use her words instead of her body to get what she wanted. It was a waste of fucking time, she needed to plan her escape. She needed a rabbit with a pocket watch. She needed to get high. Good thing the doctor liked her, he wasn’t just her doctor he was also a trick. What magical things he had, money, drugs and for moment while she rested on her belly with a stream of cum dribbling down her chin to her neck, she saw three birds perched on the wire outside. She saw the clouds and the drizzling rain and thought to herself, I can do anything. I am going to be somebody. Her boyfriend wasn’t much help, she was to preoccupied with her surgery coming up. AT last she said, CC screamed to the world. I will finally have a vagina this Friday. She screamed and howled, it was beautiful  Group therapy was in the basement of a bank. Held in a large windowless room peeling yellow pain. Two rectangular tables pushed against each other. A potted plant by the door. Snow White held her breath counting to twenty sighing clenching her fists by her side. The elevator too fucking slow. She thought about the conversation she had at the bus stop with the drunk native who peed in his shorts. He told her he liked her boots that they reminded him of his mother. He said his mother was a princess of the third galactic empire three thousand miles away from the moon. He then asked Snow White what she wanted to be when she grew up. Snow White looked down at her boots a dark red leather and said. “Loved.”  The drunk native dude snorted and said. “I wanted to be a pirate. Look at me. Did I make it?”  The bus came it started to rain. It poured.  Pocahontas wiped her mouth stood up fumbling with her zipper the guy with the fancy shirt put on his pants. Handed her sixty bucks and walked away. Sometimes you gotta do what you should never have to do. She checked her phone. She had six minutes before group. She was hungry so she walked to the taco stand and ordered a Chile relleno with gouda. It was good. She stood by the ashtray feeling sorry for herself. God. I am such a whore felt around for a decent butt, nothing there. Pulled her hoodie over her head and walked inside.  You might have a problem with drinking if you wake up on the side of the road with the skirt you bought at k mart gone and the fake eyelashes you spent twenty bucks on gone as well. Who knows lovie, you might be an alcoholic. But, but, my daddy he was one, I can’t be. I am normal. I have to be normal, Normal is as normal does sweetpea, you got to grow up my dear. You should talk you fucking asshole, banging your mom, keeping her company after your dad left. That is not what normal people would call normal now?  The things you hear as you wait for the elevator to group therapy. Nobody notices you when you are wearing a red velvet hoodie, for all the know you could be a statue or a picture hanging completely forgotten by everybody .

 The clock ticked, Alice picked her nails, crossed her legs sneered at the wall, Pocahontas braided her hair crossed her eyes and wished she could smoke the rest of her cigarette. Snow White kept her head down, clenched her fists and wished she were dead.

Alice contemplated suicide on a daily basis, it was romantic. Never waking up, what did one think when dead? Does the moon really have a face? Was the ocean bottomless? Who killed Marilyn Monroe? Alice fancied these particular questions. They made her feel young again. As if her whole life was based upon the answers. Then it all dissolved, when she woke up, when she borrowed a glass of milk and when she for the second time tried to drown herself in the bathtub. She tried asking CC for help. But CC was much to busy shoving her cock between her legs to even notice Alice’s existence. So Alice smoked meth and pretended to be a boy named Alex. Alex was big and strong, was into muscle cars, Baywatch and flirting with busty creole twenty year olds. Alex was fun to be for about ten minutes but Alice needed more meth. So Alice called her sister Robert who was a Hermaphrodite to call the dealer who lived in the pink mansion down the street. It was beautiful, a white trash Barbie doll dream house. Their Christmas parties are supposed to be fantastic. The dealer supposedly had an attic full of elves that served him for one purpose. Sexual Satisfaction. The dealer was also mad about hats, he had every kind of hats that anybody could ever dream of having. He had plastic hats, musical hats, blue hats, teddy bear hats and tree hats. The dealer was also a big fan of tea parties, he once invited the whole state of Kentucky to one of his tea parties but only four people showed up. Alice of course but she was only there to borrow the dollhouse hat and buy sixty bucks worth of meth. The dealers wife, their one eyed daughter and the crazy lady that sold twigs door to door. He liked to collect tea from all over the world. Earl Grey from a Kmart in Michigan. Chai from a Target in Portland Oregon and China White from her daughters boyfriend. They all got high because the Earl Grey was gone and the albino python ate up all the Chai, so all they had was the China White, Alice decided she wanted to try some but the dealer wouldn’t let her have any for free, so Alice stripped naked and did a dance on the coffee table in the backyard.

Pocahontas breathed in the sweet smoky mind numbing substance, ran her hands up and down her hips, flicked her nipples tilted her head back and forth, bit her lips and fell back into the arms of that dangerous stranger who was ever so nice.
She had met him while shopping for vegan turkey bacon at the new co op save the feral chickens store in the industrial part of town no one respectable her mother would approve of would ever dare go. He was sexy in that I was ugly in high school had no friends but read a lot of kurt vonnegut kind of way. He had blue eyes that were always pinned and carried around his pet sugar glider he affectionately called nurse ratched. Pocohantas told him that she liked his shoes which was quite hysterical since he wasn’t wearing any, he laughed and touched her cheek. It probably wasn’t love, more like a crush that would never go anywhere because he probably would never call and he probably would forget her name after a couple days. But she didn’t care, all she wanted was rough sex, an escape. Those stupid red necks in the forest weren’t her type, they had terrible weed and she was fed up up with waiting for them to come around. She had on her Indian princess outfit her head against the dirt, fucking her doggystyle, it felt rather good, it made her forget about that fucking therapy she had to go to again tomorrow. When she went last week, there were only two other girls and they were freaks. One girl was white as a ghost, bit her fingernails and talked to herself, she was crying and it was very annoying and that other girl looked like a first class skank with her sluttish thigh high stockings and her make up done perfectly. The teacher didn’t even come, it was a waste of time but she had to go or her mother would call up that place and send her there until she turned eighteen. Pocohantas seriously doubted that there would be a chance to do drugs and take some cock while reading bible verses and cleaning toilets in that jesus loves you hell hole. So she got naked on all fours, stared at her ass all night. Flexing, wishing she could just fuck herself.

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Aside

tiny teeny little liquid ballerinas tip toeing their way through trash
smearing blood on upside down hills, holding signs with free hugs
spinning silver satin smocks splattered with decay,
in all their laughing dancing, they had forgotten to clean during play

after they came to their merry little sense, they ate some food,
drank a drink and retraced their steps
we did one here remember that, oh how she screamed and cried
for some guy in shining light to save her in the night
that other one sucked her thumb, she prayed oh how she begged
we knocked on down slit her throat, remember how much she bled?

evidence

Aside

“Look, I know I fucked up the last time I was here. I needed the cash, I was afraid to ask you. It was raining, Fuck. I have missed you, it is the drugs you know. I can’t forget him, no matter how hard I try no matter how deep I cut or how good the next guy fucks me. I hurt all over, the dope calms me down. It is all I have, fucking excuses all the time. I can barely talk let alone walk.”
Her hair was wet, she looked like Mom, Mom was always baking cookies in the rain, the ceiling was fucked off no money for fixing it just for wet cookies that tasted like Oz. Mom died doing what she liked best, eating fresh baked wet cookies in the tub. A stroke. Slutfox and I were at the funeral with six members of the country baking club. The ladies loved my mom, they called her a pioneer. She was amazing. ” I like having you here, just do not steal from me again Kim. ”

Aside

You, oh my darling are the best fuck in the world
I wouldn’t trade your heart in for a million boho living room decorations
The way we fight turns me on pisses me off fucks up my whole night
But then, you kiss me as I kiss back, I kiss you like I have never tasted love
Then again, it’s true I never have known love before you …
All the others were bingo nights alone, trying to win beaten lost You are spectacular,
I try to win you and I end up in pieces indefectible pieces

truest romance

Aside

L
ong ago in old Japan, a girl named Sei was born to a glassblower
named Yakichi. At fi rst her father was disappointed that she was
not a son, but his disappointment ended the second that he held
her. From that moment on he was devoted to her, and she to him.
Yakichi watched with proud eyes as Sei grew from a spirited child
into an intelligent young lady. That she was beautiful was beyond
question and, in her fi ne features, Yakichi could see his late wife’s eyelids and cheekbones. The mother died when Sei was just a child and
this made the father and daughter hold each other all the tighter.
On the verge of adulthood, Sei decided to follow in her father’s
footsteps. Yakichi felt great joy in her decision and his happiness was
now complete: his knowledge wouldn’t die with him, after all. Sei
adopted the title of Glassblower’s Apprentice and showed remarkable potential and quick progress. She had a delicate touch and, more
important, she could envision the object before it was blown. Technique can always be learned, Yakichi knew, but Sei was born with
the gift of vision. She could see beauty where others saw only empty
air.
Sei studied well under her father’s tutelage, learning just how hot
to stoke the fi re and just how forcefully to blow. She learned to read
the bright glow of the heated glass. She worked diligently to develop 2 3 8 A N D R E W D A V I D S O N
her understanding of breath; for she knew that with breath she could
create a world. She imagined herself breathing life into the glass and,
with every week that passed, Sei came closer to realizing the loveliness of the objects that she could picture in her imagination.
Yakichi began to bring Sei to the local weekend market, where
he maintained a stand to sell their wares. Men started to come in
swarms. They claimed they wanted to look at the glasswork but really, of course, they came to look at the captivating young woman.
“How like glass you yourself are,” one old man couldn’t help but say,
scuttling away like a crab across a beach when he realized that the
words had actually slipped aloud from his claws.
Soon, their table was selling out before lunchtime. Almost all the
pieces were purchased by men—even as gifts for their own wives—
simply because they wanted to own a container of Sei’s breath.
Yakichi was pleased. Business was stronger than ever, fi nances
were good, and Sei was becoming a fi ne glassblower. But for all their
success, Yakichi wished a husband for his daughter. Though he was a
protective father, he wanted her to experience all that life had to offer
and, he thought, a “benefi cial” marriage would better their family
line.
So Yakichi took stock of the men who frequented the stand.
There were artisans, landowners, fi shermen and farmers, soldiers
and samurai. Certainly, he mused with a smile, there would be no
shortage of suitors. After all, Sei had beauty, skill, health, a pleasing
personality, and loyalty. She would be a fi ne wife and good mother,
anyone could see that, and it would be easy to arrange an advantageous marriage.
When Yakichi approached his daughter to suggest this, she was
quite shocked. “I know this is the tradition,” she cried, “but I never
thought that you would ask it of me. I will marry for love, and love
alone.”
The force of his daughter’s conviction surprised Yakichi, for she
had never before gone against his wishes. Marriage was for improving one’s family position, the old man thought; marriage was not T H E G A R G O Y L E 2 3 9
something to be undertaken for love. And yet Sei insisted and, because Yakichi adored her, he acquiesced. Still he worried, because
there was no one in his daughter’s heart.
But, as is often the case in these matters, Sei soon met a young
man, and she did fall quite completely in love with him. At fi rst,
Yakichi was displeased because Sei had chosen Heisaku, a simple
farm boy with neither money nor prospects. However, the boy had a
pure, good heart. So, maybe . . .
Yakichi remembered his own departed wife. Although theirs had
been an arranged marriage, they had been lucky and Sei had been
conceived in love. Buoyed by the memory of his own good fortune,
Yakichi decided that he could hope for nothing less for his daughter.
He gave his blessings to Sei and Heisaku.
It was about this time that one of Sei’s more inspired pieces—a
glass fl ower—was given to a daimyo, a local feudal lord, by one of his
servants. This daimyo was despised and feared for his brutal temper.
He had no time for glass fl owers and angrily asked the meaning of
the trivial thing.
The servant, always looking for special favor, said, “I thought you
might like to know, my lord, that this glass fl ower was created by
the most beautiful girl in all the land.” The daimyo’s ears pricked up
and the servant quickly added, “And she is unmarried.” The servant,
you see, had recently overheard the daimyo talking about his desire
to start producing children, saying that only the most beautiful and
skilled woman would suffi ce.
The daimyo quickly decided on a plan of action. He sent out a
message that he had in mind a commission for a great glass statue,
and that he’d heard Sei and her father were the most skilled glassblowers in all of Japan. For this reason, the message claimed, he was
summoning them.
The daimyo had no more interest in commissioning a glass statue
than he had in commissioning a ladder to the moon. He was interested in owning land and castles and cattle and rice fi elds. And a beautiful woman. Yes, that interested him very much. But Sei and Yakichi 2 4 0 A N D R E W D A V I D S O N
knew nothing of this, and were only excited. They imagined that this
might be the fi rst of many noble commissions—in short, the realization of their dreams. So the father and daughter loaded up their little
cart and set off for the daimyo’s castle.
They were admitted into the main court, where the daimyo was
waiting, and his eyebrows went up at the sight of Sei. His gaze followed her around the room; to Sei, it felt like cockroaches upon her
skin. She could tell immediately that this was not a good man, as he
sat there turning one of her glass fl owers over and over in his grubby
fi ngers. But this was not about her feelings, she told herself, and all
she could do was give the best presentation possible.
Sei and her father showed the daimyo their fi nest works and described them in detail. She showed crystal cranes and glass- bubble
blowfi sh with translucent skin. She displayed tinted sake glasses and
heavy goblets. She exhibited plates and toy horses and wind chimes
that produced pure notes in the slightest breeze. When father and
daughter were fi nished, a rainbow of glass lay before the daimyo.
The daimyo was impressed, sure enough, but by the artist, not
the art. Sei was the most enticing girl that he’d ever seen. He clapped
as Sei and Yakichi bowed deeply. “I have made my decision,” he announced.
The father and daughter held their breath, which was highly
uncommon for glassblowers. They waited hopefully but the words
were not at all what they expected. As he fi ngered the glass fl ower,
the daimyo said, “Sei is fi t to be my wife and bear my children. She
should be overjoyed with her good fortune.”
Sei knew that this was a very powerful man and that to oppose
him would be very diffi cult. Nonetheless, she could not stop herself.
“But I love another.”
Yakichi immediately begged pardon for his daughter’s abruptness. When pressed, however, he did confi rm the truth of her statement. The daimyo was livid and the glass fl ower snapped in the
involuntary fi st that he made. Who could compete with a lord? He
demanded to know who this “other” was.T H E G A R G O Y L E 2 4 1
Sei spoke up. “He’s only a farm boy, but my love for him is true.”
The daimyo asked, “What is his name?”
Sei feared that if she told, Heisaku would be hunted down and
killed. She looked at her feet for a moment and then lifted her head
to meet the daimyo’s gaze. “The name of a simple farm boy should
be of no consequence to a lord.”
The daimyo was shocked by the girl’s audacity. Then he laughed,
too loudly, too spitefully. “A farm boy? You dare to choose a farm boy
over me? You dare to withhold his name?” The daimyo looked down
at his hand and saw that he was bleeding where the broken glass
fl ower had cut him. The blood calmed him because it reminded him
who he was.
“You will not marry this farm boy,” he stated with certainty, “and
you should thank me now for the life that I have saved you from. You
will marry me.”
Sei spoke with equal certainty. “I will not marry you. I will marry
the farm boy or I will marry no one.”
The daimyo’s counterargument was swift and merciless. “Very
well. Marry, then. Marry this farm boy and I will execute your father.
But marry me and your father shall live.”
Sei stood dumbstruck, for never could she have imagined herself
in such a position. Never could she have imagined a man such as this.
The daimyo continued, “In one week, you will return to this court
and speak a single word. ‘Yes’ means you will marry me and your
father will live. ‘No’ means you refuse me and your father will die. A
single word. Think well, Sei.” With this, the daimyo threw the shards
of fl ower at her feet and swept out of the courtyard.
Father and daughter were released from the castle to ponder their
answer. There was nowhere they could hide; they could not just pack
up and move, as they would be found wherever they went. Yakichi
pleaded with Sei to say no. He was an old man with only a few more
years to live, he argued, but she had her entire life ahead of her. The
father was willing to die so that the daughter was not condemned to
a lifetime of unhappiness.2 4 2 A N D R E W D A V I D S O N
Sei wouldn’t hear of this. She refused to make a decision that
would kill her father. And yet, she knew the unhappy waste that her
life would become with the brutal daimyo.
That night, Sei was unable to sleep. She tossed in her bed, considering the problem from all sides, but there seemed to be no way
out. Then, shortly before dawn, inspiration came and she knew what
she must do. When Yakichi awoke, he found his daughter gone and,
in her place, a note stating that she would be back in a week to face
the daimyo.
First, Sei went to her farm boy and explained the situation. She
told Heisaku that he was her one true love but that she would never
be able to speak to him again. The last words she said to him were “If
you listen to the wind very carefully, you’ll be able to hear me whisper my love for you.” Then she disappeared.
Days passed, and Yakichi began to think that his daughter must
have run away. Though it saddened him that he would be unable to
say goodbye, he was reassured that she would live. When a week had
gone by, the father appeared before the daimyo to say that Sei had
disappeared and that he was pleased to forfeit his life in her stead.
The daimyo was about to order the father’s execution when two
women, clothed in simple robes and with shaved heads, entered the
courtyard. It took even Yakichi a moment to realize that the younger
woman was Sei. He broke into tears now that Sei had reappeared to
marry this awful man.
“What is this?” the daimyo demanded. “Why have you shaved
your head? Who is this woman with you?”
But neither Sei nor the older woman spoke.
The daimyo raged, “What is this insolence? I command you to
speak!”
Still, Sei and the older woman remained silent.
“What is your answer? Will you be my wife, and save your father’s
life? Or shall I kill him because of your selfi shness? Answer my question—yes or no, will you marry me?”T H E G A R G O Y L E 2 4 3
And still, neither Sei nor the older woman responded.
The daimyo spat on the ground. “Execute the old man!” he commanded. But Sei raised her hand to stop the two soldiers who stepped
forward to take her father. She approached the daimyo and held out
a sheet.
He gestured to one of the others in the court to take the note, as
if it were beneath him to handle it personally, and growled, “Read it
aloud, so that everyone can hear the words of this most disrespectful
girl!”
The courtier glanced over the note and cleared his throat. He did
not want to read what it said. But he had no choice:
One week ago, you asked me to be your wife. The word yes
would seal our engagement, and the word no would ensure
my father’s death. I will speak no words, for I am now mugon
no gyo no ama- san.
The fi nal words got caught in the courtier’s throat. He knew how
this would displease the lord, as mugon no gyo meant “the discipline
of not talking” and ama- san meant “nun.”
The courtier cleared his throat again and continued to read:
I have taken vows of silence and poverty, and I have shaved
my head to show my dedication. I have moved to the temple on the highest mountain of the region. It is here that
we feel closest to Buddha. I cannot marry you because I
am already wed to the Universe. I cannot speak the answer to your question, because my vows will not allow
it. Therefore, with no answer, you must release my father
and I will return to the mountain temple to spend my life
in devotion.
The daimyo was stunned. Though powerful, he knew better than 2 4 4 A N D R E W D A V I D S O N
to contradict the Great Buddha. He thought for a few moments and
then made his response.
“I must commend you for your commitment,” he said. “I would
not think to stop you from returning to the temple. Please do so.”
Sei bowed her head to hide the smile that might betray her sense
of victory.
“But before I let you go,” the daimyo continued, “I require that
you confi rm, yet again, your promise of eternal silence.”
Sei bowed once more to indicate that she did. “Good,” continued
the daimyo, “for if you ever speak again, I promise you this: your father’s life will be forfeit, and you will become my wife. And if your
farm boy ever visits you at the temple, I will kill both him and your
father and make you my wife. Is this clear?”
The daimyo let the proclamation sink in for a moment. “Do I
have your word, your Holy Promise, that you shall never speak, nor
ever see your farm boy, again?”
Sei stood silent for a moment, then nodded. The daimyo declared,
“I am satisfi ed.”
On her way out of the castle, Sei saw Heisaku hidden in the
wooden rafters. How much he loved her, to risk such a foolhardy
gesture. Heisaku looked down with the saddest of eyes, for now he
truly understood the gravity of the situation. Sei looked up at him
and silently mouthed the phrase Aishiteru, “I love you.” Her glassblower’s breath carried these words to the farm boy’s ears, and it was
just as Sei had promised: if he listened very hard, he could hear her
whispers upon the wind.
Yakichi and Sei were taken by armed escort to the mountain temple. Her father said goodbye, but Sei, of course, could say nothing.
She cried silent tears and Yakichi promised to send her a gift as soon
as he could. And then he was gone.
Soon the present arrived: a full set of glassblowing tools. The
other ama- san were happy to allow her this luxury, as they were
deeply devoted to beauty and saw Sei’s art as yet another way to
serve Buddha. Besides, the objects would provide a source of income T H E G A R G O Y L E 2 4 5
to help meet their modest needs. Even nuns know that while poverty
is a virtue, it is terribly inconvenient.
Sei was allowed to convert an empty room of the temple, and
every day she worked to create all manner of objects, from dinnerware to artwork. The days became weeks and the weeks became
months. Her work grew increasingly beautiful, as she perfected her
techniques. And all the while, she was slowly crafting a statue in the
likeness of Heisaku.
Sei would work on the statue each time she felt the need to speak,
as a way to articulate her love. This meant that she worked on it daily.
She created it lovingly, one minuscule section at a time. It began with
the ball of his right foot. It expanded to the heel. Then, the toes. With
each addition—ankle, lower shin, upper shin, knee—she would whisper while blowing the section. Aishiteru. The word was captured in
the glass bubble. Aishiteru. “I love you.”
Miles away, Heisaku would feel the words in his ears. They would
travel his spine and into his heart. He’d stop his plow and turn his eyes
towards the distant mountain. And so it continued for years. Each
time Sei felt the need to speak her love, she would blow a section of
the statue, encasing her whispered breath in Heisaku’s hipbone, his
fi nger, his shoulder, his ear . . . Aishiteru, aishiteru, aishiteru.
When the statue of the farm boy was completed, her love was
not. So she started to create surroundings for him, beginning with
a fi eld of glass lilies in which he could stand. Later, when the lilies
were completed, she would have to fi nd something else. Perhaps, she
thought, I will make a tree for my beloved to stand under. . . . Creating the
leaves alone would provide enough work to make my life bearable.
And so her life went until one morning, like any other, when Sei
was cleaning herself in the mountain stream. The cold water felt
good on her skin but as she washed out her hair, she felt a sharp
quick pain in her neck. Before she could even react, her arms and legs
began to stiffen.
Sei had been bitten by insects many times, but this was the fi rst
time she had been stung by this particular species of wasp and, as fate 2 4 6 A N D R E W D A V I D S O N
would have it, she suffered a severe allergic reaction. Her throat tightened, her body would not respond, and she became unable to move.
Her paralyzed body was washed down the stream until it became
caught upon a rock. For two hours she lay there, as the intense cold
of the stream seeped into every corner of her fl esh.
Eventually, another ama- san found Sei and dragged her out of the
water. Sei’s eyes were unresponsive and the cold water had dropped
her pulse so low as to be undetectable. More ama- san were called but
none could fi nd any sign of life and, despite their vows of silence, a
chorus of tears broke the still mountain air that morning.
Sei’s paralysis was total, but she could see everything, right up
until the moment the nuns respectfully closed her eyelids, believing
her to be dead. Even when she had warmed slightly, the venom still
immobilized her. For three days, the ama- san prayed silently over her.
Yakichi was alerted and came to bury the daughter who had sacri-
fi ced her life so that he might live.
The daimyo also came, to ensure that this was no hoax. He had
heard that Sei was to be buried, which made him suspicious as it was
a well- known fact that Buddhists were cremated so the fl ames would
purify the soul. If fl esh remained, the soul would still long for its
existence on Earth and feel uneasy in Heaven. However it was Sei’s
own written request that she be buried, because she wanted to exist
forever as a part of the earth that Heisaku would continue to till.
Yakichi had brought Heisaku with him, but introduced him as a
new glassblowing apprentice. Fear of the daimyo made this lie necessary. Who knew what he might do if he realized that this was the
youth who had bested him for Sei’s affections?
The daimyo was the one who shut the lid to the coffi n after ensuring that Sei was truly inside. Unable to move, Sei lay there listening to his horrible voice, “Yes, I am satisfi ed. She really is dead.” Sei
was thankful that her eyelids had been drawn shut, for how awful
it would have been if her last sight had been this loathsome man’s
face.
Sei heard the sound of the stretching ropes as her coffi n was low-T H E G A R G O Y L E 2 4 7
ered into the ground and her body given to the earth. Yakichi threw
the fi rst shovelful of dirt into the grave and Heisaku threw the next.
All the while, Sei listened as the dirt thudded against the lid of her
coffi n.
And then there was a miracle. She felt the poison in her veins
wear thin and her body begin to loosen. She was able to open her
eyes but saw only darkness. She could wiggle her fi ngers and toes but
was not yet recovered enough to lift her arms or legs, so she could
not bang on the lid. But she knew that if she yelled, those above
would be able to hear her. She could feel the ability creeping back
into her throat, and felt elation that she would not die after all. All
she had to do was yell. . . .
Then Sei remembered her promise. She would become the wife
of the daimyo if she spoke even a word to save herself. Her father
would be executed, and Heisaku as well. The daimyo was right there
with them, so there could be no denying that she had broken her
word. There could be no denying that Heisaku had visited the temple.
And so, Sei shut her mouth and allowed herself to be buried alive.
She listened to the dirt being thrown into her grave, with the sound
becoming more muffl ed as every shovelful piled up above her. When
the sound stopped altogether, she knew that the hole had been fi lled
and that she was sealed into the earth.
Above the ground, Yakichi and Heisaku cried at the unfairness of
Sei’s life. She had given up so much to protect the ones she loved, and
this was her reward. As for the daimyo, he cared nothing about the
woman who had been buried before him; he was simply satisfi ed to
know that she had not tricked him once again.
As he’d never been to the temple before and it was unlikely he
would ever return, the daimyo decided to explore the grounds before
returning to his castle. The ama- san tried to prompt him along a path
that would keep him away from Sei’s workshop but they were unsuccessful. When he pushed his way into the shop, he was astonished to
see the glass likeness of Yakichi’s new “apprentice” standing there in 2 4 8 A N D R E W D A V I D S O N
a half- fi nished fi eld of lilies. The daimyo was no fool: he immediately
understood that this was a statue of the farm boy whom Sei had
loved so well, and thus he also knew that the boy pretending to be the
apprentice was Sei’s great love.
Light poured in through the temple windows and lit the statue.
The very beauty of it, the care and detail, mocked the daimyo. He
picked up a wooden rod that lay upon the workbench and swore
that he would destroy the statue fi rst, and then destroy the real boy.
The daimyo lunged forward, swinging the rod like a scythe to cut
through the glass lilies that surrounded the statue. The swipe was
mighty, and broke through dozens in a single stroke.
There was an enormous blast as glass petals and stems erupted
everywhere, riding a massive wave of sound. All the whispers of love
that Sei had encased in her lilies came rushing forth simultaneously.
Their force was so great that the glass shards traveled outward as if
on the wind of a hurricane. They cut the daimyo completely, disfi guring him beyond recognition. The sound was so thunderous that he
was deafened and all his hair turned instantly white.
The noise exited the workshop and spread out across the sky over
Japan. People in every corner of the country could hear it, and later
all agreed that it was the most beautiful thing they’d ever heard. It
sounded like pure love.
The daimyo lived, but as a hobbled little half- man, scarred and
beaten. His own anger and jealousy had done him in. He no longer
had the spirit for intimidation and never again attempted to harm
Heisaku or Yakichi.
Heisaku and Yakichi, for their part, loaded the glass statue into
a cart and took it back to their village. Heisaku moved into the old
man’s house as the son he never had, and they grew to be great
friends. After all, they were bound by the love of the woman that
they had both lost.
For the rest of their years, the glass statue sat in the middle of
their house. It made Heisaku feel somewhat awkward to see his likeness every day, but it served a great purpose. When their grief for T H E G A R G O Y L E 2 4 9
Sei’s loss became overpowering, Heisaku or Yakichi would break off
a small section of the statue—a fi ngertip, a lock of hair, the petal of
a remaining lily.
Aishiteru, aishiteru, aishiteru. From each broken pocket of glass,
Sei’s voice would whisper out to ease their sorro

Long ago in old…

Aside

We are condemned to kill time, thus we die bit by bit.
Octavio Paz

All has been looted, betrayed, sold; black death’s wing flashed ahead.
Anna Akhmatova

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.
Diane Ackerman

Courage! I have shown it for years; think you I shall lose it at the moment when my sufferings are to end?
Marie Antoinette

If I died tomorrow, I would be a happy girl.
Amy Winehouse

All of us have moments in our childhood where we come alive for the first time. And we go back to those moments and think, This is when I became myself.
Rita Dove

No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.
Cesare Pavese

Sad things happen. They do. But we don’t need to live sad forever.
Mattie Stepan

An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do.
Dylan Thomas

I am better able to imagine hell than heaven; it is my inheritance, I suppose.
Elinor Wylie

Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.
Ikkyu Sojun

My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.
Edith Sitwell

I am an unpopular electric eel in a pool of catfish.
Edith Sitwell

Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the grave.
Joseph Hall

From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.
Edvard Munch

Deep experience is never peaceful.
Henry James

It goes in streaks. But some things never go out of fashion. ‘ Hunger artists, fat folks, giants and dog acts come and go but real freaks never lose their appeal.’

In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heav’nly-pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns;
What means this tumult in a vestal’s veins?
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Yet, yet I love! — From Abelard it came,
And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.

Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveal’d,
Nor pass these lips in holy silence seal’d.
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
Where mix’d with God’s, his lov’d idea lies:
O write it not, my hand — the name appears
Already written — wash it out, my tears!
In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,
Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.

Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains
Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains:
Ye rugged rocks! which holy knees have worn;
Ye grots and caverns shagg’d with horrid thorn!
Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey’d virgins keep,
And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep!
Though cold like you, unmov’d, and silent grown,
I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
All is not Heav’n’s while Abelard has part,
Still rebel nature holds out half my heart;
Nor pray’rs nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain,
Nor tears, for ages, taught to flow in vain.

Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
That well-known name awakens all my woes.
Oh name for ever sad! for ever dear!
Still breath’d in sighs, still usher’d with a tear.
I tremble too, where’er my own I find,
Some dire misfortune follows close behind.
Line after line my gushing eyes o’erflow,
Led through a sad variety of woe:
Now warm in love, now with’ring in thy bloom,
Lost in a convent’s solitary gloom!
There stern religion quench’d th’ unwilling flame,
There died the best of passions, love and fame.

Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join
Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine.
Nor foes nor fortune take this pow’r away;
And is my Abelard less kind than they?
Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare,
Love but demands what else were shed in pray’r;
No happier task these faded eyes pursue;
To read and weep is all they now can do.

Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief;
Ah, more than share it! give me all thy grief.
Heav’n first taught letters for some wretch’s aid,
Some banish’d lover, or some captive maid;
They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires,
Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires,
The virgin’s wish without her fears impart,
Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart,
Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole.

Thou know’st how guiltless first I met thy flame,
When Love approach’d me under Friendship’s name;
My fancy form’d thee of angelic kind,
Some emanation of th’ all-beauteous Mind.
Those smiling eyes, attemp’ring ev’ry day,
Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day.
Guiltless I gaz’d; heav’n listen’d while you sung;
And truths divine came mended from that tongue.
From lips like those what precept fail’d to move?
Too soon they taught me ’twas no sin to love.
Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran,
Nor wish’d an Angel whom I lov’d a Man.
Dim and remote the joys of saints I see;
Nor envy them, that heav’n I lose for thee.

How oft, when press’d to marriage, have I said,
Curse on all laws but those which love has made!
Love, free as air, at sight of human ties,
Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies,
Let wealth, let honour, wait the wedded dame,
August her deed, and sacred be her fame;
Before true passion all those views remove,
Fame, wealth, and honour! what are you to Love?
The jealous God, when we profane his fires,
Those restless passions in revenge inspires;
And bids them make mistaken mortals groan,
Who seek in love for aught but love alone.
Should at my feet the world’s great master fall,
Himself, his throne, his world, I’d scorn ’em all:
Not Caesar’s empress would I deign to prove;
No, make me mistress to the man I love;
If there be yet another name more free,
More fond than mistress, make me that to thee!
Oh happy state! when souls each other draw,
When love is liberty, and nature, law:
All then is full, possessing, and possess’d,
No craving void left aching in the breast:
Ev’n thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part,
And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart.
This sure is bliss (if bliss on earth there be)
And once the lot of Abelard and me.

Alas, how chang’d! what sudden horrors rise!
A naked lover bound and bleeding lies!
Where, where was Eloise? her voice, her hand,
Her poniard, had oppos’d the dire command.
Barbarian, stay! that bloody stroke restrain;
The crime was common, common be the pain.
I can no more; by shame, by rage suppress’d,
Let tears, and burning blushes speak the rest.

Canst thou forget that sad, that solemn day,
When victims at yon altar’s foot we lay?
Canst thou forget what tears that moment fell,
When, warm in youth, I bade the world farewell?
As with cold lips I kiss’d the sacred veil,
The shrines all trembl’d, and the lamps grew pale:
Heav’n scarce believ’d the conquest it survey’d,
And saints with wonder heard the vows I made.
Yet then, to those dread altars as I drew,
Not on the Cross my eyes were fix’d, but you:
Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call,
And if I lose thy love, I lose my all.
Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe;
Those still at least are left thee to bestow.
Still on that breast enamour’d let me lie,
Still drink delicious poison from thy eye,
Pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be press’d;
Give all thou canst — and let me dream the rest.
Ah no! instruct me other joys to prize,
With other beauties charm my partial eyes,
Full in my view set all the bright abode,
And make my soul quit Abelard for God.

Ah, think at least thy flock deserves thy care,
Plants of thy hand, and children of thy pray’r.
From the false world in early youth they fled,
By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led.
You rais’d these hallow’d walls; the desert smil’d,
And Paradise was open’d in the wild.
No weeping orphan saw his father’s stores
Our shrines irradiate, or emblaze the floors;
No silver saints, by dying misers giv’n,
Here brib’d the rage of ill-requited heav’n:
But such plain roofs as piety could raise,
And only vocal with the Maker’s praise.
In these lone walls (their days eternal bound)
These moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crown’d,
Where awful arches make a noonday night,
And the dim windows shed a solemn light;
Thy eyes diffus’d a reconciling ray,
And gleams of glory brighten’d all the day.
But now no face divine contentment wears,
‘Tis all blank sadness, or continual tears.
See how the force of others’ pray’rs I try,
(O pious fraud of am’rous charity!)
But why should I on others’ pray’rs depend?
Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend!
Ah let thy handmaid, sister, daughter move,
And all those tender names in one, thy love!
The darksome pines that o’er yon rocks reclin’d
Wave high, and murmur to the hollow wind,
The wand’ring streams that shine between the hills,
The grots that echo to the tinkling rills,
The dying gales that pant upon the trees,
The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze;
No more these scenes my meditation aid,
Or lull to rest the visionary maid.
But o’er the twilight groves and dusky caves,
Long-sounding aisles, and intermingled graves,
Black Melancholy sits, and round her throws
A death-like silence, and a dread repose:
Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene,
Shades ev’ry flow’r, and darkens ev’ry green,
Deepens the murmur of the falling floods,
And breathes a browner horror on the woods.

Yet here for ever, ever must I stay;
Sad proof how well a lover can obey!
Death, only death, can break the lasting chain;
And here, ev’n then, shall my cold dust remain,
Here all its frailties, all its flames resign,
And wait till ’tis no sin to mix with thine.

Ah wretch! believ’d the spouse of God in vain,
Confess’d within the slave of love and man.
Assist me, Heav’n! but whence arose that pray’r?
Sprung it from piety, or from despair?
Ev’n here, where frozen chastity retires,
Love finds an altar for forbidden fires.
I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought;
I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
Now turn’d to Heav’n, I weep my past offence,
Now think of thee, and curse my innocence.
Of all affliction taught a lover yet,
‘Tis sure the hardest science to forget!
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
And love th’ offender, yet detest th’ offence?
How the dear object from the crime remove,
Or how distinguish penitence from love?
Unequal task! a passion to resign,
For hearts so touch’d, so pierc’d, so lost as mine.
Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
How often must it love, how often hate!
How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
Conceal, disdain — do all things but forget.
But let Heav’n seize it, all at once ’tis fir’d;
Not touch’d, but rapt; not waken’d, but inspir’d!
Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
Renounce my love, my life, myself — and you.
Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;
Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
“Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;”
Desires compos’d, affections ever ev’n,
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav’n.
Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
And whisp’ring angels prompt her golden dreams.
For her th’ unfading rose of Eden blooms,
And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes,
For her the Spouse prepares the bridal ring,
For her white virgins hymeneals sing,
To sounds of heav’nly harps she dies away,
And melts in visions of eternal day.

Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
Far other raptures, of unholy joy:
When at the close of each sad, sorrowing day,
Fancy restores what vengeance snatch’d away,
Then conscience sleeps, and leaving nature free,
All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.
Oh curs’d, dear horrors of all-conscious night!
How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight!
Provoking Daemons all restraint remove,
And stir within me every source of love.
I hear thee, view thee, gaze o’er all thy charms,
And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms.
I wake — no more I hear, no more I view,
The phantom flies me, as unkind as you.
I call aloud; it hears not what I say;
I stretch my empty arms; it glides away.
To dream once more I close my willing eyes;
Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise!
Alas, no more — methinks we wand’ring go
Through dreary wastes, and weep each other’s woe,
Where round some mould’ring tower pale ivy creeps,
And low-brow’d rocks hang nodding o’er the deeps.
Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies;
Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find,
And wake to all the griefs I left behind.

For thee the fates, severely kind, ordain
A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain;
Thy life a long, dead calm of fix’d repose;
No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows.
Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow,
Or moving spirit bade the waters flow;
Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiv’n,
And mild as opening gleams of promis’d heav’n.

Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread?
The torch of Venus burns not for the dead.
Nature stands check’d; Religion disapproves;
Ev’n thou art cold — yet Eloisa loves.
Ah hopeless, lasting flames! like those that burn
To light the dead, and warm th’ unfruitful urn.

What scenes appear where’er I turn my view?
The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue,
Rise in the grove, before the altar rise,
Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes.
I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee,
Thy image steals between my God and me,
Thy voice I seem in ev’ry hymn to hear,
With ev’ry bead I drop too soft a tear.
When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
And swelling organs lift the rising soul,
One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight,
Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight:
In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown’d,
While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.

While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
Kind, virtuous drops just gath’ring in my eye,
While praying, trembling, in the dust I roll,
And dawning grace is op’ning on my soul:
Come, if thou dar’st, all charming as thou art!
Oppose thyself to Heav’n; dispute my heart;
Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes
Blot out each bright idea of the skies;
Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears;
Take back my fruitless penitence and pray’rs;
Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode;
Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!

No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll!
Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
Forget, renounce me, hate whate’er was mine.
Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view!)
Long lov’d, ador’d ideas, all adieu!
Oh Grace serene! oh virtue heav’nly fair!
Divine oblivion of low-thoughted care!
Fresh blooming hope, gay daughter of the sky!
And faith, our early immortality!
Enter, each mild, each amicable guest;
Receive, and wrap me in eternal rest!

See in her cell sad Eloisa spread,
Propp’d on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead.
In each low wind methinks a spirit calls,
And more than echoes talk along the walls.
Here, as I watch’d the dying lamps around,
From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound.
“Come, sister, come!” (it said, or seem’d to say)
“Thy place is here, sad sister, come away!
Once like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray’d,
Love’s victim then, though now a sainted maid:
But all is calm in this eternal sleep;
Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep,
Ev’n superstition loses ev’ry fear:
For God, not man, absolves our frailties here.”

I come, I come! prepare your roseate bow’rs,
Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flow’rs.
Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
Where flames refin’d in breasts seraphic glow:
Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay,
And smooth my passage to the realms of day;
See my lips tremble, and my eye-balls roll,
Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
Ah no — in sacred vestments may’st thou stand,
The hallow’d taper trembling in thy hand,
Present the cross before my lifted eye,
Teach me at once, and learn of me to die.
Ah then, thy once-lov’d Eloisa see!
It will be then no crime to gaze on me.
See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
Till ev’ry motion, pulse, and breath be o’er;
And ev’n my Abelard be lov’d no more.
O Death all-eloquent! you only prove
What dust we dote on, when ’tis man we love.

Then too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy,
(That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy)
In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown’d,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round,
From op’ning skies may streaming glories shine,
And saints embrace thee with a love like mine.

May one kind grave unite each hapless name,
And graft my love immortal on thy fame!
Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o’er,
When this rebellious heart shall beat no more;
If ever chance two wand’ring lovers brings
To Paraclete’s white walls and silver springs,
O’er the pale marble shall they join their heads,
And drink the falling tears each other sheds;
Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov’d,
“Oh may we never love as these have lov’d!”

From the full choir when loud Hosannas rise,
And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice,
Amid that scene if some relenting eye
Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie,
Devotion’s self shall steal a thought from Heav’n,
One human tear shall drop and be forgiv’n.
And sure, if fate some future bard shall join
In sad similitude of griefs to mine,
Condemn’d whole years in absence to deplore,
And image charms he must behold no more;
Such if there be, who loves so long, so well;
Let him our sad, our tender story tell;
The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost;
He best can paint ’em, who shall feel ’em most.See More