Saturday, 13 September 2008

Reflections on my Beloved's Absence

There once was a woman who was beloved of each one she met, and who brought joy to every one blessed enough to be the recipient of her smile. She moved with an easy grace amongst men, and played muse to their delirious dreams. Each sought to conquer her, and yet all ended conquered. In our cascading procession we presented ourselves as suitors one after another, like the unfolding feathers of a peacock's tail. We invented games for her amusement and arts for her diversion, and crafted all the sciences that we might impress ourselves upon her mind. There was not one of us but tried to demonstrate his superiority in trials of strength or wit, and in this way there was not one of us but became the best iteration of himself for her sake.

Yet at the same time, what fools we were! Such shameless poets' coquettry, such hamfisted boasting was our chosen medium. Never did men seem smaller than they did beside her, their fine accomplishments as candles beside her blazing lantern. When she sang it was the beauty of the forest's silence, and her dancing sent shivers through the spine of the earth. Grown men buckled at the knees under her gaze, as though the shimmer in her eyes might vaporize them. The few who dared to meet even her glances were driven mad, if indeed it were possible for us to be any madder.

But oh what sweet madness! Those who have never felt reason as an oppressor, those who have never known rationality as a simulacrum of death cannot comprehend it. The madness made all things clear. It crept through the mind like the rays of the sun cresting the mountains, and evaporated the mists. It dissolved all accidental forms, pierced all illusions, and laid bare the hearts of men. Odin would give his eye for such madness, Faust gladly bargain his soul to rave with our lunacy.

It's not that there weren't other options. An endless panoply of courtesans of wealth and taste was always present but we, like Sadko, paid them no heed as they passed. What gold could glitter like her flaxen hair? What refinement could compare with she who was mercy itself? We kindled our souls with every trailing ember of her divine spark, and the smoke blinded us to all else.

She is gone now, and we struggle in vain to recollect her name. Perhaps it was religion, or art, or life itself. In any case, all that keeps us alive today is that we once loved her.

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