Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the world's stone-hard heart, again

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?

W. B. Yeats, "Easter, 1916"

Yes, indeed - and it can make a wreck of the body attached to the poor petrified heart.
It seems never to suffice, never, this widening distance between the far country of our desires and the wretched world we have to live in.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

treading softly

Once upon a time, an occasional lover she mistreated somewhat sent her a small, delicate scroll with the following poem painstakingly handwritten in tones of light brown, like faded blood:


Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W. B. Yeats

Yes, she had read the poem numerous times before in books, but never before had she felt so wretched and shaken in her certainties. Maybe it was because all of a sudden she recalled a favourite childhood story, the one where the Fox lectures the Little Prince about the delicate rituals of taming someone:

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . . "

"What must I do, to tame you? asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient," replied the fox. First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . . "

Call it friendship, love... whatever, but it hit her she had never had the patience to tame anyone willing to be tamed - treading softly, sitting a little closer everyday, subtly dispelling deep, ingrained fears, bringing down defences by slow degrees. Everything had always been now or never, now or never.

Shaken by disaster, she would eventually change afterwards, over the years, becoming slower, timid, patient, cautious (overcautious even), and the more so the more she loved and cared for someone. Out of tune with the times, no doubt.

Whether anyone listened or cared for or tamed her in return remains uncertain. Up to this day.