Wednesday 26 December 2018

A Mirror of Reason

It comes to me like a dream, my dearest one.  In flashes and intimations; faint melodies that seem only half real, more whisper than song.  That faded memory of you.  Sometimes you are a shining thing, bright as dawn, lucid and courageous and the world thinks they know you.  And sometimes you’re just a girl, tending roses in a roof garden.  Just my truest friend, and nobody knows you as I do.  So close we could reach out across the sky until our fingers touched, and they often did.  Sometimes we just sat together, sharing the secret peace between us.  As the city remained loud and ugly beneath.  With you I learned things of friendship that most souls never discover.  Or at least, that's how you made me feel.  Like a prince in his tiny castle high above the city.  A prince who knew a princess that lived just across the way.  A girl full of secrets, with flowers in her hair and magic songs in her heart.  A girl who was kind enough to befriend me.  Yet, darkness found me still.  Those legends, those old tales.  Tales of spirits and demons.  Stories fit only for children and fools, or the mad.  Though we were children ourselves we knew better, didn't we, my love?  We knew better than to cast aside such stories.  Oh, sweetest friend, I pray those dim memories of you are real – that you are more than madness and figment here upon this fractured ice.  Might she kill me if she learns this faintest warmth of you still dwells in me?  Perhaps I’m already dead, a kneeling statue upon a frozen lake.
   Please be real, my love.
   I fear that grandmother knew my fate all along, or else I have been utterly bewitched by this beautiful woman in white.  This slender, glittering thing who controls the flakes and their falling.  I fear I’m fallen too.  Even now there is such distain and dismissal in my breast when I think upon the world.  Even when I think upon you.  But I fight it, my love.  I fight it with every frigid breath, for I know she would turn me against you.  She would turn me against what is left of my own heart.  Oh, my dearest one, what dark magic is this, that has placed me in such purgatory?  She tells me terrible things, you see.  She tells me she is you, but stripped of all tenderness.  Indeed, sometimes when I look into her eyes I see a vision of you there.  But so much colder, like death itself.  Not the warmth and kindness of your soul that I still half remember or imagine.  Perhaps this glittering woman is right.  Perhaps you were nothing but a figment all along.  If so, I cherish you nonetheless.  Sometimes if I look deep enough into her strange eyes I can also catch a glimpse there of something like myself.  And it terrifies me.  Oh God, I fear that I’m both blind and mad.  Yet I dimly recall that once upon a time the world didn’t seem so ugly and ruinous.  Did the sky fall one day, my fading love?  Did it somehow fall when we weren’t looking?  What else could account for such darkness all around?
   But then I gaze above me in this cavernous hall, and lights of all colours dance and climb and fold above me – as though a secret sky hovers near the roof of my prison.  A veil or gate of dreaming light, as grandmother told us once of those lights that dance at the poles of the Earth.  Those dancing colours seem to speak with me.  And for a moment I recall something more than sorrow.
    Sometimes, my love – sometimes I imagine the strangest, most wonderful things.  Even here in my desolation.  I imagine that I am you, and you are me, and that I’m coming to rescue you from this icy chrysalis.  I imagine running to you – I a girl and you a boy – and I embrace you.  And my love for you dissolves your bonds and cures your madness.  We dance, and our love is written in eternity.  In this imagining I gaze at you and see myself, yet I see you also, clearer than ever.  A twin, a flame of equal hallow.  And for a while we hold each other and cannot distinguish who is who in our embrace, and all becomes as summer.  Such strange fancies to entertain here upon this frozen lake.  This fractured mirror of reason, like the blinded eye of God.  And yet, perhaps I’m both fool and child, for I sense you near, and nearer.  More than a figment.  Moving diligent through those fractal ruins that others call the city.  The shriek of crows all about you.  And in your hands a blade bright as the sun.  Is it I who approaches with such a sword, or is it you, my love?  Perhaps we’re both still in the garrets, in our little garden, gazing at one another as our hearts sing and our flowers drink the light.  Perhaps all is dreamtime, and a queen is but a thing we determine in our hearts.  If so, then I determine to dream greater here in this darkness, that this heart may thaw and I might one day crown you with all the stars.  I imagine a vast ring of red flame encircling this great lake, a token of your love whether real or imagined.  And I pray that such a thing might be enough to protect the last holy ember of my rapidly cooling heart.
   A thorn is there, I fear.  Glossy and inhuman, like glass. 
   And so upon this mirror of strange ice I wait, with this puzzle of cognition scattered before me.  If I cannot know the word with my mind, then I determine to know it with that final glowing ember of my heart.  That last ember of you.  The faintest memory of those roses still remind me, even here in my crystalline purgatory.  This black magic shall not claim me.  I refuse.  I resist.  I remember love.  It was real.  You were real.  In our hearts dwell all songs, I think you told me once – the very gates to the Kingdom of Heaven.   I wait for you there, within that last glowing ember.  I pray I will find you there soon, my love, waiting for me in kind.

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