Icarus Transfigured by m. l. teague (page 79)

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road to mound

Dear Grasshopper,
You can only cry so many tears for the world before you stop asking for a new world and start asking for a new understanding. This is not the truth of a younger man, but the truth of an older one, for the world is a different myth at each stage of life.

We are born trailing Wordsworth’s clouds of glory, though the busy world soon teaches us to forget what we know. We live our middle years in details too serious to see past, but as age creeps up on us, and our impressions of childhood return, the clouds call us steadily back to their bosom. Everything nonessential falls away like dead skin, and we become resigned to our fate: We must return to an Eternity that has no beginning, middle, or end, where the world does not—and never has—existed.

When I awake in the middle of the night, I long for someone to be by my side. I long to touch a warm body in the darkness, and believe what I touch lies beyond the mere body itself. Ideals are our gloves, but what they touch cannot be got at so easily. We wrap flesh and bone around ‘it’, like stories around a campfire, and this suffices to justify our existence: our squandering a toehold on the cusp of it.

Though we die alone, there should be hands to let go of in the closing circle; and as we tear through the lining of our glove to pass back into the Thing we cannot touch, let our goodbyes in the darkness be bright, for the morning we leave behind always belongs to others in the illusion of space and time. ~Omar

         The Balance of Memory

Darkness carpeted the road to the western horizon, though tree branches, covered in icy sheaths, poked up high enough off the shoulders to find a few fingers of light. The effect was one of Christmas trees beckoning stars out of muslin clouds to renew an acquaintance. The out-of-the-way parking space was mostly an excuse for the two to take a leisurely stroll across the meadow to the mound. Elaborate lighting was set up for the New Year’s Eve celebration of opening the lost but found time capsule. A large crowd had assembled for the occasion, and the mayor opened it promptly at seven.

It was stated in the newspaper the container was from the turn of the century, and was fortuitously unearthed on the site of the hospital’s new wing. According to the engraved inscription, the intended date of the capsule’s opening was the fateful month of September, Two-thousand and one; clearly everyone lost track of it.

Following the holiday hoopla, the mysterious contents of the vessel were spread out over two tables for all to file by and see. Bride and groom lingered afterwards in the nightfall to listen to the high school band. Her back was against his chest, with his confident arms folded beneath her bosom. It was cold, and they were underdressed, but it was of little concern.

Aloysius’ happiness was immeasurable. The time capsule contained many relics of a bygone age, but one object piqued his interest. It was the desiccated remains of a stag beetle that somehow got into the airtight container. He knew its meaning was greater than simple curiosity: Omar had collected the last specimen for their bug collection and sent it from the other side.

The couple strayed further into the meadow. The lamplight at their backs faded, and when the line between night sky and ground disappeared, they found a patch of earth suitable to lie on. With fingers entwined in the blowing grass, they looked into the vast heaven burning with stars. The world beneath them spun slowly through the yawning couloir, inching its way back toward God until, once again, it would will itself to dream.

The End.

“The Eternal-Feminine draws us higher.” ~Goethe

Poem for Emma

No Earth or middle distance did I claim, but wandered heavens with starry thoughts.
My youth found no bed among the sprigs or buds; no rest beneath the turning leaves.
What was eager but easily bruised soon fell fallow on the longer steps of age,
And on stonier soil than I might have had, I searched for a place to bury my hope.

A fallen star, half-hidden in shadow, greeted my spade.
I looked back amazed to where the darkness had grown so heavy on my heels;
No footsteps could I find.

There is no past apart from the moment in discovering you.
What seemed a thousand lost opportunities was the ambling way of destiny.
For love is a conversation rejoined, with no other words before it.

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