Hark! Don’t forsake me.
Search for me.
Look down low, in the underbrush.
I will be good for you.
Though I’ve been given just a little of our endless world,
I have the glowing fire of raging cordilleras,
The blazing sunsets of Equatorial skies,
The lustrous skin of succulent citrus.
I am orange truth.
Am I joyful, or am I somber?
Am I radiant, or recoiling?
Do I reach out to you, or do I hide?
Can you tell? Will I decide?
Am I simple, or am I puzzling?
Do I caress you, or keep my distance?
Am I your true love, or just a stranger?
Will you ever know? Will I ever surrender?
Am I warm to you, or cold, impassive?
Do I allow you into me, or elude you?
Will I ever reveal myself to you, or for ever shut you out?
Please don't give up.
Keep looking, stranger, my true love.
Though you are but a stranger to me, I offer you a kiss.
And though I’ve never met you, I know you and what you’re searching.
Look tenderly at me, and you will find it.
It is in me what you, stranger, yearn for most.
I’ll quench your thirst, I’ll satisfy your craving.
For in that great smelter that forged your feet and eyes, was forged the small seed that gave me life.
We’re brethren, stranger. I am you.
'We have a future king to make,'
Said the deep, resounding voice.
'But it is not a proper fit for everyone.
For a king must know first how to obey than to command,
And to abide rather than reign.'
'And thus, I need a volunteer.'
The eager little voices swiftly gathered ‘round.
'To have a throne and my own crown,' said a little voice with delight.
'A great palace for my home,' cried another, 'or a castle with tall ramparts.'
'I’d be above all others,' said yet another, 'that would surely ease one’s comparing mind;'
'And best of all, to be revered by everyone and through all time!'
'Don’t fool yourselves with thrones and crowns,' said a little voice from the side,
'Do not haste into a choice you may regret for all your life!
I’d rather risk oblivion and even want, but be free to choose my fate,
What is precious life for but to discover one’s gift and thirst?
You take that crown and throne, and you forever renounce the greatest prize you own!'
There were no volunteers at hand for that grand, distinguished life.
The once lively little voices now stood silent, with cautious glances in their eyes.
Yet they began to move a little, but not to volunteer their fates;
Someone was slowly coming forward all the way from far behind.
Soon, one single little voice stood ahead of all the others, and with a thoughtful stare, it spoke:
'I overheard a story once
Of a vast and balmy river
That braves across cold, stormy seas
So it can meet a fabled shore
And become one with it.
'Wearied from its long voyage,
It crashes beneath the sheer cliffs.
And as its froth caresses the jagged rocks,
It echoes the green, velvety meadows above
Which gently cuddle the harsh precipice.
'The wee, babe-in-arms coming king
Will hold that fabled shore in him.
For he, though one sole man
Will stand for an entire land.
And in choosing this destiny
Of that fabled shore I also shall be,
For it will be a part of me,
And I, humbly, of it.
'And then, there is the brave lad who in sheer fright,
Gathered all his nerve and leaped into the dark night
Over the unknown enemy’s laird.
Oh, how I would leap into the dark along with thee!
Though he is now long gone, he will live in me,
And I, humbly, in him.
'And the family who huddled deep beneath the ground
Through the terrifying shudder of the enemy’s raging rounds.
Then, to rise again, and not concede.
I was in that shelter along with them,
And so were a million others who were yet to be!
'Such as the young boy now walking to school on a quiet country lane,
To learn his Scott, his Shakespeare, his Milton, and his Keats.
I will follow him close behind, and my own feet shall grow within his footprints.
It takes no less than each of them to make a king,
And not more than lacking one to lessen him.
For a king, though one sole self, stands for all,
And all do stand for him.
'I know that in choosing this path,
I’ll forever relinquish command of my compass,
And may never find out what I could’ve become on my own,
Or what my true talent may be.
I will follow, instead, a course that has long been set,
By others, and not by me.
'But I have a strong hunch
That if I don’t put myself first,
Or what I feel I’m entitled to do and to have,
And choose, instead, to be fair, as best as I possibly can,
To those for whom I’ll be honored to stand,
I’ll eventually know who I really am;
And will meet, one day, the man I am meant to become.'
'Thus, I volunteer
To be the child who’s one day to be king.'
A newborn day blazed in the distance,
And a transformation was about to take place,
As momentous as the invasion of spring,
The rising of the harvest, or a mighty winter gale.
Nearly two thousand babies were coming to life on that land,
From that land, to that land, for that land,
And a single one amongst them exalted all.
Half a world away, a vast and balmy river
Was setting out on its long voyage to a fabled shore,
And nearby, radiant sunlight battled gray, stormy clouds,
So as to break through and paint in brilliant and broad brushstrokes
The lofty Highlands below,
And thus, be reborn as shimmering glens and moors.
It was a sultry summer day,
The air lay thick and still.
The leaves hung flaccid on the trees,
As if slumbering in a deep sleep.
No birds were to be heard
For they were hiding from the heat.
The awful quiet was deafening,
And the utter stillness unrelieved.
She pondered about her life
As she stood silent in the field.
Oh, there is nothing new, she thought,
There is nothing but an interminable ennui.
Immense clouds hung still above her
Like enchanted continents in the sky.
Yet she missed each single one of them,
Her eyes might’ve well been shut.
There was just emptiness, she thought,
And a tedious town, and a hollow life.
Her mind was made up about that place,
She was right, she thought, and she would never budge.
She hardly noticed it at first,
For she was pondering her woes and fears.
It first tickled her earlobe,
Then it softly blew into her ear.
Likely a vexing fly, she thought,
As she swayed her hand next to her head.
But then it fondly stroke her neck,
And slowly crept beneath her dress.
It tenderly caressed her legs
With the subtle touch of a satin sheet.
She scarcely felt it, and then dismissed it,
And returned to tallying her hardships.
But it had come for her, from so far away,
To be so readily refused.
It had rushed across valleys, ascended great mountains,
As only a fervent lover would.
Rejected yet not dismayed,
It refused to be dismissed.
You are my great love, it breathed, and I am yours,
And enwrapped her whole body with bliss.
Seized from her cares, and in extreme delight
She swung her arms open wide.
And as she did, the aged world,
Now a little new, appeared before her eyes.
But the merciful breeze had moved on.
It continued on its broad track.
The lover, foreteller of change,
And defeater of heat and murk.
It almost appears to me to have a face,
Somehow it seems to be attentively looking out,
and quietly considering within.
I am glad our paths crossed,
and I met you.
How could I’ve forgiven myself,
amongst all the vibrant blossoms in the garden,
to have missed you,
so gentle and subtle in your paleness.
For the world’s beauty dwells in paleness, too.
Eternal beauty’s in subtleness and the muted,
In the restrained and the ashen.
It’s in the absent and the hinted.
And missing you would have been,
Like a kind and tender countenance, unseen,
A gentle caress, unnoticed,
A truthful whisper that was missed,
A never received blown kiss.
The end of another day
came to the Ravelston Estate,
and the workers were again
making their way back from the fields.
And in keeping with the hour,
Lord Andrew and cousin Carla
lied ever so very tired
on two overly stuffed divans.
But we shall not assume
those two eminent proprietors
were in any way afar
from the earth and people
who create their abundant wealth.
They now lied in a small island,
an enclosed and luscious little garden
which was at its most pleasant
at the end of summer days.
This brief discourse may seem by all means fantastic,
but it was true.
This young woman, once,
at the tender age of twelve,
was left a lonely orphan in this world,
and the sole heir
to eight hundred thousand acres of rich and fertile land,
eight humble hamlets,
two towns of consequence,
four great and ancient halls,
five noble ghosts,
three of the largest rivers in the land,
two lofty peaks,
and a holy abbey of barefoot nuns.
In this immense area of land
worked thousands of living, breathing, feeling human beings,
helping to create for this single person
a wealth so enormous
that its measure remained a mystery,
yet was carefully and daily overseen
by an army of managers, accountants, and esquires.
Everything that Jane could see beyond the gate
was dried up and dead,
as far as she could see!
The lofty trees had all their leaves,
but they were black and withered.
The once graceful branches
were tangled and twisted.
There was no living thing in sight,
not even birds flew above the inert land.
Only the wind was heard by Jane,
and nothing else!
And permeating all of it,
was a foul odor of rot and death.
“How can this be?”
she asked herself,
“Only a gate apart,
a single wall away,
there is such abundant life,
and here all is dead.”
“There is no incident of nature that could have caused this!”
It couldn’t have been a drought, she thought,
for it had rained the night before,
nor could it have been a fire.
The earth was dead below her feet
and also all which was above it.
Yet, she could not help but see,
the beauty of the shape of the sprawling landscape—
The carefully trimmed and winding bushes,
the newly planted flower beds,
the elegantly lined and soaring oaks and pines
which once adorned the royal Promenade.
They were all dead, though.
As if a furious ghost had passed above this place at its full prime,
and smothered in one instant all its life,
and left it still and desolate.