For Lyle (who knew exactly what I meant):
With the Shell of a Hermit Crab
Lugete, O Veneres Cupidinesque. --Catullus
This lovely little life whose toes
Touched the white sand from side to side,
How delicately no one knows,
Crept from his loneliness, and died.
From deep waters long miles away
He wandered, looking for his name,
And all he found was you and me,
A quick life and a candle flame.
Today you happen to be gone.
I sit here in the raging hell,
The city of the dead, alone,
Holding a little empty shell.
I peer into his tiny face.
It looms too huge for me to bear.
Two blocks away the sea gives place
To river. Both are everywhere.
I reach out and flick the light.
Darkly I touch his fragile scars,
So far away, so delicate,
Stars in a wilderness of stars.
--James Wright, 1977
"Why is there no time left to adore each other?"
"The main purpose of this book is to exhibit a fair delineation of the credulity of the human mind. Such an exhibition cannot fail to be productive of the most salutary lessons.
One view of the subject will teach us a useful pride in the abundance of our faculties. Without pride man is in reality of little value. It is pride that stimulates us to all our great undertakings. Without pride, and the secret persuasion of extraordinary talents, what man would take up the pen with a view to produce an important work, whether of imagination and poetry or of profound science, or of acute and subtle reasoning and intellectual anatomy? It is pride in this sense that makes the great general and the consummate legislator, that animates us to tasks the most laborious, and causes us to shrink from no difficulty, and to be confounded and overwhelmed with no obstacle that can be interposed in our path."
--William Godwin, from the preface to Lives of the Necromancers: An Account of the Most Eminent Persons in Successive Ages Who Have Claimed for Themselves or to Whom Has Been Imputed by Others
And the bullshit flags went up?
Of course they did.
What do they call that? Irreconcilable differences?