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Completely Brand New

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In those early days of curiosity, when not everything is known, while he sat across her having coffee, he asked,“so, what was he like?”

She looked at him, took off her spectacles and rubbed her eyes. “You know darling, I read a quote a while ago. It said – I know that’s what people say – you’ll get over it. I’d say that too. But I know it’s not true. Oh, you’ll be happy again, never fear. But you won’t forget. Every time you fall in love it will be because something in the man reminds you of him.”

She leaned forward and held his hand.

“I know I have been mean to you, I know I have been distant and sometimes I have been just very cold. And you have been so patient with me, you have been around and I like that you have been around, it is nice and warm and soft and I love that which we have right now, I love that which we are trying to build together.

And I know you care for me, maybe not so much as you will in the future, but right now in your own manner and measure you do. And it is because of this caring that I am asking you to never ask me that question again.

Firstly, because I don’t remember, secondly because I do not want to remember.

I want this what we have between us to be fresh, I want it to be free from any past prints, I want it to be completely brand new. I want to fall in love with you from the beginning, from the start, from the first page.”

What they say and what they don’t

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They say a lot of things you know. They want to make us believe that we are living, that we are existing in the worst of times. That we are all disconnected, masked from reality by the veil of technology. What we read, what we see, what we hear, what we feel is not first hand, it is derivative. They say it is a bad time to be alive in. They say mankind was better before. They say this is how the world is going to end, each one of us so deluded by our own narcissism that we will choose nihilism over meaning.

Like I said, they say a lot of things.

I don’t like what they say, and I refuse to believe that life is a hopeless pursuit of consequence. No. It is not so. The simplicity of the entire affair cannot be missed, be looked over. Everywhere around us, every single time, in every thought, in every action, in every interaction there bubbles that indomitable spirit of significance. You feel it as you go through your daily day shaping your own essence, deriving your purpose, finding your way.

At night, after 24 hours well spent or not, you collapse in your bed aware of the worth of your creation. Or maybe not. Maybe you are too happy just being. That is a good way to go to bed too. Or maybe you are too sad. It didn’t turn out all that well. That’s all right, you know. That’s just probability. It happens some days. It’s fine really.

They don’t tell you all this. They don’t speak about the moments that fill your spirit with beauty, a force so strong that you know anything is possible. They don’t speak about that unadulterated smile, they don’t speak about that true touch, they don’t speak about that candid opinion, they don’t speak about that sincere approach.

They suck.

Don’t listen to them.

A careful sail

Lovers

It was the start of something new, it was the end of something old.

Two broken-had-been-lovers trying to belong again.

It was beautiful and it was sad.

There were echoes of past stories in their new conversations. Both were happy but neither knew how to feel about this new happiness – to hold it with care or to just glide with it. It was the start of something new. It was the end of something old. 


In response to today’s DailyPost Prompt

The fearless lightness of being

I have a friend with a beautiful name. Maya, she is called. I really like Maya because unlike most people Maya does not understand the concept of fear. Therefore in the most orthodox of the settings in my country she can be herself – calm and composed. Also unlike most other people Maya does not let gender creep into her daily train of thoughts. She thinks without keeping the fact in my mind that she is a woman.

Why should one keep their gender in mind while thinking about things you ask?

That is how it is in my country – if you are a girl you are constantly reminded of it every single time you breathe. That is how it is.

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Maya called me last month. She said – you know something strange happened. I asked her – how was your trip, she was travelling you see, Maya loves to travel. She said – the trip was soul soothing, I was living in the present after such a long time, not once did I look at my phone, I forgot time. We just were. It was a time of extravagant delight. 

I love when she talks like that. It is live heaven on earth, she can make you feel that. I asked – what was the strange thing that happened? 

She said – On the way back, I had to catch a train from one of those really small railway stations, you know the ones from the movies of the ’70s – desolated platforms, poorly built. It was raining, and it wasn’t that big a station, there were just four train tracks and two platforms. Platform number one was well built with seating spaces, platform two was under construction. A white over-bridge connected the two platforms. It was raining lightly, the sky was gray, the station looked washed, I was walking on the bridge dragging my one bag, dressed in a long flowing dress and I thought to myself what a perfect place to smoke. But it was raining, and I couldn’t open my umbrella with all the luggage, so I decided I would get to platform two, find a secluded corner and light one. 

Now then I descend on platform two, there are a few people around, some are staring at me, but I really don’t care, all I want to do is take in this beautiful scene in my head with a smoke, so I walk to the farther end of the station, I walk in the rain to where a father and daughter are sitting. I ask them if it would be a problem if I smoked, the father is just staring at me, the girl, not believing what she just heard, says – yeah, no it will not be a problem. 

So I light my smoke, and I am looking into the distance and I am thinking it can’t get more perfect when these bunch of kids join the father and daughter. There are two boys and two girls and they look at me and start to talk about smoking and I almost roll my eyes. The weather and the setting is too good and I rarely get annoyed, this line of their conversation is not even amusing, it is just cliched, the world is a little like that isn’t it – repetitive in it’s conclusions? 

While she is telling me her story, I can imagine her in a long flowing blue dress on a freshly washed station smoking a cigarette like they are meant to be smoked, just being herself – tall, beautiful, a work of art.

The kids then start discussing about which trips are the best to have – an only boys trip, an only girls trip or a mixed group trip. The girls said all girls trips are fun. This one boy said – all girls trips cannot be fun, too many restrictions come into picture, you cannot visit certain places, you have to get back in early, there is that safety issue. Listening to him, the girls gave a weird look. Listening to him I laughed in my head. I do not know who I felt more bad for – the women who were being brainwashed or this young man who thought in this fearful practical way about the world around us. 

I understand where Maya is going with this. Still, I wait for her to say it –

Darling, she says, people live in so much fear. And they are not even aware of it. Before they can act they are conscious of their sex, of their place in society, of the rules which tell them how to behave, of the constructs which shape their reality. How does one breathe in so much senseless noise? How does one live by decree? 

I cannot live like this, she continues.

You do not live like this, I tell her.

250 Serendipity Repost

250 – Serendipity 

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I always thought no matter what happened I’d always have you. This belief was like an anchor that kept me grounded through every storm. Friends could let me down, boys would come and go, but you’d always be my person.

I don’t know what to think anymore.

I have never felt so loved yet so alone. Life has never been better but I don’t know how to be happy. Everything feels meaningless now. I don’t know what is the point of it all. I don’t know how to love the way I used to. You said it was stupid, the way I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I have tried your version of love, careful calculated passion, turns out I am no good at it. I’ve always been bad at math.

Do you ever wonder how many steps back you’d have to take for life to be the way it should? What if you never went to that party? What if you never kissed that stranger? What if he never crawled into your bed? What if? What if? What if I can’t fix anything? What if I’ve fucked it all up and it’s broken forever? What if? What if?

What if I miss you so much it feels like I’m dying?

I wish we could skip to the ending so I could stop reliving the past, replaying the events of that night over and over in my head, trying to work out where I went wrong. I wish you had called and said happy birthday, and we could pretend for one day that everything was normal again. Then maybe we’d keep pretending. But it’s too late, it’s all worthless now, and I wish I was dead.

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Like the people who put a smile on your face every time you think about them. Like the doers, the creators, the hustlers, the artists, the rule-breakers, the rule-makers. Like the people who have fire in their eyes and who work through their dreams. Seek them and they shall find you. I like being around people who make me like myself a little better, a sense of camaraderie established from the way we see the world, from the way we want to change the world. A good man once told me it is the quality of time spent that matters, quantity is irrelevant. A brilliant woman said the same, showed me the same last night. Last night was perfect in every way you would expect a night to go with an old friend. You are great, brilliant woman.

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Image link – here

Bob Marley – Only once in your life

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Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you.

When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.

The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you.

You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.

― Bob Marley


Image Link – here

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Many years from today I will meet you in some crowded street, only I hope I do not see you amongst people, I hope it is an empty café and I am sitting in corner having a coffee, smoking a cigarette and reading a book when suddenly I look up and see you on the other side, just as you have seen me suddenly and in a flash, recognition will hit and a flood of memories will fill the space between us and my eyes will light up and seeing their shine you will smile and you will get up and walk towards a happy perfect past and I will be sitting in my chair looking at you beaming as you close the distance between us.

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1571 miles away or still at home, when your heart breaks, the hurt shows in your eyes and you end up at some god forsaken cheap bar at the other side of town, drunk on sorrow and pain, lock yourself up in the washroom and scream so loudly that no one can hear you. You cry the whole way back in the cab, just sitting there looking at the city pass by , not thinking, just feeling the hollow in your chest and letting the tears run across your face. People don’t matter then, you don’t care how it looks, you are done being brave. Heart breaks are tricky affairs. Never again.

It is easier to remain friends when one is younger

As we grow, we become occupied in becoming the centers of our own universes, I often say this. Every passing day of adult life, I find more evidence to reaffirm this notion. It was simpler you know, when we were younger, when we could share and talk and take a genuine interest in the lives of others. Growing up just complicates things. It becomes difficult to tell your friends about your life. Then you think perhaps you should move to a different circle of friends. Then you move, but oh look now you have drifted through too many circles – who are your friends, where are your friends?

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What I am going to remember of this time, right now in my life, is how much I liked it, how much I enjoy it, how much I wish the day had 36 hours and that all my days, well most of my days in the future could be the same – just lazying around, thinking, doing the thing I like the most, walking, writing … just simply being.

I am over a 1000 miles from where my home is right now and I am also over a 1000 miles away from my old thoughts and my old ways of thinking. They don’t really matter that much now. Yes, it took me over 1000 miles to see myself better, and for that heart ache to stop.

We are a little funny sometimes, us, people, me – so sure of ourselves while doing what we do, while doing what we can. I know I am not sure about a lot of things, and I am sure of that. You will say this is just a case of that odd semantic, I would say this is a laughing matter.

Walking to work, ordering lunch, walking to buy evening groceries, running in over 35 degrees, reading before sleeping, cooking in the morning, and then getting ready, all this while talking to those few who only care, who truly care, yes that is how life is right now, and I, and I, and I, I breathe easy.


In response to today’s WordPress Prompt

On understanding and connections

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Sometimes I think my writings have been written just for that one reader, who is me. There have been those times when the words of the people passed and people alive have not been able to comfort me, in such times I have gone back to my creations and they have offered me a warm hug of solace and understanding. Sometimes I think everything that I have written has been for my future self to read and to feel, and to know that there is hope, that there is beauty in life, that all is not lost and that in those alone moments where no one can understand you, you have words from your best love, you have words from yourself.

Thoughts are powerful, they literally shape your life. This is not a new secret. It has been around for ages. Your life is also shaped by where you live and who you surround yourself with. But most importantly your life is shaped by your will to live. Life altering thoughts have to be willed. In order to have that one day which will decide the rest of the course of your limited existence, you have to have the will to kick yourself out of bed and you have to choose, you have to decide. I find this power of choice both liberating and overwhelming. Being aware of the choice does not necessarily guarantee a change, choice followed by action does. Every thought which has not been acted upon is wasted.

This brings me to another aspect which has been haunting my moods in the empty time to myself between the chores of daily life. I realize how different I am from everyone else, and how similar too. But the differences are glaring and the similarities much wanted. No one understands me. No one can. Very few come from the same kind of place and their processing is limited to their experiences. And perhaps I am beginning to think that happiness or that general feel good thing about life is about understanding and being understood.

Thank you dear writers, dead and alive

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Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Words of those far away, both in space and time, more often than not give you the much needed sense in this vile comatose age. How comforting it is to be in bed and to read the thoughts of those who lived in another time and with great foresight left us seeds of hope to plant in our dried up souls.

Thank you dear writers, dead and alive, for you bring to me what is amiss in humanity around me.

Translate

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“Because it is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words that will unlock the doors of all those many mansions inside the head and express something – perhaps not much, just something – of the crush of information that presses in on us from the way a crow flies over and the way a man walks and the look of a street and from what we did one day a dozen years ago. Words that will express something of the deep complexity that makes us precisely the way we are, from the momentary effect of the barometer to the force that created men distinct from trees. Something of the inaudible music that moves us along in our bodies from moment to moment like water in a river. Something of the spirit of the snowflake in the water of the river. Something of the duplicity and the relativity and the merely fleeting quality of all this. Something of the almighty importance of it and something of the utter meaninglessness. And when words can manage something of this, and manage it in a moment, of time, and in that same moment, make out of it all the vital signature of a human being – not of an atom, or of a geometrical diagram, or of a heap of lenses – but a human being, we call it poetry.”
― Ted Hughes


In response to today’s Daily WordPress Prompt

A very short horror story – Blank Stare

Once,  when she was a young child, Katherine stared too long in the mirror. Looking deep into her own eyes, she climbed into her soul and could never really make it out. After that day, whenever Katherine stands in front of mirror, she sees a blank space. She sees no reflection, neither of herself nor of her soul.

When she is tired

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Sometimes when she is tired, really tired, tired of the world and its pretenses, tired of the humanity and the rat-race, tired of having a good time and living a good life, tired of doing the right thing over and over and over again, every single day, every single hour, tired of  all the struggle, tired of all the pain she has said good bye too, tired of being strong, those times, Miriam Chako wishes he was around, she wishes that he would keep his shoulder around her and hold her, her hair would be on his chest and they would not speak, he would just hold her, and everything, every single thing would be alright.


Supplement this with the reading Miriam Chako and the mistake

 

Alone-ness

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“Perhaps only people who are capable of real togetherness have that look of being alone in the universe. The others have a certain stickiness, they stick to the mass.”
– D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover


The painting is called Trouble. It is by Ron Hicks.

Just a quick question –

Hey guys,

I am working on a piece on anxiety. And it would be super great if you could spare some time and just leave a comment below telling me how do you deal with it. Looking forward to your responses.

hugs, kisses and all nice things
Pecs

Travel tomorrow, to live today

Read : To all those who are sure of themselves. 

One doesn’t need to travel to open one’s mind, but traveling does open one’s mind. Moving away from the comforts of your immediate mental constructs, once you are on the road, you see the expanse of the world stretching along its paths newer ways of understanding life. Because no matter in which direction you move, there exists life which you have not seen, there exists life even without you ever have being.

How foolish it is then to think that one knows everything, that one has thought all that can be thought and that this is just how things are, how can they be different from what I already know. But my dear fellow, what do you know? You, who lives, in the narrow confines of diminishing meaning mistaking monotony for reality, you who has traded growth of mind for an illusion of security, you who laughs at any new exposure – mocking it, belittling it while clutching to the safety of your limited biases, yes you, tell me, what do you know?

Not much, you must admit. And therefore, my dear friend, this is where I must pull you aside, take your hands and give you my words – don’t settle. Not yet. Don’t settle for a reality decided for you by your immediate surroundings. Lift up your soul and walk towards others. Learn, see, be open. Love, laugh and live. Don’t get too comfortable in your own skin. Instead let differences mess with your mind, question what you know, doubt what you believe. Get out there and witness this multitudinal existence of being.

Don’t settle. Not yet. Not when you know that there are 7 billion other human-beings on this planet. These 7 billion people are living in over 200 different countries. And that is them doing this just now. Before there were fewer beings, and they have lived on, in future it is highly likely there will be more people and they shall carry on. Without you. So, while you are here, if you have not seen all that there is to see, then tell me what is the point to be?

The point is that of vantage. Every time you step into the shoes of a new man, you will attain the point of vantage. And you will see there is a delicate coherence in seemingly divergent independents. People everywhere are just the same. We all hate the same things – hypocrisy, lies, double standards, laziness, lack of spirit, lack of interesting things to say, suffering, misery, disease. We all love the same things – honesty, kindness, courage, bravery, simplicity, humility, compassion, hope, dreams. We all want the same things – a purpose, some meaning, few dollars, some success, a nice little house, good coffee, red wine, delicious food and someone to care.

There then now you know –  all of life’s meaning lies in the simple fact –  to live today, you must travel tomorrow.


Note – The second paragraph turns ironically meta – the narrator uses mockery against people who mock.

Kite Notes

Read : This is an open envelope to all those rebuilding themselves 

As individuals, we have grown up to be so by ourselves, liking the time spent in adding meaning to our daily existence that any kind of encroachment on this personal space induces a reluctance to interact, a reluctance which borders on repulsion. This form of independence of thought, space, and time, I know not, whether is the way to search for meaning but it certainly is life-affirming.  Any further attempt to expand thereupon would undermine the brevity of thought of the two lines. This thought ends here.

So hurt she was by all that had transpired that every time she subconsciously tried to try again she felt like she way playing with fire. Heart-breaks can be nasty business. Trying again puts you in a world of uncertainty, predictability and anticipation. To deal with these one requires courage, perhaps she had lost all of hers, it requires patience, maybe patience was her shield against the realities of her daily life,  it requires hope and as we know she had lost all of hers, a long time ago.

Did she want to try again and feel? She wished she knew. Her spirit had aged and it had become numb. It would require more than an answer for her to become one again. It would need a reconstruction. She would have to be built again. From scratch. And that takes time.

So she taps into her reservoir of patience and places herself before all else. For once, justice shall be done. For once, the world will get it right. And if the price to pay is to be by herself, then this thought ends here.


Note on Kite What I really like about the above composition is its being concise, connected and complete. 

Looks do matter

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From here

Dear ugly girl with a beautiful sister,

Everyone is not beautiful.
And of course looks do matter.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

And now that she is growing up and she is just going to get more beautiful. And since you are going to be around her, people are always going to draw comparisons, relatives are going to remark about your plainness, they are going to feel bad for you, boys are going to pay more attention to her, she will always be the first choice, her beauty will be revered and you are going to be side-lined. It is going to get tough and it is going to get worse, and don’t let any one else console you otherwise.

And you might suffer feelings worse than low self-esteem.
Yup, it is going to be horrible. Just horrible.

But then hopefully, maybe, maybe you will find yourself in a place where you will see that such subjective concepts as beauty do not really matter. Maybe you will have multiple paradigm shifts and you will realize that there is more to life than just being beautiful. Maybe you will meet wonderful people who will show that life is about learning, exploring, having fun, a few good friends, creating, and giving back to society. Maybe you will travel and meet new people who will be fascinated by the stories you tell them, or who will like you not for your looks but for your words, or for how well you play the guitar or how melodious you sound, or for how kind you are. Maybe you will study in a place where you will find brilliant people who are doing everything they can to change the world.

Maybe you will read, and read a lot and find out for yourself about the conventional and societal constructs of beauty and how the definitions of beauty vary from culture to culture, place to place, and you will realize how futile this beauty business is. Maybe you will think and you will conclude that esteem isn’t a byproduct of looks, but it is an amalgamation of real-deep virtues.

I hope you meet wonderful people and go to faraway places and fill your life with beautiful experiences and then, for yourself, find out that there is just so, so, so much more to life than looks and clothes and money.

I am not really that beautiful, or pretty. I have been surrounded by beautiful women all my life. And sure, there have been instances when men have paid more attention to these beautiful women than to me. Do I feel bad? Absolutely not. Do I feel jealous? Why should I? I really do not see why my sense of worth should be defined by those around me. I have dated some of the most handsome men in my circles, and the way they have looked at me has made me feel beautiful and loved and wanted. I have met their hot ex-s, and never have I felt insecure. Insecurity, you will learn if you choose to think, is a state of mind and nothing else.

See, the point is, it is your life, and it is your choice on how you handle it. You could either feel sorry for yourself, and be depressed and live in a way the society thinks ugly and/or fat people should live, or you could go out there and experience life, embrace it in its entirety and create for your own self a world which is the envy of others.

From,
Another plain girl

Different beds

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Ron Hicks – After the bath

I am 31 and I don’t remember how many beds I have slept in throughout my life. You know how people always look forward going back to their homes, so that they can get back to their rooms and sleep in their own beds, and wake up to familiarity. Well, I don’t know what they mean when they say that. I have slept in so many different beds, in so many different places, and woken up to so many different settings, that sometimes now, when I get up, I forget where I am. Sometimes I even forget who I am.

It is a novel feeling.

Don’t get me wrong. It is not like I don’t have a bed. I do have a bed and I do have a home. The bed is mine, in a manner of ownership, but I don’t really own it, because I hardly lie in it. It lies there, in my home, night after night, it just lies there, neatly made covered with an expensive sheet it just lies there, empty. Night after night.

The bed that I am sleeping in these days, it is not mine. I don’t own it, the pillows it has are not mine, the sheets are. I do not look forward to getting into it at the end of my grueling days. You know it sucks, having that feeling taken away from you, that feeling of looking forward to crawling under the sheets into your own bed. I do not know that feeling and I do not look forward to getting into the bed that I sleep in these days. But then this is the only bed that I have, and for the days to come, until I get into another, this bed, I suppose, is mine.

Looking for something more long-term

Today Ann is in the mall, walking down the corridor of beauty parlors and salons. Her hair has been acting up lately, it has become dry – from the tips to the roots, as well as her scalp, her scalp has become dry too.

Ann does not like the things she cannot manage, every night before she sleeps she applies five different kinds of lotions, and shampoos and conditioners, and sprays and serums so that she can have the perfect hair the next morning. She must do it the previous night, every single time, because her hair is so unmanageable, she can never ever just wash it and let it dry out in the outside world. Because only she knows what she looks like in that time between when her is wet just after the shower and when it is completely dry. That in-between time is a secret that has been kept away from everyone, even her friends and boyfriends. That is why sometimes they think she is a little eccentric, but then, she is kind, so it really doesn’t matter.

What Ann hates about making her hair perfect is that she has to go through a tedious process every time she has to wash them. Every single time. She hates that. It is such a grand waste of time, she thinks. Every other day one cannot spend three to four hours just on their hair. No. There has to be a better solution, there has to be something that lasts long, really long.

So, she walks into the first salon she sees. For perfect hair, for the perfect you, reads the display of this salon. The salon people, the saloners, smile at her, greet her as she walks in. They ask her if she would you like to have a coffee ma’am, should they get her some juice. Yes, they know Ann at this salon. She is a regular.

Ann sits down with the head hair expert lady saloner.

What would you want to get done today Ann?

I want my hair done perfectly.

We can go in for your regular routine. Or you could try the new treatment which Lo’real has just released. Keratine Intense, it is called.

How long with this new treatment last?

2 to 3 months, followed by the usual touch-ups.

Do you have something that will last longer?

There is the botanical oils treatment. It will last around 6 months, but you will have to be in the parlour every month to back it up.

Still longer?

How long you do want it to last Ann?

Well, forever sounds about right.

The head hair lady saloner expert smiled.

No, we don’t have anything for that. But the Keratine Intense treatment should do you wonders for about 3 months. Shall we start it then?

No, said Ann and she got up and walked out.

The next salon display read – care for hair that lasts long. Ann smiled. Maybe this is it, she thought. She sat down with the head hair expert man saloner and went through the same exact conversation.

Don’t you have something more long term?

Your base genetic structure cannot be altered Ann. Your hair will remain how they are naturally. Nothing can be done about them.

So what are all these treatments that you so religiously recommend?

You want to know the truth?

Yes.

Quick fixes. That is what they are. Instant solutions.

Ah, I see.

Should we start with the protein treatment then?

No, said Ann, I am looking for something permanent, I am looking for something long-term. And she walked out.

She met Adam the same night. They had drinks. She told him of the saloners and of their quick fixes. Adam smiled.

Do you want to know the truth Ann?

Yes, Adam.

Adam lit a cigarette.

Look around you Ann, look at the society we live in. You want to lose weight, you go on a diet. You want perfect skin, you take a facial. You want good hair, you go to the parlour. You have a deadline to meet, you spend the entire previous night working. You like a guy, you sleep with him on the first date. It is not working out, you end it and you move on and you try again. It still doesn’t work out? You end it. You tell yourself that next time it will last. But how will it if you don’t stay?

We are living in a society of quick fixes. We are living in a society that seeks instant gratification. Managers are worried about their quarterly numbers. They don’t give a shit about the long-term growth prospects or the environment implications of their decisions. Everybody wants quick results. Now, I want this now! How can we ever achieve permanence like this? How can we ever built something long term like this?

Take your problem. You want good hair. Eat right, every day, every single meal of every day. Work-out. Meditate. Read. Research. Learn. Introspect. Reflect. Keep it natural. Do this for a month, then a month more, then a few years. You will have absolutely gorgeous hair. It is rather obvious is it not? Permanence is a continuance not an end result. It requires effort, it needs patience.

Triggers of Nostalgia

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I am standing in front of the mirror combing my hair, when suddenly I go back three years – I am in your bedroom, standing in front of the mirror, combing my hair and you are standing nearby, your hands folded, you are looking at me, and you are smiling. You look perfect, you say. I smile, you are so perfect, I think.

I am walking back from class and it is raining outside, the smell of earth after rain, petrichor it is called, hits me and I go back five years – we are walking towards the cafe, hand in hand, it has just rained, the smell of earth after rain is all around us, it is a perfect evening and I am with a man who will break my soul in a few months.

A handsome man held the door for me today, I smiled at him and said thank you, and there I am, an year back in time – I am standing at your door saying goodbye and you are not listening because you want to kiss me, and then we are kissing, at your door, your shirt still unbuttoned, we get in the lift and we are kissing, we are on the ground floor now, it is time for me to go, you are smiling at me and I am looking at you.

I am sitting at a bar with my friends, we are drinking and it is a jolly night. Someone cracks a joke, and I am with you six months ago – we are laughing and drinking and smoking and drinking some more, the waiters love us, we order some more, our favorite pastry, and then we talk, and then I shout and then you laugh, and man that was fun.

I am coming back from a football match, it is late in the night. There is a man walking in front of me, and he is wearing red color studs and I go back to nine years ago – I am the new girl in school, we are 17, you are the soccer star and I am the brainy girl, we are so young and naive and I blush when I find you staring at me in class, and you blush back, there is that day when we are all alone in the class, and you tell me you have a match and I wish you luck, I kiss you on the cheek and you are red in face. Ah, so young we were.

I am trying to cancel an online order, my net connection is a little weak, and I think of the book you ordered for me, gift wrapped with a note, and the care you took for the message to be precise enough to be flirty and concise enough to be harmless, in case the parcel was received by someone else. You had touched my heart then, and I had fallen in love with you.

I am walking down the wing, I see the cleaning lady’s stuff outside one of the rooms, and I think how different it was in my previous hostel, where we had to clean our room ourselves, there was the cleaning staff but all they cleaned was the hostel outside the rooms and I think of how shabby our rooms used to be and then I remember – I remember that one night in your shabby room with its messy bed and messier table, I remember I was wearing a skirt you liked and that we were standing in front of the mirror, you and me and we were looking at us, together as a couple, so hot, so young, so perfect, in the mirror. It was just a reflection, of our true lives. A rather misleading reflection.

Democracy – Leonard Cohen

“Democracy”

It’s coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It’s coming from the feel
that this ain’t exactly real,
or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It’s coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don’t pretend to understand at all.
It’s coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin’
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
It’s here the family’s broken
and it’s here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we’ll be making love again.
We’ll be going down so deep
the river’s going to weep,
and the mountain’s going to shout Amen!
It’s coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on …

I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can’t stand the scene.
And I’m neither left or right
I’m just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I’m junk but I’m still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

 

Goblin Men

midnight_main

Here is a classic by Christina Rossetti. I came across this one while watching Midnight. Midnight is the tenth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was first broadcast on BBC One on 14 June 2008. David Tennant, plays the Doctor in this one. It is quite an episode.


Goblin Market
BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”
Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.
“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”
Lizzie cover’d up her eyes,
Cover’d close lest they should look;
Laura rear’d her glossy head,
And whisper’d like the restless brook:
“Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.”
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat’s face,
One whisk’d a tail,
One tramp’d at a rat’s pace,
One crawl’d like a snail,
One like a wombat prowl’d obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry.
She heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather.
Laura stretch’d her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.
Backwards up the mossy glen
Turn’d and troop’d the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry,
“Come buy, come buy.”
When they reach’d where Laura was
They stood stock still upon the moss,
Leering at each other,
Brother with queer brother;
Signalling each other,
Brother with sly brother.
One set his basket down,
One rear’d his plate;
One began to weave a crown
Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
(Men sell not such in any town);
One heav’d the golden weight
Of dish and fruit to offer her:
“Come buy, come buy,” was still their cry.
Laura stared but did not stir,
Long’d but had no money:
The whisk-tail’d merchant bade her taste
In tones as smooth as honey,
The cat-faced purr’d,
The rat-faced spoke a word
Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;
One parrot-voiced and jolly
Cried “Pretty Goblin” still for “Pretty Polly;”—
One whistled like a bird.
But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste:
“Good folk, I have no coin;
To take were to purloin:
I have no copper in my purse,
I have no silver either,
And all my gold is on the furze
That shakes in windy weather
Above the rusty heather.”
“You have much gold upon your head,”
They answer’d all together:
“Buy from us with a golden curl.”
She clipp’d a precious golden lock,
She dropp’d a tear more rare than pearl,
Then suck’d their fruit globes fair or red:
Sweeter than honey from the rock,
Stronger than man-rejoicing wine,
Clearer than water flow’d that juice;
She never tasted such before,
How should it cloy with length of use?
She suck’d and suck’d and suck’d the more
Fruits which that unknown orchard bore;
She suck’d until her lips were sore;
Then flung the emptied rinds away
But gather’d up one kernel stone,
And knew not was it night or day
As she turn’d home alone.
Lizzie met her at the gate
Full of wise upbraidings:
“Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;
Should not loiter in the glen
In the haunts of goblin men.
Do you not remember Jeanie,
How she met them in the moonlight,
Took their gifts both choice and many,
Ate their fruits and wore their flowers
Pluck’d from bowers
Where summer ripens at all hours?
But ever in the noonlight
She pined and pined away;
Sought them by night and day,
Found them no more, but dwindled and grew grey;
Then fell with the first snow,
While to this day no grass will grow
Where she lies low:
I planted daisies there a year ago
That never blow.
You should not loiter so.”
“Nay, hush,” said Laura:
“Nay, hush, my sister:
I ate and ate my fill,
Yet my mouth waters still;
To-morrow night I will
Buy more;” and kiss’d her:
“Have done with sorrow;
I’ll bring you plums to-morrow
Fresh on their mother twigs,
Cherries worth getting;
You cannot think what figs
My teeth have met in,
What melons icy-cold
Piled on a dish of gold
Too huge for me to hold,
What peaches with a velvet nap,
Pellucid grapes without one seed:
Odorous indeed must be the mead
Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink
With lilies at the brink,
And sugar-sweet their sap.”
Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other’s wings,
They lay down in their curtain’d bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fall’n snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipp’d with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars gaz’d in at them,
Wind sang to them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapp’d to and fro
Round their rest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Lock’d together in one nest.
Early in the morning
When the first cock crow’d his warning,
Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,
Laura rose with Lizzie:
Fetch’d in honey, milk’d the cows,
Air’d and set to rights the house,
Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,
Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,
Next churn’d butter, whipp’d up cream,
Fed their poultry, sat and sew’d;
Talk’d as modest maidens should:
Lizzie with an open heart,
Laura in an absent dream,
One content, one sick in part;
One warbling for the mere bright day’s delight,
One longing for the night.
At length slow evening came:
They went with pitchers to the reedy brook;
Lizzie most placid in her look,
Laura most like a leaping flame.
They drew the gurgling water from its deep;
Lizzie pluck’d purple and rich golden flags,
Then turning homeward said: “The sunset flushes
Those furthest loftiest crags;
Come, Laura, not another maiden lags.
No wilful squirrel wags,
The beasts and birds are fast asleep.”
But Laura loiter’d still among the rushes
And said the bank was steep.
And said the hour was early still
The dew not fall’n, the wind not chill;
Listening ever, but not catching
The customary cry,
“Come buy, come buy,”
With its iterated jingle
Of sugar-baited words:
Not for all her watching
Once discerning even one goblin
Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;
Let alone the herds
That used to tramp along the glen,
In groups or single,
Of brisk fruit-merchant men.
Till Lizzie urged, “O Laura, come;
I hear the fruit-call but I dare not look:
You should not loiter longer at this brook:
Come with me home.
The stars rise, the moon bends her arc,
Each glowworm winks her spark,
Let us get home before the night grows dark:
For clouds may gather
Though this is summer weather,
Put out the lights and drench us through;
Then if we lost our way what should we do?”
Laura turn’d cold as stone
To find her sister heard that cry alone,
That goblin cry,
“Come buy our fruits, come buy.”
Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit?
Must she no more such succous pasture find,
Gone deaf and blind?
Her tree of life droop’d from the root:
She said not one word in her heart’s sore ache;
But peering thro’ the dimness, nought discerning,
Trudg’d home, her pitcher dripping all the way;
So crept to bed, and lay
Silent till Lizzie slept;
Then sat up in a passionate yearning,
And gnash’d her teeth for baulk’d desire, and wept
As if her heart would break.
Day after day, night after night,
Laura kept watch in vain
In sullen silence of exceeding pain.
She never caught again the goblin cry:
“Come buy, come buy;”—
She never spied the goblin men
Hawking their fruits along the glen:
But when the noon wax’d bright
Her hair grew thin and grey;
She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn
To swift decay and burn
Her fire away.
One day remembering her kernel-stone
She set it by a wall that faced the south;
Dew’d it with tears, hoped for a root,
Watch’d for a waxing shoot,
But there came none;
It never saw the sun,
It never felt the trickling moisture run:
While with sunk eyes and faded mouth
She dream’d of melons, as a traveller sees
False waves in desert drouth
With shade of leaf-crown’d trees,
And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze.
She no more swept the house,
Tended the fowls or cows,
Fetch’d honey, kneaded cakes of wheat,
Brought water from the brook:
But sat down listless in the chimney-nook
And would not eat.
Tender Lizzie could not bear
To watch her sister’s cankerous care
Yet not to share.
She night and morning
Caught the goblins’ cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy;”—
Beside the brook, along the glen,
She heard the tramp of goblin men,
The yoke and stir
Poor Laura could not hear;
Long’d to buy fruit to comfort her,
But fear’d to pay too dear.
She thought of Jeanie in her grave,
Who should have been a bride;
But who for joys brides hope to have
Fell sick and died
In her gay prime,
In earliest winter time
With the first glazing rime,
With the first snow-fall of crisp winter time.
Till Laura dwindling
Seem’d knocking at Death’s door:
Then Lizzie weigh’d no more
Better and worse;
But put a silver penny in her purse,
Kiss’d Laura, cross’d the heath with clumps of furze
At twilight, halted by the brook:
And for the first time in her life
Began to listen and look.
Laugh’d every goblin
When they spied her peeping:
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel- and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter skelter, hurry skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes,—
Hugg’d her and kiss’d her:
Squeez’d and caress’d her:
Stretch’d up their dishes,
Panniers, and plates:
“Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries,
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plums on their twigs;
Pluck them and suck them,
Pomegranates, figs.”—
“Good folk,” said Lizzie,
Mindful of Jeanie:
“Give me much and many: —
Held out her apron,
Toss’d them her penny.
“Nay, take a seat with us,
Honour and eat with us,”
They answer’d grinning:
“Our feast is but beginning.
Night yet is early,
Warm and dew-pearly,
Wakeful and starry:
Such fruits as these
No man can carry:
Half their bloom would fly,
Half their dew would dry,
Half their flavour would pass by.
Sit down and feast with us,
Be welcome guest with us,
Cheer you and rest with us.”—
“Thank you,” said Lizzie: “But one waits
At home alone for me:
So without further parleying,
If you will not sell me any
Of your fruits though much and many,
Give me back my silver penny
I toss’d you for a fee.”—
They began to scratch their pates,
No longer wagging, purring,
But visibly demurring,
Grunting and snarling.
One call’d her proud,
Cross-grain’d, uncivil;
Their tones wax’d loud,
Their looks were evil.
Lashing their tails
They trod and hustled her,
Elbow’d and jostled her,
Claw’d with their nails,
Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,
Tore her gown and soil’d her stocking,
Twitch’d her hair out by the roots,
Stamp’d upon her tender feet,
Held her hands and squeez’d their fruits
Against her mouth to make her eat.
White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood,—
Like a rock of blue-vein’d stone
Lash’d by tides obstreperously,—
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire,—
Like a fruit-crown’d orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee,—
Like a royal virgin town
Topp’d with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguer’d by a fleet
Mad to tug her standard down.
One may lead a horse to water,
Twenty cannot make him drink.
Though the goblins cuff’d and caught her,
Coax’d and fought her,
Bullied and besought her,
Scratch’d her, pinch’d her black as ink,
Kick’d and knock’d her,
Maul’d and mock’d her,
Lizzie utter’d not a word;
Would not open lip from lip
Lest they should cram a mouthful in:
But laugh’d in heart to feel the drip
Of juice that syrupp’d all her face,
And lodg’d in dimples of her chin,
And streak’d her neck which quaked like curd.
At last the evil people,
Worn out by her resistance,
Flung back her penny, kick’d their fruit
Along whichever road they took,
Not leaving root or stone or shoot;
Some writh’d into the ground,
Some div’d into the brook
With ring and ripple,
Some scudded on the gale without a sound,
Some vanish’d in the distance.
In a smart, ache, tingle,
Lizzie went her way;
Knew not was it night or day;
Sprang up the bank, tore thro’ the furze,
Threaded copse and dingle,
And heard her penny jingle
Bouncing in her purse,—
Its bounce was music to her ear.
She ran and ran
As if she fear’d some goblin man
Dogg’d her with gibe or curse
Or something worse:
But not one goblin scurried after,
Nor was she prick’d by fear;
The kind heart made her windy-paced
That urged her home quite out of breath with haste
And inward laughter.
She cried, “Laura,” up the garden,
“Did you miss me?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeez’d from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me;
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”
Laura started from her chair,
Flung her arms up in the air,
Clutch’d her hair:
“Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted
For my sake the fruit forbidden?
Must your light like mine be hidden,
Your young life like mine be wasted,
Undone in mine undoing,
And ruin’d in my ruin,
Thirsty, canker’d, goblin-ridden?”—
She clung about her sister,
Kiss’d and kiss’d and kiss’d her:
Tears once again
Refresh’d her shrunken eyes,
Dropping like rain
After long sultry drouth;
Shaking with aguish fear, and pain,
She kiss’d and kiss’d her with a hungry mouth.
Her lips began to scorch,
That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
She loath’d the feast:
Writhing as one possess’d she leap’d and sung,
Rent all her robe, and wrung
Her hands in lamentable haste,
And beat her breast.
Her locks stream’d like the torch
Borne by a racer at full speed,
Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
Or like an eagle when she stems the light
Straight toward the sun,
Or like a caged thing freed,
Or like a flying flag when armies run.
Swift fire spread through her veins, knock’d at her heart,
Met the fire smouldering there
And overbore its lesser flame;
She gorged on bitterness without a name:
Ah! fool, to choose such part
Of soul-consuming care!
Sense fail’d in the mortal strife:
Like the watch-tower of a town
Which an earthquake shatters down,
Like a lightning-stricken mast,
Like a wind-uprooted tree
Spun about,
Like a foam-topp’d waterspout
Cast down headlong in the sea,
She fell at last;
Pleasure past and anguish past,
Is it death or is it life?
Life out of death.
That night long Lizzie watch’d by her,
Counted her pulse’s flagging stir,
Felt for her breath,
Held water to her lips, and cool’d her face
With tears and fanning leaves:
But when the first birds chirp’d about their eaves,
And early reapers plodded to the place
Of golden sheaves,
And dew-wet grass
Bow’d in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
And new buds with new day
Open’d of cup-like lilies on the stream,
Laura awoke as from a dream,
Laugh’d in the innocent old way,
Hugg’d Lizzie but not twice or thrice;
Her gleaming locks show’d not one thread of grey,
Her breath was sweet as May
And light danced in her eyes.
Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town):
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”