The Empty Plinth

There are three women with whom I share my deepest secrets.

The first is my wife. She is my lover and my co-laborer. She helped to make my babies and she nurtures them so that I have no worries when I am not near them, for the warmth between them warms me from afar. We march through life gently, arm-in-arm, and are not swayed; head-long, we step into the unknown and terrible future. She is the tree which Silverstein asked to give, for “though she be but little, she is fierce.”

The second woman lives above the water with her daughter, in the midst of the rose garden. She is Galatea at play, full of mirth and triviality. She is a vision in the sun, distracted most by the summer joy which distracts all together and without offence; we smile upon the Blinding Light as one. She and her child, Metharme, belong among the bees and the roses and the splashings of fish in the pond. Her company is sweet upon a summer lawn, and the days seem an eternity stood still in her hazy presence.

The third woman is downcast, standing among holly and thorns. She stands uncovered, naked and abandoned in the recesses. She weeps gently, though I know not why, hands cast about, her very frame ever on the verge of despair. She speaks not her sorrow, but on her bench I find my place when all the world faces downward; when the winter’s wind rips me I find solace in my sorrow at her side. She is the beacon for the hopeless, and when I lose my own I find refuge at her side, tucked away within the dark depth.

I visited the downcast woman and I noticed in the darkness something I had never seen before. Far back in the depths of her holly home there stood, decayed, a plinth with no owner. Fighting against the needle leaves and unwealding branches I made my way closer, though little closer was I able to come. No sign of the owner, no rubble or dust remained. And suddenly I knew for what, for whom, she despaired.

Be he marble or be he stone, he was gone and it did not matter. Their is no form a man can take which assures he will remain.

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