A two hundred year old masterpiece buried, unexcavated and obscured, beneath centuries of soot and cynicism.
The vocabulary alone is genius in itself; clearly an art lost to our time and temperaments. Yet, mingled as that is with Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley‘s singular style and superb structure, then masterfully brushstroked across a canvas composed, in its entirety, of the complexities of the human condition, this work is elevated into a realm of perfection few have entered.
Without this book, no literary collection could be complete.
Poets are like that with poems. No sooner do they listen out than a poem swoops down, whispers something to the top of their heads, and they feel it flowing down into their brain, down along their arms, into their fingers, and out onto the page in black letters.
And poems are like angels. They visit often, but you’ve to be watching out for them, and you’ve to believe in them to benefit from their gifts.
“Please, Daddy? Please, can I keep him? I promise I’ll feed him! I’ll take him soaring every day. I’ll clean his lair and I’ll teach him to fetch and everything!” Tears welled in her eyes.
“Come now, my little Princess. You know that caring for a dragon is a big responsibility. He’s cute now, of course, but baby dragons grow up to be great big grown-up dragons. They smell funny and they have rough scales. They steal shiny things, for Pete’s sake! Surely you would rather have a pretty unicorn. Every princess wants a unicorn!”
She clutched the tiny beast tighter to her chest. A puff of smoke curled from its nostrils.
“Looks to me like her mind’s made up, Yor Highness”, the Dragon Keeper grinned. “B’sides, this one here’s the runt, y’see? He won’t grow as big as all that. Cross m’ heart. That’s why no one’s picked him yet, poor thing, so he’s in desperate need of an Evermore Home. What better place than yor grand castle! And I’d hate to have to, y’know…send him off to the Land of Nod.”
The King shot him a look. “A castle that will be in ruin before long, you mean.” The Dragon Keeper bit his cheek.
“So be it.”, he sighed. “I know a losing battle when I’m in one. But he’d better come with a leash. And not a leather one, either. Iron links AND collar.”
“Of course, Sire! Nothing but the best for the prettiest Princess in all the realm and her pint-sized royal dragon! I’ll even throw in his first sack of baby dragon feed.” His grin resurfaced as he turned and trundled off.
“Your mother will have my head for this, you know.”, he said, shaking his finger at the little girl. “I suppose you’ve thought of a name for him already?”
She beamed up at him, eyes still glistening. “Tiney. His name is Tiney the Small.”
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
And I’ll build a fire, you fetch the water and I’ll lay the table
And in our hearts, we still pray for sons and daughters
And all those evenings out in the garden, red, red, wine
These quiet hours turning to years