author of The Ecstasy of Michaela and assorted stories and essays
Epigraph/epitaph: "He has been a sick man all his life. He was always a seeker after something in the world that is there in no satisfying measure, or not at all."
Why does each thing on the earth war against each other thing? Why does each small thing in the world have to fight against the world itself? Why does a fly have to fight the whole universe? Why does a dandelion have to fight the whole universe? For the same reason that I had to be alone in the dreadful Council of the Days. So that each thing that obeys law may have the glory and isolation of the anarchist.
Appalled now by her fate, poor Dido prayed
For death; she wished to see the sky no longer.
Other things also drove her from the daylight:
Her gifts on incense-burning altars rotted,
Horrible to describe: wine turned to black
And filthy gore the second that she poured it.
No one was told. Her sister did not know it.
There stood inside her home a marble shrine
To her late husband: there she worshiped him,
Spreading white fleece and hanging holy wreaths.
She thought she heard his voice there, echoing, calling.
When the night’s darkness covered all the earth,
She listened to a lone owl on the rooftree
Whose song of death kept trailing into sobs.
Many grim warnings of the long-dead seers
Panicked her too. In dreams a fierce Aeneas
Chased her. She raved in fear or was abandoned,
Friendless, forever walking a long road,
Seeking her Tyrians in a lifeless land.
It was like Pentheus seeing bands of Furies,
And a pair of Thebes, and a sun split in two;
As in a play the son of Agamemnon
Runs from his mother’s torches and black snakes
While vengeful demons lurk outside the door.
Madness and grief filled her defeated heart,
And she chose death.