If the world was crazy, you know what I’d eat? A big slice of soup and a whole quart of meat A lemonade sandwich, and then I might try Some roasted ice cream or a bicycle pie A nice notebook salad, an underwear roast An omelet of hats and some crisp cardboard toast A thick malted milk made from pencils and daisies And that’s what I’d eat if the world was crazy
It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…” “You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?” “No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.” “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
We have memorized America, how it was born and who we have been and where. In ceremonies and silence we say the words, telling the stories, singing the old songs. We like the places they take us. Mostly we do. The great and all the anonymous dead are there. We know the sound of all the sounds we brought. The rich taste of it is on our tongues. But where are we going to be, and why, and who? The disenfranchised dead want to know. We mean to be the people we meant to be, to keep on going where we meant to go.
People always tell me, “Don’t put the cart before the horse,” which is curious because I don’t have a horse. Is this some new advancement in public shaming— repeatedly drawing one’s attention to that which one is currently not, and never has been, in possession of?
“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…
Henry Jackson Van Dyke
In tears, lost for words. We have lost a shining star and I am scared of the darkness that might follow.