The staircase wound endlessly before him, into boundless darkness, deep and thick as the humid night's air. His heart beat, he knew and felt, in his aged chest, as he prepared to take the first step, yet he was fearful, for he knew that its presence would not stay for long. With the passing of each hour and each tolling of the clock tower outside, he felt it seep from within him. Life was now as a fluttering moth, locked and struggling within an aged heart, beating at its constraints and surfaces with all its might, but unable, for all its smallness, to ever expand to fill task for which it longed, to enter spaces large enough for growth, for a metamorphosis from moth to man and from man to great and pure spirit, The vision filled his eyes even as he stare into the dark below and felt the ember light of his small quarter surround him in a melancholy glow.
Outside, the night air raged in a deep blue of late evening, and upon the large window fell an endless multitude of droplets of rain, like penny sized tears, one after another in a near steady rhythm. Only one lamp glowed, a fire within its glass container, perched upon a long metal pole on the narrow sidewalk, casting strange shadows upon the cobblestone road and displaying, even through the distortion of the rain-beaten window the peaceful street, as it always was and would be in the evenings of gentle or malicious storms. The street lamp was the closest to his home, and it was the only one he, the lamp maker and lamp lighter of the town, would ignite this night. The rest of the streets, small or large, winding or straight, old or new, all would today seek the moon and the lightning for their only illumination, unless some willful man or woman chose to take the lighter's neglected job for this evening. The lamp maker took one last look behind him and around him, as if venturing into the field of battle or to distant lands, form which he doubted a return. He gazed at his reflection, coinciding with the image of the antique and ornate street lamp, his grandfather's design, and seemed to see himself, as a ghost standing transparent at the other side of the window. The cowl of his rough cloak, made of the same material as a common potato sack would be, for strength, endurance, and resistance to the mundane attacks of the elements, partly concealed his forehead, and eyes, in a pool of slight shadows. Wisps of his grey hair stuck out haphazardly from beneath it and his wrinkled face, his crooked nose, his intense gaze, as he stared contemplatively at himself, all seemed to scream a message. This man is near gone, he is a walking ghost, as ephemeral and weak as the reflection in the glass.
Perhaps he looked to see if anyone might chance by, to do business or to inquire as to the state of utter darkness that has overtaken the town in the lighter's absence, for he was anxious in his plans and longed for a distraction to remove his eyes and mind from the dark, descending staircase of his recent discovery, at the same time as his soul grew impatient to walk downwards. But outside stood none but his reflection, and the tired and old lamp maker was forced to reconcile his thoughts and wishes and to act upon his powerful whim. The cloak rustled as he turned around, quickly, shunning the image that stared at him as it turned as well. Once more he looked downward, at the before unknown black opening in the floor by the back wall, in which a long staircase fell infinitely off into the depths. Its steps were of stone, grey and mossy, moist from the ages spent in a respite within the cold of the earth. The separate stones were mostly worn into round and uneven shapes, and between them lay recesses of blackens, also widened with age. The lighter and maker of lamps felt the first step in the downward journey, tentatively prodding it for stability with the end of his brown leather boot. It felt as if he were preparing to walk on air or into an abyss, as if there were no steps or stone, or they were made of nothing. Nevertheless, he stepped fourth, after firmly planting the first foot and making certain that he would not fall, placing himself fully onto that frightening first step.
Already, from his great store of ornate lamps of different designs and applications, he drew one for this very journey, and a spare canteen of oil to make it glow, and his trusty, gnarled walking stick as tall as he. The lantern which he chose was fashioned in the form of a still, brass dragon, embracing savagely and oval, glass egg braced with several black bands of iron. The dragon's tail wound sinuously around the bottom of the actual lamp, the egg. Standing precariously one foot into the shade, he swung the delicate switch, shaped as a flower embedded in the monster's side, just slightly, evoking a weak and delicate flame. Then, holding the lantern before himself by its large brass ring with his right hand, and gripping the staff in his left, the lighter of lamps set forth.
Step after step he made, lower and lower, till he was fully submerged in the strange passage and the door to his room was aways off behind him. He turned to it, laying his lamp down for the task, and, extending his free arm as far as it would go, took hold of the ring at the door and slid it, without creating any noise, over the opening, eclipsing the warm light of the shop above. Now there was but a silence, and he felt it deep inside of him, as it fed his fluttering life in his too old heart. It was a rare silence, strangely calming and beautiful, even though tiny droplets of water seemed to drip somewhere, a bit further along, and he reveled in it, though it chilled him by its very novelty and its hidden meanings.
Now he had to continue, he knew, through the dark onward, to whatever lay beyond. So he slowly shuffled to turn about, as the steps were not particularly large and open for maneuver, and bent his already crooked back to pick up the momentarily discarded lamp. As it swung about in his hand, rising upward, the little pool of yellow light which it created rose and fluttered as well, seeming to capriciously darken the wall at one moment and illuminate it at the other, twisting the surroundings for an instant in the transformations of an uncertain glow. The shadows of the dragon and of the man from whose hand it swung, danced in odd, slightly deformed shapes upon the moist stone walls. Slowly, deliberately, he began his descent into the abyss below, every step now echoing all around him. The sounds whispering, chattering booms that filed the dim cave and saturated, for their brief existence, all ends thereof.
There was fear in the lamp maker's step and bearing, and he did not try to deny it; he was afraid, apprehensive in his voyage into the unknown dark. He knew not whether it was simply because it was unknown or simply because it was dark, and he cared little, as for all his fear, a doubt never came. The man wondered why he was so ceremonious and secretive about this little exploration; it was really little after all. Why could he not examine this new piece of property during the day, when the sun gave light, with the door open and him strolling down merrily to examine his find? What was he afraid of? The stairway would probably end soon after it began and he would find himself in some small cubby of no importance, or some abandoned wine-cellar or pantry. Why did it seem like an abyss? He thought he knew the answer, but he dared not think it, for if he thought it, his questions would be true and his feelings false.
Yet the stairway continued to go ever downward, and he was sure that he had walked in distance, even taking into account the incline, twice or thrice the height of the house, and was now beyond its bounds. The dragon still bobbed in front of the lamp lighter, leading the way as it jealously gripped its glowing, transparent egg. It rose and sank with every resounding footstep. The stones were still worn, mossy and wet, and the passage did not grow wider.
The lower the man descended, the greater was his anxiety. The end was nowhere in sight; there was but the same soft darkness of before, no doors or turns or anything of such a sort. For a moment he contemplated the possibility of an endless stairway, leading ever downward, till he wore out, but such conjectures were both brief and unsettling, as they defied all reason and thus could be easily discarded. It had to end, there was no question; there had to be a destination, he had to be going somewhere. The question "why" still tugged at him as he cautiously walked, as to reserve his ancient, and therefore unimpressive, energies. Step, after step, after step, into the abyss he fell, now knowing that there was some substance to his feelings and hopes. The lamp maker's boots touched every step personally, not at all hoping that the sojourn would end sooner, as a jubilance ran through him.
From somewhere came a music, soft and muffled, a beautiful harping from beyond the walls, a hymn such as those that a traveling bard would conjure, but wordless and thus more wonderful and mysterious. The lamp maker was startled, but only for a moment. Yet he had to sit himself down, once again placing the dragon lantern on one of the steps beside him, as a slight pain had arisen in his chest. It was an old chest, he knew, and this was a long journey, but in nursing it, rubbing it as if his hand had healing properties, he grew determined to come to the journey's true end. He would not turn back, whatever lay below or above, and he would waste away due to some magick endlessness of the stairway. The greenery of the moss, which seemed to grow thicker now, almost consuming the grayness of the stone, and the faint music, which as yet wafted to him in sweet waves of melody and memory, caught his fancy, and he fantasized, as he once did, before the quasi-painful solidifying of reality that comes with adulthood. With old age one could revert to old practices again, he though, musing.
Somewhere, in the mists, in the heights, where the air was fresh and wondrous, smelling of fresh and living pine and of untamed, untilled, unmolested earth, one could stand, an endless land expanding below him, and one could scream, and sing, and know that all below him belonged to him, and everybody else. He knew not how to reach it but he knew that it was reachable, by some method. He never saw a true mountain, but he saw its majesty, a great towering height above him, infallible and unconquered, for none could conquer or hamper a mountain, its peak wreathed in cloud and its slopes holding upon them a great Forrest of trees and a great collection of fully free creatures. The dragons silver streaks across the blue-gray heavens, soaring as fish swam in water, fully uninhibited, danced above it and the rolling hilly lands. He would ride upon their backs, the long and graceful creatures of legend, fully safe in an endless exploration of the world, and he would scream, and sing, and know that everything was his.
The lamp lighter's heart beats could be heard as a drum accompanying the soft music, and they grew more regular and less painful. The black dragon stood upon the wall, but a few meters away from his hand, stood still, facing him. It beckoned, as the pain subsided, and he was obliged to continue. he thoughts once again on the journey at hand, but now at once wandering several different mazes. Without so much as a groan, he lifted himself upwards, almost briskly, feeling rejuvenated somehow. His hand grasped the lantern and the shadows danced again, as he straightened himself and began to walk once more.
Step after step, he descended, more eager and more alive, as the song continued to be played somewhere far of, by some unknown musician. The stairway grew only slightly wider, but it gave the traveler more room to breath, and the air was cool and held in it an aroma, faint and tantalizing, of flowers, tulips perhaps. The lamp lighter gaze about as he walked, searching for the plants, for, unlike the music, the smell had to originate nearby. Indeed, he found them, quite quickly, little star shaped heads upon thin, nearly transparent stalks, growing from beneath the walls in the moss. There were a countless number of them, and they wore many colours: magenta, violet, red, pearl white. The lamp maker bowed to them, as they bowed back, and continued, gladdened by his new companions. The dragon led the way in the flickering, faint light of his lantern. The man walked, with each step becoming more and more vigorous, as if his youth, by his descent, seeped into him in tiny particles; he thought that it could never be regained.
Then, in one sudden moment that seemed to slow and stretch for all eternity. His right hand grew weak, as if all the age that drained from him before came to rest in it, concentrating itself. It was the most unpleasant, terrifying, reminder of his true state. It grew ever weaker, by the fragment of a moment and it shook. He gazed at it, though before he avoided it somehow, never looking at any other part of himself than his legs. The hand was but a shriveled rake, all sinew and bone with a layer of pale, wrinkled skin drawn around it, tight at the fingers, and loose at the wrist. This was an impossibility, thought he as the hand, as well as the dragon's light and shadow upon the wall, shook more and more violently.
There was a pain, ripping sinew, muscles, already weak, at the verge of tearing; it was intense and horrible. The hand strained to hold the weight of the lantern; it could no longer carry out its task. Involuntarily, the lamp lighter screamed, his yell echoing through the recesses of the passage. He could no longer hear the music, but in his mind. By instinct, the left hand came to its brother's aid, grasping it, painfully, trying to still its wild, uncontrolled movements. The wooden staff fell to the stone steps, clattering and echoing over and over again. The fingers of the withered limb, though they held valiantly with their last strengths, joined the rest of the hand and lost all feeling and control. Yet as the dragon lantern hurtled through the blackness downwards, melting the shadows in its wake while bathing in them its former master, he reached out to it, even though it was too far gone.
The faint glimmer within the egg looked towards the man it had once protected, as with a pitiful gesture and shout he cried for it to return. But alas, it could not. With a sickening speed it flew, as the lamp lighter, the lamp maker, the father , retreated, first turning to a shadowy, weakly lit figure, with great pools of dark beneath the hood, the eyes, and the nose, and then into naught more but a shadow. A sharp step below met it, and the egg shattered upon the moss, the fire kissing briefly a crimson flower. Embracing an imperfect and broken remnants of a glass oval, the dragon jumped for some time still, till his sound too grew quiet and died.
The man stood alone, having vainly tried to grasp from the tiered floor below his lost staff. His heart fluttered again, as a great wind rushed to meet him from the darkness below and did not cease. The moth that was his life, or perhaps it was a lightning bug, struggled with less and less tenacity, for, though the barrier was of glass, it could not be penetrated. This most recent accident instilled in him the fear of darkness, present since childhood, but ignored, fought down. Some demons must have orchestrated the strange happening, to rob him of his light, though his hand had, just as suddenly as it had withered, grown once more to fill its former faculties.
Throughout his descent downward, he never questioned anything but himself, not the flowers, not the music, not his rising vitality; it was as if he had been in some pleasant stupor, ignorant of his surroundings, almost as dream walker. Now, when the silence seemed loud and terrible, and the darkness was deep, and the wind blew at him coldly, he began to wish for a return upwards, to his prosperous business and his many lamps, to never look to strange passages again, till the end of his life. The panic grew, and a phantom pain lingered upon the skin of the lamp maker's right hand, a barely perceptible tingling. Yet, his resolve somehow remained. With a resounding "no", his former wishes were calmed. He would not go upwards as a coward, and a terrible journey it would be, nor would he shy away from the blackness below. He would continue, lantern or no lantern.
He heard the shattering of the glass, it still echoed in his mind as the wind came to be its reflection, but the lamp could still be lit, if he reached it and found it. The egg was meant only to contain the flame, not to sustain or create it, and the inner mechanisms were simple and sturdy. Still, he stood for an immeasurable length of time, facing the wind and listening to nothing. How long had he spend down here? Was it perhaps already day, or another night, or another week? He fought these thoughts down, as he fought the darkness. Somehow, it did not really matter what time it was up above.
The lighter's cloak flapped and rustled in the strange gale, and it rekindled in him the curiosity of before. After an eternity he stepped forth, trying to probe slowly for the step below. He did not seem to find it, but still he stepped, with both legs, knowing that it would be there. To his dismay, there was nothing there, and no longer nothing above or below. His body seemed to have no heft, and no feeling, as it hung, for just a moment, suspended in the black void. Then, it fell, and air rushed up and passed him, all in a terrible, and rapid suction. He hadn't even time to call out. For an eternity he seemed to be in free fall, baffled by the sudden materialization of a true abyss. Ever louder, the wind roared. as everything in him fluttered. He just relaxed and fell, for he knew that somehow, he had reached his destination.
With sound that echoed for the next minute, that of some body touching marble, he felt his feet upon a solid footing, and a vastness all around him, rather than the narrow scope of the passage from which he had an unknown while ago emerged. More surprising was the light, not of lamps but of a pale sun, coming in long, dusty beams from decorative, arched windows high above, and from a wide opening, a gate, a ways off.
He stood in some great, ancient hall, with a floor made of huge tiles of marble and many tall, rising columns, which held the vaulted ceiling, a great distance away. Its center held a large, decorative square, over ten meters in length, in which the lamp maker now stood, its fringes coloured gold and bearing a sinuous pattern upon them. Upon the black background, in the interior of the shape, was a strangely angular rendering of a giant lizard, in silver, as if it had to adjust its dimensions and sides in order to fit into the box. Upon the walls the newly arrived man could espy various frescoes, though in the relative murk, through distance and the shades of stone, he could not make out their contents. His every movement, as he tentatively stepped backwards or forward, as he glanced about, moving his neck, seemed to echo in the vast chamber's many hidden crevaces and nooks. There was a vibrancy to the sound, as if at every motion of his, the place itself rejoiced, as if the hall had not seen life for countless ages. The wind of before was now a breeze that sailed through the windows and the open gate, whispering softly in an incomprehensible language.
For now, the lamp lighter turned away from the door, his heart eager for exploration, for this indeed was unexpected and wondrous. He wondered how at all this sudden transportation had been possible, from the depths of the earth to some strange location; such happenings were usually reserved for children's tales, as were dragons, life draining demons, and magick stairways. Through the many motes of dust upon one ray of light, which fell to the middle of the hall before him, standing in his path, he saw some irregularity, directly opposed to the door, which split the wall in twain. It was a tall and wide object, vaguely perceived.
He walked to it, his feet creating loud reverberations throughout the great hall as he drew closer, timidly examining his environs. Below the marble floor, the lamp lighter could hear something, not his own product, as he moved , a rustling, a never ending movement of many small particles, like the rushing of water or the rolling of countless dried peas down a high hill, spilled from seven wooden bushels, ancient- seeming and bound with rusty iron rings, by four very foolish children, which pushed at each other in spite in a sudden angry game. The protruding thing was a sort of column, great, wide and decorative, which reached the very top of the vaulted ceiling, nearly disappearing into the murk, seeming but a thread as it ended. Along it climbed strange coloured carvings of men, scarabs, and scorpions, the first in black, the second in gold, and the third in silver. At its base was a throne, luxuriously wide, holding within itself an emptiness which resonated within the lamp maker, for it had almost held the shades of thousands of kings, evil, foolish, benevolent, wise, and simply flighty, but not really. It held within it a different music than before, a sort of sad and shrill flute, moving from one height to another with amazing speed and frequency; it wailed and sang with majesty, with glory, defeat, and death. The visitor to this place was hardly surprised; he only wondered what it meant. Two great lizards, dragons perhaps, stood with sinuous backs and scowling stone mouths as gigantic hand rests alongside the magnificent throne. Their claws were in a position to sunder, but they, of course, never would, for they were only an illusion, like the huge painted owl in the center of the city at festival time, around which most all danced and bargained, whilst the small children kept at bay, holding to the hands of the elders and wondering if the legends were true.
Behind the throne, The visitor could hear the same sound as before, the rushing and whispering of something at once little and large. He placed his ancient hand to the back of the decorative wall, behind the left dragon and felt it, a vibrancy of some life behind the stone, a quick and wonderful movement that never ceased. Meanwhile, the music of the throne continued, either inside his head or as the product of some fairy magic, and he listened.
"Why have you come here?" asked a voice which held no one timbre or melody, but was a congregation of many strange voices. "Why here? Why us? Why you?"
The lamp lighter could not answer, except for with the simple and natural reply of "I don't know." He did not know, he did not expect, to be there or anywhere, except for, perhaps, a wine cellar.
"You know. Stop your pretenses. They are amusing, but we've had enough."
The strange echoing chorus seemed to enter his mind with a terrible force, as if a great pressure was being applied onto his head. He grunted and the voice simply squeezed through. It had arrived.
"Sit down." the voices commanded, more gently than before. "You need a rest."
The lamp lighter moved in acquiescence, quite surprised by this new turn of events and somehow invigorated by his contact with something intelligent; he sat upon the throne, reclining fully and even making use of the strange arm rests. A breath escaped him and with it seemed to fly countless hours, as time seemed to race, the windows and the gate now showing a wonderful twilight as the hall became filled with shadows and the music terminated. Then, with a sudden noise the dome which was this place's ceiling and bore upon it a rendering of the heavens, with several stars, a crescent moon, and a many rayed sun began sliding open, leaving its pillars to face the higher vastness, with thin and thick clouds floating swiftly, quickly through a brilliant, rosy sky.
"What? It's very beautiful."
"We know. Its always like that, and it was always up there above you, you just never bothered to see."
"How could I? It was stone."
"Really? So was the staircase, so was the earth. Besides, there is a gate. We left it open for you."
"So, why did you come? Why here, why us, why you? Don't tell us you don't know. You know. Think."
"I was just curious, I guess."
"What did you think you'd find here?"
"Where is it?"
"I don't know, I suppose, maybe, I wanted to find... something new."
"Yes, I didn't want to die."
"I don't know."
" Are you certain?"
"Then, am I dead?"
"That depends. You could be. When was the last time you talked to anyone?"
"I... can't remember. "
"You don't want to?"
"It was the count! He came to my shop last night, with his entourage of two toughs, and ordered a lamp, a lily shaped one , and pretty large, as his daughter's wedding gift. I was exited, he offered to pay a pretty sum. He said that my services were dear"
" They were, but not expensive, imagine that. So, you never finished the lamp, of course. The poor count will be disappointed."
"Then I must get back!"
"We are sorry. Its nearly impossible to find a way. But he'll find something else; presents come and go, as do weddings. Don't despair for him or his daughter. Look!"
At that moment a strange concentration which had befallen the man, as he felt as though he sank into the throne and became nothing more but a conscious wisp of wind, dissolved, and his attentions could once again be divided, and devoted to smaller details, less singular than his new ghostly companion. His head was looking upward and so it remained as he expectantly watched. In the distance were shadows of something in flight, three in all, with long gold glistening bodies which slithered across the sky. The sun, a warm gold-red orb which hung in the center of the heavens and filled the chamber with shadowy, reddish light was momentarily blocked by them, and a magnificent shade slid across the hall. Then they were gone.
The man sighed, and with his sigh the heavens darkened, till the coming of the stars and the moon, staring at him with its cold, skull like face. In a flash of wondrous celestial brilliance their congress exploded and the lamp lighter felt as though he were amongst them, in their boundless void, watching their lives coming slowly to a spectacular conclusion. However, at the explosion's end, the stars did not return, and all the heaves were black except for the pallid face of the moon and its weak, pearly aura. Nearly the whole great vastness in which he sat was fully black, and frigid.
The visitor rose from his seat, and shivered in a fear of the shadows, suppressed since childhood, when, upon a forest road, he stood lost for a while, his uncle having disappeared somewhere. He moved forth defiantly, actually lumbering about more than walking, seeking the gate. Having no notion as to his actual position, he was mostly blind, with but the moon above to guide him, and his foot suddenly struck a small object , which created a metallic note as it moved a small distance across the marble floor. The lamp lighter bent down, groping for it, without any difficulty, noticing the complete lack of back pains or other upheavals during this endeavor. His hand had struck it soon enough and he felt a pleasant coldness upon his palm, and a familiar swirling texture. It was his lighting rod, an elongated silver implement which at its tip held a spoon-like basin , used to hold his flames. The lamp lighter raised it up to the moon's light, to look it over.
"You can light it, if you want to." told him the voice of before. In response, he simply touched the tip to the shining image of the moon and all around him was bathed in a soft, ghostly light, emanating from his lighting rod. Inside its basin was a smoothly burning, calm white flame, like a pond lily. With the favor of its light, the lamp maker moved without difficulty through the now dead-seeming hall to the gates, beyond which much fresh evening air awaited. He came to a shadowy road, with a thick and diverse forest to each side and cobblestone beneath his feet. In the distance loomed a mountain, and upon the mountain were numerous small towers , now but black bands against the dark blue sky.
He raised his lighting rod and the stars came to life once more, painting the sky with their twinkling lights, some sad and dim, others merry and full. He raised it again, waving it in the direction of the towers, and an entire town lit up through many night lanterns of taverns, inns, and festival squares. Then, the giver of light turned into the forest boldly, and walked quickly, as a youth, over its paths, its streams, its rises, and its ditches, all the while waving his magickal device and creating festive fireflies, or glowing sap upon the trees, or a green pulse of life in the veins of the leaves. He walked and walked, continuously, never growing tired. Near the streams grew those same flowers that he has seen before, in the dark and narrow passage downward, and he made them glow. And he could create his own music, that would play as he wished. In his journey through the forest, he gave light to all things, subtle or bright, till he came at last to an unlit clearing, in a deep valley between two great hills.
Only a lantern, hanging from a gnarled branch of a bordering tree, and a stone, with the slumped and crooked shade of a man upon it, were there existent. The flame in the lamp was feeble and red, casting but the weakest light upon the surroundings, and feeding the shadows thus. The light giver understood everything; he was now a young and vibrant being; he was reborn, rejuvenated, magickal; his arms were smooth and his face was freckled, and his long hair was as the wind, flying behind him in a trail of silver. He laughed youthfully as he approached the man, the wreck. His face was familiar; he knew it, intimately. The light giver chortled loudly, his sound reverberating through the forest as he grabbed this shadowy creature by his wispy white hair, as he screamed in a warlike rage at the creature's ancient joints, as he mocked the creature's weary eyes, and as he smashed its head and body wholly into the sharp rock over, and over again.
Without resistance the body shattered and a host of butterflies, with wings as large as one's fist, flew upwards, born of the fertile darkness, a vacuum, inside the now dead creature's heart. They flew towards the moon, thousands, millions of them, with translucent, many coloured wings that recalled ancient tales in their colours, like the stained glass of the small church, bathed comfortably in orange light and a pleasant warmth, during a summer night rain, that the light giver remembered sitting in, next to his father, a lamp maker and a lamp lighter.
More butterflies flooded the sky from the direction of the derelict hall that the light giver left, now quite far away, their wings sparkling under the lights of this brilliant night. It too must have collapsed, cracking and shattering into countless bits as its walls came thunderously down, to release all the wonderful life that had hid in its floor and its walls for so long.
The spectacle was his celebration, the light giver knew, but he walked first to the weak red lantern which hung upon the twisted branch. With his free hand he took it, by the ring in its top, and looked it over one last time, the hostile, protective dragon that held fast to its crystal egg. His dexterous young hand moved to the little knob, shaped like a flower, and twisted, ever so gently. Without the slightest sound, it faded out.
"So, where are you?"
" Everywhere, precisely. I am the dew upon a morning's leaf. I am the laughter of a child. I am the weeping of ancient criers at a funeral altar. I am the beggar's hope, the killer's hate, the drunkard's dream, and the fool's folly. I am the sun's rising and its setting. I am the river's red at dusk and dawn. I am the singing in the seas and the storms blind rage. I am you."
"And we are you."