A Story by Wharton

A Tale about poseurs.


One evening two women returning from a poetry reading in downtown Wiscasset decided to stop in at Moody's, a diner best known for its rural ambiance. The two sat at a corner booth across from one another, deep in thought, an hour after each woman had read one of their poems before a like-minded audience.

Marilyn, whose vision seemed more intent on her coffee, hesitated, then spoke meaningfully to her friend, who was lost in thought, gazing dreamily at a croissant she'd ordered. "What is art, Becca, but merely the passionate spark within us all?"

Rebecca, took a bite of the croissant she was eating and posed, "What is life but art? There is no passion in art, just mimicry."

Marilyn nodded knowingly, her hazel eyes still focused primarily on her coffee. She replied to her friend, "Mimicry speaks lies that only the most wise can follow. There is more honesty in what is unsaid, than in all Kiekergaard's philosophy."

Having heard the name Kiekergaard, Marilyn motioned to the waitress, "Miss, could I have a Søren?" The waitress looked questioningly, "A what?" she asked.

"A Søren," Marilyn repeated, winking at her friend, "A Søren, a danish."

Having witnessed her share of eccentrics, the waitress nodded perfunctorily. Her evening shift was nearly over and she was tired from a busy night of work. Her thoughts, clouded by the sounds in the closed-in diner, were more on finishing her shift than it was on her customers. "A danish? Sure ma'am, coming right up." She then hastily turned and walked toward another customer, who was signaling for his check.

"You are so bad Marilyn -- that was priceless! A Søren! How do you think up stuff like that?" Rebecca whispered confidentially, "You really had her confused!" Marilyn straightened up in her chair, her chest rose as she breathed in deeply; and though she did not smile, her eyes widened and her face became untypically inexpressive.

"Have you thought about Art and history?" she asked Marilyn after several moments of silence.

"Art and History? Why of course I have, but how do you mean?"

"Well, there is this correlation. I see them both as hollow reeds that the swimmer uses to breath beneath a river. He cannot see the enormity of the water, so he swims unknowing, with just that hollow reed to keep him from drowning."

"Ah yes, of course. I see what you mean. Each is an illusion, each secretly speaks in conundrums yet wishes us to see them as absolutes."

Rebecca nodded and took another bite of her croissant. She looked at what remained of the crescent-shaped roll and was silent for a moment, considering her response. "Tragic isn't it. And we, as poets, are trapped between knowing and unknowing, and both disciplines are such utter opposites."

Marilyn, still looking at her coffee, agreed. "Yes, only poets can express such Weltschmerz. And even we are doomed to write that which cannot be adequately defined."

"C'est la vie" Rebecca mused, her eyes gleaning the butter and the croissant crumbs on her fingers. Marilyn frowned and agreed solemly, "Que sera."

The two women remained silent for some time, Marilyn still contemplating her coffee; Rebecca, her greasy finger tips. At Moody's Diner, in a corner booth, the night stood silent, for life was under deep contemplation by two sensitive poets keenly aware of their own intellectual magnitude.

© 2009 Wharton

Author's Note

Typos and grammar corrections are welcome.

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Added on August 26, 2009




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