time as vapor: november

time as vapor: november

A Chapter by An owl on the moon

Chapter 11 in my book: "An owl on the moon..."


     The crisp air dances with the darkness, as winter haunts this autumn evening. My eyes are weary from weeping, for though some in this life see only glory, I see only the grave. The night wrestles with my sorrow, and I work behind my counter with a steady, deadening pace. Perhaps, I will forget. She may never come this way again, that spirited angel. In her words I tasted the vitality of mortal confession. As I work around my cluttered desk, the boney fingers of this cold night scrape the windows of Idler Inn.        

     My glared, cold vision fills with her dark hair and lily face.  Her eyes, a sallow olive hue, appear as pools in stone with no hopeful reflections.  Her hair is now short, blunt, and wretched as a burnt field.  I taste iced iris as it begins to snow.

     “I had to come back.  I couldn’t go on out there. In my wandering I have merely wasted my moments, for I have no rest but here; no home,” she says.


“Paradise with poverty.

Meaning without history.

What wasteful ways have I;

I recline and shudder as time goes by.”


     “Friend,” she says, “My dearest friend, let me taste the salt and shake under the sea wind.  Give me the key to the top of the stairs.  The veiled room.”  Her eyes dart and dash as her breathing comes shallow and her hands shift and shake.  She steps closer to me.  “What haunted photographs dim my view this moment.  What does it mean that I can only see yesterday?  Cannot God give even me a brighter tomorrow?   I have wasted on life’s stage for so long I don’t know how to live, only how to act.  And the curtain is now descending.”

     I turn away to grasp her key.

     And she, “Don’t avert your gaze from me...So many do.”  Her hand grasps my shoulder and I turn back to gaze into her trembling eyes.  “Is there no warm blood in your cold heart?  I realize that we only have desires because they are meant for some human or divine fulfillment.


Extend to me your hand.

I need what I do not understand.

Don’t you see?

All hollows exist to be filled.

Without life in the chasm, our spirit is killed.”


     I extend to her my hand and place in hers a key.  Her fingers are warm and soft.  With her key in hand she drifts by in silence on winged feet.  She turns and passes from my vision at the top of the stairs without once glancing back. 

     I follow her limping shadow to the peak of that passage.  The building trembles with her tears, and I begin to ache as I pass inside her open doorway. With her curtains drawn back she faces the winded rampage of the sea.

     “Do you ever think of me?” she says without turning.

     “Sarah,” I whisper.  “Sarah, I have seen your face so often in my dreams. There is not a moment when my thoughts are not of you.  No flame could ever burn your image from my mind’s gallery.”  I pause, then speak on.   “But has your music come to an end or is there still time to find a song?”

     “No strain is so stinging as that last lyric of life,” she replies. “I want to escape this counterfeit confession; this wearying rag of mortality.”

     I walk slowly toward her figure by the frame and gaze at her reflection in the glass.  “The clock has not begun to mar your crystalline eyes.  Speak of the hushed sounds of a budding rose, not the muted strain of the withering grass.”

     Her perfume stings the air as she turns toward me with stilled movements.

     “An enmity exists between the living and the dead.  The mouth of the grave is open.  Can you see inside its’ throat?  Can you smell that descending decay that robs the breath of infants and the blood of the aged?”  This she nearly screams as she steps toward my frozen frame.  She seizes my warm hand and pulls it to her cold lips.

     “Your blood is still warm.  Mine is threaded with ice.  Let the stars of heaven or the fires of hell mask my departure. If you ever loved me please let me be.”  At these words she collapses before me in tears, still clinging to my fingers.

     “If I ever loved you?” I ask.  “If I ever loved you?  You have become my only daylight. Sun and stars could cease and I would see your face.  My dreams are ever of you.”

     “And my dreams, friend, are like hell’s hors d’oeuvres. What a subtle insanity. How I have tasted the essence of life, but it has been a bitter meal.”  She rises to her feet and stares out her window.  “O, the passion of pain; how I cling to it  and clutch its bony ridges. To know wave after wave of it, and not be overwhelmed; is this life?”  Her eyes steal into mine.  “Euripides was right: ‘Whom God desires to destroy, He first drives mad.’”

     “To the blind,” I say, “all things visible have unimagined beauty.  Only open  your eyes.”  She turns again toward her open window and scans the screaming sea.

     “All eyes view similar scenes, only some see a canvass of darkness and some light.  We have painted a starless sky, and are drunk on cooler hues.  When I signed my name that first time, some months back, it was to be my last time.  But seeing you again, after countless tides, I longed to live and recover what I had lost when I first knew you.  What peace we had as  children, and what innocent joy.  O, the red and yellow strokes we spread on our canvass then!  It was the only time I ever knew happiness.


Broad fires of red life,

awakened suns of slumber.

In ignorance of strife,

we birthed the waxing moon.”


     At these words she releases my hand and I kneel beside her.  I turn to speak. “I am  a sick physician, weak in cure. Let my measured tears be your medicine.”

     She lifts her hand and strokes my hair.  “I am immune to your medicine, but I thank you.  My medicinal cure is a carving stone planted in a churchyard.  Maybe this seed will grow then.”  She draws back her hand, looking at it with bewildered hues, then lays with her face to the cold floor.

    “Now I’ll be for you as patient as the grave, for I realize I have been dead such a long time.”

     “Come back from that place,” I say as my voice breaks.  “I need you to come back.


Wander with intent

into a garden glorious.

Walk with double brisk

upon edenic paths.

Flee the cursing fear

that lights upon your eye.

Seize the twisted dream

that strangles earth and sky.”


     She rises on her knees and turns to me.  “I am lost, but neither cursing nor blessing will map me.  Even you, my childhood guide, are a demon’s distance from me.  Leave me like the waning waves, and strand me in the tidal pool, for even your voice and hands are too weak to save my soul.”  In this I sense such an empty hollow that I rise, only to slip back, grasping for a chair, then a desk until I surrender and stumble.  I open my mouth to speak but the cold steals my breath and I clutch my treasonous throat.

     She comes to me, kisses my face, and whispers,


“The winged beasts and angels know, that mortals cannot fly. 

But how I flew to see the sun; a broken bird am I.”


     “I love you,” she says with a smile as tears drape her cheeks, “but my memory is merciless.  How my heart was grafted to yours as we spoke; as you dreamed.  Live on, dreamer.  My sleep will be earth eternal. Sic transit gloria mundi: So passes away all the glory of the world.”  I sob as she turns and walks toward her window.  Releasing the latch, she turns one more time and fixes her gaze on me, then she slips from my view. I cannot breathe, but I quickly crawl to the chasm.

     Olive eyes dissolve into azure sea as her body falls from the framed window.  Her breath comes quickly as her eyes strain for light and life.  This breath leaves her body and her lips turn dry and strained as darkness envelopes the face of the waters and her body strikes the stones.

     As I stare at her from a distance, a rider on a dark horse carries her spirit into the sea.  It is the Harlequin horseman and his demon horde, and over the thunder I hear hell’s stinging hackle. The waves echo Sarah’s voice: “I’ve passed through the door.” I reach out my hand in hopes of somehow grasping her back.

     The deep sky speaks to this one of dust.  “The darkness is her closest friend.”


She glides on wings in the night,

with deafened ears and blinded sight.

Pages turn and centuries pass;

moments cease in frozen glass.

She walks on wings in the night,

living fantasies of faithless might.

When the light of truth floods her eyes,

her fragile body faints and dies.


     The waves gnaw at her fractured body as clouds of feather dust drift on.  The music of her perfume mingles with the stench of the sea.  “It is the dreamers who perish.”  O, solemn slumber! Such grace for me and none for herself.


Forever gone, the taste of rain;

the breath of meadow flowers;

the feeling of winded fingers;

the fragrance of angel words.


     The echo of her final note dances into stillness, as the clouds rupture and rampant tears stream down the window-pane.  My only daylight is gone. No music plays tonight, for this hush has no harmony.  The sea reeks of mortality, as I lay motionless on her floor.


The devastation of desire,

and the desecration of creation,

brings the hoofbeats of the horsemen,

and a haunting revelation.


     I lay still in silence...silence...silence.  And in this sobering silence now I slumber. I close my eyes...


     The purple ocean crests and on its foamy ridges stands Sarah. Her dark hair frames her gentle face. Stiffly I stand on the shore and call to her.

     “Sarah? Sarah, I’m so alone. How I thought I knew loneliness, but I’m only now learning.”


Hollow, hollow is my haven,

I horrid-hear the screeching of the raven.

And now in empty solace I resign;

a solitary path in life is mine.


     She is motionless, though sky and sea shift around her. I speak in sobbing tones. “Time can surely heal all wounds.”

     I hear her whispering voice, though her lips are still. “And time will seal our fate, as well.”   At this, the waves part and she descends into the darkness. I stand all alone on the rocky ruins.

     From behind the darkly painted crags creeps the scarlet specter; the dreadful apparition. He makes his way into the waters until his shadow dissipates and the waves turn ruby red. I hear a muffled voice cry “REST!,” then all is silent, even the sea.


     I open my eyes, wet with tears. The rain turns to a descending snow; a snow that is now ceaseless, though I am deathly still.



© 2008 An owl on the moon

My Review

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Such beautiful sorrow, if that can be said to exist...you have written in such a poetic voice that I see the beauty in the sad times you have described. I look forward to reading more from this book of yours.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Again, you've perfectly matched the months to the tale. Very haunting and sorrowful.

Posted 11 Years Ago

Oh my god...I feel such sorrow, you have brought tears to these eyes. Such bitter loneliness grip the heart of the reader in this chapter. Her longing for something more then life, her searching and his love cannot hold her, tethering her to her mortality. I feel his loss totally with all of my soul...you have done such an amazing job of getting me into the story. Going on to the next chapter.

Posted 11 Years Ago

This write was more than chilling. The sorrow of losing loved ones is unbearable. The only shoulder to lean on is God's, but it lies far out of reach.

I love how the dialogue poeticly flowed form the charactors. it brings a life to the story that connects on with the deep loss. The best parts were the poem interjections wheere the story would rest and you would say something beautiful that is running through your mind.

Wonderful write. I only regret that i read this scene into the book without first reading the rest.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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4 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on March 6, 2008


An owl on the moon
An owl on the moon

2018 was a journey through my poetic novel, An Owl on the Moon. 2019 found me goinging back to a deep inspiration for me... Wonderland...2020 will whisper itself over the seasons... Come walk the worl.. more..


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