Sunday, December 3, 2017


                 Yes, happiness, believe it or not,
                 that most mysterious because most
                 evanescent of conditions.. The hap-
                 piness I speak of has nothing to do
                 with nature's fang and claw, but is
                 exclusive to humankind, a by-product
                 of evolution, a consolation prize for
                 us poor winded runners in the human
                 race. It is a force whose action is
                 so delicate and so fleeting we hard-
                 ly feel it operating in us before it
                 has become a thing of the past. Yet
                 it burns in us, and we burn in it,
                 unconsumed. I cannot be now as I was
                 then - I may recall but not experi-
                 ence again the bliss of those days -
                 yet I must not be led by embarrass-
                 ment and sorrow and pain to deny what
                 I felt then, no matter how shaming or
                 deluded it may seem to me now. I held
                 her to me, this suddenly familiar
                 stranger, and felt her heart beating
                 and listened to the rustle of her
                 breathing and thought I had come at
                 last to my true place, the place
                 where, still and at the same time
                 profoundly stirred, feverish yet 
                 preternaturally calm, I would at last
                 be who I was.

                Here she is, the moving mirror in
                which I surprised myself, poor gog-
                gle-eyed Actaeon, my traitorous
                hounds already sniffing suspiciously
                at my heels.. She is the goddess of
                movement and transformations. And I,
                I am bowed down before her, abject
                and entranced, my forehead pressed 
                to the cold stone of the temple floor.

John Banville
  A Novel
Alfred A. Knopf, 1995©

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