Our Child

I felt something stir when her name was spoken. It was strange to feel it move upwards in me, released from some region I have not yet discovered. Its movements were gentle and explorative, and I knew it was fresh and untouched by the rest of me.

It was silent when it came, and I let the silence remain the better not to startle it. It had heard her name, and the vibration had woken it. But the name had passed, and it looked about in me wonderingly, listening and perplexed. There was no shape to it, only a quality that lit up whatever in me it touched, rather like a passing candle in some old gallery. Yet it seemed trying to form the name inarticulately, and failing.

I repeated the name to myself quietly. “Sylvia. Sylvia!”

It took up the echo, now far away. “Sylvia.” But it wasn’t the name it was seeking. The name was only a finger of confusion, touching awake memories, and only then did I know it for what it was.

It was a child. My own at that, and I had not known it. Sensing the recognition, it repeated her name again, questioningly, “Sylvia?”

But I could give it is no hope, for I had none. My poor inverted dream, projected backwards into myself until it was lost in my shadow, from whence her name had made it known again, unrecognisable.

Now I could see it. What a sweet face the child has. How like my own when young. Yet with more loneliness and pathos than my own. How could it be otherwise though, for I had gathered those two since childhood, and had wept them into the features. The trusting eyes, the loneliness; I had dreamt them all for Sylvia, and lost them in myself for lack of somewhere else to put them.

Yes, how like me the child is, and yet it has her nose, and the auburn tint of her hair.

Strange dream to trouble me by day. Strange blessed dream, for the hands, the lovely hands, were not hers nor mine, but those of an holy angel.

Looking back to see where it had come from in myself, there was no path, no passageway – nothing. And looking, it melted quite suddenly back into that very same nothingness. All that is left is the silence. But it does not disturb me now, for I know there, in the shadow, is an angel.

Copyright ©2001 Tony Crisp

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved