A Pause BetweenWhence come these words?From what whispering tongue?Or what grey spider shining spunThese filaments, these ghosts of sound,The snares by which a thought is boundAnd pinned upon the bleach-boned sheet,Its airy beauty made concrete?I know not how they come to me--Like leaves snatched from a gilded tree,Or gemstones delved from hallowed grounds,The bright sea where my reason drowns.Is it I who seek, or they who find,These words which whisper in my mind?I do not understand this mystery--How do these words belong to me?
Fallen Stars, Part One: HectorI. HectorThe air is hot, but the breeze is cool as it slips through my window. I can smell it: the tang of salt and blood and sweat, the sour taint of sun flashing off of bronze blades. The sun will be gone, soon; then the world will be swathed in darkness and the ruined, corpse-choked land stretching before me will be invisible to my inquisitive eyes. But the stench of death never really goes away.I am still not quite sure yet why I am standing here, watching this bloody sunset. I am not by nature one who appreciates such insubstantial beauty; besides, it is no lovelier than any other sunset I have seen over the course of my lifetime, and indeed less fair than many."I am going to watch the sunset," I told my wife when she asked me, in a brittle voice, where I was going. And when she raised an eyebrow skeptically: "I . . . I like sunsets."She didn't even laugh, which I was half grateful for, and which I still half resent. And I came here, to this window, my hai