If you know me, you probably know that Sydney Carton from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is one of a lineup of fictional characters that I most often refer to as “my precious children.” Or, “my precious muffins,” depending on the mood I’m in. I adore him for a multitude of reasons, which I won’t go into here. But suffice it to say that I’d die for him (though preferably in a way other than at the hands of Madame Guillotine. Ick.).
Anyway, I’m still honing my poetry skills and, inspired by Brandon Leake’s tearjerking letters to his father, I wrote this one rainy afternoon. It’s a little long, I know. I got a bit carried away, as I often do when I’m writing from emotion.
(Also, why hasn’t there been another film adaption of AToTC yet, I’d like to know?! It’s been 40 years!)
Once, I loved a girl.
It was strange, at first.
Feelings I recognized,
Yet different somehow, like
An old wound ripped open again,
But done so in a way that makes you wonder
If you missed the familiar pain of it.
That scared me.
I don’t know why I was drawn to her, except
Perhaps that she reminded me
Of my mother.
Her hair was golden
A field of curling, coiling, sun-kissed wheat
Her eyes were an ocean,
Sparkling openly, dancing with the tide, hiding nothing.
I don’t think that was it, though.
I’d loved girls before, and many
Were just as beautiful, perhaps more so.
But they all lacked something that this girl had.
Kindness. That’s the word.
She looked upon me with an eye
That wasn’t full of scorn or pity
Or even guilt.
No, she looked upon me with kindness.
And somewhere along the way, I realized
I loved her for that.
I loved her more than I loved
My own life.
Not that that takes much.
But her life was a fine one, and
She needed a husband who could take it even further.
I couldn’t have given her a better life.
I couldn’t even give myself a better life.
I’d be nothing to her.
I’d disappoint her at every turn.
Even now, I can’t bear to look at her, even though
I long to.
If we were to be wed, for a moment
It would be paradise, but then
Like clockwork, we would crumble.
She’d drown her sorrows at night in her pillow,
Whispering her regrets to the muffled
Darkness of misery.
And I wouldn’t know what to say.
So back to the bottle I’d go, and
Perhaps one day I’d never return.
I’m like that, often.
And then what?
My girl, my beautiful, kind, loving girl
Would be not mine.
She’d be alone.
Belonging to that Charles, perhaps,
I could never deserve her.
No, I don’t think so, no matter how hard I tried.
There is something,
One last thing,
I could do for her now,
To save her from greater pain
Than this or any of the past,
To give my last and fullest degree of devotion.
Of the love I’m glad you never knew.
Even though there is still a part of me
That is anguished,
It is overshadowed by the part of me
That is at peace.
Blissful, unfamiliar peace.
Well, Lucie, farewell.
God be with you, always.
I go now to that better life I mentioned before.
A life I won’t regret.
A life you love.