Digression on the Balcony

Again, dangerous dreams…

The Feast

An abandoned feast was laid before me last night, in white and silver.

Damask supported marble pillars, wine sparkled in blue crystal, tables shifted and shook in the fading moonlight. So much seemed so familiar, so much seemed so strange. Gleaming trays heavy with delicacies adorned fine linen…unstained, untouched, unseen, unknown.

I stood alone on the wind-swept balcony, a figure apart, wrapped in silken draperies as I contemplated the empty chairs. Some were pulled out from the laden tables, others tilted forward against the linen, still others cast to the ground in shattered heaps. I did not seem to move, yet the tables did, rotating around a celestial prism, casting dark dancing light over the scene.

Through the wandering shadows I felt the empty chairs, each in their turn, like scars on my flesh. I could see the plaques on the place settings as they marched past me, each made of stone, inscribed with names I did not know, bearing apologies I did not understand.

A distant quartet played something which could have been Strauss as I leaned hard against the balcony arch, legs shaking, watching the forlorn tables cascade past as the scent of rotting fruit rose, filling me with regret. I ached for these lost guests, ached for the sounds of joy, ached for the scorned and betrayed, falling to my knees on the marble balcony.

An abandoned feast was laid before me last night, as the winter died away.


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