Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin. But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning If I lacked anything.
“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here”: Love said, “You shall be he.” “I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear, I cannot look on thee.” Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, “Who made the eyes but I?”
“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame Go where it doth deserve.” “And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?” “My dear, then I will serve.” “You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.” So I did sit and eat.
We are like children in the master’s violin shop not yet allowed to touch the tiny planes or the rare wood but given brooms to sweep the farthest corners of the room, to gather shavings, mop spilled resins and watch with apprehension the tender curves emerging from apprenticed hands. The master rarely shows himself but whenever he does he demonstrates a concentrated ease so different from the willful accumulation of experience we have come to expect, a stripping away, a direct appreciation of all the elements we are bound, one day, to find beneath our hands. He stands in our minds so clearly now, his confident back caught in the light from pale clerestory windows and we note the way the slight tremor of his palms disappears the moment they encounter wood.
In this light we hunger for maturity, see it not as stasis but a form of love. We want the stillness and confidence of age, the space between self and all the objects of the world honoured and defined, the possibility that everything left alone can ripen of its own accord, all passionate transformations arranged only through innocent meetings, one to another, the way we see resin allowed to seep into the wood in the wood’s own secret time. We intuit our natures becoming resonant with one another according to the grain of the way we are made. Nothing forced or wanted until it ripens in our own expectant hands. But for now, in the busy room, we stand in the child’s first shy witness of one another, and see ourselves again, gladly and always, falling in love with our future.