I think I have learned the beginning of a beautiful lesson from a Faery story. I was never allowed to read Faery stories when I was a child; my mother, who dabbled in the black arts before she was Found by the light, was cautious of mysterious power and taught us to shun its charms.
But what I have seen now, many years later, is that the charms of the dark powers are only a corruption of the powers of Light, just as everything hurtful here in this world is only a twisted image of the original glory. That there is darkness with strength does not mean we ought to shun all strength.
George MacDonald’s Phantastes has touched my heart—along with other influences, which are, I think, convened at the proper time, to tell my heart something healing. If I were a writer of Faery I would name this something else; I would see the poetry that is the real name of the prose I must use for now.
What I think I begin to learn on this night is this: I need not despise my heart for its yearnings. That it yearns only proves it was meant for something great and deep; that it aches is evidence it was meant to be healed. That a grown man and strong should write so often of the blessed rest found in mother’s arms, or the healing and soothing touch of a gentle hand, of the most essential comfort only found on the safety of the maternal breast—that a knight and a warrior should unashamedly yearn for and rejoice in this—must I do any less?
I never thought I possessed the gift of the Poets. I never fancied myself among the Seers. But this story tells me that I am among its lovers—that I can understand it at all must mean I may learn its lesson. That there is so much more we may see, although we look so long. That the poems are the soul of the prose, just as this world is but a dim echo of the next—that even in the cloudy shadow of this world there is rose shot with light, and crimson glory.
My lesson for now is that I may triumph or fail, I may stand tall or weep like a child, but that I yearn for the crimson glory and the mother’s breast—that I yearn at all is enough, and is not to be despised.