Anecdote II

It is the first disappointment the critic remembers best.  For me, the disappointment was the smallest thing, a trifle.  This is true of every other critic I have polled, too.  Perhaps a beloved dog died unexpectedly.  Or a promise his father made couldn’t be kept.  There will not be a camping trip this year.  Or maybe his mother, who was an otherwise lovely woman, showed him a face he doesn’t recognize, and so he withdraws into himself.  And what does he find there?  He finds that, when he casts his light on the walls of the cave, some of the failures and disappointments have been redeemed.  The mother he trusted and loved is alive again.  She smiles.  His father is great and tall.  His dog bounds and leaps and barks for him to play.  The poet finds these things waiting for him, too.  But he stays, while the critic appraises and returns to this imperfect world, where he must make due with what is and not what might be.

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