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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Love Songs

Love Songs


December 23, 2006
I stayed past the last blustery days of Michaelmas term, a teenager loitering alone amid the empty boarding school's gothic arches in order to go carol singing with girls. I hoped to see one in particular, from the girls' high-school up the road, a sweet swan, all slender wrists and ankles and full of bright warmth, pretty as the South. Mutually besotted for 10 months, we had parted in baffled pain, as helpless lovers do. I lived the afterdays of sorrowing and sighing as if in a posthumous state. Whatever the cliché about raging hormones, teenage enchantment is nothing if not metaphysical, religious on many levels -- full of the infinite regret of life. Christmas itself, its literal meaning of hope-in-despair, and stray lyrics from carols, of a sudden felt acutely real. Could I, at all, sing away my plight, drive away the shaves of night?