|Chapter 21: "To Say Farewell"|
But when she was fully in the grip of the wind, she no longer felt its force. It reft her from the Land as if she were mist; but like mist she could not be hurt now. She had been battered numb. When the numbness passed, her pain would find its voice again and cry out. But that prospect had lost its power to frighten her. Pain was only the other side of love; and she did not regret it.
Yet for the present she was quiet, and the wind bore her gently across the illimitable dark. Her percipience was already gone, lost like the Land: she had no way to measure the spans of loneliness she traversed. But the ring--Covenant's ring, her ring--lay in her hand, and she held it for comfort.
And while she was swept through the midnight between worlds, she remembered music--little snatches of a song Pitchwife had once sung. For a time, they were only snatches. Then their ache brought them together.
My heart has rooms that sigh with dust
And ashes in the hearth.
They must be cleaned and blown away
By daylight's breath.
But I cannot essay the task,
For even dust to me is dear;
For dust and ashes still recall,
My love was here.
I know not how to say Farewell,
When Farewell is the word
That stays alone for me to say
Or will be heard.
But I cannot speak the word
Or ever let my loved one go:
How can I bear it that these rooms
Are empty so?
I sit among the dust and hope
That dust will cover me.
I stir the ashes in the hearth,
Though cold they be.
I cannot bear to close the door,
To seal my loneliness away
While dust and ashes yet remain
Of my love's day.