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B IS FOR TO BE OR NOT TO BE by THOTHMES

Summary: Well, okay, for today's story it is not a butterfly beating its wings that rocks a world, it's a common fly. And you get to be a fly on the wall for a day in the life of seven year old Daniel Jackson.
Word Count:2,427
Characters: Daniel, Claire, and Melburn Jackson, Jack, Catherine Langford, Sam, and Original Characters
Era: Preshow/Stargate [the movie]/Season One and Season Two
Categories:Character Study
Author's Note: Daniel has had a tough life. Why is his heart still so warm? Why is his faith in humanity so strong? This is my answer.
Brief quotes from Stargate the movie, and The Torment of Tantalus are the work and words of the writers of those scripts. Please don't sue the pants off of me. I'm only borrowing, and I'm a slightly pudgy middle aged woman. The nekkid and pantsless look is not what you are after, I promise!

Excerpt: Marble archaeology was a fun game. Every day after breakfast, until it became stiflingly hot and his parents came to get him to eat lunch in the cooler semi-dark of one of the tombs cut into the walls of the cliffs near the dig and then nap through the worst of the day's heat, and again in the late afternoon as the heat was fading, and even after dinner, as the night grew cool, Daniel would dig slowly through his filled in hole, little grid square, by little grid square, being careful to note any changes in color or texture or color, and how far down from the string grid that marked the original surface they fell. He tried to make sure that he wrote down everything he saw right away, because if he didn't, sometimes he couldn't remember exactly how it had been.

"Archaeology is a process of destruction," his Mom had told him. "You have to be sure your records are good, because you will never be able to put it all back the way it was. In a hundred years if another archaeologist wants to know how it all was, your notebook will be the only way for him to find out."




B is To Be Or Not To Be


Daniel was playing with his favorite toys, sprawled on his stomach in his favorite place for his game, under the photography table in the work tent. It was sectioned off from the rest of the tent, and surrounded by blankets to be sure that the dig photographer, a graduate student named Dick Morton could control the lighting and get it just the way he wanted it on anything that Daniel's mom or dad brought back from the site at the end of the day to be photographed. Daniel liked Dick. He was the sort of fellow that liked kids and answered all of Daniel's questions without getting cross. He said he liked to see a boy who wanted to learn things, and as long as Daniel did not touch any of Dick's expensive cameras or knock over any of the lights on their heavy stands, they could be friends. Dick said he was a photographer, he said, because in Egypt's bright sun in the desert sand of the Red Lands, a dark tent was the best place for a ginger to be. This confused Daniel until he figured out that "ginger" was just a British way of saying "red head." Daniel's dad had taught him that the Red Land, deshret was what the Ancient Egyptians called the desert, while the cultivated land was the Black Land, kemet.

Daniel had asked the boys in the village school for their help and had collected all the popsicle sticks from the bouza, the mastic flavored ice cream that Magid, the bouza man sold. It took two weeks to get enough sticks. He traded them one for one, giving each boy a hard raspberry candy with as soft center, wrapped in red cellophane and foil that Grandpa Nick had sent him all the way from Belgium. There was a conference there every year, and this year Nick had gone to give a talk about the mystery of the crystal skulls of Central and South America. He had string that he had saved from the packages that came for the dig. Most packages were equipment, sent from a supplier in London, because it was cheaper to get it shipped from there instead of all the way from New York, all the way across the wide ocean.

Daniel knew how wide that ocean was, because it took days and days on the big ocean liner to get to Paris. His mom told him that some day when Daddy had tenure and was a full professor, they might be able to cross the Atlantic on an airplane, and that they would be able to go to sleep in New York and wake up in Cairo, and then only spend a day getting to the dig site by boat. It sounded like a miracle to Daniel, to be able to get so far so fast.

His parents had helped him set up his game. First they told him to make a list on the first page of his notebook of all his marbles, so he knew how many he had of each kind and color, and then they dug a square hole a foot deep under the photography table. Then they put a ragged piece of cloth in the hole, and explained to Daniel that the cloth would be the boundary. If Daniel found cloth, he knew he had gone far enough. That night after Daniel went to bed they took Daniel's marbles, and starting with a layer of the sand they had taken out of the hole, they put down layers of sand, and rich black dirt from the cultivated lands, and even some charcoal from the cook fires used to make tea for the Egyptian workmen who worked on the excavation. As they filled the hole back in, they scattered in the marbles for Daniel to find. The next morning, right after breakfast, they brought over the steel square and a few meter sticks, and showed Daniel how to set his sticks out at regular intervals to mark the edges of his square, and how to run the string from stick to stick to mark a grid on the surface of the sand. They gave him a notebook, and showed him how he could make a grid in the notebook where each decimeter in the sand was only two centimeters on the paper. By then, Daddy had to go off and greet the workmen, and make sure that everyone knew what the plan for the day's work would be, so Mom had stayed for a little while longer to explain about how Daniel could draw in each of the marbles he found on the paper, and that as he found each one, he could locate it on the grid by the number it had on the list of them that Daniel had made, so the big green aggie would be 13, and the solid blue would be 21. then she showed him how to notice where the layers of sand and dirt changed color, and how to mark it in the notebook in side view on something called a profile. She told him the charcoal layer was special and he should keep a sharp eye out for it, because charcoal layers were special to archaeologists. They marked the time when a site had burned. All the marbles above the charcoal were after the burning, and the ones under it were from earlier. When Dick came, Mom new it was time for her to get to the site too, to help the graduate students learn to figure out what they were seeing as it emerged from the ground.

Daniel pulled out his favorite Christmas gift that year, a real archaeologist's trowel, just like the ones his parents had, ordered specially for him, with his name burnt into the handle. He had a scuffed up old meter stick too, one that was left over from last season, where the black and white squares painted on the side to mark the centimeters on one side and the black and white rods on the other side to mark the decimeters were too faint in places to photograph well. That didn't matter to Daniel. He was not going to be photographing his finds, because they were only modern marbles. Mom said that was important, so that if he missed any, no future archaeologist would think they had found something ancient. Anyway, it was the trowel that was really cool.

"When it comes to trowels," Dad had explained, "graduate students are like hungry jackals, just waiting for you to turn your back so they can steal the trowel away. Don't let them convince you to lend it to them, and if it disappears, we'll be able to tell it's yours because it's marked."

He'd thought Daddy was just joking until he had seen the handle of his trowel sticking out of the top of Peter Patterson's tool belt. Later when he himself was in graduate school he had had a moment of regret about how he had stretched out his arm and pointed at poor Pete, and with the best ringing tones he could manage with his boy's voice, as if he were denouncing him before a Revolutionary Tribunal, had cried out "Thief! You have my trowel! Give it back!"

Pete had turned still redder than his sunburn had already rendered him, and handed it back immediately. Graduate school Daniel knew that the man's focus had been on the items in his assigned square, and he had probably reached blindly for a trowel, and gotten Daniel's instead of his own without noticing.

Marble archaeology was a fun game. Every day after breakfast, until it became stiflingly hot and his parents came to get him to eat lunch in the cooler semi-dark of one of the tombs cut into the walls of the cliffs near the dig and then nap through the worst of the day's heat, and again in the late afternoon as the heat was fading, and even after dinner, as the night grew cool, Daniel would dig slowly through his filled in hole, little grid square, by little grid square, being careful to note any changes in color or texture or color, and how far down from the string grid that marked the original surface they fell. He tried to make sure that he wrote down everything he saw right away, because if he didn't, sometimes he couldn't remember exactly how it had been.

"Archaeology is a process of destruction," his Mom had told him. "You have to be sure your records are good, because you will never be able to put it all back the way it was. In a hundred years if another archaeologist wants to know how it all was, your notebook will be the only way for him to find out."

When the whole was all dug out and the marbles were all back in their jar, Mom and Dad would look over his notebooks and asked him questions, teaching how he could tell which marbles were younger, because they had been laid down earlier, and which older, and asking Daniel to explain what he thought the story of the marbles were. Sometimes Daniel made up stories of marble war parties and raids, or marble burial rites (those two bottle caps over and under that one marble sure had looked like they might be intended to be a marble's sarcophagus) but even Mom, who liked Daniel's stories had kept insisting that he show evidence, evidence in the dirt, evidence recorded in his notebook for what he was saying. Then his parents would set up a new arrangement of marbles and layers, and he could start all over again.

Daniel liked digging in the evenings best, and not only because he was full of chicken and saffron rice, pita bread used to scoop up the richly-spiced chickpea and tomato stews, and the cucumber and onion salad with its dressing of yoghurt and dill, but because in the dark of the evening there could be no more digging, so on the other side of the blanket the adults would gather and talk over the events and the finds of the day, and discuss the strategy for the day to come. If Daniel was quiet, and he usually was, sometimes the adults would forget that a child was listening, and use curse words and tell interesting stories. Listening to Grown-Ups was his second favorite game. He learned so much that way.

Today it was quiet though. There was a wedding down in the village, and the head workman's youngest daughter Fatmi was marrying her cousin Rajid. Dad and the graduate students had all gone to the festivities. Last night while listening to the adults, Daniel had learned that it would be very different from the weddings back home in the United States, or even Grandma Judit and Grandpa Nick's wedding in the Netherlands before the War. There would be no champagne or alcohol of any sort, but there would be feasting on lamb, and singing, and drumming, and the women would make the zaghareet, a special "lu-lu-lu-lu" noise women make to honor the bride. People would have designs drawn on their hands, using henna which left a dark color behind after it was put on and rinsed off. They said the designs were intricate and beautiful. There would be dance troupes, and feasting until everyone was stuffed and could eat no more, with plenty of lamb and rice and stews and tightly folded vine leaves full of savory meat and spiced rice, and pastries like bakhlawi, kanafi, and sweet rice pudding garnished with pistachios and shreds of lemon peel, and sprinkled lightly with nutmeg. Only Mom was here because the wedding would last far into the night, and Daniel would need to be in bed before it all ended. Daniel was sad to be missing the food, but missing the special wedding sound, and the henna, and the dancing was almost more than he could stand.

Mom said that she would take him into the village tomorrow right after breakfast, and he might be able to see the henna on the hands of some of the women then. If he asked Umm Nabil to make the wedding noise for him, because he had missed it, she was almost certain to show him. The dancing, though, he would miss. The dancers were professionals, hired just for the occasion, and they would be off up or down the river to another town, to dance for another event come morning. He would be old enough to go to a wedding here in Egypt someday, and surely that wedding would have dancers too.

So Daniel worked steadily at scraping the layers away with his trowel, and the only noise that came from the other side of the blanket was the clink of his mother's tea cup onto its saucer, or the occasional sound of flowing liquid as she refilled her cup from the teapot keeping warm in its nest of sand to one side of her camp chair. The pouring would all be lower than the table that his mother was working at, and the tea cup and saucer would be kept almost out of his mother's reach so if it spilled the drawings she was working on would not be ruined. Sometimes there was the clank of a brush against the water glass as his mom needed to clean her brush. Nothing else, even Mom's breathing, made its way through the thick wall of blankets.

Suddenly there was the sound of crunching sand, and the slap-slap of the sandals that the village workmen favored. Daniel crawled out from under the table to lift up the bottom edge of the blanket. He was quiet, and careful to move slowly and only lift the blanket barely high enough to catch a glimpse of the other side. Listening to Grown-Ups was only really interesting when they forgot you were there. It was Abu Mansour who had entered.

"Marhaba, Hajji" his mother greeted the man. This man, although a poor man, had made his pilgrimage, or haj, to Mecca, accompanying his father and his grandfather when he was a boy, and this entitled him to be greeted with the honorific Hajji all the rest of his days. He was not one of the trained diggers that the village was famous for, but someone who was hired to do the rough digging, shifting the sand, rocks, and debris that the rare Egyptian rains brought down over the centuries in the torrents that ran down the wadis because the dry land was too parched to absorb much water. These rough disorganized deposits needed to be carved away, shovelful by shovelful before the real archaeology could begin, and day laborers would be hired to fill basket after basket with this rough fill which an assortment of teens and older elementary school children would somehow hoist onto their heads and carry off to a dump site nearby. It was wearying, back-breaking work in the hot sun, but the pay was in American dollars, less prone to the galloping inflation of the Egyptian pound, and supplemented the living he scratched out for his wife, his eldest son Mansour, and at least five other children that Daniel knew of, maybe more.

Abu Mansour's voice was rough and grating, and he offered no greeting in return. In his hand was a large knife of thin cheap steel, sharpened and resharpened, with a crude, water damaged wooden handle, wrapped in a scrap of old woolen fabric tied tight around it, ends flapping, perhaps to keep the weathered wood from giving splinters. It was a knife of all work, used for jobs from opening burlap sacks of grain, to cutting back vegetation. Daniel had seen men open the hard hairy shells of coconuts with knives such as these. Like his voice, the knife was shaking.

"The ivory. The ivory hippo." he said in heavily Arabic accented English that showed that most of the digs he had worked on were likely to have been British led. The hippo had been found at the beginning of the week, and had been photographed where it lay, using a clever arrangement of mirrors and some flashlights to bring the right illumination to bear, then carefully brushed free of the dust of millennia, gingerly lifted into a cotton-lined specimen box, given an identifying number, and entered into a ledger of finds, and then photographed again on a piece of green felt right next to a black and white ruler marked off in centimeters to show scale, and then returned to the box, which was closed and placed in the footlocker with its padlock where all the finest and rarest discoveries were kept. In another week an inspector from the Antiquities Department would come, and he would look over the ledger, and check the footlocker to see that the important finds were there and in order. If pieces were missing, The Jacksons would lose their concession to dig there.

"Yes?" said Daniel's Mom. "What about the hippo? It's certainly a beautiful piece. The lotus and the other reeds and the twining flowers on his sides are so delicately carved, and there is even a trace of red pigment on part of his tongue!" She was lost in memory. The night after the find, Daniel's parents had hardly been able to choke down dinner fast enough because they were so eager to finish and return to open the locker and gaze on the finest and most elegant discovery of their careers so far. That so far got a fair portion of repetition, because who knew what the next day could bring.

"You are giving it to me, Umm Daniel." he growled "Imshi!"

This last was a command to hurry. He gripped the knife harder, but it shook still more, and in a wider arc.

Daniel's mother stood.

"No, Abu Mansour," she said, and her voice too quavered slightly and was lower in pitch than normal. "I cannot give you the hippo. It does not belong to me. It belongs to Egypt, to all your people. If I give it to you, what will I show the inspector when he comes?"

"But I must have!"

The knife was raised now, by the man's shoulder, where she could clearly see it. Daniel was scared, so scared. He thought of his mother's head smashing open like the coconut. All his worst nightmares were the ones where his parents died or were lost, He was so scared but he tried not to breathe, and he refused to let himself startle when he heard the so-faint splat of a tear from his cheek down onto a pebble in the sand.

His mother took a step forward, closer to the tense man and the wavering knife.

"No!" said Daniel's mind "Run! Run away! Be safe!"

"Why, Abu Mansour?" she said, in the voice she kept for kittens and skittish donkeys. "The hippo can be of no use to you."

"I will sell," he said. "I know people who buy."

"The hippo is too special," she answered. "There are pictures. The inspectors will be able to tell it is the hippo from here. They will ask the buyer, beat him even, and the buyer will tell them that it was you who sold it. Then they will come for you."

The knife slowly lowered until it was held by the man's side and pointed to the ground. Daniel could see the patches in the man's faded robe, and the place where his left sandal was held together by fraying string. the man's shoulders slumped. He was without hope.

"But I must have money. Miriam, my little one, you know my Miriam, with the big eyes? She is sick, she starts to lose to see in her eyes! Big eyes. So big, so brown! They must see. Doctors in the city, they will not see her without money. I will sell." Now he was pleading. "You lose photographs. you erase the book. Inspector would not know."

"The ledger book is in ink, Hajji," his mother said. "I cannot erase it. The inspector will know. I will not lose those pictures. That hippo may have been made right near here. Some nobleman hunted a hippo in the reeds. Maybe the little hippo was made by one of your ancestors out of the teeth of the hippo, so the nobleman could take a reminder of his successful tomb off to the afterlife with him. You should take pride in the beautiful things your ancestors made. Your children, and their children should be able to go to the museum in Luxor, and see the hippo and be proud."

"You would not sell the hippo if it was your Daniel of the blue eyes that would not see it?"

Now the man folded down into the flat-footed squat that the village women used to work over blankets in homes where space for people to gather was valued over furniture to get in the way, the same posture that Daniel saw the men use hour after hour as they excavated. Daniel's mom could do it for a while, but Daniel's dad, like most European men had lost the flexibility in the hips to do it for more than a few short minutes.

"I don't know what I would do, Hajji. Insh'alla, I hope I would do the right thing and keep the hippo safe, but I am a mother. I know it is hard. I will write to the people at the University in New York, and I will tell them about Miriam. We can send a picture of her. When they see her big brown eyes and her sweet smile, maybe they will want to help, and if everyone gives only a few American dollars, soon there will be enough for the doctor. I cannot promise, but I will try. And tomorrow, Hajji, tell Umm Mansour, your wife to bring Miriam in the cool of the morning, before work starts. I will show her the hippo so she can see and be proud."

Daniel's mother was crying, silently. Her eyes, as blue as Daniel's own looked intently at the man to read what he was thinking, but ignored that knife, that terrible knife, now pointing down into the sand between the man's feet.

"I am ashamed," said Abu Mansour. "If your boy had been here, I would have frightened you into giving me the hippo. With this." He stabbed the sand lightly with the knife.

"I could not have given it to you," she replied.

"You will still help my Miriam?" he asked.

"She is a child. An innocent," said Daniel's mother. "I will try. Some things doctors cannot fix, but many of the diseases of the eye can be treated. And she will see the hippo. Bukra Insha'Allah. Tomorrow, God willing."

"Shukran! Allahu Akbar! Shukran!" thanking her, and not having the Northern European male's fear of showing deep emotion in public, he began to cry, for the first time letting go of the knife, which stood upright where he let go of it, sunken into the sand.

At last, at long last, Daniel could breathe freely again. He let the blanket fall, and sat up, curling up into a ball and hugging himself. That is what Claire Jackson saw when she came around the blanket to check on him after the man had recovered himself and gone.

She sat down in the sand next to her boy, shoulder to shoulder, and reached across his slender back to pull him in, and almost before she could take her next breath, she found herself with a lap full of quivering seven-year old, and his slender boy's arms were wrapped around her neck like a strangling vine.

She said nothing, but breathed in the sweet scent of his shampoo, and the slightly sharp smell of sweaty boy, and rubbed one hand up and down his back, feeling his warmth, feeling the bumps of his spine, telling herself over and over again that he was here, he was safe, that he was a weight on her lap, a warmth in her arms. He was safe. He was safe.

Finally the boy's silent tears slowed, and he passed into that phase where he occasionally took great shuddering breaths, working off the oxygen debt, but was calmer. He relaxed his stranglehold on his mother's neck so he could wipe one grubby forearm over his eyes to dry them, leaving a scattering of sand across his cheeks that were still pale from his fright. With his small hands he cupped his mother's cheeks.

"Don't die, Mommy!" he said, voice quivering in agitation. "Don't leave me! I was so scared!"

"Oh jonge!" said Claire. "I was never going to die. Yes, he had a knife, but I had words. I stayed safe."

"Promise me? Promise me that you and Daddy won't die?" Daniel persisted. His blue eyes, so like her own were intense, and the hands squeezed tighter on her cheeks.

"I can't promise you that, Daniel mine," she said. "Sometimes things happen. But whatever happens, know this, Daddy and I would never leave you willingly. We would always fight to be with you."

The boy did not want to hear that. He wanted certainty. He wanted a promise. He picked at one of the buttons on her white linen shirt, accomplishing nothing but hiding from the truth she offered, at least for a little while.

"Daniel," her voice was soft and low like a lullaby. "Daniel, my gentle one, look at me."

He looked up and into her eyes.

"Daniel, do you love me?"

He nodded earnestly, his fine boy's hair flopping with the motion.

"Will you ever stop loving me?"

This drew a scandalized "No!"

"There is nothing, Daniel, nothing in this wide world stronger than the love of a mother for her child"

"Not even a father's love?"

"That is very strong too, but not stronger. The love that Daddy and I have for you is so strong, it will never go away, no matter what. Even if we were to die."

"But I would be all alone."

"No, Little One, you would not. Do you know what a will is?"

"Determination," he answered.

"Smart boy," said Claire. "But I mean the other kind. A will is a document that people go to a lawyer to make and in the will they list what they want to happen if they die. A will tells the court what they want to happen to all their money and their things, and it does one more important thing. It names a guardian for their children. Daddy and I each have a will, and it says that if anything happens to us, you should go to live with Grandpa Nick. You will not be alone."

Daniel released a big breath. He did not drop his eyes.

"Okay," he said, and summoned the ghost of a smile.

Her boy was brave.

Something bothered him still.

"If he grabbed me, if he grabbed me with his knife, if he did what he said, would you give him the hippo? You said you couldn't. To him. You said that."

"I said that," said his mother. "That hippo is a priceless piece of the story of this place. If it is stolen away, if it is lost, if it is sold away so that no one who sees it ever again knows where it was found, and what was with, then the story dies. That is a terrible loss."

The boy's eyes, shiny with tears gathering on the edge of falling, nodded. That was terrible.

His mother was not done yet.

"Knowledge is important. I would try to use my words to show Abu Mansour that his way was wrong, to show him a better way. To show him that taking the hippo would only lead to trouble and sorrow for him and for his family when the police came. The police here are not gentle. But Daniel," she said, this time cupping his cheeks in her hands, "people are more precious. A small, valuable piece of knowledge would have been lost, but if you were lost, my best and finest gift to the universe would be lost. Don't make me choose, Daniel, because I will always be a bad archaeologist and choose you. Every time."

Was it because of the intensity of the conversation, or because of the imprinting that comes with terror that this hour seemed so vivid, so real to Daniel, even in memory? Up to his very last hour he could have described the scents, the sharp smells of the sands, the hint of moth balls and cedar from the blankets, the unusual scent on top of his mother's everyday smell that adult Daniel knew to be traces of fear. That day was a permanent part of the fabric of who he was. It never left him.

He stood before the lawyer in the dark paneled office with the lady from Social Services and listened to Grandpa Nick refuse to take him, because the work was important, and he could not forsake the work for a small boy, and he knew he was loved. His parents had made a will, because they loved him. His mother had told him that love would never go away. He might be alone, but he was never unloved.

He looked at the Air Force colonel, so tough, so rigid, and watched him deflate into a man so desperately wounded, so devastated that he yearned to die, setting off a bomb.

"You had accepted the fact that no matter what happened, you would not be going home? Don't you have people that care about you? Do you have a family?"

Even Daniel had family. Nick might not be all there, but he was family. Daniel did not want to die. How could this man want to die?

He looked at the holographic molecules, the knowledge of several ancient races, more knowledge in one place than he, or his parents, or Nick would ever expect to mine from the soil, careful trowel full, by careful trowel full in their four professional careers. This could hold the meaning of life! It must not be lost!

"Come on, boys! We got to go, now!" said Jack.

But even as Daniel dug in his heels to stay, he could hear in his mind, as clearly as if she was in the room with him, his mother's voice saying "I will always be a bad archaeologist and choose you. Every time." So he chose, and almost too late!

In a universe not his own, where Jack was a general, Catherine still worked with a civilian Sam at the SGA, and the Daniel of that world had died in Egypt, Daniel remembered his mother's faith in the ability of her words to persuade, to convince Abu Mansour to do what was right, and used his own words to get his chance to return to where he belonged to be able to save his own world, at a cost to Jack, Sam, Catherine, and the others that haunted his dreams for a very long time. They died for him, because of the power of his words.

And in Egypt, an embittered Daniel Jackson, always fearful of loving, never sure that he was loved, lay among the dead. He was a minor librarian, locating reference materials and archived expedition journals for the archaeologists who still had reputations and could get the grant money. If he regretted having turned down Catherine Langford's offer, telling her she would have to look elsewhere for a gigolo, he was beyond caring now.

Miriam, her husband Wathiq, and all seven of her children, were safe in their small village. With those beautiful, long-lashed, big brown eyes, she had been able to draw the attention of the inspector for the Antiquities Department for the entire region. They lived in the village, and her husband journeyed every day to his office in Luxor, and from there to the individual sites and digs as needed. Her vision was fine, and always had been, because when the infected fly had landed on her eye those many years ago, Mansour, her big brother -- a gift from Allah, that one -- had brushed it away before the trachoma bacteria could get a foothold.



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A Few Words from the Wise

Speak to him, for there is none born wise.

-The Maxims of Ptahotep

~~~~~~~~~~


In mourning or rejoicing, be not far from me.

- an Ancient Egyptian Love Song

~~~~~~~~~~


But your embraces
alone give life to my heart
may Amun give me what I have found
for all eternity.


-Love Songs of the New Kingdom, Song #2

~~~~~~~~~~


To Know the Dark


To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.


-Wendell Berry

~~~~~~~~~~


Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

-Robert Burns

~~~~~~~~~~


Visit to the Hermit Ts'ui


Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers,
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.


-Ch'ien Ch'i

~~~~~~~~~~


Mistress of high achievement, O lady Truth,
do not let my understanding stumble
across some jagged falsehood.


-Pindar

~~~~~~~~~~


Every Gaudy colour
Is a bit of truth.


-Nathalia Crane

~~~~~~~~~~


I counted two-and-twenty stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks.


-Samuel Coleridge