Information



Skylark


The Nostalgic Lain
Owner: Blythe

Age: 6 years, 2 weeks, 5 days

Born: August 1st, 2013

Adopted: 6 years, 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Adopted: August 1st, 2013


Pet Spotlight Winner
July 15th

Statistics


  • Level: 41
     
  • Strength: 108
     
  • Defense: 103
     
  • Speed: 102
     
  • Health: 112
     
  • HP: 112/112
     
  • Intelligence: 2
     
  • Books Read: 2
  • Food Eaten: 0
  • Job: Unemployed


"Look out for the bum." The women grimaced at each other and sped around him, making sure not to look directly at the sprawled tangle of clothing and limbs. The old man made no movement, other than the slight bobbing of his head. The words did not bother him. He was too drunk for a stranger's words to hurt him, if he even noticed them at all. Shortly, he passed out completely and lay on the sidewalk, undisturbed, for several hours.

HAIL to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert—
That from heaven or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

The old man heard a sound which slowly roused him from unconsciousness. What was it? A tinkling wind chime? A whistling bird? He could not be sure. His thoughts were slow and heavy.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

He started to awaken enough to care about the sound. Whatever it was, he liked it.

In the golden light'ning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

His eyes opened into small slits. He couldn't quite make out his surroundings, just blurry shapes and colors. The warm golden light told him it was nearing sunset. He felt the last rays against his dark, filthy clothes. The sound seemed to make the sun feel warmer. It had been a long time since he had felt warm.

The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven,
In the broad daylight
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight—

Was that a child's squeal? He couldn't be sure. He couldn't sit up yet, but he wished he could see what was making this delightful sound.

Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

He relaxed into the sound, listening to it as if it were music. It was music to him! It had been too long since he had allowed himself to feel music. It seemed to penetrate into his shrunken chest and down through his swollen legs, like waves of warm energy.

All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow'd.

It must be a bird, he thought. What else would stay this close to him for so long?

What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody:—

The old man was humming to himself. He didn't hear anything but the sound. He didn't hear the teenage boys coming down the sidewalk. One of them didn't see his legs sticking out into the walkway and stumbled over them. "Fucking bum," he cursed and spit on the man's pants.

Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

He knew it had happened, but only in the distant way that a person reading a good book knows a car has driven by. It did not matter. What mattered was this. These feelings of warmth and energy. He remembered them and welcomed them as old friends.

Like a high-born maiden
In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

A memory started to rise. It had been a long time since he had allowed any memories to appear. In it, he could see grass and hear a woman laughing. He was swinging and she was pushing him higher and higher.

Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden
Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:

Usually, his memories soured shortly after arriving. He had spent most of his life keeping his memories weighted under heavy drink. But he did not think of that now. He let these come.

Like a rose embower'd
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower'd,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-wingèd thieves.

Another memory, this time the smell of soap and cigarettes. He rested his head on her shoulder and buried his face in her soft hair. She carried him and his small hands gripped her shirt.

Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awaken'd flowers—
All that ever was
Joyous and clear and fresh—thy music doth surpass.

Now he was running through a sprinkler on a hot day. She was sipping iced tea from a folding chair and fanning herself with a magazine. The way the sunlight illuminated her made him think of an angel from his books.

Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Loud, raucous laughter from many people around a table laden with food. She was spooning mashed potatoes onto his plate and whispering into his ear.

Chorus hymeneal,
Or triumphal chant,
Match'd with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt—
A thin wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

He wanted to see her. To touch her face and curl up into her lap. He reached out an arm.

What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? What ignorance of pain?

A young girl passing by shrieked as she saw his hand come near her and her mother pulled her into her arms and hurried down the road.

With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Just like the others, he did not notice them pass. He was happy! So happy! Nothing could match this feeling. The sound was with him, enchanting him and enveloping him.

Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

He was on a bicycle, pedaling, pedaling. He was picking up speed and he could hear her shouting encouragement somewhere nearby.

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Where are you, he called. Where have you gone? Did you leave me?

Yet, if we could scorn
Hate and pride and fear,
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

No, he was not alone. The sound. It was still here! The bird. His bird. He had the sun. He had his bird. It sang for him. Ah, what happiness!

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

It wasn't until the next day that a shopkeeper called the police to complain of the homeless man who was bothering his customers. When they arrived, they found an old man who had been dead for some time. They didn't hurry. They knew no one would be missing him. Anyway, it was a quiet day and the sun felt nice. They called for the ambulance. Just a formality. They chatted a little while waiting. One complained of his daughter who hadn't done well on her SATs. If only she'd applied herself. The other spoke yearningly of her upcoming vacation and how nice it would be to get away.

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know;
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

The officers both fell into thoughtful silence. The only sound for several minutes was the squawking of radios, the occasional passing car and the whistling of a skylark.





Poem: To a Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Story: Blythe
Art: Geckos
Profile: Bug

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