Beloved: Is the morning looking at you as it is looking at me? A little to the right of the sun there lies a small cloud, filmy and faint, but enough to cast a shadow somewhere. From this window, high up over the view, I cannot see where the shadow of it falls,—further than my eye can reach: perhaps just now over you, since you lie further west. But I cannot be sure. We cannot be sure about the near things in this world; only about what is far off and fixed.
You and I looking up see the same sun, if there are no clouds over us: but we may not be looking at the same clouds even when both our hearts are in shadow. That is so, even when hearts are as close together as yours and mine: they respond to the same light: but each one has its own roof of shadow, wearing its rue with a world of difference.
Why is it? why can no two of us have sorrows quite in common? What can be nearer together than our wills to be one? In joy we are; and yet, though I reach and reach, and sadden if you are sad, I cannot make your sorrow my own.
I suppose sorrow is of the earth earthy: and all that is of earth makes division. Every joy that belongs to the body casts shadows somewhere. I wonder if there can enter into us a joy that has no shadow anywhere? The joy of having you has behind it the shadow of parting; is there any way of loving that would make parting no sorrow at all? To me, now, the idea seems treason! I cling to my sorrow that you are not here: I send up my cloud, as it were, to catch the sun's brightness: it is a kite that I pull with my heart-strings.
To the sun of love the clouds that cover absence must look like white flowers in the green fields of earth, or like doves hovering: and he reaches down and strokes them with his warm beams, making all their feathers like gold.
Some clouds let the gold come through; mine, now.—That cloud I saw away to the right is coming this way toward me. I can see the shadow of it now, moving along a far-off strip of road: and I wonder if it is your cloud, with you under it coming to see me again!
When you come, why am I any happier than when I know you are coming? It is the same thing in love. I have you now all in my mind's eye; I have you by heart; have I my arms a bit more round you then than now?
How it puzzles me that, when love is perfect, there should be disappearances and reappearances: and faces now and then showing a change!—You, actually, the last time you came, looking a day older than the day before! What was it? Had old age blown you a kiss, or given you a wrinkle in the art of dying? Or had you turned over some new leaf, and found it withered on the other side?
I could not see how it was: I heard you coming—it was spring! The door opened:—oh, it was autumnal! One day had fallen away like a leaf out of my forest, and I had not been there to see it go!
At what hour of the twenty-four does a day shed itself out of our lives? Not, I think, on the stroke of the clock, at midnight, or at cock-crow. Some people, perhaps, would say—with the first sleep; and that the "beauty-sleep" is the new day putting out its green wings. I think it must be not till something happens to make the new day a stronger impression than the last. So it would please me to think that your yesterday dropped off as you opened the door; and that, had I peeped and seen you coming up the stairs, I should have seen you looking a day younger.
That means that you age at the sight of me! I think you do. I, I feel a hundred on the road to immortality, directly your face dawns on me.
There's a foot gone over my grave! The angel of the resurrection with his mouth pursed fast to his trumpet!—Nothing else than the gallop-a-gallop of your horse:—it sounds like a kettle boiling over!
So this goes into hiding: listens to us all the while we talk; and comes out afterwards with all its blushes stale, to be rouged up again and sent off the moment your back is turned. No, better!—to be slipped into your pocket and carried home to yourself by yourself. How, when you get to your destination and find it, you will curse yourself that you were not a speedier postman!