I am neither the artist's song nor the potter's clay. Nothing humanly poetic; but something thin and vague am I; nothing more than a distant moon lost in the brightness of the sun. I am that melancholy philosopher cloaked like a beggar in curtains of rags, sequestered at my own hand amidst ruins of altars, smouldering resin of insence and parchment, lamenting smoke of moss and mud. I evoke a testimony of liars and thieves that clangs like a thousand churchbells in my head. I imagine lies too clearly to be false, pain too real to deny, fear too corporeal to hide. I fail to mitigate my losses, fail to make them unreal, without shape or mass. They are as my children, and their voices lie like tannin on my tongue but feel like sugar, moist and warm against my lips. And yet, each night, I answer for my despair somehow, mysteriously, once the sun falls into the horizon and I close my eyes to sleep.