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At the Festival

At the Festival

Boyd Scheer

I have a friend that is mad.
His is a gentle madness,
the kind that smiles mischievously
at 5:00 a.m. and says,
“Shall I sing really loud and wake everyone?”
and since his childlike madness is contagious,
you nod and smile,
as he does it.

I love him so.

One day we were at a festival.
There were flags and banners,
tents and camels,
music and dance.
My mad friend and I were laughing
at one of his deceptively simple jokes,
that are really as deep as the sea,
when he stopped in the sunlight,
smiled at me and winked.
“You’re a dervish, aren’t ya’?” he said.

I was flustered.
And even though the romantic fool in me was flattered,
my sober self said, “I don’t think of myself as such.”
Then I laughed in self-deprecation.
I am sane, you see.
“Ah, you’re a dervish alright- I can tell.”
“How can you tell, my mad friend?” I said.
“I can tell by the way you walk.”
And then he mimicked my gait with such accuracy,
that we both laughed and laughed.

I do love him so.

His body is wracked with pain, my mad friend,
from an illness.
He suffers every day,
and is often driven to bed,
yet he never fails to smile at me in greeting,
with an open delight,
that I can only envy.
Where I would scream,
he smiles

I have another friend.
He’s tall and strong,
with a haunted look in his eyes,
familiar to any fool.
It’s that look that all fools have seen,
looking at them in their own mirror,
rooted in a broken heart.

We first met as two fools,
an old fool and a young fool,
and bonded as such.

He has a reticence with people,
they might smell his pain, you see,
so he’d rather be with his friends the chickens,
or split wood in lieu of tears.

I love him too.

The other day I saw him walking,
and suddenly I knew he must be a dervish.
even though he thinks himself a fool,
the hand of love is upon him,
although to him it tastes like pain.
But I knew he had to be a dervish,
I could tell by the way he walked,
and by the fact that at that moment,
I wished to kiss him.

He was at the festival too,
standing at the fringes,
outside looking in,
at the revelry and celebration of a love,
that he only knew as a crushing hollowness,
still the longing held him close.
He would dance,
but instead he sighs.

I have another friend,
a friend outside of time.
She was at the festival too.
I would secretly watch her as she moved,
when she couldn’t see me.
She walked in a beauty that took my breath.
The whole celebration,
this festival of love,
passed through her,
yet she moved in and out with ease and grace.

We had a dance between us,
my friend and I,
exchanging glances across the lawn,
or a tent,
or across a table.
When our eyes met,
we couldn’t stop our smiles,
then we would turn away,
lest someone else should see.

Closer and closer we danced,
my friend and I,
as we laughed at the joy around us.
Soon we would steal a minute here- a minute there…
and our secret glances lingered,
until she would look openly into my eyes,
and I hers.

These minutes…
In these minutes ,
there was no place else on Earth,
and I could not help it,
as I fell in love.

Oh, this dance in beauty,
sends love sparks like rockets
into the sky!

We would steal away in the night,
until there was no one else around.
There was no thought of resistance,
we could only yield.
I held her close and she me,
until there was no way to distinguish,
where one ended,
and the other began.
Then I gently brushed the hair from her face,
dove into her eyes,
and we kissed…

Now I sit from dawn to dusk,
“Alone with the alone.”
Sometimes I walk the hillside,
and sit in the shadow of old friends,
gone to wherever we all go.
As the stone before me says,
“They are from Him and to Him they return.”
and surely this must be so.

The festival is over now,
the trappings have all come down,
and in my isolation,
I remember these three friends,
one old,
one new,
and one outside of time.

She gave me a key,
my friend outside of time,
and with this key I turned the lock,
only to discover,
that the key,
the lock ,
and the door…
were one and the same.
Now my gratitude knows no bounds,
for having been pierced to the core,
by something which no man can possess.

And I love her so, my friend outside of time,
and I always will.

I now know with certainty,
that I am neither madman nor dervish-
for at that razor’s edge,
where the madman screams and the dervish dances…

I gently brush the hair from your face,
and dive into your eyes,
as we kiss…

and I disappear.