The Princess had the guards throw me out and rough me up. Of course she had the best intentions. And who could blame her? I was a bit drunk, and I had no business singing her a love song at that hour. But I seem to remember another princess and I seem to recall that I was once another poet, and a better man – I was not drunk and she had not stopped her ears, as she has now, with more than a whiff of indignation. That other princess - she could hear those four lost notes, the ones I’ve been searching for all my life. I played them once – in another life, in a better world, to a sweeter princess.
It hurts. I hurt.
What hurts is not my head, not my side where the guards kept prodding me. What hurts is that hole, that ache. It’s been there all my life. When I try to fill it with cheap beer and cheaper girls, it only hurts all the more. So I sing.
I sometimes sing songs that are smart and sassy, clever little jazzy numbers that make the people dance, filled with loud and jangly chords that never linger in the mind, tunes that are over before you hear the echo – the echo that sounds if I play notes that are too close to my hollowed heart, too close to that hole within me.
But sometimes I sing love songs. I am made to sing love songs. And they come from the depth of that hole. I had supposed the hole was empty – filled with nothing. But there is something there – a great longing, a great lost love, a great poem that I have not quite written, but that pours out in tears, a wail from a man abandoned in a garden, a garden that is far from paradise.
I gather my instrument. I get up. I head down that road. There is no Surprising call from the castle. There is only silence.
Silence, awful like an empty hole – or like a heart, pierced and bleeding from a cross. It is from that silence that I sing. And what I sing is a song of love.
He calls to me, and I call to the world with a song - though I'm never quite in tune.
And somewhere, somehow ... there is a Lady who hears it.