blancwene: (Died too soon - Rupert Brooke)
They think you were dead, John! But you were just patiently waiting
– facemasked in plaster — with eyes closed, for someone to tap it
and cheerfully tell you that’s it! You can get up and talk now!
Your jaw’s clenched to stop you from laughing, or letting ideas
become exclamation – it’s all in your temples, the effort,
and also a certain excitement – while Haydon, your sculptor,
admonishes you to keep still or you’ll die without cracking
that old childhood mystery: how do I look with my eyes shut?
The turban he’s wrapped round your hairline, to keep it from pulling -
he’d never have done that if this were a death mask, no need to.
And your eyes, even shut in cold plaster, are so nearly twitching
you no more look dead than the way people look when they’re hiding,
peeking behind their hands, counting out – ready or nothing –
and someone hears breathing and opens the curtains, and finds them.


Keats, 1816
--"The Life Mask," Katy Evans-Bush

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It is always remarkable when someone sees your soul to a better degree than you see it yourself. You could count the people who see your soul on one hand. Others might know you but they would forget; their knowledge of you was like a weak and undisciplined thing. But that wasn’t so with him. He didn’t forget. It stuck in his mind. He had seen a kindred soul. He had seen it long ago. She only saw it now. But she was stricken with it. Suddenly she had identified him. There was the man she loved. As a result, she proceeded dementedly to behave as if the opposite were true.

–Nancy Lemann, The Fiery Pantheon

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