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"The Declaration" by John M. Ford, and "Response [...]" by Elise Matthesen
elf hill
elisem
Some of you know that back in 1998, Mike was invited to be Guest of Honor at the Sixth Klingon Year Games, which at that point was a fun and smallish camping event to the southeast of where we live. When discussing possible festivities, one thing led to another, and, well, we had a ceremony. The way Mike put it was, "The Klingon Empire has decided that it is time for us to formalize our relationship," but truly, I was the one who asked him. Which means he takes my house name, or line name -- sorry, I am not thinking all that clearly just now, and the nomenclature has fallen out of my head. Anyhow, he wrote a lovely set of vows for us, which he titled "Declaration of Unity," and printed up a little program-booklet with that and a poem I had written for him earlier called "Response to an Unwritten Poem of Yours Called 'Sorrow for Breathing'". As Mr. Ford said himself, in writing, "This Declaration may be used by others wishing to make such a statement. The author politely requests a word of acknowledgement and, perhaps, the turn of a glass at the celebration." Here are the two things, together, as they were together in the booklet; as he was fine with me posting them to various Klingon and Trek-related places before, I am confident that he and his literary executor would be fine with me doing so now. Also, well, I seem to need to just now, so here they are.
The Declaration

If any should ask why we are here, together, now, let it be said that we were brought here by a force stronger than suns, which is Will.
Ours was not a random course, though chance strengthened it.
We were not always sure of the way, and some of our steps have been slow, but our next step spans worlds.
Time will not stop for the strongest: and though we must go where it takes us, without companions chosen by the will and the heart, the journey is empty, and there is nothing to measure the victories by.

One partner: I stand here with you because together we possess infinity in a finite space of time, and our combined reach surpasses the mortal.

Other partner: I stand here with you because we have seen in each other a shared task: and though the void may separate us, and matter must always fail, we shall never truly be apart, one from the other.

Together we take joint and equal command of the time still before us, to watch and to defend, to endure the cold and the fire, to stand until the last.
For against that power armies are as nothing, and Death itself comes begging and ashamed.

Each partner in turn: None commanded that I should be here: I willed it be.
Let strength and joy follow from it.

As light spreads from the birth of a star, so the stars surrounding see it, and remember.
What they cannot do is judge.
Judgement comes only from the mind and heart.
For that, we are here among all of you.
Let noble wills magnify the light.
Answer us, and know the stars hear you:
Is this well done?

-- John M. Ford, 1998



...


Response to an Unwritten Poem of Yours Called "Sorrow for Breathing"

You tell me I should not love you
should not;
You'll only bring me sorrow,
only die on me.

"I need what you give me
more than I need sunlight,"
you say,
I tell you I've always suspected
your vampiric nature.
You laugh.

"How could I not love you?"
you say.
"As well not take in air, as well
not breathe;
to sorrow for loving you would be
like sorrow for breathing."
And you take my outstretched hand,
drawing me on
to another city,
another chapter,
another of the long lamplit nights
where we pause, panting for breath,
waiting for the quill of the chronicler
to catch up.

"As well not live as not love,"
I say to you.
As well try to convince the lungs
not to draw in that next
measure of air
as teach my hand not to reach
for the curve of your cheek,
my foot not to take that
next step
bringing me into the circle
of your arms.

Each breath, you remind me,
is one closer
to the time when all the breath there is
will do one of us no good,
and the other of us will turn alchemist
transmuting good air to sobs
or sighs
or silence

Each step is one closer,
is one more bead on the string
that leads to the dangling cross
of grieving.
The tiny carved features look up at me.
As well not love as deny this grief,
wrapped in the joy of what is
like a sweet the color of garnets
wrapped in bright foil.
I finger the beads,
listen to your warnings,
hearing under them
your need,
your desire.

"I am not sorry for loving you,"
you say,
and I know you are thinking
of inevitable losses.
You conjure a smile from somewhere.
Our eyes meet.
And still
that pinned figure
arms splayed, mouth in rictus,
swings at the end of the string.

There are mystics who talk
about Peace in the Passion.
There are country folk who walk the fields
after the storm,
quietly,
watching for the bow
across the sky
and the sparkle of rain
on bent stalks.

I remember the night
you brandished an imaginary clock at me,
hissing,
"Look at the hands!
You can see them move. Is
this
what you want?"

What I want
is all
of this: each breath,
each step,
each bead on the string,
and the cross, too,
if that's part of the deal.

"Only another fifty years,"
I say, "and then I promise
to let you go."

"I can't guarantee you five,"
you rasp, waving
at the bottles of meds
on your tray.
"Hell, I can't
guarantee you five months." And I
catch your hand in mine
and say, "No one
ever could, dear heart,
ma croidhe.
But as well not breathe,
as not love."

Amd whichever ending
the chronicler writes,
pray one of us
will have the wit
to step outside whatever small room
shelters that private passion play,
stand in the cool night,
look up,
and draw in
a lungful of stars.

-- Elise Matthesen, sometime around 1995 or 6



I love him. I miss him. I will love him forever.
(And, you see, both of us knew what we were getting into. Hearing me say that, he would smile, I know. It would be a smile of agreement.)
OK. Am going to go sleep now, and wake to do the things that need doing.
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i love you, elise. i am sending love to you.

That is very, very beautiful, and the terrible truth for all lovers, even when it is much less obvious. Thank you for sharing it. You are in my thoughts today and in all the coming days.

"we have seen in each other a shared task"

...that may be the truest phrase I have ever read.

Thank you.

You done good. Both of you.

I send much love.

I am glad you had the time together that you did. I am glad for getting to know him better through you. He will be missed. Please let me know what you wish of me.
I am glad to lend an ear, a shoulder, a hand.....

Words fail me - I can only think of sun-in-rain, rain-in-sun - beauty shared, joy given, a pale hint of your sorrow.

I am sending you all my love. Please call on me if I can do anything useful.

Elise, I am sorry beyond words or even thinking of words. Everyone that knew Mike, even as slightly as I did, will be devastated and be left imagining how tiny our pain is by comparison with yours. He is the world and Art's loss, but most he is yours as he ever was.


I don't think I can add anything to what Roz said, except that Soren and I are thinking of you, and thinking of these words as we plan our ceremony. You have, as always, our love.

I am so sorry. Your response is beautiful, but would you had another 50 years before you were needing to make this post.

Elise, it's hard to type when I can't see clearly through my tears. Am sending much love your way, and may Mike's memory live forever unwithered. rozk says it better than I could.

Elise, I have no words. Today I want to smack the universe for doing this to you. Then pat it for having given you him for this long. I have no words, no hugs, nothing that would help. I have been crying very hard.

Elise, sweet Elise...
my face is streaming tears.


At this season
as a leaf a life fullest
Gold falls shattering

So sorry for your loss.

What is remembered, lives. If you need us for anything...

kgencks @ gmail.com

as well not breathe,
as not love


Dammit, I promised myself I wasn't gonna cry this morning....

I am bereft.

Love to you. Love to us all.

You and Mike were a Great Work.

Precisely. Dammit, I miss him.

My love to you as well. I'm sorry for your-and our- loss.

Thank you for sharing this. I can only imagine how you must be feeling right now -- to us, who only knew him as pixels on a screen or ink upon a page, the shock was like a punch in the stomach -- for you, who loved him.... well. I hope that you are having all of the support you need.

Know that you and he are in my prayers. Much love to you in your loss.

Thank you; you make me cry for someone I never really knew.

Well, fuck.

Elise, if you have need of a Berlien-buddy, I'm here for you.

I love you, and admire you: you looked at the risks, a bit closer than most of us do, and saw that love is worth it.

Deepest condolences from a near stranger crying at a keyboard.

Met you briefly at LACon and told you then that I never met a funnier- quicker- person than Mike.

Wishing you whatever it is you need to be wished.

Elise, I am more sorry than I know how to say.

Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Gods, how you two deserved each other, in all the best ways.

--Soren.

I wish I'd known him, and I'm honestly sorry I didn't.

My deepest sympathies on your loss, Elise.

You are in our thoughts,
Star & Pooch

You won't know me, Elise, I'm just a stranger passing by; I have seen pegkerr reference you many times on her blog, and I knew of Mike's work with Star Trek, and enjoyed his comments on Making Light. It is the usual passings that happen on the small world that is the Net, and yet it is enough to be sorrowed by his passing, and to express to you my deepest condolences. I hope your memories of him are a blessing for you.

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