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lie, if you will

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Love and loss are all in the rush of a moment.

Moments may be many—they must be many.

For on their account, they do not last.


It’s a hard thing, Demelza knows, being a frilly wild rose when the soft petals of the garden breed bloom a few mile’s ride away.

Nay, nay, Prudie would hush her, if ever she gave voice to such a thought. The wild roses gather thick and sweet

Sweet. And tattered, when seen after. Tattered by wind and roughened by the rocks they cling to. If a man were to see both at once, the choice of his hand would be simple.


She can sing. It does not leave her, not in the long watches of night and day, because her son must be comforted and her wee dead daughter remembered. She can warble a tune and tuck her skirts up and run like a girl with little Jeremy.

She is still, by some counts, a girl.

And Ross is still the man who left his heart behind at Trenwaithe, sometimes. Or at least, he bears that man’s face.

And Elizabeth is still a woman who can never keep from looking over a slim shoulder.

Demelza understands that, too much, perhaps, to resent.


They are all three of them birds. She, a song-bird.

And they, too often—two light-feathered birds in a cage half-strung of their own making.


Sorry waif that she was, rough-handed housewife that she is, she ought to be too simple for staring at any horizon but the one that lies east.

(Yet she longs.)

(Yet she longs.)


A lady’s soft words might be what are needed on one occasion; on another, the crack of a swift fist.

She is caught in between those two.

Her moment passed.

(Here is another.)