Nearly dead with the effort of saying nothing, I tell her, you are one gram of exotic spice in a time of cartography when a dozen lives would have ended at sea fetching favour for a queen. You are the cutting need for chisels, the impulse to etch, and the pull to put pigment to canvas. You are the stars under glass in magnified incandescence. You are sonnets, scores, and combustion engines, literature, plays, the mother of invention. You are the explorer in every heart and the dream dwelling in every mind. You are all that and evermore besides.
I took up my chisel and spent decades learning to sculpt. I watched masters and amateurs, stopped and started, erred and marvelled, sometimes channeling the divine and sometimes chipping it astray. Often, I would simply look at the flecks of my efforts strewn to the ground. Often, I would cry for these scrapped carvings, wondering if my work would ever be done, my mind’s eye always in defiance. One day I showed you my labours, not exactly satisfied but contented by my efforts. ‘I love what you are making,’ you said, ‘but I really love what it’s made from.’