The Rusting Carousel
(a poem my mother wrote in the early 1980's and mailed to me...
It was so sad a poem that I sent her the reply below it)
Yes, I rode a carousel
Not a many-splendored who-oo-sh
and whirl of a rush through life
Such as Ruth's,
But still a musical, wondrous carousel
I rode the horses; how grand they were
With flowing manes and tossing tails.
The music played and, oh, how I sang
So free, the wind in my hair.
Young and strong...of course it would go on.
The dreams of far-away places
That tugged at my heart.
Castle walls...mountains so tall
Waterfalls and singing streams...
Surely Carcassonne was really there
Waiting for me.
But, no, like hers it suddenly stopped.
It did not flame and burn...cremated,
It simply stood there unmoving...silent,
No sound of music...no tinkling bells,
The horses' heads began to droop
And year by lonely year
I watched it fall apart.
It's out there still, my carousel, empty of all life,
The paint quite peeled away, the poles rusty with disuse.
Oh, the lovely horses--so still--so quiet
Slowly dying like my dreams
In loveless loneliness and isolation.
(by Verne G. Charles)
My own Verne,
My beloved one, may I hold your hand and stand with you together to look upon the rusting carousel of your youth's dreams of life? I care so very much, My Verne, about the deep, deep pain its rusting, peeling silence has brought to you. Your carousel was actually more beautiful than Ruth's, you know. It was painted with more flaring dream-colors and the horses arched their necks and held their stride with all the royal passion and pride of tournament mounts or Crusade chargers. The pennants snapped in the crisp wind of romantic hope. I know every inch of your carousel, My dear one, and there is not one part of it anywhere that I am not acquainted with. I understand why this one has a saddle painted blue and why you chose carved lilies for this one and gold tassels for the one over there. Will you turn and look into My eyes, dear Verne, and see there how I loved the young, strong you who devised this once glorious carousel? I mean you to really, really look until you see that love for young Verne. And in that love may I put My arm about your shoulders as we walk together in a circle about your present carousel? As we gaze upon it together I want you to know that just as I knew every shining part of its newness, I also know every rusting pole and every flake of peeling paint. I know the date each chip flaked off--but more than knowing--I care. I do understand. I know the pain you feel as you touch the rust when you remember its shining newness. How could it all have come to this? The sadness has an amazement mingled through its fiber. How COULD this be all that's left? How can there be no movement, no music, when the very same Verne who first dreamed it all is still here within your body?
But now, dear one, what does one DO with a
silent, rusted carousel? There is so much pain in standing and looking at
it, so much pain in remembering how once it was, and even more pain in
thinking of how the chips were formed and the rusting spread.
What does one do NOW? Stop and really ponder the uses of a silent, broken carousel. Then turn and look into My eyes again and behold there the
even deeper love for the Verne of today. "As the lily among the thorns, so
are you, My beloved, among the daughters." Let Me be your Bridegroom---let
Me love you. I have love for you beyond your wildest imaginings and desire.
I am Love itself and do desire you let Me BE love to you. Please take both
My hands as you stand before Me and say from your heart, "My Beloved is
mine, and I am His."
Now, turn with Me and behold the carousel
again as I ask you one question. "Whom have you
in heaven or earth, My Verne, but Me and whom does your heart desire beside
Me?" I love you, Verne. I love every inch of you, the present you, the past
you, the future you.
Now, come sit beside Me here in these tall weeds
awhile. Lean your cheek on My shoulder---it is everything you ever dreamed a
shoulder could be---and let Me put My arm around your back. Lean into Me and
rest as we see what one can do with one's rusted carousel. A new carousel
is beautiful, isn't it? To ride it round and round in the wind...what
exulting joy! But that, My dear one, is the true nature of
carousels...round and round. Your carousel is here
in the same meadow where you built it almost sixty years ago. Carousels
built in meadows get rained on and covered with ice. They sometimes have
sandstorms blast by and even muddy floods. But most of all, the clock ticks
at them...year after year the clock ticks at them while love and castle
walls are off beyond some purple hill.
What shall we do with it, poor sad and lonely carousel? What shall we do with it? The meadow, once filled with wildflowers and butterflies; the carousel, once gloriously strong and fresh, have become for you, My Verne, the Garden of Gethsemane. So the question, "What do you do with your rusting carousel?" does no more apply. The question, rather, has become, "What do you do with your Garden of Gethsemane?" For most of your life you have watched the rust spread and the paint chip and you have reluctantly known it would come to this. With Me sitting here beside you and My arm about you, let us face together the immediate reality of the death---for it is no less than that---of your carousel. Face the death squarely and wrestle in agony with it until it is finally and forever resolved. You must actually accept its death---which is, in fact, your own death, too, before we can leave the meadow together. You see, My Verne, all My life I knew I must die, but there came the time one day when I had to face it as an immediate reality and accept it. My battle was in the Garden, not on the Cross. You, too, must do battle with the death of your carousel and you must weigh its death in the balances of what has eternal value for you.
You cannot go back to fifteen nor twenty-three and the only way out of here is with Me...and I ask much of you. I ask everything of you. I ask that when you are compelled to choose between Me and something less, that you are to hate the alternative. I ask you to come to the place whereby you see that you really HAVE no choice when anything or anyone else is offered even by your own heart as an alternative to Me. I ask you to present your body a living sacrifice unto Me and find your meaning and fulfillment in Me alone. Your carousel is gone---finished---whom HAVE you in heaven or earth but Me? I will stand beside you now as you sit in the weeds and think upon these things, and My hand is waiting for your hand in reply. I stand here, your Bridegroom, and I know you better than anyone has or can know you and My love for you is tender-strong. Be Mine! Say to Me with joy on your lips, "I AM My Beloved's!" Do not stay here on the fringes of this sorrowful meadow. The very best carousel in all the world is just that---in the world---and by its very nature a temporary creation. I offer you permanence. I offer you colors that never fade and music that never stops---but you must willingly accept this death first. So many have promised Me lightly and without thought "whithersoever Thou goest!" But they did not stop to make sure first they knew WHERE I was going so they would know where they were going---for I was going to Gethsemane.
You must count the cost in
following Me---and for you, the cost is in getting through this, your own
Gethsemane. But I am with you; you are not alone. Count the cost, and the
path you follow afterwards will be a deliberately chosen one. "Rise up, My
love, My fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is
over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of
birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land." Let
Me sing My songs for you and let My Spirit blow back your hair. Choose to
live in Me and move in Me and have your whole being in Me and
pain for crumbled carousels can pass---will pass---and be
forever overwhelmed by expectation and enjoyment of My Self and My love for
you, My Verne, My very own sweet Verne.
I will not give you a new carousel, however. For a new carousel would still stay in one place and go round and round. Carousels are for earthly dreams and needs. Come! Leap with Me upon the High Places in the strength of lasting confidence. Press onward---not in endless circles---but onward with Me. Whom HAVE you in heaven or earth BUT Me? Abandon yourself to Me and where we go someday I WILL have a horse for you---not a wooden horse however beautiful and well-carved and painted---but a pure white horse with eyes like flame. And you shall sit upon him, radiant in your strength and beauty and courage, and shall follow Me across the fields of Heaven. And I shall smile at you and say aloud for all to hear, "This is My Verne, in whom I am well pleased." and you will say with the voice of your heart, "I am my Beloved's!"