"...to enclose the present moment; to make it stay; to fill it fuller and fuller, with the past, the present and the future, until it shone, whole, bright, deep with understanding."
Virgina Woolf, The Years
The Gardener I - To hold your little fists like tender lotus-buds
Servant: Have mercy upon your servant, my queen!
Queen: The assembly is over and my servants are all gone. Why do you come at this late hour?
Servant: When you have finished with the others, that is my time. I come to ask what remains for your last servant to do. Queen: What can you expect when it is too late?
Servant: Make me the gardener of your flower garden.
Queen: What folly is this?
Servant: I will give up my other work. I throw my swords and lances down in the dust. Do not send me to distant courts; do not bid me undertake new conquests. But make me the gardener of your flower garden.
Queen: What will your duties be?
Servant: The service of your idle days. I will keep fresh the grassy path where you walk in the morning, where your feet will be greeted with praise at every step by the flowers eager for death. I will swing you in a swing among the branches of the saptaparna, where the early evening moon will struggle to kiss your skirt through the leaves. I will replenish with scented oil the lamp that burns by your bedside, and decorate your footstool with sandal and saffron paste in wondrous designs.
Queen: What will you have for your reward?
Servant: To be allowed to hold your little fists like tender lotus-buds and slip flower chains over your wrists; to tinge the soles of your feet with the red juice of ashoka petals and kiss away the speck of dust that may chance to linger there.
Queen: Your prayers will be granted, my servant, you will be the gardener of my flower garden.