The Rocking Cradle

"Happiness is a sad song."
- Charles M. Schulz


"What should I do?" he muttered to himself, leaving his notes unfinished again.

As a famous writer of many short stories, he was now busy writing a new one, quite different from his latest ones, which had made him busy for months.

It seemed he had no desire to finish it.

"Astride of a Grave" was the name of the story. He even didn't know how it would end or what would happen for the characters.

The main character of the story was an old lonely poet who hated to be engaged in any conversations and had recently become interested in writing stories.

The poet was too much interested in butterflies and also in "physical shapes", the phrase he had chosen for "people".

He would spend almost his whole afternoon in a park near his house, looking at the many different butterflies, where a woman would also appear with a baby carriage every day, but with no baby in that.

Butterflies inspired him to write and while writing he didn't pay attention to anything except the woman's presence.

"But, there has to be a baby in that", he said to himself. "Or maybe there's something wrong with my eyes!", he would conclude.

"How strange it was that often his own senses rejected their own evidence."

It was the last statement of his new story. There were exactly twenty-eight sentences in the text and he had difficulty to finish that.

He had made his mind not to write any more since publishing his last story, in which he had created a very vague world with too many round characters in that.

He always hated his feelings to be criticized.

He would go to his wife's grave, any time he felt depressed and not having even the remotest notion of himself.

He would often call on her even three times a day.

He would always regret his behavior, having quarrelled with his wife, merely for having a child. He thought his wife was barren, but it was because of him that they could never have any children.

Again tears rushed to his eyes and sobs were choking his throat. He was confused enough to regret his being born. To calm himself, he had to tell himself another story. The same old story he had told himself, evening after evening, and he knew it by heart and which he couldn't believe.

Since he was too much interested in his own way of living, he took his pen again, deciding to leave some other vague points for his readers once more or maybe for the last time.


His hand was frozen. He was trembling. He couldn't move. He was afraid of the same words he had written. They seemed to him as quite strange shapes, ready to kill him.

Having closed his eyes, he could imagine himself staggering barefoot in a vast desert. He was running aimlessly and he could see a graveyard before him, in which there were too many rocking cradles.

But soon, he was all right again.

His room was the only place in the world in which he felt quite comfortable.

To finish his story, he believed, he had to create a being in the baby carriage. But, how? It seemed to him quite impossible.

"How strange it is!" murmured he. "It's been I, trying successfully in my writings to make people see the world quite different from what they had seen before, making them able to recreate it by their imagination", he continued.

"But now, I don't know what to do. I've lost the words. Even my pen is no longer my friend, but a tool ready to kill me... Lifeless words! I hear what I say and I say what I hear!" said he with a deep sigh.

He had nothing else to care for, except to reflect deeply and to find a way to finish the story.

While he was deep in thought, his pen was moving on the paper, painting a baby carriage.

He left his notes, went to the bedroom, opened the door and gazed at the rocking cradle with which he was going to spend the whole night.


Vahid Norouzalibeik

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