Totally doesn’t belong in the children’s section…

When I was a young man and very well thought of
I couldn’t ask aught that the ladies denied
I nibbled their hearts like a handful of raisins
And I never spoke love that I knew that I lied.

But I said to myself, “Ah, they none of them know
The secret I shelter and savor and save
I wait for the one who will see through my seeming
And I’ll know when I love by the way I behave.”

The years drifted over like clouds in the heavens;
The ladies went by me like snow on the wind
I charmed and I cheated, deceived and dissembled,
I sinned, and I sinned, and I sinned, and I sinned.

But I said to myself, “Ah, none of them see
There’s part of me pure as the whisk of a wave.
My lady is late, but she’ll find I’ve been faithful,
And I’ll know when I love by the way I behave.”

At last came a lady both knowing and tender,
Saying, “You’re not at all what they take you to be.”
I betrayed her before she had quite finished speaking,
And she swallowed cold poison and jumped in the sea.

And I say to myself, when there’s time for a word,
As I gracefully grow more debauched and depraved,
“Ah, love may be strong, but a habit is stronger,
And I knew when I loved by the way I behaved.”

–Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn.

OK, maaayybeee the teen room. I read this book about 800,000 times in Jr. High. But it’s also assigned for my Intro to Fiction course. We’re reading it right along side Crime and Punnishment and Toni Morrison’s Nobel winning The Bluest Eye. I was surprised to find our sole copy in the children’s section.

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