The mechanical toys were very superior, and looked down upon every one else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended they were real. The model boat, who had lived through two seasons and lost most of his paint, caught the tone from them and never missed an opportunity of referring to his rigging in technical terms…Even Timothy, the jointed wooden lion, who was made by the disabled soldiers, and should have had broader views, put on airs and pretended he was connected with Government. Between them all the poor little Rabbit was made to feel himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse.
The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else.
~ Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
I’m no Skin Horse. But I have witnessed a
great number who came in the name of the Lord
dressed in visions, cinched in signs and wonders.
The young women swooned. Men used monogrammed
white handkerchiefs to wipe their foreheads.
Children sat still as ice on worn wooden pews.
I don’t know why but the Lord would say to me
boy, look and see and I looked and saw the bones beneath
their suits, boast and swagger barbwire spines used to
tickle our ears and fondle our hearts. Many of the faithful
were enchanted, some even laying themselves on fleshy altars
humming that old standby have thine own way.
Now my eyes are tired and my beard gray in patches.
But my nose has grown keen, able to smell the soul’s feet.
So if you come leaping and dancing with the professed scent
of the Lord on your skin, know well I will be sniffing like wolves.
I am not jaded. It is because love does not behave rudely, and
the Lord told me to use the senses God gave me.
The fantastical will pass away, this I believe. But the poor
and little will endure. They will have everything taken from
them until they are no longer ghosts. Until we are real.