“The tears of the world are a constant quantity,” observes Pozzo in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, a play about two tramps in Purgatory. “For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.” Our own experience would seem to bear this out. That too-loudly guffawing man – isn’t he using up, like oxygen, the available enjoyment? And that windy sorrower – isn’t she squandering our slender resources of pity?
March’s Pilgrim, printed in freezing near-Springtime, sets itself against the constant-quantity theory, challenging all pre-set limits of the heart. Jeffry finds hilarity in shelterlessness, while Diana witnesses the topsy-turvy truth of Matthew 13:12. (Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.) Nat, meanwhile, is lovelorn for his stolen computer, the poet Eddie buys a ticket to the funhouse of memory, and Andrew contributes the extraordinary “Poison.”