I noticed for sale in a shop window a tungsten grebe. It was a small model grebe fashioned out of tungsten, according to the hand-written tag attached to it by a piece of brown string. The price was illegible. The shop was shut. I passed on down the street.
A week later, passing the same spot, I glanced at the window display and saw the tungsten grebe was gone. I was not emotionally devastated. I had wanted to find out the price, and depending upon what that was I might have bought the tungsten grebe, and put it on one of my windowsills. But I did not hanker for it. So again I passed on down the street.
That was seventeen years ago. I cannot get that tungsten grebe out of my head. Its image seems etched on the inside of my eyelids. It is the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning, the last thing I think of with my head on the pillow as I drift off to sleep at night. In my dreams and daydreams I am standing at the shop window, gazing at the tungsten grebe, trying to decipher the price scribbled so inelegantly on the tag.
Oh! Tungsten grebe, why do you haunt me so?
That could be the first line of a song, could it not? It is a pity I have not a musical bone in my body. If I did, I could write the rest of the song, and give it a tune, and sing it, to the accompaniment of strummed banjo and mournful bassoon, and busk outside the site where the shop used to be, on that street I used to pass along, and then I might exorcise the phantom of that gorgeous, gorgeous tungsten grebe.