When life allows, I sit. Still. And listen for what is important today. To me. Maybe not to anyone else. But maybe.
‘Today’ might be misleading, though. These are not ‘thoughts for the day’. They are just what I wanted to write. Today.
Here are some. Just in case you might also be sitting. Still.
I woke this morning, different. Something was gone. Something was over.
Thrashings of self and soul are stones in the heart’s pocket.
They are silent, invisible. Deniable. Easy to entomb. Easy, worst of all, to standardise.
We have to dig them out. But first we have to find them.
This question helps:
If this were someone else, what would I be seeing?
We hold its gaze, motion it to sit, right here. We smile.
After that, after the chat, the tea, the really?, the mercy…, the shudder, everything is easy.
This question then:
What do I really want?
If we hear it and don’t slap our ears from habituated others-first, just-not-done prowess, the stones crumble. We stand. Hands in empty pockets.
Today I read this:
‘In that majestic progress of life,…advancing a millionth part of an inch every fifty thousand years…in that progress of life which seems stillness itself in the mass of its movements…that process of miraculous verisimilitude, that great copying which evolution has followed, repeating move for move every move that it made in the past…is approaching an end. Suddenly it is at an end. THE WORLD IS NEW.’
William Carlos Williams on spring. On new life. Which there never is, of course, but seems to be and is, as he says, so slow it might as well not be, until it is. And suddenly there is Homo sapiens or before that eruption by only one stray cell that made it into another, and new life had no choice but to be.
But no one saw that. Or could have, of course. But wouldn’t have noticed anyway because slow is so slow and we see only fast.
I keep reading this poem, this little book of a poem, one poem only, his iconoclasm drawing me. I’ve been reading it for three months. And still. He’s angry, I think. Mostly at ‘sesquipedalian’ poets and ‘ekphrastic’ verse that merely observes rather than births. But mostly he is big and won’t be shackled, won’t be like or liked. Won’t be required to wonder only about certain things and leave certain others alone.
He is alone. Good alone.
I think of P Lynn, little friend decided by not me. Childhood is like that. We don’t really choose. I think of her house, how alone she was. Bad alone. How obedient, how angry. Crossing herself, confessing. How cruel because how empty. Windowless bathrooms. Daddy pipes. BarkaLoungers. Little wall fonts. Electric keyboard, no Fischer Grand. Samsonite, no Hartmann.
Her mother, aproned, did not listen. Her father, puffing, judged.
She came to see my mother often, to be with her, with the sheer luminosity of her, her liminality, the lustrous, luscious laughter of her, the searing intellect, the reader, the Dior of her. The Korina. The Fischer. The Hartman. The Listener.
But she was my mother. And she was there. Wherever I went, wherever I strayed, wherever I closed my eyes and jumped and barely found the air bubble but then shot up giggling, wherever I triumphed, or tried and didn’t, whatever I started and waited for, peered at and let go, she was there. For me. See. Life just needs to be canopied to trust itself.
Unmonitored but accompanied we grow, ‘advancing a millionth part of a second every fifty thousand years’.
The leaf lifted. I saw it.
Bowed by frost our drifts of daffodils drooped this morning as if spring had dropped them and run. I sat just inside the conservatory absorbing the massacre.
Sun, so often the cavalry, did what it does, no rivals today.
I stared. I thought I was listening to the blackbird scavenging at the roots for delicacies only he could love. But I wasn’t. I was watching. I saw it. I thought the bird had batted the leaf. But he had gone. That leaf, even these 10 feet away, reached for my eye. It let me watch it move. Up. Up. Drying I think. Defrosting.
Lifting itself, partner of sun, from the earth.
That is a good enough Easter for me.