Hey, Moth, Come Eat the Flame
November 19, 2016
Diary 19th November
Fact is unstable by its very nature.
Visit to T yesterday. We spent Samhain at her enchanting home with its menagerie of dogs, cats and chickens. Trees surrounding the house were finally turning to the russet colours of autumn – and so near the end of November, too. It’s very peaceful here. And T is probably the maddest, but most contained woman I have ever met. She works such incredible magic. She is totally at one with her world and the people in it.
She points to a white feather on the ground beneath a chestnut tree. ‘That,’ she says, her voice gentle but totally sincere, ‘is an angel’s feather. It means good luck to us here today.’
And I feel she really believes this feather is fallen from an angel, not from the back of a near albino chicken clucking about in the undergrowth.
How I envy her the simplicity of her chosen lifestyle…
Two years ago her aunt was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. T concentrated single-mindedly on her aunt’s recovery day-in, day-out, for a period of four months. She said at the time, ‘I don’t know if it’ll do any good. These thing are either meant to be or not. We can only try to intervene. It’s all we can do…’
Her aunt’s doctors at Derriford hospital were astonished when a scan showed the cancer in remission. Within two months the cancer had gone and the aunt had made a full recovery. I cannot explain it, but T is convinced her “magic” worked – as it has done many other times in the past.
I have kept notebooks since my twelfth year. During periods of creative sterility, I look back across the years for ‘fresh’ inspiration. Like Dylan Thomas whose mature poems were plagiarised from his much younger self.
What, I wonder, would have been in Shakespeare’s notebook in the years leading up to Macbeth? It take no Oedipus to guess. Cats and toads as familiars to witches, rats without tails that gnaw holes in the bottoms of ships, mariners spell-bound for nine times nine weeks, the vaporous drop on the tip of the moon, plants the roots of which deprive us of reason, air-drawn daggers with gouts of blood, maddened horses that devour each other, charms of all sorts, from the sweltering venom of the toad to grease from a murderer’s gibbet, the strange phenomena of somnambulism, ghost-lore, the behavior of owls. And that is as nothin to the farrago of the notebook which might have preceded Lear!
Gillian Rogers was my first love. I remember still her kisses in the recreation ground after school, fiery things they were, that tasted incredibly of aniseed balls and chocolate, the taste of innocent sin…