suitable last words

August 20, 2017

The Laurias came to Hammersing heath in the very bleakest of springs, and Mrs. Lauria, her urban spirit altogether failing at the sight of the place, went upstairs a few days after the removal with the suitable last words, “I am going to rest,” and lay down and died.

Phyllis Paul
We are Spoiled

The Old Man of Winter

August 18, 2017

At the withering of the year
There stands a tree in black silhouette
On a background of snowy white

Bent-backed, twisted and knotted
Like a man of great age
Wizened by the passing of time

Joints swollen
Limbs ending in gnarled fingers
Grasping icy teardrops come the dawn

Breath wheezing through
The leafless bough
Rasping and laboured

Can you hear him?

Whispering words of
Death and the darkness

Can you hear him?

Sammi Cox

Killing the Love

July 25, 2017

I am the love killer,
I am murdering the music we thought so special,
that blazed between us, over and over.
I am murdering me, where I kneeled at your kiss.
I am pushing knives through the hands
that created two into one.
Our hands do not bleed at this,
they lie still in their dishonor.
I am taking the boats of our beds
and swamping them, letting them cough on the sea
and choke on it and go down into nothing.
I am stuffing your mouth with your
promises and watching
you vomit them out upon my face.
The Camp we directed?
I have gassed the campers.

Now I am alone with the dead,
flying off bridges,
hurling myself like a beer can into the wastebasket.
I am flying like a single red rose,
leaving a jet stream
of solitude
and yet I feel nothing,
though I fly and hurl,
my insides are empty
and my face is as blank as a wall.

Shall I call the funeral director?
He could put our two bodies into one pink casket,
those bodies from before,
and someone might send flowers,
and someone might come to mourn
and it would be in the obits,
and people would know that something died,
is no more, speaks no more, won’t even
drive a car again and all of that.

When a life is over,
the one you were living for,
where do you go?

I’ll work nights.
I’ll dance in the city.
I’ll wear red for a burning.
I’ll look at the Charles very carefully,
wearing its long legs of neon.
And the cars will go by.
The cars will go by.
And there’ll be no scream
from the lady in the red dress
dancing on her own Ellis Island,
who turns in circles,
dancing alone
as the cars go by.

Anne Sexton

Taking the risk

July 22, 2017

The Door

June 18, 2017

The door swings open,
you look in.
It’s dark in there,
most likely spiders:
nothing you want.
You feel scared.
The door swings closed.

The full moon shines,
it’s full of delicious juice;
you buy a purse,
the dance is nice.
The door opens
And swings closed so quickly
you don’t notice.

The sun comes out,
you have swift breakfasts
with your husband, who is still thin;
you wash the dishes,
you love your children,
you read a book,
you go to the movies.
It rains moderately.

The door swings open,
you look in:
why does this keep happening now?
Is there a secret?
The door swings closed.

The snow falls,
you clear the walk while breathing heavily;
it’s not as easy as once.
Your children telephone sometimes.
The roof needs fixing.
You keep yourself busy.
The spring arrives.

The door swings open:
it’s dark in there,
with many steps going down.
But what is that shining?
Is it water?
The door swings closed.

The dog has died.
This happened before.
You got another; not this time though.

Where is your husband?
You gave up the garden.
It became too much.
At night there are blankets;
nonetheless you are wakeful.

The door swings open:
O god of hinges,
god of long voyages,
you have kept faith.
It’s dark in there.
You confide yourself to the darkness
You step in.
The door swings closed.

Margaret Atwood

17th June

Love suffers no natural death. It dies because we take it for granted. It dies of blindness and mistakes and betrayals. It dies of self-inflicted wounds, of exhaustion, of lack of imagination. It dies because we lose sight of its source and importance.

#

Does Theresa May(be) have any principals at all, I wonder? A difficult question to answer given her behavior before, during and since the general election campaign. Don’t get me wrong, it’s simply grand to see a woman in the roll of Prime Minister (the US electorate faced with the choice of a female President or a buffoon, elected the buffoon!), but our Mrs May(be) seems totally absorbed by her own personal ambition. As Home Secretary she weathered a string of Passport Office and border control fiascos; she pledged to reduce net migration into the UK by tens of thousands but failed to do so. Close colleagues described her as “very closed, very controlling, very untrusting” when she was Home Secretary. As Prime Minister she hasn’t changed. She is the Tin Woman in search of a heart. Evasive, deliberately vague on the major issues, seemingly lacking in empathy; everything about her is ‘smoke & mirrors’! And Friday’s interview on Newsnight was another exercise in failing to give a single straight answer on the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Scar

June 5, 2017

runs from the middle
of my head, splits
into different paths
on my forehead where
so much of the work
of piecing together occurred.
I was a grown woman
with both my parents
around me as if I was
a child again as the doctor
worked post-car crash
sewing and knotting
and picking out turf and
ground from where
I met the ground
as if to root there.
There it is – a path
I can trace my fingers on
now that I am without them –
top to side to side to bottom –
as if the journey
is finished and I am old.

Gigi Marks

Of all mortal things none has birth, nor any end in accursed death, but only mingling and interchange of what is mingled – birth is the name given to these by men…Fools, since they think that what they did before did not exist comes into being, or that a thing dies and is completely destroyed…For it is impossible for anything to come to be from what is not, and it cannot be brought about or heard of that what is should be utterly destroyed; for wherever one may ever set it, there indeed it will always be.

Empodocles of Acragas

The girl who died

April 9, 2017

You are twenty. You are not dead, although you were dead. The girl who died. And was resurrected. Children. Witches. Magic. Symbols. Remember the illogic of the fantasy.

Sylvia Plath
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

ours are visions

April 3, 2017

Diary 3rd April

I met an old friend at the railway station a couple of years ago. I hadn’t seen him for a long time, and was shocked by how much he’d aged. I suppose I’d retained this mental image of him at age eighteen (of us both, in fact)? We’d been at school together. Close friends. But now, abruptly, we were two very different people.

Sometime after this, I encountered his older sister Christine in the street. It was on one of my then frequent visits to London. She’d metamorphosed from a slinky beauty to a dumpy duplicate of her mother. She looked so very careworn. I couldn’t help wondering what she saw when she looked at me?

Our faces contain as much of farce as of tragedy, or so it seems.

Christine, once vivacious and charming, had become sluggish and contemplative – nothing like the girl who’d allowed my hand beneath her pleated skirt and into her knickers.

Ah, all these breathless faces from the past belong in some old picture book, not here. We’re all racing towards the discourtesy of death, and should know better than to recall vulnerable girlish sighs from half a lifetime ago.

#

We are the golden men, who shall the people save:
For only ours are visions, perfect and divine.
For we alone are drunken of the last, best wine;
And very Truth our souls hath flooded, wave on wave.

(Lionel Johnson, Munster: AD 1534)

Does anyone read Johnson nowadays? I s’pose there’s one or two: the odd, geriatric Fenian, perhaps?

Ezra Pound described him as “a traditionalist of traditionalists”. Oxford scholar, Catholic, member of the Irish Literary Society, and the Rhymers’ Club, Johnson enjoyed a drink – but then who doesn’t? He was interestingly eccentric.

#

For Plato knowledge was the soul recollecting its previous incarnations. Plato and Jung have much in common, especially archetypes and the collective unconscious.