Monday, January 28, 2008

Narrow Track

One of the iron gateposts has rusted at the bottom and is almost ready to fall, but the gate is kept propped by lifting it onto the ledge of the other post. It is either that or keep the gate open, and then dogs go on the gravel outside the house.

There is only one way of reading it: mend the gatepost. Don’t wait for the house to be fixed just do it. Or, you are the gatepost, still standing, apparently, but broken at the stem, quite broken. There is nothing you can do about rust.

But the road beyond is story: the old lamp post where we sing Little Town of Bethlehem at Christmas, even though no-one looks out at us since M’s mother died. She had silverwhite hair cut short and neat, and little blue eyes that shone like candles. Three of us sing for her each year and I stand under the light of the lamp post that is sturdy and painted green to protect it from rust. It isn’t Narnia but I always think it might be; and there is never any snow, but I hope.

Last week I met a wise woman who knows about forests and the stories we live in them. She said, you can walk through, come out the other side. But I said I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I have always lived in the forest.

A sign says Beware Narrow Track. It leads straight up to the forest and holds no dangers for me, I know how to walk it. Big fast roads are what I fear, but they lead to other places and on them you can travel quickly. It is said that it’s better to travel than to arrive, but this is only true if you are on a train or a narrow track. Otherwise it is better to have arrived and be in the place.

If I had a carpet that would take me in an instant, I would go to all the continents I have never visited. If I had a wardrobe that opened onto strange terrain I would go into it.

The wind blows the dust of the road, the thin film of dust that lay on the wet ground, the compressed mud that is the unadopted road I live on. I am at the end of a row of cottages, or I am at the beginning, it depends which way you look.

13 comments:

Collin said...

I'd go with you into that wardrobe.

Kahless said...

Hey, you can cut the rust out and weld a plate to the gap and make it all anew.

Enjoyable post Signs, I really like your words.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Collin,

Good, I'll keep you posted. A poet's company will be just right.

Dear Kahless! This is what's wrong, you see: the fact that I don't know things like this and even if I did would not be able to implement. (But really and truly - can I do this? Must look into it).

Anna MR said...

Prolific Signs, I just came over to say hello because my hibernation has been very total lately. I liked this post in particular. It sounds like the opening of a novel, or maybe a verbal storyboard of a weird flick.

But what are we to think of mttail? At first I though it was a place name - Mt Tail - but then I heard the WVL's snickering "empty tail, empty tail" in my brain (which again came out Brian).

My mwahs to you, Signs...

Reading the Signs said...

Hei and hi, your futureofpastship - the word vers are of course referring to the lovely Dogot: "mit tail", you see - a variation of "with dog", which is what you now are, and I wish I also were, and will be when I am no longer mit cat.

Anyway, jolly nice to see you here. Hibernation, I know, is essential for certain creatures so that they may carry on being most substantially themselves.

"The verbal storyboard of a weird flick" I like very much. Now all I need is to find someone weird enough to make the flick. On the other hand, it runs in my head continuously, so I get to see it anyway.

Mwah back atcha!

(nmfbun - yeah, right)

You shall know me by the black stuff said...

Hei fabby you, mit Tail is beyond doubt the best (and correct) explanation to the thing, and it gladdens me that you pointed this out to me. Being mit Tail seems to be a thing that, whilst putting a lot of fun and pleasure into my life, seems to also eat an awful lot of my energy and time, both of which seem to be dreadfully sparse.

Anyhow - I just wanted to come here and tell you I don't deserve a respite in my own blog home, and that I'm sorry for being such an intermittent correspondent. Also that black things will, eventually, come to those who seek them. Word, as a mutual friend would say.

(And the pin prick nurse is being a pin-prick. Even if she was female.)

Mwahs...xx

Reading the Signs said...

Greetings, You in the Land of the Black Stuff - in Deutsch ist is auch, du lieber himmel! And so may all our prayers be answered. Mit tail, yes - but you know how Shakespeare used the word: not exactly pejoratively, but - well, methinks you wouldn't object to the other meaning either.

You no like respite? Actually that word makes me think of "respite care", which makes me think of residential care for the elderly and infirm. No. Coming over right away to check the situation.

I have gone all scholarly said...

Forsooth, gentle lady. You've only yourself to blame, though, Signs, because had you not said what you said, I would never have googled "Shakespeare tail". It's not a twisted funny link but interesting in its way, methinks.

Word ver blmiw is, quite clearly, blimey.

Reading the Signs said...

Did you read the whole lot, scholarly one? Interesting stuff indeed - though methinks to have done my time at the coalface and didn't quite get to the end.

I like blimey. Blimey is good and no-one says it much these days. It's much better than qsqpbvrh, I can tell you. I'm leaving it for you to decipher, wordverologist.

mit Tail, the final, definitive word said...

Well, I'm very glad you asked me about qsqpbvrh, Signs. I am only too glad to tell you it is advice (and not bad advice either) for leading a successful existence, namely question, quip, be very hot.

(As for your other question, well, I sort of skimmed through the whole lot. Often the best way, I find.)

Reading the Signs said...

I think I know everything now, Anna. I also think I feel a strange protuberance at the base of my spine. I am special, no doubt about it - but not that special.

I was really trying not to link to this said...

but I think I've failed miserably.

Efouxzi - the tribe of tailed ones. I feel quite ordinary with my webbed feet, suddenly.

Reading the Signs said...

God love him and all the ones mit tail, and the webbed ones too.

He was very young, sweet boy.