Wednesday, July 6, 2011

swan song

Life - the further I move from it the fiercer my longing. I narrow my eyes to slits. I am on a ship, sailing into unfathomable blue, the shoreline receding, I have no idea where I am travelling - to what country - and it seems unlikely (they have told me it is unlikely) that I will ever return. I watch the shoreline, the houses where people live. Everything is becoming smaller.

I am afraid that the country we are sailing to is called Death. I ask the question, but no answer comes back. Soon there will be nothing but blue, as far as the eye can see, just a line between sky and water to remind me that I am still alive, and we have not yet arrived at the place that might be Death. But perhaps this voyage is all I will ever know from now on: the receding land, the line between blue and blue, the changing colour of the water.

Life, even at this distance, I love you.

I went to see the wise woman who follows the ley lines in the body and listens with her hands to what is living there. She said that I was not properly there in the body, not sufficiently incarnated.
If I am not here, I said, where am I?
The question to ask, she said darkly, is: if you are not here, who is? And what - if there is no-one at the gate to see them off? The door is open for all kinds of trouble.
I have, I said, all kinds of trouble.
I can see that, she said. I can see that very clearly.
I have a picture in my head, I said, of a dusty room, a basement where there is very little light, and the furniture in the room is broken.
That is, she said, the situation.
I said, sometimes everything is so dark. I don't know how to make it lighter.
She said, you must light a candle. Wherever there is flame, the forces of the will are strong. You must build a fire in the grate and keep it burning.

But there is nothing in the room to burn, and I have no kindling.

Some people live in basement rooms and make their own light, build fires, light candles, find their existence in the circle of light cast by an anglepoise lamp on a wooden desk, the soft grain of it visible, or they find a door through a computer screen and set up home there. But I have no kindling; there are no switches for me to flick; there is no way out of this room that I can discover. Through the bars of a small window I see the shadows of legs and feet moving above me in the street where people live and go from one place to the next, conducting their busy lives.

I am so grateful for my illness, says the born-again nutritional therapist . It taught me how to appreciate the moments. You must learn to appreciate the moments.
I have taken, I said, the advanced course.

I have a white handkerchief and I wave at the shoreline, calling one after another to see if my voice carries, if anyone can still hear me. But we are too far out, my voice won't travel the distance.

In that country, people go about their lives. They imagine I will be back some time, any time soon, and that they will hear my knock on the door.

The silver swan who living had no note,
when death approached unlocked her silent throat.


But I have been singing for a very long time now. The sound is no longer beautiful, and it engenders trouble in the soul.

There is no conclusion.

9 comments:

belinda whitworth said...

My heart goes out to you.

Reading the Signs said...

Belinda - :)

I sometimes wonder if I should put this kind of post up - in case it looks like a super-indulgence of wailey woe. But on the other hand, I want to feel free to represent and explore the different aspects - with words.

Cusp said...

Sad but so true.....tied to the mast of a Marie Celeste

Glad my NT didnt tell ne she was grateful for her illness or ask me to be grateful for mine. She'd have found a bottle of super-expensive supps in a very uncomforatble place !

Reading the Signs said...

Cusp, the illness gratitude thing comes up with such regularity it is almost a cliche.

Super duper expensive supps. Super-unuseful.

belinda whitworth said...

Please carry on - writing the blog I mean.
It is nothing like wailey woe - it has courage, beauty, honesty and what you're saying is IMPORTANT cos no one else is saying it.

Fire Bird said...

who needs furniture anyway? maybe you could burn it? or am i on the 'grateful for your illness' pollyannna track too? I don't mean to be I just love playing with a metaphor. This is beautiful writing, spare, unapologetic, true.


WV - lopsymad

(what I am currently)

roselle said...

My dear friend, we do hear you; and we do love you. And as always, as at so many Emerson College PoetryOtherwises, I applaud and value your courage; not to mention your very beautiful and poignant poetry. Hugs from across the water - and not very far across from you, at that...
xx

Reading the Signs said...

Belinda, thanks. Our number is growing ...

Firebird, thanks - and you have me thinking now - about the broken furniture and how one could burn it - or the metaphor is a bit skewed - ha!

lopsymad sounds kind of fun - but the word ver leprechauns have a way of twisting things.

Reading the Signs said...

Roselle - you snuck in there - hello!

Yes, and good to see/hear you xx