Saturday, September 03, 2016

a brief mention of birds


I have been pondering a new question: how does a mind encumbered by the vocabulary of sorrow and enamored of the nuance of melancholy learn to converse in the dialect of delight?

Grief came early to my gate. She left with me her jars of tears. These I poured out freely, for the sake of the softness of my grandmother's heart, for the unbearable gap between myself and my twin; for those pains I could not name: for the absence of cherished faces; for vanished gestures, for languages lost, and in the place of missing words. Grief sent me to far-off meanderings, to conduct inquiries of ancient stones in states of perplexed reverie.

Mornings, I watched and waited for the rays of the light to turn the poplar trunks to gold. The quality of the light, the quantity of the shifting shadows, the changing of the guard.

A day came when I was awakened by the touch of an unseen hand, and found myself uprooted from the comfort of solitude into an unfamiliar universe of displaced perturbation. As if caught up a whirlwind, I discovered that my body was not mine, at all: it might have been, instead, a stage borrowed from the earth, a burial-place for history, for through it rampaged the spirit-senses in protest, waging war and peace, love and hate, birth and death. In recollection of the dance, my feet would refuse to hold me up. A memory of enforced silence caused my throat to seize, to choke in recognition. The chronicles of time flickered through my skin: it was shot, it was burned, it was loved past ecstasy, it was violated, it marched through frozen wastes, it felt the silken nest of a baby's head, and the ruffling of an invisible breeze. Strange shapes and colors began to form in my mind's eye. The keys turned in the locks, and the doors of life fell open; nothing was what I had assumed it to be. After a veil falls from the eyes, the thought occurs: is it all an illusion, or an allusion? And then, of course: what is next?

I hunkered down on a rock today by a river, and dipped my hand into the chilly current, observing how minutely the water records each small variation in topography. A small beige duck landed on the river, and drifted close to me, not once, but twice, coming so close to my feet that I gasped. I hesitated, then began to feel the flow of how the river was me, the duck was me. My soul the river said, I am.  A thought passed through my brain, rejecting the duck soundly, and just at that moment, she flew away, startled. I'm sorry, I told her. Thank you for the lesson, I told my soul, the duck. It's on me, she replied, and busied herself diving for water-bugs upstream.



The birds won't leave me alone this week. A tiny golden nut-hatch circled a few giddy inches round my head not once, but twice the other day, while I stood in my garden, amazed. I wondered, what would her message be to you, if she were me?

The fire-letters of your names glow on my hands, on the soles of my feet, and are branded upon my heart. I beg of you, be gentle with yourselves, my dears, for the fate of you all may have spoken to me through the ache in my bones, but your joy is the singing in my veins.






En plein air - in memoriam Andrew Bellon

A dreamless sleep falls from the shimmering leaves. --Sappho fragment, tr. Andrew Bellon I changed, thickened, ...

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