The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold,
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon
Our freedom as free lances
Advances toward its end;
The earth compels, upon it
the sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.
The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
We are dying, Egypt, dying
And not expecting pardon
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.
- Louis MacNeice
- Jeanette Winterson, The PowerBook
- I went to work, seemingly all alone in London, on Boxing Day.
- I walked home that night, three hours on foot, city alight.
- My route took my through toney South Kensington, home of Harrods.
- At the Victoria and Albert Museum, they have this amazing "Fakes and Forgeries" sections, including a cast of Trajan's Column (sawn in half);
- and another David cast (I've seen three now, without ever seeing the original. It doesn't matter; it's stunning even in forgery.)
- We got a free Pole Dance, coming home on the Tube on New Years. (*)
- I walked alone through Hyde Park, for the first time at a normal pace in non-sweaty clothes. First chance to photograph the really stunning Prince Albert Memorial, which I'm always sprinting past.
- It fronts Royal Albert Hall.
- The statues at the four corners represent, I think, realms of the Empire: America
- Going back to work in earnest, so sad in my heart and missing her so much, eyeing a verily gibbous moon hanging over London, over the new year, over the rest of our lives . . . And yet, and yet. My heart was so full from the blessing of her, such a glory in this life, so much better than I deserve. The Godhead is still there and its name is still Love.
I opened my eyes this morning upon a sun-splashed window pane, and looked forward to a run in the bright air in the Park. (When the weather is fine, I stretch my legs and go far into and around the Park, so full of life and the living. When the weather is mean, I stay in the back yard, running through the dark Cemetery so close to my little room, beautiful in its lonely silence, but with so little care for the living.)
After I had stretched and dressed, and by the time I had got out, the weather (it seemed) had turned. Dark clouds had rolled in, and threatening. The sun struggled to peek through. The wind blew. I put my finger out to it. I hoped the wind might blow the clouds away, and I could run in the green fields in the sun. I turned in that direction to the North East. But as I set out, I saw the clouds were thickest and darkest in that direction. A few drops fell from the sky. I fretted. I turned around and jogged a few jogs back. I stopped and jogged in place. I tried to decide whether to risk it. If I went to the Park and the skies opened, I would be far from home and I would be drenched to the skin. (My MP3 player would be drenched beyond the skin.) And the Park was far; running there was always a stretch anyway. And I was not feeling what I would call strong. Should I risk it? I looked back to the South West. The sun seemed to shine there, albeit weakly. I decided not to take the risk. I decided to go back, to stay close to home, albeit in the gloomy Cemetery, and take advantage of the clearing I seemed to see in that quarter of the sky.
As I ran back, the skies opened in full sunshine. It rained in earnest, as the sun blazed down through a hole in the South West sky. I ran through the cold rain, and the bright light, and I thought: What an emblem for all this.
I managed one lap around the Cemetary. Throughout it, the rain came down, the winds blew, the water soaked through my clothes, and my skin grew chill. "The hell with this noise," I said, and veered off, and headed back into my street to go home. And when I stepped out of the Cemetary, what did I see? The sky had completely cleared in the North East. The sun fell without reservation upon the Park. I had read the winds precisely wrong. Hoping for safety, I had run directly into the storm. And . . .
I had missed my chance for the Park. I had already run, and stopped, and gotten soaked, and gotten tired. The Park was too far now. I could not make it there, not today. And by the time I had dried myself, and dressed, and gone out again . . . the day was so brilliant, so beautiful.
Last night, I dreamt she and I were in a play together. It was a long series of very short one acts. I had not learnt my lines; and I struggled to memorize them as the drama ran by.