a haunting

Cold air filters from the south like ... cold air filtering. The transient blue flees through fish bone cloud, through mackerel skies, going nowhere. Where are the snows? Where the songs of spring? Ou est la porte? The one through which you went that freezing Saturday a lifetime and a half ago now. Strange how the years of your death continue to grow; strange, too, that I can see you still, hand to throat, dark hair falling down, turning in a characteristic manner, tentative, half-wild and yet about to smile if a smile should be allowed. No. Something rattling on the desktop, each keystroke jars a memory, grinding against each other the way ice is said to grind way down there in the Antarctic. I move things around, the noise does not stop, a prosaic haunting I'll probably eventually get to the bottom of ... unlike this other, that'll never leave, never be resolved. Perhaps it's the table itself, slowly disintegrating into its constituent parts. Yes, wiggling that bit stopped it. The mailman's just been, I heard his scooter outside. The clouds have that clotted, that whipped look that means snow. If we weren't so close to the sea. Stand up, walk around my chair, peer through the blinds like a private eye - Frank Libra, maybe, in the Linton version. Another anniversary, five years. And why has Mark gone quiet? I've been meaning to ring him up for days but I don't do it, fearing what I'd find. Or not find. Those who haunt us are useless to us / And those who haunt us most are the most useless. Baxter. I might be misquoting, the lineation may be wrong but the thought is accurate. And yet I feel like challenging that uselessness: useless for what? Train whistle blowing, the rattle of wheels through the station, going west, it didn't stop. Stand up again, go to the shelf, the book almost leaps into my hand: Runes. Word and line perfect, how's that? Aug. '73 I've written on the flyleaf, it's a book you knew, perhaps you even read this copy, it's possible. And, this is certain, you wrote lines from the poem on the facing page into your Journal. It's as good a place as any to end. By which of course I mean go on:

Where can we find the right
Herbs, drinks, bandages to cover
These lifelong intolerable wounds?
Herbs of oblivion, they lost their power to help us
The day that Aphrodite touched her mouth to ours.

from: Summer, 1967 by James K. Baxter


Okir said...

Clearly, we are sitting under the same incomplete moon tonight, albeit thousands of miles away.

Martin Edmond said...

Hello Jean. Yes, a haunting (haunted?) moon.

Adam Aitken said...

And all this day an unaccustomed spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead –
Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave to think! –
And breathed such life with kisses in my lips
That I revived and was an emperor.

Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Martin, not Aphrodite, but an avatar, maybe?


Okir said...

Even tonight, with the moon full in Capricorn, still a sense of the missing.

Clearly the older one gets, the more haunted one becomes.

Not just that people die, but that they leave, without word; they disappear, become "friendly" but distant; even worse, I feel myself fading from others' lives, too.

OK. Now I'm going to walk by the edge of my own Capricornian sea...

Martin Edmond said...

Jean - saw the big yellow moon, slightly gibbous, hanging over Military Road last night. thinking about what you said about 'grasping' on the one hand & 'living forever' on the other. one seems to be hurry towards death while the other may be a way we open up space/time for writing? don't know ... a thought I'm trying to make come clear ...