Archive for February, 2010


E from jennifer weiner

“I’ve learned a lot this year,” I began. I took a deep quavering breath. Don’t cry, I
told myself. “I learned that things don’t always turn out the way you planned, or
the way you think they should. And I’ve learned that there are things that go
wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were
before. I’ve learned that some broken things stay broken, and I’ve learned that
you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you
have people who love you.”
When I was five I learned to read. Books were a miracle to me — white pages,
black ink, and new worlds and different friends in each one. To this day, I relish
the feeling of cracking a binding for the first time, the anticipation of where I’ll go
and whom I’ll meet inside.When I was eight I learned to ride a bike. And this, too, opened my eyes to a new world that I could explore on my own — the brook that burbled through a vacant lot two streets over, the ice-cream store that sold homemade cones for a dollar,
the orchard that bordered a golf course and that smelled tangy, like cider, from
the apples that rolled to the ground in the fall.
When I was twelve I learned that I was fat.Men don’t like fat women.
And even though this would turn out not to be absolutely true — there would be
men who would love me, and there would be people who’d respect me — I
carried his words into my adulthood like a prophecy, viewing the world through
the prism of my body, and my father’s prediction.
I learned how to diet — and, of course, how to cheat on diets. I learned how to
feel miserable and ashamed, how to cringe away from mirrors and men’s
glances, how to tense myself for the insults that I always thought were coming:
the Girl Scout troop leader who’d offer me carrot sticks while the other girls got
milk and cookies; the well-meaning teacher who’d ask if I’d thought about
aerobics. I learned a dozen tricks for making myself invisible — how to keep a
towel wrapped around my midsection at the beach (but never swim), how to fade
to the back row of any group photograph (and never smile), how to dress in
shades of gray, black, and brown, how to avoid seeing my own reflection in
windows or in mirrors, how to think of myself exclusively as a body — more than
that, as a body that had fallen short of the mark, that had become something
horrifying, unlovely, unlovable.
There were a thousand words that could have described me — smart, funny,
kind, generous. But the word I picked — the word that I believed the world had
picked for me — was fat.
When I was twenty-two I went out into the world in a suit of invisible armor, fully
expecting to be shot at, but determined that I wouldn’t get shot down. I got a
wonderful job, and eventually fell in love with a man I thought would love me for
the rest of my life. He didn’t. And then — by accident — I got pregnant. And when
my daughter was born almost two months too soon I learned that there are worse
things than not liking your thighs or your butt. There are more terryifing things
than trying on bathing suits in front of three-way department-store mirrors. There
is the fear of watching your child struggling for breath, in the center of a glass crib
where you can’t touch her. There is the terror of imagining a future where she
won’t be healthy or strong.
And, ultimately, I learned, there is comfort. Comfort in reaching out to the people who love you, comfort in asking for help, and in realizing, finally, that I am valued,treasured, loved, even if I am never going to be smaller than a size sixteen, even if my story doesn’t have the Hollywood-perfect happy ending where I lose sixty pounds and Prince Charming decides that he loves me after all.
The truth is this — I’m all right the way I am. I was all right, all along. I will never be thin, but I will be happy. I will love myself, and my body, for what it can do —because it is strong enough to lift, to walk, to ride a bicycle up a hill, to embrace the people I love and hold them fully, and to nurture a new life. I will love myself because I am sturdy. Because I did not — will not — break.
I will savor the taste of my food and I will savor my life, and if Prince Charming never shows up — or, worse yet, if he drives by, casts a cool and appraising glance at me, and tells me I’ve got a beautiful face and have I ever considered Optifast? — I will make my peace with that.
And most importantly, I will love my daughter whether she’s big or little. I will tell her that she’s beautiful. I will teach her to swim and read and ride a bike. And I will tell her that whether she’s a size eight or a size eighteen, that she can be happy, and strong, and secure that she will find friends, and success, and even love. I will whisper it in her ear when she’s sleeping. I will say, Our lives — your life — will be extraordinary.
You can’t make grownups do what they don’t want to do.
Things happen, and you can’t make them un-happen.You don’t get do-overs, you can’t roll back the clock, and the only thing you can change, and the only thing it does any good to worry about, is how you let them affect you.”
The downside of parents like that, I used to think, was that it killed your ambition.“Slow down,” he’d tell me, when I’d slip out of bed early to work on a short story, or go into work on a Saturday to send out query letters to magazine editors in New York. “You need to enjoy life more,
Cannie.”
I thought sometimes that he liked to imagine himself as one of the lead
characters in an early Springsteen song — some furious, passionate nineteenyear-
old romantic, raging against the world at large and his father in particular,
looking for one girl to save him. The trouble was, Bruce’s parents had given him
nothing to rebel against — no numbing factory job, no stern, judgmental
patriarch, certainly no poverty. And a Springsteen song lasted only three minutes,
including chorus and theme and thundering guitar-charged climax, and never
took into account the dirty dishes, the unwashed laundry and unmade bed, the
thousand tiny acts of consideration and goodwill that actually maintaining a
relationship called for. My Bruce preferred to drift through life, lingering over the
Sunday paper, smoking high-quality dope, dreaming of bigger papers and better
assignments without doing much to get them.
I think every person who is single should have a dog. I think the government should step in and intervene: If you’re not married or coupled up, whether you’ve been dumped or divorced or widowed or whatever, they should require you to
proceed immediately to the pound nearest you and select an animal companion.Dogs give your days a rhythm and a purpose. You can’t sleep ridiculously late, or stay out all day and all night, when there’s a dog depending on you.
When you’re on a battleground, you don’t have the  luxury of time to dwell on the various historical factors and sociopolitical  influences that caused the war. You just keep your head down and try to survive  it, to shove the pages back in the book, close the covers and pretend that  nothing’s broken, nothing’s wrong.
Writing let me escape. It let me escape Princeton, where everyone was chic and stylish and, in the case of the guy down the hall, the future ruler of some minor Middle Eastern principality. It let me escape the insistent tug of my family, and its ongoing misery. Writing was like slipping into the ocean, a place where I could move easily, where I could be graceful, and playful, and invisible and visible all at once — a byline, not a body. Sitting in front of the computer, with the screen blank and the cursor blinking, was the best escape I knew.
Tanya has the people skills of plant life. It’s like a special kind of tone deafness, only instead of not hearing the music, she’s deaf to nuances, to subtleties, to euphemisms, small talk, and white lies. Ask her how she’s doing,and you’ll get a full and lengthy explication of her latest work/health crisis,complete with an invitation to look at her latest surgical scar. Tell her that you liked whatever she cooked (and Lord knows you’ll be lying), and she’ll regale you with endless recipes, each with a story behind it (“My mother cooked this for me,I remember, the night after she came home from the hospital”).
At the same time, she’s also incredibly thin-skinned, prone to public crying fits,
and temper tantrums that conclude with her either locking herself in my exbedroom , if we’re home, or stomping away from wherever we are, if we’re out.

Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,
No birth, identity, form—no object of the world,
Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;
Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere
confuse thy brain.
Ample are time and space—ample the field and
nature.
The body, sluggish, aged, cold—the embers left
from earlier fires,
The light in the eye grown dim shall duly flame
again;
The sun now low in the west rises for mornings
and for noons continual;
To frozen clods ever the spring’s invisible land
returns,
With grass and flowers and summer fruits and
corn.

I Came to buy a smile — today —
But just a single smile —
The smallest one upon your face
Will suit me just as well —
The one that no one else would miss
It shone so very small —
I’m pleading at the “counter” — sir —
Could you afford to sell —
I’ve Diamonds — on my fingers —
You know what Diamonds are?
I’ve Rubies — live the Evening Blood —
And Topaz — like the star!
‘Twould be “a Bargain” for a Jew!
Say — may I have it — Sir?

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he’s
in there.there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
sad.
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do
you?

    • charles bukowski

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To know that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    dreams

    by  langston hughes

    Hold fast to dreams

               For if dreams die
              Life is a broken-winged bird

    That cannot fly.

    Hold fast to dreams

                   For when dreams go
                   Life is a barren field

    Frozen with snow

    The art of losing isn't hard to master;
    so many things seem filled with the intent
    to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
    
    Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
    of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
    The art of losing isn't hard to master.
    
    Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
    places, and names, and where it was you meant
    to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
    
    I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
    next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
    The art of losing isn't hard to master.
    
    I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
    some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
    I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
    
    --Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
    I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
    the art of losing's not too hard to master
    though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
    


    Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.

    There was no real motive and no premeditation; no money was gained and no security. As a result of her crime, Eunice Parchman’s disability was made known not to a mere family or a handful of villagers but to the whole country. She accomplished nothing by it but disaster for herself, and all along, somewhere in her strange mind, she knew she would accom- plish nothing. And yet, although her companion and partner was mad, Eunice was not.

    She had the awful practical sanity of the atavistic ape disguised as twentieth-century woman.

    Literacy is one of the cornerstones of civilization. To be illiterate is to be deformed. And the derision that was once directed at the physical freak may, perhaps more justly, descend upon the illiterate. If he or she can live a cautious life among the uneducated all may be well, for in the country of the purblind the eyeless is not rejected. It was unfortunate for Eunice Parchman, and for them, that the people who employed her and in whose home she lived for nine months were peculiarly literate. Had they been a family of philistines, they might be alive today and Eunice free in her mysterious dark freedom of sensation and instinct and blank absence of the printed word.

    Her days now began to be spent in a narrow twilight world, for illiteracy is a kind of blindness.

    She had her pleasures, eating the chocolate she loved and which made her grow stout, ironing, cleaning silver and brass, augmenting the family income by knitting for her neighbours.

    Virtue might naturally be the concomitant of such sheltering. She had few opportunities to do bad things, but she found them or made them.

    All that jerked Eunice out of her apathy were her compulsions. Suddenly an urge would come over her to drop everything and walk. Or turn out a room. Or take a dress to pieces and sew it up again with minor alterations.These urges she always obeyed. Buttoned up tightly into her shabby coat, a scarf tied round her still beautiful thick brown hair, she would walk and walk for miles, sometimes across the river bridges and up into the West End.

    These walks were her education. She saw things one is not taught in school even if one can read. And instincts, not controlled or repressed by reading, instructed her as to what these sights meant or implied

    The thoughts of the illiterate are registered in pictures and in very simple words.The advantage of being illiterate is that one achieves an excellent visual memory and almost total recall.

    I have eaten

    the plums

    that were in

    the icebox


    and which
    you were probably
    saving
    for breakfast


    Forgive me
    they were delicious
    so sweet

    and so cold

    The Brimstone Wedding

    Barbara Vine

    The clothes of the dead won’t wear long. They fret for the person who owned them. You know what they say, as the body rots the clothes rot.

    It’s as if they’ve gone into a twilight world where they’ve forgotten everything, don’t really know where they are half the time and call you by the names of all their relations until you

    remind them you’re Jenny. I’m sorry for them, I want to help make their lives as pleasant as can be, but as for liking, they’re past all that.

    her teeth are all her own. and quite white still .

    There’s no roughness in Stella’s voice and it doesn’t sound old but like the voice of a clever girl at one of those fancy private schools who’s had no experience of life and no hardship. It sounds untouched, if that’s possible

    . It’s funny how when people are really anxious to look at something their faces don’t light up or their eyes get narrow the way they do on telly.

    What they do is go blank. Stella’s face went absolutely expressionless

    You need protection everywhere all the time

    My nan says that blood must always be shed at a funeral. If it isn’t the dead person’s ghost will walk

    If you rescue a bird and it dies in your hands, your hands will shake for ever. Stella wouldn’t believe that but it’s true.

    That’s how I feel when I look at the house, Ned’s house, as if I’ll shake for ever.

    When you deceive people you make fools of them. You make them act stupidly, act as if things which are aren’t and things which aren’t are. And that’s what fools do or people who are mentally disturbed and we look down on them for it or if we’re unkind we laugh at them.

    There’s a film my friend Philippa’s got on video about the sinking of the Titanic. It was a long time ago, eighty or ninety years, and in those days men used to treat women as if they were fra’jile creatures that had to be sheltered from unpleasant or horrible facts. In the film the men never tell the women that the ship will sink in an hour and there aren’t enough boats. They keep saying, we’ll be a bit late getting to New York, and so the women are ignorant of the true facts and look complete fools. They say it’s so bad for the children to wake them up, and should they cancel a hairdresser’s appointment.

    All deception is like that. The deceived person asks if you’re ill or tired when you won’t make love to him. You didn’t hear the phone when he phoned last night because you weren’t there but he’s been deceived and he says maybe we should have a bedside extension, you can’t always hear it ring when you’re upstairs. Unless you’re a complete bitch you don’t let yourself think he’s making a fool of himself, but the thought is there deep down. It’s the beginning of contempt. I hate saying these things and I hate doing what I have to do, but I do have to do them. For a while. Until something changes

    I didn’t know what to say. Mum’s all right and she’d never say a word or drop a hint to a soul, but I couldn’t confide in her. I couldn’t say, I love him, I have to see him, we have to meet, because it’s like food and drink, and without him I’d starve to death, because she’d laugh.

    She’s not childish, I don’t mean that. I’ve never heard her say a silly thing or have any sort of tantrum. But her voice is soft with a really youthful intonation, simple and genuine I mean there’s no side to her, and those clear blue eyes look at you as if they don’t know what secrets are.

    Stella is the most refined person I’ve ever come across. Dainty is the word my nan would use to describe her. It’s almost as if she’s not quite flesh and blood but a porcelain doll, if they ever make dolls that don’t look like little girls but like old women. She covers her mouth when she coughs and wipes her lips with a tissue with rosebuds printed on it. And yet none of that seems to go with those long crimson fingernails of hers. When I look at them they give me a shock. It’s such an odd picture: the wavy white hair, the touch of face powder and blusher, pearls round her neck, the floral silk dress, and lying in her lap those gnarled old hands with sapphire-and-diamond rings and blood-red nails.

    She talks like that, very precise and correct. I don’t suppose she’s made a grammatical error in all her life. Sometimes it’s as if she’s reading what’s already written down.

    He’s a very nice man. He’s thoughtful, like a woman. Well, some women

    The very pale stockings she always wears that would turn some women’s legs into tree trunks were fine on hers that are smooth and shapely I said I always did if I got the chance and I sat down beside her and we looked at the butterflies, counting ten small tortoise shells seven peacocks, a red admiral and another one Stella said was a comma. She’s knowledgeable about things like that, nature, wildlife. She said she’d like to see a swallowtail and she’s heard you only see them in Norfolk, maybe she’ll see one here.

    Before I die, she said. Perhaps I’ll see a swallowtail and die happy.

    I’d no answer to that.

    We looked into each other’s faces and we both smiled. In that moment, for me, there’s no past and no future, just the present, the absolute here and now.

    It’s just that one of the things I like about you is the way you don’t talk down to me the way the others sometimes do. It’s a very common attitude to old people, it’s as if when you get to seventy, no matter what sort of a person you are or how much intelligence obviously remains to you, you’re to be treated like a child. Especially if you’re in a home. There’s no more speaking to you as if you’re a rational being, you have to be cajoled and and bullied and lied to.

    Old people are always saying they know how much they’ve changed but they don’t really. They don’t know that the face they had thirty or forty years ago isn’t just a younger version of the face they’ve got now, it’s utterly different, it might be a different person. And that’s why Stella looked disbelieving when I talked about a woman’.

    I’ve said we’re a family but you have to remember families are where most of the trouble starts in this world. We don’t all get on, far from it, but I reckon we’d all stand together against an enemy. Still, I expect they said that in Bosnia and look what happened there. Anyway, for good or ill we all know each other better than we know anyone else, we know whose mother someone is and who’s niece to this one or brother-in-law to that one. That’s the sort of thing we never make mistakes about. More important, we feel comfortable with each other

    Stella listened to me while I told her all this, how at first I thought I’d found a friend, that him being of the opposite sex didn’t matter, we could still meet when he came down at the weekends and there needn’t be any sex involved, she listened and she said she understood. She understood only too well, she said, that you could fool yourself along those lines and what a shock it was when you found out you were fooling yourself.

    Dying, actually dying, she would probably still care how she looked and sounded.

    Writing, though, is a silent activity. You can do it surreptitiously and hide it. I think I’ve read somewhere that Jane Austen did that, slid her writing under a book she pretended to be reading when someone came into the room

    But she is insensitive to other people’s vulnerability, or perhaps I should say she believes vulnerability shouldn’t be allowed. Her sense of humour, which I’m sure she believes she has in abundance, is the banana-skin kind. It’s concentrated on making others look foolish or, rather, on finding those areas where they differ calling the carer who was sitting there with a resident Jenny the rest of the time, but here was her chance to expose someone’s sensitive place to Richard and me.

    Rex used to complain of how I let the association of ideas spoil my train of thought and he called me a mistress of the non sequetur

    He never has a row, he’ll just say, Let’s not get on to that, go out of the room and shut the door. He’s not a talker or a reader, come to that

    . Most of the time he’s at home he’s doing something to improve the house I thought boredom equals marriage, you can’t expect excitement.

    Marriage comes with an escape clause these days.When you go into it you know that if the worst comes you can get out

    The fact is that Mike, like a lot of men, best enjoys the company of men, he’s happiest with his own sex, and when we go to those village hall dos he always ends up at the bar end with the men he went to school with.

    It’s funny how when we worry about having not confessed something, we try to make up for it by telling the person something else, some other semi-secret thing. Ned says it’s what psychologists call displacement.

    People don’t realise it’s very hard work making a home and looking after a child and entertaining one’s husband’s friends. I had very little help, just a charwoman once a week. I was expected to give a dinner party single-handed at least once a fortnight. No one but a wife would do that sort of work and not get paid for it. Besides, my husband wouldn’t have let me take a job

    . We all know a Marianne. They mean well, they promise to do something, they’re really enthusiastic, but they don’t do it. They forget. And then they apologise, they’re full of remorse, and they promise again, and the same thing happens

    He was a very funny man, she said. He gave you the impression he was amusing without trying to be. These days they’d call it laid-back and they’d call some of his humour black humour.

    The important thing about my dad was his passion for cars. He loved cars the way some people love animals, dogs or -horses. If it had been possible to breed cars he would have. It was sad really that he never had the money to drive the ones he wanted. He was doomed to selling them to people he knew would never value them the way he did. Even the Alvis he was polishing when he died was soon to be someone else’s.

    All the years when you’re young and middle-aged and young-elderly you hide the way you feel. You smile and pretend you don’t mind when people are late or won’t stay or change the subject or show they’re bored. But children aren’t like that. They protest about these things and sulk and get angry. Maybe you know when a person’s really old by the way childhood protesting and anger have come back.

    Candlelight isn’t a very reassuring sort of light, it quivers and streams and leaves great spaces of dark, and it makes you wonder if people in olden times were ever wholly free from fear in the night. Candles were all they had. It’s a horrid thought, the wick burning down and consuming the wax but having no other and no light switch, nothing to alter the deep black darkness.

    The Gillda she saw, or who was presented to her, seemed always to be playing a part, striking an attitude, speaking in a false voice, expressing feelings she had decided were appropriate, not what she felt. It was as if she had never really stepped off the set. Her life was a long-enduring film script

    More than that, Stella said, in the on-going movie that was her life, she had cast herself as the heroine and Stella merely as the heroine’s friend.

    A lot of people would say that to be in this world is to be unhappy.

    Sometimes I tell myself that all these precautions of Mum’s and my nan’s are nonsense and not for somebody like me, young and living at the end of the twentieth century. And then I see how death follows a ringing in the ears, and the dangers that come to a person who’s broken a branch from an ash tree or helped another to salt. I haven’t the courage to give up these things in this world that’s such a hard place.

    I was like Amanda in Private Lives, my heart was always jagged with sophistication.

    Just when she needed friends she dropped them

    Misunderstanding’s an awful thing, yet I suppose it’s inevitable if we’re ever to have any privacy.

    It must have been an awkward situation, three women who didn’t really like each other, Charmian still in love with Stella’s dead husband, Stella in love with Gillda’s living husband and Gillda always projecting the image she had made of herself as somehow superior to both of them, more sophisticated, cleverer, more beautiful and elegant.

    Love is a frightening thing. I realise that I’m frightened so much of the time, afraid of losing him, afraid of discovery, but more than that, I live in fear of not being his equal, of not matching up to what he wants, of him changing because he’s disillusioned.

    Do you know what folie a deux means?

    I shook my head. French wasn’t very successfully taught at Newall Upper School. I did just about know it was French.

    It means madness for two, double madness. It’s when two people who are close encourage each other to do something terrible, each one eggs the other on. A couple committing murder, for instance.

    Bonnie and Clyde, I said. The Moors Murderers.

    She gave him the keys to the street, said Stella, and when I looked mystified, It’s what they used to say a long time ago. We’d say, show him the door, or give him his marching orders.

    If you write something down and destroy what you’ve written, cut it to pieces or burn it, and if you have no copy, those words you wrote are gone for ever. But it isn’t the same with the spoken word, or so I have read. Sound is never lost, it isn’t absorbed by the ears which hear it, but flies on into space, perhaps beyond the earth’s atmosphere and out among the spheres. Once a word is uttered it becomes indestructible and everlasting. My words are out there, flying on and up, even maybe heard by mysterious beings on other planets.

    In fact, natural history has always been an interest of mine. It was one of the many I shared with Alan, for we had a lot of tastes in common, the same books, the same pictures, the same music, the same attitudes to life. We loved the wild flowers of the fen and of the Suffolk coast. Both of us hoped to see a swallowtail one day. We hated autumn and winter and loved the summer.

    Tapes are better than life. You strip off the words and make them new and afterwards it’s just as it was before you said those things. You don’t have to live for twenty-four years with certain acts and words, for you’ve wiped them away. They have flown away to the planets on invisible waves.

    But Genevieve, you’re the person you are, aren’t you, you can’t change yourself radically no matter how you want to.

    It’s funny how you feel yourself blush. When I was a kid and we used to have coal fires I’d put my face close to the flames and feel the heat on my skin. Blushing is just the same feeling, a flame heating the skin.

    You see, when we were together we ate and drank the things we liked best, we did only the things we liked best, we were complete hedonists. When you’re in love you want to see the person you love in every possible circumstance, in all possible situations, performing every action it’s possible for a human being to perform, to see him when he’s aware of you and when he’s unaware. I’d seen Alan asleep but never by night, never in the darkness of the night, never seen a dream make him smile or an anxiety make his eyelids tremble. I’d never seen him wake up in the morning. I didn’t know if he was a hard or an easy waker, if he lay there slowly surfacing or if he jumped out of bed, as alert first thing in the morning as at midday.

    There are couples who can be together in companionable silence but we had never been among them. The silence that descended on us was not companionable.

    The rattle that’s the body expelling its last breath. It’s awesome, that sound. No matter how many times you’ve heard it, it still sends a shiver through you.

    it’s no use trying to make yourself into something for other people. If you do that it has to be for yourself. I’m ashamed of myself when I remember studying the encyclopaedia and looking up words in Chambers Dictionary, not to mention learning about classical music, all to impress Ned, and maybe that’s why I haven’t played a single one of those tapes Stella made and passed on to me along with the player.

    But when you’re alone a lot, as I am, you need to hear voices or music, you need something to break the silence or you start wondering if your ears still work.

    These summer evenings I walk in the fen a lot, taking the path that starts at my garden gate and winds among the willows and the alders and meadowsweet, passes into clearings where water lies and reeds grow, and back again into the quiet woodland. I never see a soul, no one goes there, it is all so silent, so still, that you could hear a water beetle skim the surface of a pool. It was there, one evening last week, that I saw a swallowtail.

    Vanity remains, stays alive almost to the end,

     

    saw an E at the beginning of run lola run……..looked up the poem ……..profound and deep

    V

    What we call the beginning is often the end

    And to make and end is to make a beginning.

    The end is where we start from. And every phrase

    And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,

    Taking its place to support the others,

    The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,

    An easy commerce of the old and the new,

    The common word exact without vulgarity,

    The formal word precise but not pedantic,

    The complete consort dancing together)

    Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,

    Every poem an epitaph. And any action

    Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat

    Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.

    We die with the dying:

    See, they depart, and we go with them.

    We are born with the dead:

    See, they return, and bring us with them.

    The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree

    Are of equal duration. A people without history

    Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern

    Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails

    On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel

    History is now and England.

    With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this

    Calling

    We shall not cease from exploration

    And the end of all our exploring

    Will be to arrive where we started

    And know the place for the first time.

    Through the unknown, unremembered gate

    When the last of earth left to discover

    Is that which was the beginning;

    At the source of the longest river

    The voice of the hidden waterfall

    And the children in the apple-tree

    Not known, because not looked for

    But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

    Between two waves of the sea.

    Quick now, here, now, always—

    A condition of complete simplicity

    (Costing not less than everything)

    And all shall be well and

    All manner of thing shall be well

    When the tongues of flame are in-folded

    Into the crowned knot of fire

    And the fire and the rose are one.