“Am well. Thinking of you always. Love.” ― Albert Camus, The Plague
What if there is no I, no not-I, maybe only We, certainly no Them? What if it is all one light, one darkening into death, one ineluctable pain?
There is so much more to write poems about than death, I know. But the birds simply sing as the humans rise and fall on waves of plague. Their music hasn’t changed my mind. There are nights I just want to sit here alone, listening to dogs barking at nothingness, and weep.
So let’s burn it all down, let it shine, sing, walk down old roads, leaving the dead behind to bury the dead as they become more night than day more peace than fight, more joy than struggle. Of course I am afraid. Aren’t you?
I don’t know what God intends to do about it when I die but my house will be occupied by not-Me. Time will stop but continue turning in its widening gyres.
Maybe we will sit in the dim coffeehouse under the shaggy eucalyptus but I will sit apart. Maybe we will stand in the last bookstore of eternity, listening as all the old ink turns to rain.
In the cold kitchen of blue hour I sit drinking coffee, echoing a song you wrote for someone else. The piano answers in a farther room. Communication is impossible, just a myth of the old oceans and their blue-black waves, the early trees and smothered rock. It depended on shadow and gladness. It has always defied us. We pretend, we orate and whisper, weep and entreat the trembling air. We unearth stones, carry weapons to speak for us, beg the birds to sing from the hedges to help us talk. No, it’s not sound that matters. It depends on shadow and the folding of distance. Now the sun is down! Light candles that smell better than reality. Call every memory together but in the sum of all parts, the parts fade away.
Citizens of hope & glory, Time goes by, it’s the time of your life — Genesis
Sometimes space goes on and on as when we were children whose feet didn’t reach the floor from Grandpa’s chair; who grew up and tried for years to reach the sky.
There are spaces where time goes on and on as when we grow older and can’t reach across the field of flowers where a coffin stands and the cold hands of our watch fall still.
These don’t account for the ocean which is infinite space or the night sky or Disneyland’s eternity.
So I measure the distance between us in memories and longings, in the desperate need to be held against the shade of forgetfulness, or simply in hundreds of miles.
The shapes of fear rise up in our dreams like infinite rooms collapsing in on us, expanding forever yet never big enough for angels or lost dogs, or the name we had before the world was made.
There are empty kitchens in this world, vacant houses full of leaves, sheets dripping on the line in dishwater light. If the sheets block the fence and the fence blocks the view of the trees, isn’t everything an empty space?
Look, someone is standing there, waiting – a man in a black coat, beneath the trees. I’m afraid it might be me. What do I want? For the world to stop spinning so fast, for time to return us to people who love us.
Now I am sixty in less than a month. I’ve seen seven hundred twenty moons blaze up and light the orchards and the sea then fade away. It’s time to deconstruct my life; no time to rest, to elegize the years. What’s past was wasted or was spent. But how to dismantle and renew? Does anyone remember where we stored the paint? Yes, I know I shouldn’t joke but sometimes either you laugh or cry, can’t sleep, or sleep through half the morning, burning days.
Seven hundred moons or more or less in sixty years, though most of them rose and shone unseen on the roof of the house. And I will tell you a secret: the mind does not remember pain. It might recall the lurid shadows where pain rose and the light that drove it away. So we should go out when the moon is full and pray for the sun to rise.
After a year everything seems the same except the light in this room keeps changing. On sunny days it reflects from the neighbor’s garage, so people and cars cast shadows on the ceiling and the walls. I live in Plato’s Cave.
Now there must be clouds moving in to block the sun. Yes, but here it comes again, the light on this page, and then it’s gone. The bands of brightness on the ceiling flash and my pencil moves across the paper, signifying time.
In the room the shadows come and go and are your people still alright? And have you had your shots? Then here comes spring with plans to travel, feel the world go warm again, which in our case we have not got.
I have been indoors too long, alone. But that will be my story; it has always been my story: How I outlived the year to see today amidst the boredom and the horror and the glory.
I feel sad. How can they say that love exists only now, only today, when I know I need to love you tomorrow, as I have since we met? And I know it’s been years. If nothing else, the turning planet proves it: Time is created by motion and by the rhythm of a beating heart. Some days, everything is reduced to this, and to expectations – the process of diagnostics. Hope exists just in the future, whether the future is real or not. The Now isn’t always a place to call home.
I feel sad. Stuck in the future again. And don’t even mention the crows or the ocean this time. Nothing is rising and falling all night under a February moon or alighting on some trembling branch of faith. It just is what it is and I’m tired of Fear stopping by to spoil the music and the softened light of winter days. I’m just sad because everything worth loving and holding tight with joy and gratitude is fragile, and mortal and precious, like you.
Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can’t understand it. – Interstellar
Breathe in and whisper God. Breathe out and cry Oh World. Then sigh oh short winter grass. There is nothing we ought to do so be still, be a creature believed by God, before He set the Earth to spin and Time to walk. And what might walk the other way? Death is too easy to write – on a page we see it circling overhead, a flock of dark wings. The winter sky is bright but pale and we see the walker coming straight ahead, never tiring, never sleeping, day and night. It only slows to listen if we sing.