Tuesday, May 07, 2013

In the House of Tom Bombadil

“Here in the house of death,” I muttered to myself, as I pulled a tee shirt out of my drawer.

I was sad: I've been grieving too long, and here was another death, and this one from my own generation. My sister-in-law. Cancer again. Not unexpected, except by Martha, who has a strange ability, despite her habitual pessimism, to create hopeful scenarios out of unlikely materials. I never took the respite for more than that. We will miss Kathy: her madcap gaiety, her immense good humor. Probably the best poem I ever wrote, I wrote in her voice. She was blown about by the wind of the world, but she was always ready for the next adventure. I hope the next is an easier one.

I dressed and headed out to get breakfast at Tom's Restaurant: a treat nowadays, rather than routine. But I needed to get out. Sometimes the weight of death is too much to carry, and I need to get out. Perhaps it's always been that, running from death, or from the dread of it, or the prefigurement of it. You can even run into it, to get away from it, like the supposed bird charmed by the snake: most suicides I think, come from that convergence of running away from it and running towards it, fueled by the delusion – so rampant these days! – that death is a sure-fire escape. Oh, no, my dears: I don't think so.

There is no escape really, of course: in fact the impulse to escape is itself the problem, masquerading as the solution. So many things are like that. Really it is time, and rhythm of the earth, that draws us up and away, regardless of our circumstances, into a different deception, dancing to a different pipe. If I could learn to wait in perfect stillness and adoration, death would pop like a bubble. Even as I am, it does sometimes. And I lay my hand on the breastbone of a client, and years and doubts wash away: and my soul ducks its head into its paws, and curls its tail around its nose. “And that's true too,” says Lear's fool. Exit clown.

And May comes with a vengeance, its colors shrieking, the greedy young sun climbing the sky like glowing yellow ape. It's been ten years since I began this blog: I missed my anniversary, yet again. Such things have no hold on his mind: he would be a most unsafe guardian. Na ja.

Lots of love, dears.


NT said...


marly youmans said...

I like your doggy-soul and the glowing yellow ape quite a lot.

E-hugs to you, all the way across the continent, since I can't sit with you in the grass and howl. The years when we start to lose people we know well are so strange.

I have been thinking a bit more than usual about death, as I sung for a funeral on Saturday. It was for a woman of 90 who had been competent and faithful and a great resource for others. She had not outlived the people who loved her. No lie had to be said on her behalf in the eulogy. When I left after the reception, people were still telling her stories.

Zhoen said...

Death gets on top of us all.

Lucy said...

Lots of love to you too, and thanks for keeping on coming here and doing this.

rbarenblat said...

Love to you too, dear Dale. I'm so sorry for your loss. May you and Martha find comfort along with all who mourn.

Phil Plasma said...

happy anniversary.

Rouchswalwe said...

Once I was told, in the face of death, to stand firm and keep my ears stiff. Okay, it sounds better in German. But I send you a strengthening hug, dear Dale. Your description of May fits the month we're having here so far.