As winter ends, winter starts again. Late March warmth lies with coughs and fever, face-grey shadows darken longer days, and high-sky sun shines on windowless wards. Hospital green is the season’s colour.
Garden foxes play in rose-dawn light, rising doubt hangs in latent streets, odd wasps drift between blossoms spreading and seeding unwanted fruit, and the numbers explode like purple globes of allium blooms.
Thoughts of renewal are not what they were: first-cut strips of grass mask earth beneath and, at a safe distance, tender leaves grieve. Summertime begins. Winter starts again.
Nights are the worst: dark acres of time are unfilled with anything but low noise as cars burr along the northbound carriageway.
Mum is cold, anxious in unsettled grief. There’s no point getting up: without him there’s nothing to do. Days see diversions but now, why does sitting there beat lying here?
Wide awake in darkness she heard herself say: “Dada?” and reach out her hand. He used to take it and warm it. This cold, Dada-less night, as she reached for him again, he warmed her again. The sheets softened, the noises dissolved and she stopped thinking. She felt him, she knew he was nearby and she slept.
I am remembering my Uncle Iolo with a bitter-sweet chuckle. The letter dates from 1940, as does the photo, I’d guess. It begins: “Now that our British Winter has set in, campaigning is less than ever a picnic. Well keep your bowels open and keep as dry as possible. A good motto for the dark days . . .”
Like many others, I expect, I have long been confused why and how the ‘Jesusalem’ verses by William Blake have become stuff of English patriotism, even jingoism. Yeah, I know, Hubert Parry has a lot to answer for. But it becomes even more confusing when one notes that the repeated question marks written in orignial editions are omitted in many reprints. Not my OUP edition, mind, edited by Geoffrey Keynes. It has more question points than Blake’s engraving!
I am sure all of this must have been said before, so this just to get it off my chest. The question marks are essential to the reading. I think of them as rehetorical with the unwritten answer an overwhelming “no!”
Furthering my interpretationis this excerpt from Bible’s book of the Apocalypse, which I came across today. Blake was nothing if not apocalyptic and I suggest these lines from Chapter 21 (or ones similar) might have been an inspiration.
“Vision of the New Jerusalem
And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
Rethought and redescribed for our heterodox age, we are a long way from Jerusalem.
So. Here we are then. Just us. Just us two. I see from The Writings that you came first: me second, made with a rib ripped from you. Is that the way it is to be? Cast forever in the backwash of your sex?
The Writings are such patriarchal tripe. explanations come from genetics which give women conceptive bragging rights. The egg came first, was followed by the worm, and, for goodness sake, it is the female of our kind in whom our children grow. They nurse our milky infant kin. Man’s wriggling sperm is swallowed up. We are incidental. Whatev. What’s hers is his and his is hers?
Hmmm. It’s good to be held. Hmmm. Your skin is soft. Hmmm. I feel safe in your arms. Hmmm. My love . . .my hope . . . Where do we begin? We’ll know. Instinct will kick in. Feel my palms cup your shoulder blades. Feel my upturned hands placed here upon your breasts. Adam, your lips. My lips. Eve? Allow yourself. Understand that this is what it is. There is no script.
Skin. Soft skin. At the faintest touch, or brush, I’m taken to a rising springful place. My eyelids fall, involuntarily and as they do my arms and hands adjust. Feather fingertips leave shiver traces and silver stars spill down behind my knees. Eve, Eve, this has never happened before. I do not know where we are, let alone where we are going. What is all this for? Adam, Adam, we’re in it now, we’ve thrown our stone; we’re jumping in, surrendering. Adam, husshh. This passion is a tide we cannot turn. We must give in. Rushing waters pull us just one way. Besides I can’t imagine it’ll be that hard. I have to disagree. Ha! My mistake. Hmmm. I feel, no mistake. It’s pure pleasure. It feels good. Is it all for me? It’s ours, to do with as we wish. To give? To take? To touch? To feel. Accept? Firmly and far.
Dressed neither in the turned-earth things we’ve said nor in the future’s hearth-black silhouettes let’s speak and hear in jumbled blues and reds met here among the hyssop violets. Adam, Adam! Let’s dance in purple blurs, viridian, red, fawn and cobalt blue. Let’s swim in tangerine and lavender butter creams, barley, hops and honey dew. Wrap us in a summertime of being imbued with primrose-jasmine spells. Hold us to your gleaming-scarlet stem, heaving and breathing breaths of rose-quartz crimson gold. Adam, Adam, let me to Kingdom come. Oh you. Oh you. Oh you. And I. Are one.
I love you, Adam, man. You are my home. I love you, Eve, and love this loving hour. Together, we are finished; we are whole. We have grown, come of age¸ flowered. Eve – you shine like morning Sun on water; you have the beauty of a cloudless sky. We share this emptied moment afterwards, a touching, thrilling a single source of life. My darling one, your breaths are softer now. As are yours, my sweetness. I love you, Eve, and love this precious time drawn close and calm, time spent in the lea of our desires It’s time I wish would last eternity a timeless time of blissful certainty.
(for two voices, set before the Fall, from a very long poem I am writing called ‘body+blood’. Posted here for Emma on our 23rd wedding anniversary)