Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Stored theings

Outside the very roadways rinsed, leafbaby rosettes
stand scout-guard by the dingy skeleton banners of not so long
and it's Dunkirk & bugle, water rushing down. A basin of winter suds plunges the air
into skating, all black the trees and brick places
from which serene children emerge whistling and loitering: how warm and peaceful it must be in those fine blocky homes.

I need this, what you preserve

You keep rows of jam to eat, pickled eggs, old wines to drink; because I know their end, because I perceive them not as finished but as yet-to-be-consumed, the glass still sparkles, it's pleasant to look at them.

But it's different to open my own stores:

photographs, stationery, letters, sea-shells, ribbons, old felt-tips
that I only ever uncap to check if they still make a mark, games I've never played, brass rubbings I've never rubbed, projects I never started, essays never chucked, clothes never worn, and a fur of dust on the lids.

Stored theings, hardly ever to be unstored or brought back into use.

Stored theings whose main theing that they now do, the only theing they do that is is thoroughly tangible, is to be stores. [They show their age in rather a different way than I anticipated: what person under thirty today would have letters? Who has felt-tip pens, diaries, floppy disks, negatives, tapes?] So far as needing new shelves is concerned, or lumbering them in PC boxes to a new roost, this I don't mind. It's when I try and get the precious theing to do what it was for, that's when I know that I don't really even want to try.

They used to be fun. How often when time
was infinite I spent a rich evening
among her letters, or my clever writings

I listened, but now I'm depressed by a different sound:
that futility they seem to all have, the out-of-date voices,
the unrealized picture, the desperately mortal fragments that are only being held up
out of the drain of winter for a reason that I now need time to understand
and that, instead, I respect.

Did I put them aside, marking them as ever-precious to me, in order for them to be respected?

How can I get there now, into the muffled, incompetent snap that betrays so much more than it expresses? Through whose poor composition and murk and economy format the most remarkable thing is the dazzling smooth skins of those sauntering people who didn't know how to dress and who unwitnessed stepped through the crowds though if you only knew oh crowds how spectral that appearance was would you have valued them any more than yourselves who were also ... : -- I of course never did...

Winter's work at night. The water gurgling in the sluice reminds me all of a sudden of my young mother standing at the sink, the water rushing over the willow neck of a stainless steel fork, and steam spreading up the window. (I was three and I had become a rebel; frightened by all the languages, jealous no doubt of all this new competition, I would now only respond to English. Unfortunately I got my own way.)

Will you ever call? I say my mood's going downhill but that's a cover-up. If I stay in the archives I'm frightened the ghosts will begin to speak. It's not only dreams that it's healthy to forget.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger