A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 6 February 2015

Rags On A Scarecrow

As always, one tires, and I'm tired of my youthful voice now, plangent and yearning, dripping with Keats and Eliot and Dylan Thomas. The house is cleaned, tidied, ordered. Bits of my life are sorted, filed, put away — until the next urge for autobiographical time travel. What do these fragments of poems, photographs, letters, certificates, school magazines, postcards from faraway places add up to? Something and nothing. They do not add up to a life. They are mere pegs and pointers, rags on a scarecrow. My life is far more, far richer then these tattered remnants, these pathetic scraps of a life. My real life is more clandestine, more subtle, more complex, more suggested and suggestible, more inventive and invented. More marginal — secret notes written in invisible ink at the paper's edge, obscure pathways of heart and mind barely travelled in these snaps and scribblings, these collected souvenirs and trinkets. More fictive. Less expressible. Oh, what a mystery it all is. Time to move on.

Morning Loss

The bright, serrated edge of dawn
Incises quite fantastic dreams
And I awake. The weaving threads
Of sense begin to join in seams

The shapeless tapestries of sleep
Until the cloth conforms to style.
But, far back there, in the deep,
Something was lost. It stirs meanwhile

Unconsciously, as I arise
To welcome in the rational sun,
Unsecretive and undisguised.
There's no obliquity in him.

He pours a rather obvious light
On salvaged thoughts, now broken glass
Reflecting possibilities
Of wholeness not yet come to pass.

Was there in truth a cool domain
Where green trees leaned towards the foam
To greet a man becalmed again?
Something was lost, some perfect home,

Some vision dreamed, starlit, moonbright,
Prismatic as the dew on grass,
A stained glass window of delight.
But now I look through frosted glass

Despite the garden's clarity,
The clearcut shapes of tree and stone,
Flowers in tidy rockeries.
Set free, the dream I thought my own

Spans the horizon's wavering fire,
Sweetens the air, rivals larksong,
Dissolves beyond the arching sky.
A rainbow points to where it's gone.


George said...

This post — beautifully written, I might say — is quite meaningful for me as well. While I have not been involved in the physical and mental housekeeping that has taken you back into your youth, this dipping of the toe into Facebook has unavoidably linked me with much of my past, and has inevitably led to all of those musings about who I was before and who I am now. It will suffice to say that I found great relief the conclusion you have reached about the fragments of the past that are stored in small cavities of the psyche: "They do no add up to a life. They are mere pegs and pointers, rags on a scarecrow. My life is fare more, far richer than these tattered remnants, these pathetic scraps of life." Here, here, may we drink to that!

Love the poem, Robert — very rich in its imagery. It deserves another slow reading, which I intend to give it.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks very much for this empathic response, George.

Ah, Facebook! I started with it when I was marketing my poetry magazine, The Passionate Transitory. It's fine, and I don't regret it, and it has delights and benefits. And can be good for resuming and keeping in contact with family and friends, as you say. But, as a means for deeper communication, it's shallow, and I much prefer the considered nature and denser texture of blogging.

George said...

I couldn't agree more. For someone who has created and communicated in a blogging circle for several years, Facebook comes as a bit of a shock, at least initially. All things considered, I would like to be less exposed to some of the conservative politics, most of the trivia, and a host of other things like baby showers, photos of favorite desserts, and "cute" pet photos. On the other hand, I am delighted to be able to connect so easily with certain people who, heretofore, were off the radar screen, people like our friend, Lorenzo, in Madrid. The key, I think, is use Facebook for what is worth to me — i.e., staying connected with old friends and like-minded people — and to ignore everything else.

The Solitary Walker said...

You said it in a nutshell, George! I completely agree with you.

I avoid, on the whole, getting involved with any political/religious 'discussions'. Not that I get involved with anything very much.

Two things I don't like are (a) the sycophancy and (b) the sniping, ill-substantiated rumour and gossip — even slander, in some cases.