Sunday, December 19, 2010
Darlings, I'm having a hard time a bit tonight. No, not really, I'm in a good mood, just feeling a little self-conscious and cowed at my inability to express whatever it is that I'm feeling. I do love E.D., she's the opposite (as I found myself thinking on my walk late this afternoon) of a certain renowned eminence grise "local" poet (whose initials are J.A.) who, I confess, I have not read so much of, but sometimes I find him too obscure, too cerebral - not heartfelt. E.D. I've dipped into with purpose this weekend, and whatever her playful love of riddles and elliptical ways of putting things - she really isn't playing games for the sake of clever games. Rather, she understands that truth is best captured "slant" (her word). But games for the sake of clever, erudite games - that's something else. I don't mean it as an either/or. Mr. J.A. has his moments. Just not always. Maybe its with his fawning acolytes that I take issue.
E.D. genuinely feels terror and finds a way to encapsulate it, in a letter to Higginson, in some of her poems. I had a terror - since September - I could tell to none - and so I sing, as the Boy does by the Burying Ground - because I am afraid - (25 April 1862).
She sounds like Ophelia there, and she has so much to be afraid of. This is not an abstracted, deracinated, alienated fear, as in Eliot (and I love Eliot - though at this very moment, perhaps less so).
It is rare that I have encountered anyone whom I truly view as spiritual, as sage, as truly good, as searching, as connected, as having a sense of how to connect. He knows how to pray, he credits his grandmother, clearly a strong remarkable woman who loved her grandson very much, for teaching him how.
I don't really know how to pray. I'll make a joke of it. I sent him the Pet Shop Boys link, not so that he'd lighten up - well, maybe a bit. (No it wasn't so much that, as that I couldn't feign scholarly seriousness - I really was playing that song over & over again - why shouldn't he know about it? I wasn't trying to make a point, let alone suggest - "lighten up." I'm the queen of - not exactly lightened up.) I do pray, and I do think hard, it's just that I'm not as concentrated and focused. I wasn't taught how to pray, and I had loving grandparents who weren't nihilists, and parents who tried in their way - but were nihilists. They didn't really see the value in things, not in little things - it was all as things "should be" - could be, could have been, should have been - not what "is," or was - what is or was, was never good enough, and what I'm trying to get at - as much as I struggle with a sense of great disappointment and missed opportunities for important things I really wished I could have had, but got away like a big slippery fish I thought I'd had in my hands - is that it is good enough, this typing to phantoms whom I adore, several of them now at least, whom I love in different ways.
I don't know how to pray, not formally. But maybe in a slant kind of way, I always knew how, and am regaining that ability. I felt myself to be a mother to myself one day this fall, the week I was diagnosed with and fevered from Lyme Disease (all treated & abated now). Now I feel as though I have to become my own grandmother, in a sense, learn to hew to what's warm and loving and true. No, not literally, I don't have to become my own grandmother - but to heed that sort of aspect or voice in myself - and my friend helps bring it out in me, because he's had lessons in it, from his grandmother, in a way that I never did, that got shunted, shut out, but he can help show me, because he's been shown how, and he lives it.