We wish you joy
We wish you health
But would destroy
You for your pelf -Robert Lowell
I haven’t been able to find something to read lately. Serves me right, I suppose, for pompously thinking that I had matured into a sublime curator of my own literary tastes – hardly a mis-step in months! fool that I am.
Suddenly, I’m cast adrift, bouncing on the rough sea of discontent. I tried Cloud Atlas; I had gone to the trouble of requesting it from the library, but every time I opened the cover my hand closed it back shut. No.
It’s like a romantic encounter: the yes or no comes with finality. I was 120 pages into The Neruda Case until, suddenly, after reading along, successfully ignoring my dogged lassitude, my hand closed the book with a strange firmness and I knew I would not open it again. I’m not well.
“I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
My 17 year old son related a bit of bad news to me yesterday and after looking at each other for a moment we burst out laughing. It just keeps coming like artillery fire. We are too disgusted to even try to dodge anymore.
There is within me a rising panic, but then, I have better luck with Lost Puritan, a well written biography of Robert Lowell, unfortunately I find I can only puzzle over Lowell’s difficult personality late at night. I’m grasping for something to fill the spaces, close up all the minutes in between work, school and making meals.
I have a little part of a little porch where I sleep: when a friend of my mother’s saw it he said, “It looks like a nun’s quarters.”
In the nun’s quarters I saw Lady Chatterly’s Lover waiting for me on the little bedside table- Help me, D.H. Lawrence: you’re my only hope.
My son and I often commiserate through music. His attitude is far superior to mine, he plays songs, I sometimes think just for me, as I drive –