Friday 30th January
Whereas most of my writing is easy to understand, sometimes you write something which even you feel is edging towards something but quite what it is keeps eluding you. I think that this is about the fact that nothing is quite what it seems, that even permanence is an illusion – everything dissolves into something else – only the illusion is permanent. It is also about the conversation which we, men and women, are always having – though not often in words….
Permanence and Illusion
Did I ever tell you – we are an island race
Swept by currents harsh and trembling cliffs
Washed by waves that gently deposit
Standing on these headland heights
Cutting knife the wind
Voices carry – drifting in – and stark they slip away
And down by the sea where the shingle talks
You get close to the heart of it all.
In our restless quest we are changing every day
Seeking perfection and truth
A chain we are forming as each link we let slip
We are never the same as we were.
This strand of man that clings to my hand
Is a filament waving – a pure golden thread
For a pendant of flame-flashing fire.
He: Is this the stone that your mother wore
Semi-precious as you are yet.
She: Yes – give it back – let me hold
Touch, and unfold its obsidian net.
I thought I knew all about you
Could read you like a book
But turning around for a second I found
You’d changed in the time it took.
He: All permanence is illusion
Even stones will dissolve
Cliffs must crumble in the rain
The shore is a wavering line.
She: And the sharpest stone in your armoury store
The one that cut me to the core
Was soft at the edges, rounded and smooth
A net to hold and bathe my wounds
He: Is this the stone that you found on the beach
That day you went out alone
When the gulls flew low and the boats were tethered
Grazing the close-cropped sea?
She: Yes – I do believe it is – I keep it here on the shelf
A reminder of the days I knew who I was
When I thought all I had might remain.
I know you are clever, that I should agree
About the constant nature of change
Of Illusion, erosion and evolving with time
But to me the stone looks the same.