Wednesday, February 22, 2012
a fresh-turned field of breath
Now it is time that gods come walking out
of lived-in Things...
Time that they came and knocked down every wall
inside my house. New page. Only the wind
from such a turning could be strong enough
to toss the air as a shovel tosses dirt:
a fresh-turned field of breath. O gods, gods!
who used to come so often and are still
asleep in the Things around us, who serenely
rise, and at wells we can only guess at
splash icy water on your necks and faces,
and lightly add your restedness to what seems
already filled to bursting: our full lives.
Once again let it be your morning, gods.
We keep repeating. You alone are source.
With you the world arises, and your dawn
gleams on each crack and crevice of our failure...
--Rainer Maria Rilke
Uncollected Poems 1923-1926
* * *
We have all been sick for over a month now. Everyone has been to the doctor, only to be told there is nothing to be done but wait. Wait until Spring, it seems, sitting around wiping runny noses. We've come to an agreement, the virus and I. We stay in, drink lemon and honey tea with elberberry syrup, spend nights curled up together around humidifiers, hacking. I offer her Tylenol and Benedryl, zinc and vitamin C, boxes and boxes of kleenex, chests and chins shiny with vapor rubs. All of which she is happy to accept, as long as they don't mean she'll have to actually go. And although lately she seems a bit thin, she's still on best terms with Genevieve. They are fast friends who won't be parted. Say, until June.
Meanwhile, these five and a half rooms and eight windows form the boundaries of our little world. I read books about inner journeys, introversion, and psychological interpretations of Greek myth. I search ebay and etsy for elusive out-of-print textiles from Liberty of London or Heather Ross, and pour over a site where I can (for at least $20 a yard) design my own fabric. I order more books on Amazon. I wipe noses, change diapers, fill the slow cooker with chicken and pork. I look for ancient ivories to redraw for a book I'm designing, I retouch badly-photographed images of Romanian icons painted on glass. I search for more images, growing weary of Byzantine art (I'm sure I've seen every one of these frescoes hundred of times!). I do the dishes, rinse the recycling, refill the humidifiers. And, disappointingly, I am irate with my children for hitting each other, for whining, for throwing food on the floor I just vacuumed for the third time today. For needing me so insistently, so loudly, so endlessly.
I am ready for the gods to walk out of these lived-in Things. From my dingy recycling bin, from the icons in the Glory of Byzantium, from me. We keep repeating, virus to virus, image to image, day to day. Toys just tidied up surge out to the hallway, beds unmake themselves, dropping pillows and socks on the floor. Leftovers grow old at the back of the fridge, tired flavors merging into lumps I cannot bring myself to revive. The same struggles, fears. I wake at night, remembering why I got annoyed at my husband over dinner. It's the same reason I got annoyed at him the day before, the hour before. Time that they came and knocked down every wall / inside my house. New page. Only the wind / from such a turning could be strong enough / to toss the air as a shovel tosses dirt: / a fresh-turned field of breath.