You write of and incarnate an “elegy of integrity” dear friend. It’s true that when death comes to “our own” all we can do, as you write, is remember them. Of course we make up or discover those whose integrity we identify with, don’t we? I know you mean it that way. The man you address will die soon and you may repeat yourself. The best, those who fill our lungs with their elegies, usually die first. Gil, for instance, only recently. It’s a truth from my younger days, of which I find no trace in my clear conviction now. Every year confirms a duty to burn ourselves up if we aspire to anything worthy of song. You did, I know I must too. First, I wonder if enough of “our own” will remain to sing for us! Then, do you know, I’m so vulgarly optimistic that I hear distant voices now! And so I hasten on, with something left to gamble!
I’ve been using Entourage for almost a year since Mail froze up and lost a chunk of one-offness. Even with news to announce jointly I haven’t considered grouping, nor even noticed the Reply All button until last week. So your; “a mutual plum is not a plum”, is a fruit from my own tree, sister. “I was too respectful to take the pulp and do not like the stone” belabours the metaphoricity of my location here. Again, these are my own words: “Send no union letters. The soul must go by Death alone, so, it must by life, if it is a soul.” Or, you write; “If a committee -no matter.” This was always true of all that does matter and makes for singularity in the valleys and on most peaks. It’s even more true today, despite or because of the ubiquity of those barren committees who live without your tangy bite. One to one, one on one, one plus one. One.
Amherst, Summer 1863
Let’s have no more “I will pick no rose, lest it fade or prick me”. No matter how often you write this it smacks of insincerity. Especially when you also write of night skies that look like “Jerusalem! … mountains that touch[ed] the sky, and brooks that sang like bobolinks.” You add “I will give them to you, for they are mine, and “all things are mine.”” This sounds peculiarly American to me, not only because I first heard it in the voice of Jack Kerouac; “everything belongs to me because I’m poor.” His is ultimate truth, routinely misunderstood, though not by you. I was running last night after a long day ended with evocative Dhokla. Out in the middle of London under a bright sky, upon the Millennium Bridge as bells chimed the quarter hour before midnight. While crossing I realised that running here is a boast of residence. The great river, peculiarly low in tide, echoed my possession. I’ve taken to running on the road itself, marking it as mine. Opening out strides, I left behind a day brimming with love in a faster time than ever. I called out to friendly foxes and allow the porcelain tulips another night of potency. Poor as I may be, everything belongs to me on the “unhoused” bridge.
It is November, you write, which ‘always seemed to me the Norway of the year.’ No, no it feels like November, but March has come after an extended Scandinavia. Soon it will be gone. Every day is one minute better, brighter, more human. Each dies a little less. In a late 18th Century November my new Jacobin friend walked the night hills between stunted trees, full falling through combes all the way to the harbouring sea. Like water. I did it too, during this recent Finland; through coldly forecast drizzle, upwards into heavying cloud but peaked in the windworn scrub of a hidden iron age, only for the clouds to part on a little Mediterranean. For the hill and it’s seductive combes to rush at me, bent tree sentinels to be recognised and postcards from the cradles of civilisation to arrive. All the tropical months. STC was no Jacobin but a romancer of the running combes and their conjurings, spied upon by Arctic circles of the establishment mind. E. and I walked miles and miles of mud and stone in visions of poesy. Without official confirmations. Within warming words. So it’s possible, but I prefer the tropical calendar which returns my self; body and breath, a ‘spacious and untold’ mindfulness, to me. Places and times where ‘noons’ are ‘sterner’, ‘sundowns’ properly ‘laconic’. Looking forward to Mesopotamia,