I thought I was going to write a melancholy piece again tonight, and begin by remembering a poem that's touched me deeply even though it has but three lines. I went to the book where it sits and opened it -the page's bookmarked- and then I saw I'd mixed up the lines of one poem with the name of the author of the poem on the other side of the page.
Then different thoughts came to mind. The poem I went to see is called "Separation" and it was written by W.S. Merwin. I thought -I was absolutely sure- the author had been Marianne Moore. Who actually has, on the other side, a poem of her own entitled "I May, I Might, I Must".
I was baffled for a few seconds, and then I saw it: Moore's title became my motto this year and I shared it with those I won't be seeing for a while. Still, the separation runs more deeply, to include those that have made an impact at different moments of my life.
I didn't intend to adopt that motto, but the force of circumstance (and I suppose some trait in me) drove me to do so. And, like pieces of thread making a fabric, I'm reminded of yet another literary piece; one of the very first short stories in English I chose to read. "The force of circumstance". The thread takes me to an essay called "A Tapestry of Friends", and the melancholy softly begins to vanish. A veil is lifted, white, vaguely see-through, to reveal a woman's head and "The Woman in Black" comes to mind. A rocking chair frantically moving on the stage of a tightly packed tiny theatre and a woman screaming in the middle of the audience to wake us all from our thoughts.
The plot thickens (some vague literary recollection, and my Spanglish making "plot" transcend the field of literature right into that of making cloth, just like "trama" does in Spanish, while I search for the word I do want, but cannot find, "urdimbre"). The plot thickens, then, and I'm back inside a theatre, where a house falls apart: it's the Birlings's, after the inspector has done his job...and in a sudden twist I come back full circle to Ayn Rand and collectivism vs individualism but now I get it, I get it in a different way because I'm not the same and because my world is not the same.
And though the inspector's words will always have a place in my heart, and reverberate more powerfully every time someone suffers close by, I understand now that my own identity is a gift and should be cherished. Or, anyway, I cherish it. And what I think I've learnt this year is exactly that: the world is composed of "I"s and "We"s and little by little a fabric takes some shape. And "I"s and "We"s do not need to be mutually exclusive, and I'm luckily and inevitably linked to each of these other threads in a unique way.
Of course life hurts sometimes, but all wounds eventually heal (and, no, I will not succumb now to the corny impulse of quoting Ms Dickinson and point that there is no scar...) My wounds are healing and don't look half as deep as I thought they were.
And as I end this by choosing a title, punk music fills my head through The Ramones (and I suppress another impulse...).Music which, oddly enough, I've always found secretively ironic -but then again I'm not one to analyse lyrics...
On an English language weekend
2 weeks ago