Breezy, bright and cold morning, the Indian hawthorn coming into creamy flower. Distressed to read that eight South Africans have been killed in a suicide bombing attack in Kabul. There are so many from southern Africa working in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq. Not good, but that is the power of the dollar.
The day ahead shaped by writing, facilitating a workshop, writing, gardening, the preparation of meals, walking dogs. Not a bad way to have a day take shape. I’m thinking about women poets and the tensions for women writers between living traditional lives as wives and mothers and forging an identity as a poet, the invisibility of lesbian women, the challenge of ageing gracefully through illness, loss of mobility,the loss of older identities. How we find new creature comforts once we give up the older more treacherous comforts of drinking, drugging, eating too much, falling in love too readily, daydreaming like young girls centre-stage in their own lives.
Outside the garden surges up into a gentle rich chaos of blossom and leaf. I need to let go and live with some of that fructifying chaos, the light falling on tangles of jasmine and musk roses and overpoweringly sweet-scented baby-pink Daphne.
From the poet Robert Lowell:
Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme⎯
why are they no help to me now
I want to make something imagined, not recalled?
I hear the noise of my own voice:
The painter’s vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.
But sometimes everything I write
with the threadbare art of my eye
seems a snapshot,
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped,
heightened from life,
yet paralyzed by fact.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.