Three nights running I dreamed of a black dogs nosing through long grass, there on the periphery, not in the dream but not outside, just treading the liminal. On the third morning I woke up and considered this: I have a large black dog, a Great Dane. I know a black labrador down the road who chases cars. (Fortunately it is a quiet road.) Years ago I half-saw a ghostly black dog at a Welsh crossroads, a sign of Hecuba according to my Carmarthen witches. No good. The dream eluded me, the dog slinking off into the tall bleached grasses.
Then someone emailed me to say the ‘black dog’ is back in her life and I thought, oh that black dog. Depression, my old friend, the darkening of moods and silencing of inner responsiveness. Not too serious, just end of winter and a black dog following me around like some shadow grief.
Reading Celan who refused to speak in public or in private about that trauma, the war, the Holocaust, the unmentionable terror, dating in his life from the night when his parents were suddenly seized and sent away to camps in the Ukraine where his father would die of typhus, his mother shot by Gestapo, himself the orphan sent to work in labour camps. He would not speak of this, ever, and yet it is there in every line he wrote. Suppressed and present.
I find myself so weary of outrage on the Internet, the banging of drums, the flailing of fists, the accusations, the shaming, the reactivity. So tired.
Coming across this with relief, from Charles Bernstein writing on the poet John Ashbury:
Speaking of “leaving out”: one thing Ashbery leaves out of his work is the overheated, hyperbolic, charged-up, emotion-laden styles associated with the prophetic, confessional, “beat,” “projective,” and political poetry of his generation. His deflationary diction provides a powerful counterforce—a negative dialectic—to fighting fire with fire, anger with anger, outrage with outrage, suffering with expressed anguish, self-righteousness with self-righteousness.
To find a way to say it differently. To let out only what the breath will hold — and then hold still.