Monthly Archives: December 2014

from “Daughter of a Tree Farm”

SAM_5234

“When children can no longer devote sympathy, owing to growing up. One mind always engaged or found with labor in order to be. Later on the trees acquired winter. Sent and took and did not go out. The weight of never shedding. We anticipated a cure if come willingly. We were unable to carry out nature. These impressions, fresh, often made me to see his life previous, the principal sadness I had to recognize.

We planted trees. We cleared the pond. Gathered different, undisturbed faith. Gradually the steps further and further withdrawing over the hills, beyond the fencerow. I was too weak. I was often driven, but saw no way. I would never go back.

The difference, between us, not because I remained the same, unable to unalter, but taken from the midst, rarely clouded, and the broken. It was this, which woke me open, opened to an outsider, a stranger.”

The Academy of American Poets published this section of Daughter of a Tree Farm by Carrie Olivia Adams. I know not what to say in response to it, nor do I understand it. But it has intrigued me and been on my mind for the past few days.

I was too weak. I was often driven, but saw no way. I would never go back. 

 

Advertisements

+65 for a day

Sitting at home in the short window of time I have in between one flight and the next. Today its been gray skies and lush green and me near my old school together with a friend. It’s late now and things are everywhere. I don’t feel packed. Tomorrow the madness of travel will begin again and make me wonder why I bother to do these things to myself. But for now, I am calm.

It’s been quite a year. I had a beautiful spring in London doing all sorts of crazy things, a sudden course change, and a return home to a new house, all the while slowly sinking into a sea of deep longing and unresolved emotion. It must have begun in London, this gradual opening of space, and the surfacing of hidden things, the things that have quietly been haunting my life. What began as a pervasive anguish turned into a low-grade but crippling depression, a pain in my chest that made it hard to get through the day. The week before my flight to Japan I seemed to have hit a new low. I felt on the brink of tears the whole day, and cried uncontrollably at night. In the midst of my trembling and sobbing I felt I finally heard some of the words my heart had been silently screaming all this while.

And then it rained, and I broke. I wandered out into the night, clutching my stuffed rabbit, sat in the dark, whispered a prayer.

After that night the feelings suddenly lifted. I felt a little numb, a little strange, but I got busy preparing for my trip and put my thoughts aside. On the first night at the airport hotel in Chitose airport, my brother and I watched snow fall in the window. I was struck by the peacefulness of the scene, one worthy of a children’s book – a boy and his older sister watching the snow.

Perhaps, it is about time I let the losses lie where they fall. 20 years I have hurt and hungered and in my hurt blocked myself from the very things that would heal me. I know not what to do with myself now. But slowly, slowly, perhaps I will breathe again. I do not know where the child inside of me has wandered to now. Perhaps she is sitting in a white world, watching the snow fall, quietly waiting for her world to come undone.

Hold

A grain of rice is a

Drop of sweat which

Weighs as much as

An hour of strong arms

That work the ground

For five small ones and their smiles

 

One red tick comes from

One hour of books and

Weighs as much as

The words that were learnt and

The words on the cert that will

Mark you fit for work

All its thrills and perks

 

A heart that is won is

A heart that is yours and

Weighs as much as

The stone ridge

That parts one from one more and

The dew breath that is drawn

From the sky

By us all

 

The thought: What you have, hold it close – one thing at a time.

One at a Time: A post in one-syllable words.

Closed by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard

The crimson dawn breaks through the clouded east,
And waking breezes round the casement pipe;
They blow the globes of dew from opening buds,
And steal the odors of the sleeping flowers.
The swallow calls its young ones from the eaves,
To dart above their shadows on the lake,
Till its long rollers redden in the sun,
And bend the lances of the mirrored pines.
Who knows the miracle that brings the morn?
Still in my house I linger, though the night—
The night that hides me from myself is gone.
Light robes the world, but strips me bare again.
I will not follow on the paths of day.
I know the dregs within its crystal hours;
The bearers of my cups have served me well;
I drained them, and the bearers come no more.
Rise, morning, rise, for those believing souls
Who seek completion in day’s garish light.
My casement I will close, keep shut my door,
Till day and night are only dreams to me.

 

Who knows the miracle that brings the morn? Mornings in our estate are actually uncannily serene. Our wide patio is enfolded by lush palms, ferns, vines – high definition tropical greenery. The swallow calls its young ones from the eaves. Only one quiet road leads into this place.

Last night I was by the old playground, rain dripping and pooling about me, everything tingling and alive in wet darkness. I felt an affinity with my surroundings, a shimmering dampness on my own cheeks. I felt the months pass about me, pondering how this once loathed place now actually feels rather like home. I’ve come a long way from London, inside, me shivering in the tiredness of a depression that has lost even the ability to fuel itself. I’m out of luck, out of answers. The bearers of my cups have served me well… and the bearers come no more.

Perhaps now I’d be a little more ready to pray. But really I’d just like to find a warm safe place and hide myself away, and not come out until I feel better. Till day and night are only dreams to me.

But I say what comes to me from my inner thoughts…

“But I say what comes to me

From my inner thoughts

Denying my eyes.

I begin to compose something

In a single phrase

With many meanings,

Standing in illusion,

So that when I go towards it

I go blindly,

As if I am pursuing the beauty of something

Before me but unclear”

– Abu Nuwas

 

Beginning a difficult conversation, you wonder: How does one begin to talk about the deep things of the soul, the life within your life? You deny your eyes and begin again to compose – construct words, prepare for wordlessness. In the end whenever we begin moving we go blindly. You feel stupid, like you’re throwing away everything that is familiar and you don’t know who or what this is about anymore.  But go on, because something has become important. You may not know all the words, but your heart will tell you what to do. And you will be well. That is what matters.

Morning Nocturne by Jill Bialosky

I am glad today is dark. No sun. Sky
ribboning with amorphous, complicated
layers. I prefer cumulus on my
morning beach run. What more can we worry
about? Our parents are getting older
and money is running out. The children
are leaving, the new roof is damaged by
rain and rot. I fear the thrashing of the sea
in its unrest, the unforgiving cricket.
But that’s not it. The current is rising.
The dramas are playing out. Perhaps
it’s better to be among these sandpipers
with quick feet dashing out of the surf than
a person who wishes to feel complete.

 

I am glad today is dark. It was raining this morning. Even before my senses awakened, in my hypnopompic state I seemed to sense it. My spirit deemed it appropriate that it would be.

What more can we worry about? It’s been a strange few days, me swinging between feelings of unease, emptiness and confusion, all with ambiguous source. Perhaps it was the prayer I said, hoping it would help alleviate the sadness I was feeling. I was disquieted by how much it worked. I’m not ready for this sort of divine interference. Or perhaps it’s all this deep talking that I’m not used to. Or maybe this is just regular holiday emptiness. I fear the thrashing of the sea in its unrest

But that’s not it. The current is rising. The dramas are playing out. I spoke of them to someone for the first time – my wild, tender dreams. In my silly little fantasies I envision being woken up gently. To have someone like Cosette’s lady all in white, nice to see and soft to touch, rouse me with a gentle hand, whisper my name. I hope that in heaven I will be small-like. Small and hidden away in someone’s arms, in a quiet forest amidst soft petals and a river flowing. Let the other children explore Narnian seas and conquer mountains, but find me amidst the roses, free of thorns.

My confidante smiled and said, so your wish is for the door to be opened softly. I chuckled and said yes. Start with yourself, she told me. You are already reaching out. You say all this, and that it will never really be, but in your heart of hearts you know…

I know? We all hide our most potent secrets from ourselves. I cried uncontrollably after that conversation because I realised for the first time who it was I have been pining for all this while.

So much for all this Freudian self-discovery. I woke up sick and weak and with a whole lot to do. Mum’s gone out and I still don’t know how to reach her. Some force in me tells me to just tuck these silly longings away and let live. Is that how normal people do it? Perhaps it’s better to be among these sandpipers with quick feet dashing out of the surf than a person who wishes to feel complete.