Sometimes when you need the light, it's there. This morning, for example. Up early, I watched the moments before the gold arose. I could see it in the bark of the trees, the air trembling with it, fragile gleams leaking out. I could feel the urge to gold, for the shining. And then, it came, full-on, the trees awash, aflame, glowing.

Last night, before I closed my eyes, I sat up in bed with my journal.  "Night," I thought. "The end of another day of life." That didn't seem a morbid thought. It was the simple truth. And then I felt my skull, the bone around my eye, thought of skulls I've seen--I've never held a human skull in my hand--saw the skull beneath my skin in my mind's eye.

T.S. Eliot's lines about Shakespeare's late contemporary, John Webster--

WEBSTER was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin. . .--

come to mind. Am I "possessed by death"? I am.  This explains why I'm possessed by light.  I don't think this makes me abnormal.  I think this makes me normal.

"By my troth, I care not," Feeble says in 2 Henry IV, "a man can die but once; we owe God a death. I’ll ne’er bear a base mind: an ’t be my destiny, so; an ’t be not, so. No man’s too good to serve’s prince; and let it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for the next." There's no wonder Shakespeare calls this character "Feeble" and makes him speak prose.  But always, with Shakespeare, the ironies cut different ways. A commoner, Feeble must speak prose. Being Feeble, what he says isn't the whole truth. It's the plain truth; it isn't poetry; it doesn't plumb the depths. It's the ordinary knowledge of the street, the paving stones carriages roll over, the hard thing below our soles that help us stay dry and keep our balance.

Last night, I felt my skull and felt my future. This morning, I saw the gold, was uplifted by the light, the morning's anniversary. The skull is a promise. The light is a promise. 

For the depths, Shakespeare has the Prince of Denmark ask it:

What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven?


 


Comments

Allan DiBiase
04/13/2013 12:11pm

and he put on his mukluks and ventured forth into a world of soft white tomatoes

squishing

everything running together around him

into cold watery whiteness

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