Wednesday, August 31, 2016
August 31, 2016
Odd and very early morning. Have been reading the big Jack Yeats biography, wallowing around in it in delight as though I had never seen it before, though of course I have.
Praying for rain.
Looking for the dates of certain events in previous years of this diary. I used to write quite beautifully here; I don’t anymore, it being now hurried and elliptical, as though I were rushing forward toward some great moment which never seems to arrive, and having time for nothing but the rush.
A memory wells up, that wells up every couple of years and each time leaves me with the same queer impression. I am very young, in bed in my bedroom on Goodview Avenue. It was the “big” bedroom before my sister came. One lamp is on, and in the light of it my father and mother stand, teaching me to pray. “Now I lay me down to sleep—“ But the stark truth is my conviction–at the moment it happened, renewed through every recollection– that they are strangers, unknown to me, that I am a little soul set down among strangers whose ways I must learn. I’m aware of my watching them studiously, aware of carefully doing what they tell me to do, so that I might secure a place in a strange and unfamiliar world. Without the indisputable witness of appearance to declare I am my father’s son, I would be certain I had been adopted. The earliest of my recollections have this as a central theme. Here I am. How did I get here? I must learn these people, learn to amuse or outwit them if I am to move on. Never for one instant did I feel belonging. I was a cub wandered into the pride, trying every way it could to be integrated. Never for one minute. I came with a full armament of morals and innate expectations, which often as not had nothing to do with the things that obtained around me. I have my mother’s hatred of bullies and my father’s sense of preparedness, but I remember actively and consciously taking those on when I saw them, as amiable and correct and things I didn’t have already on my own. I was a puzzlement to them as they were to me. Do I go around asking, “Did you feel separate? A stranger and wayfarer from the very first” Maybe everyone feels exactly the same way, and it is too intimately disappointing to speak of.
The last time I was in Sligo, walking in the dark of depression around Lough Gill, I lit upon the explanation of my life which satisfies me as being true. I remember the moment it dawned on me. I was looking away from the lake, at a dark pool in the forest haunted by one moorcock, and it was beautiful to me in a way that seemed otherworldly. But I recognized it, and it was indeed from another world, and I was, for that fraction of a second, Home. The story is this: I am an angelic being dwelling in Paradise–that Platonic world of spirits before one is called into embodiment. Beside me is my Love, and we are entwined in one another’s hearts, and I think we will live in bliss forever. But my Lover receives a summons that he is to leave. He is to go into the world and be embodied and have what we men call life. I am annihilated. I say to the Powers “Let me go too. Let s go together.” But they say, “It is not your time.” I say, “Whether it is my time or not, I will not be parted from him.” They try to counsel me. They say it will not be on the other side as it is here, and that all the powers and joys I enjoy there will be taken from me without any certainty that my lover and I will find each other, or know each other if we meet. I don’t care. I think my love is great enough to make it work. They apparently can warn but cannot actually prevent me. He departs. I follow. On this side it is exactly as the Powers warned. I am not in the life prepared for me, but one usurped out of will and longing. I remember poetry and beauty, ravels of my past life, but I cannot make them stand and stay in the new world. I am not what I was meant to be, and no one is to blame but me. Moreover, I have pursued him I love fruitlessly from the first moments of consciousness, always too soon or too late, always coming with the wrong offering to the wrong god, having lost all to gain a thing that, in my willfulness, is lost as well. Forlorn from the first hour, I spend every second trying to restore what I cannot restore, to find what cannot be found, to mean something that my life is forbidden to mean. I thought of this on the banks of the Garravogue and I said yes, then lay down in my bed in the hotel and did not stir for two days. I don’t recall writing it down until this hour. It does explain just about everything.