The Heart of a Poppy Flower

The larks are playing extravagantly - and loudly - in the invisibility of the air, but despite the scraps of blue in the sky tinged with shy pink clouds at this golden hour, it has just begun to thunder and a new grey mood has cast itself like a shadow that "falls": I could not have set the scene more dramatically had I invented it. So much time has passed since I last wrote here that I feel this post deserves a personal note. But just like the weather is doing my writing for me, I think a lot that I could write will actually speak for itself in coming weeks as the circumstance of this time in history continues to unfold. As much as the Self-Made Man narrative still continues to dominate so much of public discourse, I think that environment at large is now going to have its say. Or maybe I am just getting older and deaf.
Hearing only the xylophone of rain. Electricity in the sky. Still trying to figure out the meaning of life: how horrifying it would be to reach the end of one's days without having figured out what is worth the devotion of time. The time that is being alive.
It would be easy but there is so much that is deceptive. So much escape that is passive: sedentary in a figurative sense. I read somewhere that the internet is often abused as a faux safety blanket: whenever one wants to escape, one can tune into it. It could be said that there is a mechanical response to mechanical environments where no one is responsible but responsibility is assigned to a few workers who by default will be burried in work. It is hard not to be burried alive.


I wrote to a friend this evening how much I currently shirk from being asked that question beginning with how, centering on the verb to be and the pronoun you. Like the snapshot of the weather that suddenly moved in as I began this blog post: who has time to read all those signs and then to articulate them into some kind of sense - and for this sense to be true, one would also need to know something of both the future and the past: who can do that? Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Unemployment? (Again the concern for those of us working in higher education.) A new job? Promotion? Inclement weather? Unhappy mobs? Sudden inspiration? Peace?
My friend brought me some flowers yesterday: if I continue to blog, there will be pictures. They wilted as we talked - to begin with, they had obviously been picked much earlier in the day and were merely wrapped in damp pieces of dissolving scrap paper (nothing goes to waste in poverty). My friend had bought them from a granny her heart went out to, sitting in the heat. I thought the flowers would be beyond revivification, but I was wrong. It seems that flowers are not so frail, and hope that I am not, either.
What happens to us when the environment does not cultivate us, when reserves are spent merely to live conscientiously despite what looks like (in the hall of mirrors of appearance) others' compromises, left and right, I don't know. I wonder how much of appearance is spiritual. Cavafy writes: "Laistrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you."


I recently heard a story of a man who had lost his estate after a recent war and moved into what was essentially a holiday cottage. He was known for saying: "What need do I have for all the chores I used to have tending to that huge property and the surrounding land - only now do I finally have a house in the country!" There is a language of the soul that refuses to be defeated.
And from such a vantage point, it seems to me that minutiae are a ballast: thence the victory of flowers. Or even of larks, that continue to play despite the tragedy of human folly. For one can look to the stars (levavi oculos, but also so many models of men once taught in school). One can tune into the moody or flitting clouds instead of endless chatter. Ultimately, shapes happen in the sky out of nothing. That is what I will be sailing on, not what I may or may not know, not the tiresome rant of media, not the circumstance some would like to use as a cage to trap others.
In this day and age, that - say - a sycamore can afford shade centuries after it was planted is no short of a miracle that touches the heart strings. There is song amidst the danger! There are games in the stormy sky!


Brush: Misprinted Type.

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