DECEMBER 24, 2017
Ralph Richardson once said: ‘A play like life always reminds me of an enormous roller at the top of some hill. Someone takes the blocks away and it begins to roll inevitably down to its end. Maybe its end is destruction or maybe it is brought to a halt by a beautiful finish, but it never stops moving and you are on it all the time.’
Christmas again. No one will stop it. I think of Jean Cocteau and what he once said: ‘What others criticise you for, cultivate. It is you!’
Family gatherings are often a series of misunderstandings, issues swept under a carpet of harmony and the gloss of the season is applied to sweeten it. this year was great. There were times when I felt being on the outside, when I wanted to be invited in rather than asked to assimilate without rehearsal. I remembered what my philosophy lecturer once told me when I was in my early twenties:
‘To be hated by your mother is very similar to being loved too much. In both cases the mother prevents the child from developing an accurate sense of self. She distorts the view of himself or herself.’
My Mother is dead for some years and I remember her fondly from a distance.
bells will toll
my mother looks at me
through the silence in our long distance call
whirlpools of suffering turning in her eyes
death lives in the crackles as the phone breathes back at me
I live now as sweetly as I can
she seems to have given up
I want to fill my clothes with wind
my eyes with light,
darkness harbours hers and
in the end those eyes
will burn right out of her face
and rise up into sunlight
I hope the weather will be fine,
the apple-trees all flowering,
the sky depth-less, flawless
I hope bells will toll
and she will be able to go quietly.
DECEMBER 26, 2017
I have not sent a parcel for a while, for a long while. There was a time when I did send them. Not frequently, but still regularly enough to call me someone who would send parcels to surprise, to give gifts by mail. I remember once having had the idea to cushion a bottle of perfume on rose-petals, an abundance of rose-petals, but not being sure, what kind of smell they would arrive with – a vile one outscoring the perfume?
There is more to a letter or a parcel wrapped by hand, a lot more than to an e-mail. For a start, you cannot wrap anything into an e-mail and when the receiver opens the e-mail it is with the click not with fingers trying to untie a piece of resilient string which had been tied by thought.
I wanted to send bottles of distilled water from the flowers of fruit trees that I stood under, a captured moment, not hijacked but preserved. I wanted to box up snow, the smell of jasmine. I wanted to send a thought wrapped in silk. A nice thought in red silk.
I have not sent a parcel for a long while. In the past we have received a few around Christmas with licorice from Germany and sometimes even seeds for the garden. I have not sent a parcel for a long time, but this year I have send one to you.
There is a great sense of stillness that lies in parcels, lies in letters: the time of the in between. The void between being send and being received. There is nothing instantaneous: Thoughts, words, dreams, little moments, all of this needs time.
Letters sing, parcels sing and if you fill them with the right thoughts they go on singing. Moreover, letters travel, parcels travel and if you fill them with the right thoughts, you might even travel with them.
‘When words fail you, you fall back to silence.’