Sunday, 30 September 2012

Because the night

If I could write I would describe an image: shaded lamp lit faces reflecting each other, reflected back, bliss made real in the glowing warmth of living flesh.

Where one ends and the other begins is the business of daylight for now they inhabit a night of surprising strength, love and compassion.  Dear, dear kindness giving, forever forgiving and never enough.  Never, ever, enough.

Who know where the time goes ...

Monday, 24 September 2012

Exquisite pain

There is a man who loves my son.  He says 'Oh his hair, his lovely hair, I wish I had that hair... oh it's so - oh.' He wants to touch it, he wants his youth, he wants to end his longing. He wants to live his life again. 

He can have him no more than I can because youth goes on while we stand and care.
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go. 
There now my friend, I quote some Blake to reflect you.

Day #14

Frail, frail resolve

Day #13

Waning a little


Absolutely resolved

Day #11

Resolved to do it

Day #10

Be sure of it

Day #9

Oh yes it will

Day #8

This will be brought up to date

Monday, 3 September 2012

Day #7 Jelsi

Friday, we've arrived in Jelsi.  I was last here 41 years ago and before that 47 years ago.  It seems little has changed in the outward appearance of the buildings.  Within minutes of arriving, a tremendous wind blows up, dried, parched leaves lifted together with bill posters and sent scuttling between our legs.  Dust and screeching between the buildings.

The clock on the municipio sounds the hour on the hour but also on the quarter followed  by a different chime; one for quarter past, two for half past, three for quarter to and so on.  to be continued ...

Day #6

My put-togetherness has changed.  I thought I would shrink into myself when I interviewed my aunts but instead I found myself growing.  Maybe it's the food.  They say death is a great leveller but for the narcissist, it's the beach.  We find ourselves at the end of the season with a day to spare at San Elpidio.  Hot sand, blue sky and warm sea.  Fewer mosquitoes than in Milan.  But here on the beach is the 'looky-looky' man.

I find this day of reflection useful.  I've started to write snippets, thoughts, trails.  Every day a new piece of the puzzle is received, I revise my thinking.  Every day a new piece of the puzzle is assimilated, I want another.  I am impatient to find out the next thing.  I know everything is set up to receive the pieces but I must wait.  And there is always the feeling that I want to go back and ask something else.

Day #5

Great joy I permitted myself when M contacted relatives in Jelsi.  There are people there who knew my mother.  I'm learning more about my mother; who else wanted her and that my father continued to court her from Ancona, returning to visit when he could.  There were descriptions of the gifts he sent, pretty feminine things.

The joy continued.  A relative rang back, I spoke with them, 'don't book anything' she said, 'come to me, stay with me three or four days'.  Her daughter in the background, prompting.  'Don't go to the Agritourismo, stay in the piazza opposite the post office'.

'Where is the post office?!' Zia M demands of Ottorino.  'How should I know' 'he responds laconically 'I'm not the postman.' We all laugh.  Zio S laughs with us.  We love her excess, we love her vitality, we tolerate her because she gives us so much energy.

Day #4

Milan - we arrive in good humour and good time albeit apprehensive about what we will find. The first day passes well and my subject is excited at the prospect of being interviewed.  She is well prepared and her family have all given advice.  Especially pleasing is the acknowledge that this will be a creative project and some things will be 'made up'.  

It is striking how tiring these interviews have been to both interviewees.  Personal memories are strong; there is an energy and alacrity in their recounting.  In Milan we end two extended sessions both exhausted.  I've learnt a lot; mostly that what I am being given is approximate and selective.  I am also learning to respect these experiences and memories, especially when M finishes by saying, 'when people have nothing, they become hard.'

Day #3

I'd underestimated postwar poverty; there is a sense that things were worst than during the war because as Europe was trying to put itself back together, these people had no idea when or how it would improve.  And they had shame to deal with.

As we drive away from the house the mountains are clear around us and we visit the cemetery one more time.  We find yesterday's flowers already wilting in the heat.  Fresh is still best though.

Day #2

Some things are present by their absence such as a central character who is not there.  Here I am to research a book, during the course of which I am constantly confronted by previously-trodden territory as I expected; first by my parents' experience but then by an older sibling. Someone always gets there first.