I needed someone to talk to
And you were there
I needed someone to love me
And you where there
I needed someone to hold my hand
And guide me through this unforgiving world
And you were there
You were there for me when I needed you most
I gave you my heart to keep and protect
I let you see inside of me
I relied on you so much that you became
the very essence of me
I don't know where I would be today
If it wasn't for you
Bu now that you've chosen to leave me
My wold is split into two
Half of me will always be with you
Only time can mend these wounds you created
I don't think I can love anyone as much as I love you
I'm just waiting for someone to come along and
Take possession of this heart of mine
That not long ago had been torn into pieces
Pieces so small
It takes someone to really take a look
Put forth some effort
To sow them all back together again
But don't get me wrong
I don't regret one bit
You showed me how special it can be
The love of two people
If only it were unending
You and me together forever
But you have made it clear
For whatever reason
That it can't happen
So it will remain in my dreams
Of us together
Maybe you will come around
And take me back
If it can't be you
Свинцовое небо заполнено гневом
Те Небеса плачут и вытесняются все ее слезы;
Ветры воют, поскольку они не имеют никакого возраста
Одна из красот природы, которая не знает никаких страхов.
Слушайте голос его панихиды
Идя дождь, поскольку небо намекает росу.
О, как эта трезвая сцена берет убеждение
И таким образом это падает неприятное, но к немногим.
Слушайте, тишина. Песня настолько стара
Ветры уменьшаются и аромат свежего воздуха;
Дождь умер все поперек пустоши
Духи доносятся и наводнение воспоминаний, столь редкое.
В бризах сумерек все еще размешивают
Мерцающий лунный свет прорывается через заполненные небеса облака;
Вздыхание через древнюю одинокую ель
Ветры и дожди сбежали как дю природы.
Еще раз все спокойно
Регенерация ирреального бальзама.
The leaden sky is filled with rage
That Heaven weeps and wrings out all her tears;
The winds howl as they have no age
One of nature's beauties that knows no fears.
Harken to the voice of its dirge
Raining, as the sky lets drop the dew.
Oh, how this sober scene takes urge
And so it falls unwelcome but to few.
Listen, hush. The song is so old
The winds decrease and the scent of fresh air;
Rain has died all across the wold
Perfumes waft and memories flood so rare.
In the twilight breezes still stir
Glimmering moonlight breaks through cloud filled skies;
Sighing through ancient lonely fir
The winds and rains have fled as nature dies.
Once again all is calm
Refreshing surreal balm.
I’m thinking about you today. Hard not to, the specialness of it all. Today you’re putting up of an exhibition. Some artists call it a show, but you’re quite consistent in not calling it that. I admire that of you, being consistent.
I was thinking today about your kindness. You phoned me as soon as the children had gone to school, making time to call before you left. I know you were drinking your start-of-the-day coffee, but it was a kind thought all the same, phoning me. You knew I was upset. Upset with myself, as I often am. It’s this being alone. Not so much as a cat to keep me company. Just my work, the reading I do, my thoughts of you, those letters I write, and my attempts at poetry.
During the last few days I’ve tried to write directly of what I’ve observed, not felt, observed. Like those wonderful Chinese poets of old describing in just a few characters the wonder of the seen rather than the speculation of the felt, avoiding all emotion and fantasy. I try to write in a way that holds to the ambiguity and spread of meanings the poems those ancient Chinese composed.
It’s winter-time. Yesterday we were expecting the first snowfall of winter, and it arrived late in the night making the morning darkness mysteriously different, changing the indistinctness of distant trees to become a web of silver lines, in the no-wind snow resting on branches, clinging to boughs and trunks. I stood in the pre-dawn park in wonder at it all, holding each moment to myself, in the cold breath-stopping air. I thought of one of the Chinese snow poems I know and some of those different ways it has been translated. Here are three:
A thousand mountains without a bird
Ten thousand miles with no trace of man.
A boat. An old man in a straw raincoat.
Alone in the snow, fishing in the freezing river.
A thousand peaks: no more birds in flight.
Ten thousand paths: all trace of people gone.
In a lone boat, rain cloak and a hat of reeds
An old man’s fishing the cold river snow.
Sur mille montagnes, aucun vol d’oiseau
Sure dix mille sentiers, nulle trace d’homme
Barque solitaire: sous son manteaux de paille
Un vielliard pêche, du figé, la neige.
So beautiful, arresting, different. It holds the title River Snow and the poet is the Tang Dynasty philosopher and essayist Lui Zongyuan. My snow poem First Fall, written last night as the snow fell on the wet street outside, as you were falling through my thoughts, softly, but not onto a wet street, but a distant garden we know and love, but have yet to see in winter’s whiteness.
And now today you’re driving to a distant location to hang your work of paper, silk and linen, full of expectation, every contingency and plan in place to enable the work to make its mark in a location you know, where people may recognize your name and will come to say warm words of encouragement, maybe a little praise. And at the end of the week when the exhibition opens I’ll be there, trying to be invisible, taking photographs if I can of you and your admirers and supporters, and thinking (myself) how wonderful you are, your lovely smile lighting up the gallery, being welcoming, beautiful always.
Only today you’re further away from me than ever. Around coffee time I miss your quiet explorative ‘it’s me , like a mouse on the telephone. The inflections of those words questioning the appropriateness of the call, meaning ‘Are you busy? Am I interrupting?’ It may take me a little while to ‘come to’, but interruption? Never, just the sheer joy that it’s you colouring the moment.
I think of the landscape you’ll be driving through. I’m imagining the snow-sky clearing and becoming a faint blue with the sun’s brightness clarifying those wold lands, those gentle folds of fields between parallelograms of woodland standing stark under the large skies and promulgating the long views gradually, gradually stretching towards the sea coast.
I like to imagine you are singing your way through the choruses of Bach’s B Minor Mass, but in reality it’s probably the Be Good Tanyas or Billy Joel playing on the CD player. Such a relief probably after those silent journeys with me. I usually relent on the homeward leg, but I crave silence when I’m a passenger, and I’m now always a passenger, so I crave silence for my thoughts, such as they are.
While you are being the emerging artist – but probably on your way homeward - I have taken myself down to my city’s gallery and to an exhibition I’ve already seen. I have a task I’ve been promising myself to undertake: copying an exhibit. I arrive an hour before the gallery closes. I leave my bicycle behind the foyer desk. There are more staff about than visitors. It’s gloriously empty, but the young twenty-somethings invigilating the spaces group themselves strategically near adjoining rooms so they can talk (loudly) to each other. It’s Facebook chat, barely Twitter nonsense. I have to block it all out to focus on the four pages and a P.S of a sculptor’s letter to a critical friend. The sculptor is writing from springtime Cornwall on 6 March 1951. The critical friend will open the letter the next day (when there were 3 deliveries a day) and the Royal Mail invariably arrived on time. He’ll pick it up from his doormat before breakfast in grimy Leeds, though the leafy part near Roundhay Park. The sculptor begins by saying:
It is so difficult to find words to convey ideas!
In this so efficient Cambria typeface that introductory sentence loses so much of the muscle and flow of the human hand. Written boldly in black ink, and so full of purpose, I read it a month ago, a photocopy in a display case, and knew I had to capture it. And it’s here entire in my note book, on my desk, carefully copied, to share with you my darling, my kind friend, the young woman I hold dear, admire so much, become faint with longing for when, as she crosses that gallery where she has been hanging her work (in my imagination), I am caught as so often by her graceful steps and turn.
I don’t feel any difference of intent in or of mood when I paint (or carve) realistically, or when I make abstract carvings. It all feels the same – the same happiness and pain, the same joy in a line, a form, a colour – the same feeling at the end, The two ways of working flow into each other without effort . . .
Outside my warm studio the snow has retreated east and I’ve opened the window to hear the Cathedral bells practising away, the city on a Tuesday night free of revellers, the clubs closed, the pubs quiet. In this building everyone has gone home except this obsessive musician who stays late to write to the woman he adores, who thinks a day is not a day lived without a letter to her at least, a poem if possible.
I’d quietly hoped to be with you tonight, but you must have something arranged as I suggested twice I might come, and you said it wasn’t necessary. But I have this letter, and something to write about. Alas, no poem. My muse is having the evening off and I am gently reconciled to the possibility of a few words on the telephone before bed.
I stand alone,
wind blowing around me
at the end of my time.
A shattered being
that at some point had resembled a human.
The sky is black and
scattered stars light up the wold around me.
How could such a beautiful world
bring so much agony?
I am so completely alone.
Water rushes across my feet;
a sign that the tide is rising.
How peaceful it would be
to become one with the waves.
How lovely it would be
to never hurt again.
I'm standing here screaming
'Please, God, take my life.'
But he isn't listening.
So I rip at my flesh and
beckon sweet death.
But it does not arrive.
I sit back and watch my life
become destroyed and devastated.
One simple mistake,
and now I have to pay for it.
My job and my future career,
even school and friends.
Gone-they're never coming back.
How am I meant to survive
with nothing left to fight for?
I can smile and make believe,
but my eyes are dead.
As I watch the stars twinkle above me,
I close my eyes and breathe, whispering
"Death, come to me.'
There is a Meetinghouse Across the Wold
And there is also a Churchyard hard by;
Many an old legend around here is told
That ghostly spirits appear and then fly.
Yet look at all of the old tombstones there
Souls have been asleep for a hundred years;
And, hark, the noise you heard it over where
That yew tree nods and weeps her unseen tears.
A figure in the distant gloom of night
And another still coming towards you,—
I ran, and you loiter in the dim light
At a safe distance I watch what they do.
A scythe is raised and swung but it vanished.
Another dream of mine 'till it banished.
Yonder is the churchyard so old,
The yew and oak trees wrap the bones.
Their roots entwine the heads and stones,
A dismal sight upon the wold.
One day God shall recall the dead,
Bringing to life all those that sleep;
Down in the grave so old and deep,
Where they now rest their dreamless head.
Still storms are sent from God above,
Who sends the sunlight and the rains;
Down where the little hamlet drains,
O, God have mercy and have love.
This earthen flesh shall droop and die,
And my last breath shall slowly fade;
As well as all the friends I've made,
Lord God help me to rise on high!