“All around me the city looked ripe with dying.” John Irving, The World According to Garp.
In summer the houses with yellow
lighted windows and open doors
pour out music. You think you know
her but you don’t. It’s natural at this
time of year to admire grace and agility,
especially when girls vie with new growth
on the fruit trees. Over-ripe is the word
the poet uses about herself too often,
although that’s surely for later, at a time
when there’s something to compare with.
“My decision to marry was partly to prove
a point.” The light and the sound combine,
the light falling on the feet of a dancing
girl. A madman is merely someone who
has deliberately abandoned civilization
in favour of walking perpetually into
light and sound; madness is therefore a
measure of quantity rather than quality,
the hand being insane if it carries out
something wrong, the head being sane
if it recognises that wrong. A poet may
claim that all her poems are the same
poem and all tell the story of her life,
but how do you know she is speaking
the truth? Yellow roses remind us of
sunshine, but the sea is never reflected
in the character of any other thing.
“I once loved a woman with all my heart
except for the part which is iron; I once
loved you.” The wholeness of vanity.
Music and light, May to July, hand to
foot, constancy and quicksilver, all
these seem to be exclusive, but each
is in fact wedded to its opposite.
No more grace, and yet the last party
visitor is sitting there on the front step.