Friday, May 16, 2008

As they do, as one does (notes, observations)

The nightingale does say jug-jug-jug, I seem to recall the Elizabethans put special emphasis on this,
and
smells come out more at night,
and
it's not really getting dark anymore, although you have to be in an unlit place to note this. Although we still get stars. And although there are times I am obviously grateful for the footpaths being lit, darkness is actually scarier when you're trying to keep out of it.

And
melancholia is more nuanced, and a bit like the sea. You can plunge or be plunged into it, swim and sink and drown in it, but depression - my depression, at any rate - is flat and grey and two-dimensional and doesn't feel like anything, which is why it is so terrifying. I hate it looming in my life.

And
meanwhile back in the real world,
children suffocate in the ruins of their schools, some of them the age of the tinies I teach and treasure, some of them the age of my own offspring, they'd already made it to the edge of young adulthood, were already in the hallway of life, hungrily peeking through the keyhole at The World (as the poet says). Several days it'll take some of them to die, their young bodies and sweet limbs crushed and broken,
and
bodies float downstream on the Irrawaddy, swollen bloated bellies upwards, greening, blackening, the sickly-sweetish reek of death heightened, no doubt, by the tropics (remember how the dead rats stank in a day in Hawai'i), flesh beginning to to fall off them in rotting chunks, people and buffalo in an agrarian harmony in death as in life (they come from upstream, the survivors say, they are not our villagers)


(and don't forget to mention the syringes you pick up at the playground, or the lesson about things to not touch you had to give them in a circle, using your demo case of needles and fake-blood-soaked wads of kitchen paper cetra)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

To quote my dad "It's not them as dead as you have to worry about, but them as left behind." I hate to say it, but life goes on. And all we can do is cherish our own (no matter how horrid they may try to be. Mine are 9 and 12 and fluctuate -by the minute - between lovable and loathsome.)
And hope lessons are learned, and pray that the global interest is sustained beyond the soundbites, and the political hay-making

Gael said...

^ was me : (

fluttertongue said...

Depression is truly a monster. I'm sorry that you are engulfed by it. That it creates such a poetic post is perhaps little consolation. I hope it lifts or that you get the chance to at least come up for air. Thoughts with you x

Anna MR said...

Hei Anonymous Gael, lovely to see you. Yes - in a way I'd agree with you (and your dad) - of course the survivors, ensuring they continue as such rather than adding to the number of casualties, has to be a priority. On the other hand, though, I do feel profound and weakening horror at the loss of life, at how each bloated or crushed and mangled corpse was a unique and unrepeatable individual, now irrefutably lost from the sum total of humanity.

And the soundbites and political hay-making are an abomination, and, in its way, so is my feeble personal horror. What does it help anyone? Not a sausage.

Anna MR said...

Hei Ms Tongue and welcome back, it's been ages (although, as you probably know, I have done the odd bit of lurking recently over at yours). Lovely to see you, and thank you for your supportive words, specially as I know you have a lot to contend with yourself, much more so really than I. But yes - depression is a bastard, let's face it. It runs in the family - mine is officially undiagnosed, untreated and, I suppose, manageable, so I'm alright really and mustn't grumble. Not really in the throes of it at the moment, either, but it's like a room in my house, there even when the door is shut, or a fog in the attic, or something. One is aware of its lurking-looming existence, of the knowledge it's there, always, of how it can raise its ugly head whenever it feels like being triggered, even when one's not in it.

Glad you found the post poetic, too, that was really sweet of you to say. Hoping things are okay for you at the moment. Hugs x

But Why? said...

What to do?

Your post is very right. This is ironic, as life is wrong on so many levels, in so many sadistic and torturous ways. In fact, it seems to me that the wrongness of life is a fractal pattern. Therein at least is some consolatory beauty. A wrong and regrettable beauty, perhaps, but still a cause of wonder and marvel. And our responses seem attuned to this nature - so non-linear. Why is it that on one occasion having a (temporary, completely unimportant) bad day at work, and on another day tens of thousands of people losing (once and for all, and rather overwhelmingly importantly) their lives, can leave me feeling approximately equally pissed off?

Life is amazing, sometimes.

Anna MR said...

Mutta Butkins, yes. It is all very baffling and horrible - both the distribution of and our responses to suffering, in its various kinds and degrees. Obviously, one is always going to be primarily concerned with oneself, but still, but still. And why, in God's sweet name, if I have the capacity for this unrelenting self-centredness (which would seem to be the case) does it fail me at the crucial moment (instead of allowing me to be fully 100% selfish and thus having me some peace - well, between bouts of being all bothered about how badly things have turned out for numero uno), making me feel this abject horror instead, over the fates of others whom I don't know? And, conversely, if I have this capacity for caring about people I'd never have met anyway, why does that fail me at the crucial moment, so that instead of doing something to effect change, I just wring my hands over here and go on to worry about my own puny woes?

You're so right, But ?, life is amazing and wrong. There's a mistake in the world.

LottieP said...

Hello, Anna. As the crow flies I am probably not far from Sichuan province. Some people did, but I didn't feel the tremors.It seems nearer than ever now.

I found myself crying completely unexpectedly over unnecessarily graphic pictures on the front page of the South China Morning Post. I have found myself unable to write about it at all, which perhaps seems cowardly. Sometimes you just have to focus on small things that make life seem better.

Cx

Anna MR said...

Hei Lottie - cowardly? No. I certainly don't think so. The closer horrors come, I find, the harder it is to write about them - I experienced this in the autumn when we had that tragic incident at the school (I'm still being careful with my wording as I absolutely don't want to get any search "hits" based on that, but I trust you know what I'm talking about anyway). In the end I forced myself to say a very vague something, but it was very difficult.

And now, you see, I'm worrying about sounding (in the post here) totally insensitive to, for instance, you, who, at the end of the day, are much closer to the catastrophe - to both of them, in fact. It's all weird, because not saying anything can feel horrid and insensitive too. What do you know, you just can't win, and that's just what it's like to be a person, I think. And yes - the small good things are sometimes the thing to hold on to.

Good to see you, regardless.

A xx

Bindi said...

Your writing is remarkable as an attempt to comprehend the huge loss of bodies and souls, and it is much appreciated. We need to stop and reflect on this. Grief needs to be acknowledged and we have no ceremony for this type of collective grief.

Anna MR said...

Hei Bindi, thank you. I don't know what else to say - I have tried really hard to put into words what I think here, but it turns trite and silly and doesn't carry what I want to say. Mainly I'm trying to express that if we did/could allow ourselves to see and feel the reality of the suffering of others, for real, we wouldn't be able to allow it to go on. I don't think we'd be able to continue leading an everyday existence, either, turning instead into horror-anxiety-riddled messes (which maybe wouldn't serve any meaningful purpose, at the end of the day). But a momentary flash of reality attack does hit sometimes, making me go "hei hang on, wait, stop, people are dying here, you know, people, like, actually dying" (the articulate person that I am).

It's pretty unbearable.

Thank you again, Bindi honey, it's been good seeing you. x