It's 0115 and everywhere is quiet and dark, and I feel as though I'm alone on the earth. I've been thinking about poetry - I can't read at the moment as my concentration is shot, but I can remember stuff from school. Can't remember what I did yesterday, but I can recall poetry. I'd like to share the following:
A man, probably TS Eliot, who was a fire warden during the war, is walking along the empty streets and he meets the ghost of a former schoolmaster, whom he much admired. He and the ghost talk and the ghost gives him a pessimistic outline of the things Eliot can expect to realise in old age.
"Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
To set a crown upon your lifetime's efforts.
First, the cold friction of expiring sense without enchantment,
Offering no promise, but bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
As body and soul begin to fall asunder.
Second, the constant impotence of rage at human folly
And the laceration of laughter at what ceases to amuse.
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment of all that you have done and been,
The shame of motives late revealed, and
The awareness of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
Then fools' approval stings and honour stains."
Cheerful? Not really, but not much of Eliot's work is amusing. That particular piece comes from Little Gidding, one of the Four Quartets, written in later life by Eliot, who had become an Anglo Catholic. The last stanza of Little Gidding is excellent and talks about finding oneself in simple things:
"A condition of complete simplicity,
Costing not less than everything".
Enough poetry, perhaps, for this evening. I'm a bit of a TS Eliot bore, I'm afraid, so you may well get more at a later stage, along with WH Auden's work. My favourite verse of Auden's is:
"Plunge your hands into the water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist.
Stare, stare at the window,
And wonder what you've missed."
Another optimistic few lines! I must pull myself together and try to find something else, something that makes people laugh. But maybe not tonight.
I spent 16 years in the RAF defending the Free World , then got bunged out unceremoniously for being bipolar. I and was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD. Funny old world, isn't it?