Thursday, January 3, 2008

back from a far horizon

Sometimes, when things shift, it's hard effort--straining against another language, and suddenly losing to it, and rising from where one was thrown, touching everything, and hearing another name for it. Wrestling with ideas, trying to force them into pattern, and suddenly having the pattern become clear.

Sometimes the shift is paradigm.

I count the hours
you count the days together
we count the minutes in this passion play
walk dusty miles
and I ride that train
on a first class ticket
just to be with you again


Thrown up on the far shore, and the train moved against all expectation for the broken thing it had become. It moved slowly, to be sure, chugging nearly painfully into the mountains, laboring into the heights.

It's not going to be easy, I think, and I'm not wrong. I could get out and walk faster. But we keep going, it's important, essential, vital in some sense, this current psychopomp.

picking up tired feet
back from a far horizon
cleaned up and brushed down
dressed to look the part
fresh from God's garden
I bring a gift of roses
to stand in sweet spring water
and press them to your heart


I cling to the struts, fighting for reason, fighting against sleep, fighting until we find a good resting spot, and begin trying to slow the train down from "ridiculously slow" to "barely moving" once I see the sketch against the mountains that might be, just might be, a refueling station.

We crest the curve of the hill like cresting along the wave, and I'm hoping for a slow descent to shore, rather than crash. Never know with trains, but we're slowing, we're slowing, we're coming to a stop...in time.

like the Kipling cat
I walk alone
never inviting trouble
never casting the stone
but this badge of honour
is of tarnished tin
light your guiding beacon
to bring this fisher in


Endless pained hours later, it turns out I was right. Small little town, looking abandoned, but there's the refueling station, and I see water and coal, and anything else, I can work around. Empty, but it doesn't bother me, I've been alone before.

There's always a work-around.

picking up tired feet
back from a far horizon
cleaned up and brushed down
and dressed to look the part
fresh from God's garden
I bring a gift of roses
to stand in sweet spring water
and press them to your heart


More hours to live through, endure, accept, crawling the town for repair metals, hissing at the touch of bare iron on my skin. Wood and copper, ivory plates under the counter of the tea house, wire and leather straps from the stables, corset lacing from the mercantile.

It'll be patchwork, but ironically, that's appropriate. I set to work.

I count the hours
you count the days together
we count the minutes in this passion play
walk dusty miles
and I ride that train
on a first class ticket
just to be with you again...


The day's set, the moon's out, new day explodes into bright light again, before I'm close to done. Wiping sweat off my forehead with the sleeve over one arm, it's hard work. Grueling in spots, and some spots are going to be open for a while yet, simply because I couldn't find enough pieces. And the structure's weaker for it, but maybe that's all right, too.

I don't have to be strong for everything. Train still rolls. We're good. We can rest the day and pick up travel tomorrow.

I put the hammer down on the sheet of copper I was curving around a strut. I'll get it later. Now, it's time to find a bed, and I think the old hotel will do me fine.

SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


Caution and revelation both. Absolution granted, responsibility given. We'll get through this.

I track down an old quilt in a hope chest, dragging it over me on the least bedsprung bed in the place, wrapping around myself the smell of old cotton and cedar. I lay my head on the goosedown pillow, breathing becoming slow and deep in the late afternoon sun.

I may dream. I may not. But the nightmares are gone. For now, I'm very thankful, and not thinking beyond that for now. Time enough to work out the details later.

Always time. With faith and trust. Always time...

(Lyrics are "A Gift of Roses" from Jethro Tull. And of course, the sonnet...is Shakespeare.)

2 comments:

turnerBroadcasting said...

this makes me happy.
then again happy was one of the seven dwarfs.

absolution granted?

Emilly Orr said...

I am an adult. It will not kill me, nor will it emotionally cripple the loves I am with, if I say, yes, you've hurt me.

I have a right to feel hurt. I have a right to feel angry. I have a right to feel disappointed. So do they.

I don't have to claim all responsibility, and fear retribution, and never communicate my feelings...because that is not the act of a responsible adult.

It's more tiring this way. I'm so used to just reacting, being blown about like a milkweed seed, latching onto whatever I'm thrown against until the wind blows me away again.

But...it's better in the long run. I believe this. Absolution and responsibility both.