Tuesday, April 3, 2012


"And learn O voyager to walk
The roll of earth, the pitch and fall
That swings across these trees those stars:
That swings the sunlight up the wall."            Archibald MacLeish   Seafarer  (1933)

It is my nature to "look on the bright side" and to "see the glass half full."; I dislike the phrase---"It's probably all for the best"---although I usually think "it" (whatever "it" is) may be just that:  "all for the best"!   Surely it's not likely to be all for the worst!  Nor all for the so-so!  One for All and All for the best, I say---at least most of the time...Sometimes I feel darkened by the passing shadows of my own deep disappointment...

Something good will come of it, or follow it, or replace it.  I tell myself. 

Fortunately, for my depressed friends (we all have them these days), I choose not to saddle their already saddened and suffering ears and hearts with any of my easily conjured, faux-comforting utterances.  For example, I never say to them, "It's always darkest before the dawn"  nor "It's an ill wind that blows no good."  nor  "When one door closes, another door opens."  These things do not comfort those who need comforting.  They sting.  They miss the point.   Most often, those well-intentioned utterances do not  have comforting results.  When a friend is sad or disappointed, it is more thoughtful to say something like, "Oh, that must be disappointing."  or  "I'm so sorry that happened to you."    Sometimes the best response to offer to one facing a serious dilemma or dire straits or even a plain old bad day is simply (?) active, silent presence. 
What, I wonder, can one do when one is alone...and things are difficult...or have gone totally awry?  I know what I do.  I sing out loud and strong.  I write. I look for inspiration in literature and song.     I must know dozens of poetic quotes and platitudes that urge the disappointed, the disenchanted, the damaged, the deserted, the devastated onward...upward.  My soul surrounds itself with those comforting phrases.  I say them to myself.  I write them on my bathroom mirror.  I scribble them on scraps of paper---or, if handy, in a journal. 
Actually, when I am challenged with some negative situation---like today---I make a psychic sprint to a solemn place of serenity---immediately after saying aloud (or to myself) "Oh, Fuck!" 
Actually, saying "Oh, Fuck!"  helps a bit.  It acknowledges the disappointment, the failure, the mistake...But then what?  Acknowledgement is a good first step.  Personally,  I do not want to linger on that first step---not when there are other steps to mount/surmount.
So (drum roll for candor) earlier today, I got turned down for an employment position I really wanted...a position for which I applied and for which I sincerely believed I was (virtually, I guess I must say virtually) the perfect candidate.  I know the players, the field, the history, the problems...and I have a strong sense that I know the way out of the thorny thicket that has consistently plagued the company.  At Corporate Headquarters, many of the-powers-that-be want me/wanted me...but there are rules that must be adhered to and there are serious repercussions for failing to follow the set-in-stone rules of this august institution...and there is one small requirement that I lack!  So:  rules are rules and requirements are requirements and lack is lack.  And that is that!  I lack, I lacked...
Alas, Alack!

Now what?  I've already said, "Oh, Fuck!"  I already reported the unfortunate news to a few people who had been optimistic about this adventure on which I had dreamed of embarking.  I moped until lunch time.  Now it is evening.  Now it is time for thoughtful re-grouping.  Time for poetry and music and platitudes and anything that can set my mind to rights.  Tonight there is time to be gentle with myself...Time to listen to Johnny Hartman sing, In the Wee Small Hours of The Morning.  Time to visit the words of  some of the poets and writers who inspire me...

I choose:  Anna Akhmatova    (1942 Tashkent)

"Probably much still remains
To be celebrated by my voice:
That which, wordless, rumbles around,
Or in darkness grinds stone underground,
Or makes its way through smoke.
I haven't yet closed my accounts
With flame and wind and water...
Because of that, my drowsiness
Suddenly flings wide such gates to me
And leads beyond the morning star."

(translated from the Russian by Judith Hemschemeyer)

Yes, now I feel better.  Time to summon the sun in my soul. 

"and indeed there will be time to wonder..."*    one great thought from T.S. Eliot 
                                                                       The Lovesong of J Alfred Profrock

No comments:

Post a Comment