it’s a monthiversary for me today – 22 months. and I’d been trying to think how to encapsulate what it’s like at this point. because much is superficially the same, but everything has very subtly but fundamentally changed. how I see myself, those around me, and indeed the world is truer, more vivid – sometimes more painful, often intensely more joyful.
I came across this poem by Alden Nowlan which I think conveys some of that wonder… I hadn’t read any of his work before. according to his biography he was born into rural poverty in Novia Scotia, and went to work in the village sawmill at the age of 14. he educated himself by walking or hitching every weekend to the nearest library – a distance of eighteen miles. wow. here’s the poem: Claudine and Johnnie are his wife and adopted son.
Great Things Have Happened
We were talking about the great things
that have happened in our lifetimes;
and I said, “Oh, I suppose the moon landing
was the greatest thing that has happened
in my time.” But, of course, we were all lying.
The truth is the moon landing didn’t mean
one-tenth as much to me as one night in 1963
when we lived in a three-room flat in what once had been
the mansion of some Victorian merchant prince
(our kitchen had been a clothes closet, I’m sure),
on a street where by now nobody lived
who could afford to live anywhere else.
That night, the three of us, Claudine, Johnnie and me,
woke up at half-past four in the morning
and ate cinnamon toast together.
“Is that all?” I hear somebody ask.
Oh, but we were silly with sleepiness
and, under our windows, the street-cleaners
were working their machines and conversing in Italian, and
everything was strange without being threatening,
even the tea-kettle whistled differently
than in the daytime: it was like the feeling
you get sometimes in a country you’ve never visited
before, when the bread doesn’t taste quite the same,
the butter is a small adventure, and they put
paprika on the table instead of pepper,
except that there was nobody in this country
except the three of us, half-tipsy with the wonder
of being alive, and wholly enveloped in love.
wishing you a weekend full of wonder and adventures! Prim xx