Walking in Mind

A Trail of Thoughts


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A Separation

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That late winter day, do you remember it still? The rain had passed, the sun was out and off we went, skipping work like a couple of truant teenagers, five or six miles up through the woods and back home along the vineyard trails.

We hardly said a word that afternoon, but later, when making some tea, you told me you’d kept your head high, your gaze wide. You talked to me about the sky that looked as if it had been painted by a young Yves Klein, about the little birds flitting in and out of the still dormant vines, about the light on the far-off sea. Only once, you said, did you kneel to ground, there where the white rocket flowers had colonized the field.

You were disappointed that I’d noticed none of these things, but courteous enough to listen when I compared the hole in the neighbour’s wall to the stoma in my belly — the Bocca della Verità, you said, shit will out. You carried on listening when I talked about how beautiful I found the still damp wood of the telegraph pole, the archipelago of algae on the rainwater puddle, the yolky lichen on the fallen mastic branch. Why didn’t you call me over? That was what you asked when I told you about the bitter almond flowers and the pawprint in the newly resurfaced track.

Not long after we went our separate ways. Your question haunts me still.

 

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After the rain…

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I wake and walk

to find the town

transformed. Ashen,

empty streets,

a godforsaken place

straight out of

a Béla Tarr film.

 

There is a tune in my head —

Gnossienne no. 1

whose time slips and slides,

always a beat behind

or ahead of my footfall.

Satie, the inveterate walker,

having the last laugh.

 

I see now a figure approaching

through the white light.

It is my mother.

She is wearing

a floral dress and blue sandals,

so perhaps it is already spring

on the other side.

 

She dances partnerless towards me,

her feet marking effortlessly

the time my own had failed to find.

As she draws level

I see in her eyes

a measure of tenderness

that only the dead can offer.

 

On the way home I remember

something that Herzog said

about the chaos of events

encountered when walking:

Only if this were a film

would I consider it real.

 

***

#NowPlaying

Erik Satie, Gnossienne no. 1 (Pascal Rogé, piano)