Dear Gentle Reader,
Your Heroine is in a foreign land.
Your scribe finished taking the minutes of a historical society meeting.
A migrant worker is dying from being hit by a bus as he tried to cross a busy, dark road. Presumably to save time.
His thundering impact on the windshield of the bus woke your Heroine from a hastily snatched sleep.
She was the only one who tried to help him.
He lay on the road; his body, contorted with pain, became grunting, limp flesh now burned upon her mind.
I talked with her.
And J**m is sitting by her Dad as he is desperately ill.
There are tragedies and celebrations surrounding us all.
Sometimes it is hard to see the celebrations, or to feel their joy and value.
I would like our lives, or at least mine, to always be a bit like this...
(although I confess, I would rather be the one that remains, not the one leaving at an early hour, for this poem is evocative of friends dying sooner than expected. However what could bring sadness is instead remembered with fondness, heaped with flowers, and with lightness and grace, not despair...)
On Leaving Some Friends At An Early Hour
Give me a golden pen, and let me lean
On heaped-up flowers, in regions clear, and far;
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star,
Or hand of hymning angel, when 'tis seen
The silver strings of heavenly harp atween:
And let there glide by many a pearly car
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar,
And half-discovered wings, and glances keen.
The while let music wander round my ears,
And as it reaches each delicious ending,
Let me write down a line of glorious tone,
And full of many wonders of the spheres:
For what a height my spirit is contending!
'Tis not content so soon to be alone.
But the reality is that life does not always seem so radiant and full of (almost) wistful happiness.
The serrated edge of life sometimes seems to rip the beauty out of life and suck the air from a room that seemed so warm and full of promise mere moments before.
Even then, I would rather evoke John Donne.
Meditation 17 (excerpt, the fourth paragraph only)
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
But I know that that is not so for many.
Your Heroine, and mine, tried to comfort the migrant worker.
She also tried to comfort the bus driver who will now lose his job, and therefore his present life and his dreams of a better life. Possibly he will lose his life. For hitting someone who broke the rules and climbed large barriers to get where he was.
When there are a billion people to replace you, people can seem replaceable and expendable. And foolish chances can start to seem reasonable.
And only one other person on that bus tried to comfort the driver.
And no one else tried to comfort the migrant worker on the road.
Life certainly can be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short as Thomas Hobbes opined in Leviathan.
I do what I can to take up the golden pen, and lean on heaped-up flowers, in regions clear, and far.
For myself, and for others.
And, specifically, for the living too.
I wish you only lightness, and shade when you need that too, and heaped up flowers.
I suspect this post will be removed very soon, as it may well be too private for your Heroine.
For those who desire the totality of John Donne's Meditation 17, it follows in the preceding post found here. (I decided this post looks too long...)