Love is Not Consolation

To read and reread for years and years

To read and reread for years and years

19 June 2013
11:50 AM
Manila

M.–

I was restless last night. I was just sitting at my table, the computer turned off, listening to music while staring at the ceiling. I felt like I should be doing something, but I didn’t want to do anything. I thought about writing to you in the journal, but when I looked at the blank pages I suddenly didn’t want to pick up a pen.

So I turned to my bookshelf and pulled out Eamon Grennan’s book, which I purchased sometime around May. And oh, wow. It was so dense with beautiful and true things that I feel I will never be finished reading this. I feel like I will always be reading this.

I am still overwhelmed and would need more time to think. In the meantime:

Look Out
Eamon Grennan

This morning it’s our bare, moist, muscular masters, the trees, that have to stand in shadowy majesty for something. No stopping the colourstuff in pussy willows, or what happens to any stem this weather reddens, thickens, fills with only its own happening.

The needle pumping nothing through your tongue but pristine numbness has you waking around mid-day, sun blazing, dumb as a fish being filleted for tomorrow’s dinner–not sole on the bone but some slow simmered thing that leaches all its life-juices out and sets them one against the other, to teach you again how in the end good ends depend on death to begin with.

Turning the other cheek is not the answer: didn’t the shadow of the turnkey vulture–itself a black shadow stapled to the blank blue sky-face–only yesterday cross the path you were tracing, and didn’t your blood skitter for an instant, sensing its thwart and pitiless intention?

But could words like relish, savour, or abide strike a right note to end on? Now clouds are brazen radiance, are scarcely matter–only thick light, white brilliance against blue. Later they’ll grow a heart-fraught leaden grey, day dimming–though a still fierce gleam to the west makes one small nimbus melting in the blue, transfiguring branches and leftover snow to this deep, meditative rose.

Another time it’s a word like roofbeam brings you out of emptiness: you picture the nestle of it, light smearing its grain, the long silence before sleep, your father finding a fresh unclouded residence in the offing–a sort of guardian, different but reliable.

Then sleep makes a clean sweep of things, the ceiling of your head a crown of stars, their names unknown, a realm away from impermanence–though that’s your main address now, the word home cropping up only here and there. Because–as the maker of mists remarked that first morning–Love is not consolation, it is light.

Later, I will find a quiet time, to read his poems, again and again, silently, aloud, to myself, to no one, to the spaces that wait, and listen.

Good morning.

Yours,
T.

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2 thoughts on “Love is Not Consolation

    • Yes! Opposing Forces is one of my favourites (first read it in 2009) and was so glad to have found it in this collection. This is my first book by him.

      There’s a very limited poetry selection in bookstores here. I have better luck in second-hand shops, which is where I found his book. I feel very lucky. When I have more money in the future I plan to buy more titles.

      Can you recommend other poets who are similar to his style and sensibility? For some reason he reminds me of Mary Oliver.

      T.

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