Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bus note 33

Morning darkness.
        I'm making myself write this.
The bus at speed.
        Eczema lets me know I'm here.
Still the fuzz from sleeplessness won't stop.
        Sawn off evergreen branches
        brutish in less than half light.
This is the opening dry scene
before a day of rain,
        a day of labour (paid)
        doing the caring thing.
How does anyone work
the social miracle these days?


  1. The notion of the social miracle is outlined by the historian, John Bossy:

    "It was against nature to expect that general charity could prevail as a rule of everyday life, since by the course of nature friendship with some entailed enmity to others: hence partial, segmental or occasional communion was better than none at all, half a eucharistic loaf better than no bread. When perfect communion did happen it was to be regarded as an extraordinary deliverance, an intervention in the facts of nature bringing who knew what other deliverances in its wake."

    John Bossy, Christianity in the West 1400-1700, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985

  2. It's the diffidence, the distancing, the modesty and above all the honesty of the thing that transform the proficient work of art into a small social miracle of its own. So rare now that a work of intelligence would include considerations of a world beyond the subject, actually containing others in it. This is brave, and bracing to behold.

    Not to discount the value of that proficiency. The itch-scratchy zz's in darkness/speed/eczema/fuzz sleepless make palpable (in a way mere statement could not) the irritation, distraction and exhaustion that differentiate this quiet activism of compassionate work (paid or not) from idealism (which comes more cheaply).

  3. Thank you for this reading, TC.

    To my mind, idealism is one of the more serious enemies of poetry; good to know it's kept at bay here .

    Also, your attention to the sounds of the thing are immensely useful for the writing to come.

    I'd worried about this initially, written when the mood had taken a deep dip, but when I came to type it up there was none of the bitterness I thought I'd find. Irritation, distraction and exhaustion are fine; they were felt (though a little less of these next year would be welcome).

  4. like the questioning!

  5. Thanks, Sandra. Good to hear from you over this way again.

    Questions are best when given the space to breathe.