Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hearts & Bones and a dream of nightingales

I keep thinking about the song Paul Simon wrote about Carrie Fisher called ‘Hearts and Bones’. This song has always resonated with me, in particular lines in it such as:

"And tell me why
Why won't you love me
For who I am
Where I am
He said:
'cause that's not the way the world is baby
This is how I love you, baby
This is how I love you, baby"

I am reminded of my singleness.

Recently a date told me that I am ‘odd’ and he wouldn’t explain what he meant. I sit home alone and ponder that ( yes… I know, I think too much), and though I have my good days, today isn’t one of them. Though I have a lot of uni work to keep me busy, today it doesn’t, my thoughts keep me busy instead. Why am I almost forty and still single? Today I am sad. I am lonely. I know I am not alone in feeling this. I also recognize that I have had many men interested in me over the years, but I did not share their interest. I guess the truth of the matter is that I have yet to meet a man who will love me for who I am, as I would love him the same. Most of my friends are married or attached and don’t seem to recall what it was like living life alone. I know, well.. to be honest, I hope!, that it is only a matter of time before things change for me. God, the universe… who ever you are, what ever you call yourself... if you are out there…I hope you are listening. And somehow give me the strength and the patience to wait it out, as well as the faith that things will change.

As I re-read this and rewrite parts, I receive a phone call from a friend I haven’t heard from in some time. He tells me that he was rushed to hospital four months ago for emergency surgery to remove a tumor the size of a brick. He tells me about the four major operations he had done, his months in intensive care, how his family were called in several times as the doctors thought that he was going to die, and then he tells me of the lasting damage that has been done to his body. This week he goes in for radiation treatment , which will consist of him sitting in a lead lined room alone for two days. His voice quavers, he is not sure if he will cope, or even survive all of this. He is close to tears, I can hear it. I suddenly feel selfish. My own concerns suddenly seem so small and insignificant.

I walk around the house in a daze and decide to draw a bath. Water always calms and centers me, plus I need a wash. I mindlessly grab something to read in the bath…I come away with a book of Gay love poems given to me by a dear friend, one time boyfriend, well...truth be told, we tried once more after that, and our suspicions were confirmed- we were best suited as friends… Before he died, he gave me this collection of poems. He wrote something personal inside the cover. He was a beautiful man and good friend. When he died I stretched alongside his grave and cried until I couldn’t cry any more.
Now I climb into the bath and hold the collection of poems in my hand (‘In the name of Love’). I think of my friend who gave this to me and who has been dead for about four years now. I think of my friend who called tonight and is going through hell. Everyone suffers. I am ok. I go straight to my favorite poem in the collection and read.

David Bergman- ‘A dream of nightingales’ (In memory of Jerry Thompson).

The Friday before your funeral I taught
Keats to my sophomore class. Little did they care
for the truth of beauty of the grace of truth,
but his being “half in love with easeful death”
penetrated through the smugness of their youth,
and I thought of you drawing me to the rear
window one early spring to hear in rapture
a bird hidden among the flowering pear.

You held your cat tight so that he could not scare
off such music as hadn’t been heard all winter.
When you flew South to escape the arctic blast
and home again heard that dark-winged creature
tell me, did he then revel himself at last
as you believed he’d be - pure and beckoning?

© (1988) -  David Bergman    
No copyright infringement is intended in the reproduction of this poem.

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