Out Like a Lamb

March 29, 2013 § 1 Comment


Spring is here and it’s lovely: the thought of little boys visiting, of long evening walks, museums and outdoor cafes, April poetry readings and Delilah’s June wedding. Today I wanted to buy a big bunch of Easter lilies and a chocolate bunny (with a lavender ribbon around his neck) but my fatigue has been intense lately–I couldn’t cope with lines—so I just ambled slowly through the glorious afternoon and came home to welcome aspirin and tea, my little family of husband and cats. We have our problems, but no anger. No insanity, except what I carry around inside me, and that’s the price one pays for dreaming too hard, too stubbornly, demanding to be lifted out of the plod of ordinary life.

Even as a child, before the deaths in the family, I hated the limits of the everyday. Not that my life wasn’t also joyous, but I thought it should be that way all the time, and even more so, beauty bursting to orgasm—and if it took magic to make my days like that, then I’d go find magic.

I looked really hard. I learned to look with my eyes closed, which is the only way to find the best stuff. And the pleasures of that blind choice, that addiction, will never leave me, and for that I am very, very sorry.

Or maybe not. Maybe I don’t know yet. Everything ripens. For now, I want to think about the evenings coming up, April and May, walking under the blossoming trees on 9th St and W. 4th, white petals on the sidewalk, hearing music through open club doors, relaxing into this nearly half-century duet.

We’re poor and I’m tired. I can’t write books anymore. (I type that to goad the gods, who live in the murk of my subconscious, lazy as pigs.) But nobody that matters hates me and every day I feel more in love with all the people I love, and the cats, and the books, and the past and the future.

Happy Good Friday, all of you. I don’t believe in Jesus, but it’s a subtle tale, this worship of one who gave his life for the souls of others. There are only a few human stories and the corrosiveness of guilt, the huge power of forgiveness, and the greater power of temptation cover most of the ground. I’m not thinking of the historical (mythical) Jesus, but of those who give the story the strength to endure—the desire that redemption not only be for me but for everyone. It doesn’t happen, but we want it to.

You can probably tell I’ve spent time at the Cathedral lately. I was too sick (Chronic Fatigue) to make it to the Dante reading, but today I could feel the spirit of Easter, and it was both Christian and Pagan, the dead young man and the Anglo Saxon Eostra, goddess of the month of April. She’s barefoot, she strews flowers, and she never, ever dies.

I think I’ve used this poem before, but so what. It bears rereading.


Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Gerard Manley Hopkins


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