THE POETRY OF GHOSTS
Some time ago, I thought I saw my shadow move, while I myself was standing still. I wheeled around and found myself face to face with a woman. She was my height and breadth and smelled like me. I named her Sophie and commissioned her to a journey. She was to pursue something for me... It is a vague memory now... but I recall it was to do with something I buried a long time ago - a treasure perhaps.
As she is air, it was arranged, she would fly into the incompleteness that haunts us, while I, earth, hold the fort. Neither of us required a reason to take up this adventure, we are not scientists, we need not struggle against subjectivity... and so it came about.
She is as full of wonder as a child, her imagination is a broad horizon; she is nimble and energetic, skipping easily along the tangled lines of time and space.
She meets me with accounts of the things she has heard and seen. Her voice is musical and her tales are romantic fragments; of memories, of shadows, of vapours and ghosts... I suspect that none of it is real; she enjoys a good story.
There is so much past inside my present.
She uncovers the magic of foreign shores and has fossicked amongst various fragments of other times. She brings me souvenirs; shards of glass from something once broken, re- flections from something that will one day shine and stormy proposals from Turner.
She has flown with the holy dove through raucous days and silent nights and has seen that there is an infant and an old man waiting for me, but I knew that.
She has explored distant constellations and declared that the sky is not just the sky and no matter what the philosophers say, God is not dead!
And when I am weary she beckons me to kick off my shoes and dive into the ocean. I feel the cool waves wash over me.
What you need is all around you! she shouts before letting go in the undertow. It is an odd fragment of great wisdom, considering.
The woman has a trick of catching the melody of laughter and revelling, she brings it trailing back to me over the wind, like the tail of a kite. In the same way she sometimes brings weeping, but she seems not to understand the distinction – or perhaps she just doesn’t care... perhaps it is depth of feeling she can gauge, not type.You would be wrong to assume that innocence naturally follows one so childlike, for I have seen her bloody palms and heard her muttering, Please forgive me. I can’t work out whether the blood comes from wounds inflicted or sustained. Either way, I have been too afraid to know.
She understands nothing of restraint and stumbles crooked on moral ground. She flies too high, too fast, too close to the sun. She singes her wings and I am black at the edges... but she is so earnest in her pursuits, that I have not the heart to challenge her.
That is not to say we do not have our
disputes. Just the other day we were quarrelling about Love and I suggested
that Love is a sustained base note, stretching out to support a melody.
She said NO! It is a tempest, a bolt from the blue! I am a warrior and I will not war for mediocrity. She bared her teeth and growled. She often confuses restraint with indifference.
Why do you show me the painful past? I asked
Pain is Beauty she replied. Anyway, you were the one that opened the door on the past.
But I didn’t I insisted. You
are wrong; it was someone else... It was just my folly to step through the
door. I thought I had closed it, bolted it, reassembled my heart and destroyed the evidence... besides, why are we talking about Beauty and Love? Is
this what you’ve been looking for out there? I sent you to look for Truth.
Are they not one and the same, the Holy Trinity? said she.
Decent people know the difference between a bolt and a screw! I threw back.
Foolish woman, don’t you know that if you bury
something you preserve it forever? YOU wouldn’t know the Truth if it bit you on
She berates me. She is wild. I am at sea.
Oblivious, she sings resurrection songs and recites the poetry of ghosts. I have to admit the poems are beautiful. The cadences catch me, and leave me trembling with desire. She disappears lightly on the wind... but when she returns it is with the force of a storm, like a punch in the chest.
Then, one day she arrived while I was buttering toast and rushing for an appointment. She whispered something in my ear but I brushed her away.
My receiving equipment is out of order I snapped. I have not seen her since. I have no idea what she said, but I suspect that it was very important.
Suddenly I am alone. The conversation I took for collaboration has become a simple soliloquy. My words echo in the ether. It is hard to understand the gravity of the situation until later.
So be it I say, invocating destiny, after all, the Truth is rarely pure and never simple. I do hope to see her soon though... she has promised me some paintings.
Susie Dureau June 2010
The Seafarer (Homage to Turner), Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Stars and Satellites, 92 x 101 cm, Oil on Linen
Romeo and Juliet, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Beauty and Sadness, Oil on Linen, 25 x 35cm
The Sky is Not Just the Sky, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Helter Skelter, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Tell Me You Felt It, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Silent Symmetry, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Railway Oracle, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Come Night Cover Me, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Let's Cause a Scene, Oil on Linen, 92 x 101 cm
Poetry and Ghosts, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40cm
Hey, Little Bird, Oil on Linen, 40 x 30cm