February 20, 2009

Refusal to Mourn

It's so quiet here I can hear the wind against the house. The kind of wind that makes tiny little tornados of snow across the open fields. Somewhere back in the trees that line my view, the wolves' howls have frozen into themselves. Not just the animals: everything chilled to its seeds, to the core essence. I'm so cold here.

Make me colder.

Give me eyes of ice to see outside of my sadness.

If winter does anything, it gives me the fortitude to rail against my natural impulse. Which is to mourn the world I see, as if mourning opens a space in my body, a hole in which what is lost can be placed and replaced.

I either have to refuse mourning or find another way: I can't keep you in me anymore.

A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London

Never until the mankind making
Bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come of the sea tumbling in harness

And I must enter again the round
Zion of the water bead
And the synagogue of the ear of corn
Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
Or sow my salt seed
In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn

The majesty and burning of the child's death.
I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.

Deep with the first dead lies London's daughter,
Robed in the long friends,
The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
Secret by the unmourning water
Of the riding Thames.
After the first death, there is no other.

--Dylan Thomas

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