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Monday, May 16, 2011

Life doesn't frighten me at all

When very little sometimes I was so scared and so lonely that I'd scream, for company. The echoes of those screams accompany me still.

They waken me in the night and delay my return to sleep. I realise quickly that the scream, my scream didn't happen in the now, the echoes troubled no other in the now, and the reverberations have died out - leaving a trace of a memory of a half forgotten....something. I know that now is OK and that then was then.

I think on Roy Williamson's words:

Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

For me this is not only about Proud Edward's army but about every tyrant., every bully.

And we are an army, the bullied. And we are not alone. And sometimes before we die, either the living death of those that have lost hope, or the slow death of those whose bodies turn against them, we recognise each other. Sometimes in that recognition there is succour and at others fear and contempt. In our mutual acknowledgement of the terror we do risk disappearing, we do risk losing sight of all that is good and noble and joyous about being human but when we're lucky we embrace in the warming, calming, energising pulse of survival.

Alone we are born
and die alone
Yet see the red-gold cirrus
over snow-mountain shine
upon the upland road
ride easy stranger
Surrender to the sky
your heart of anger.

Sometimes in the high country we'll pause briefly and glimpse a distant stranger. We see in the set of his shoulders and the palpitating jaw muscles that his big anger, his old anger remains. But as our eyes meet over an impassable gorge there will be a brief flick upwards of both eyebrows. I know you we'll not say. You're going to be all right. It's OK - life doesn't frighten us anymore. You are OK and You am I. And the anger will dissipate into the glowering sky and dusk will become dawn.

We nod an embrace of departure and move on homewards. Alone but not lonely. Seen and heard.

And with each meeting on the high road the screams lose volume, intensity and frequency until finally....there is but one finally. The more scarred fellow travellers we share a story with the freer life becomes as if in acknowledging the many small deaths we defuse the the power of the spectre.

Other times - as close to never as we're strong enough to manage we slide into the maw and become the bully ourselves - so in our bond with the bullied is also our knowing that the easy choice is to bully - understandable but not excusable.

Meeting the shadow is the start not the end.


sarah toa said...

Great writing and sentiments Blackwattle Boy. I know those moments in the street - and the weirdest thing is - from both sides. A beautiful moment of reckoning. You know the saying 'the oppressed can become the oppresser'?
Sometimes in publishing stuff, I am obliquely criticised for self exposure (some would call it self-immolation) but i still think it is the most important writing of all. It is brave and exposes not only self but, in the process, everyone else.
So, well done.

Fresh Local said...

If I wanted to post characterless blurtings I'd get me one of them newfangled twitter accounts. Writing is so hard for me that I won't waste it on the impersonal.

Thanks very much - having writers call what I do writing is very humbling.