That dull calamity

So this is where it ends, in solitude picking up the pieces as best I can, which isn’t very good at this point. I push myself to do something, anything: I do, therefore I am.


self-portrait, flash and mirror. I’m in there somewhere

I go down into the rough, old, stone-foundation basement of this old farm house to do some clean-up. I’m trying to pick up where I left off more than two years ago when we bought this place, before everything, finally, went wrong.

There was a “we” then. Now there’s just a “me.” And that’s not enough anymore. “What dreams may come” indeed.

There was a time when I enjoyed solitude, found it safe, found it a lot of things – like, after a certain period of time, the unspent sexual energy transformed itself into spirit and, at least once, a creative ecstasy so complete and transcendent that time did not exist. I would have stayed there forever.

But I fell in love; a bit of an accident, actually: the guy who was living under the stairs had a date with a beautiful, intelligent woman we both knew in school. He didn’t want to keep the date, after all, and asked me if I’d go. Nothing has been the same since.

That was a long time ago. I have stood on many bridges and watched the moon-lit water flow onward toward distant lights in happy places where people knew how to live. I never quite figured it out, at least not in the real world.

So I have found solitude again. But it’s not like it was. There is hope here in Hope Ness, indeed there is, despite the heart-breaks and the countless tears that have been shed right here in this house, and others, no doubt. There is a joyful spirit here in Hope Ness. I wanted to find it, once and for all, moment by moment, and tell you all about it. But I’m tired. Maybe when the warm weather finally does come, that will pass. I hope so.

At the beginning of winter I was wandering the internet and somehow – I can’t remember the circumstances any more – I came across this passage in an Elizabethan drama, The Maid’s Tragedy, by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher:

Thou hast brought me to that dull calamity,

To that strange misbelief of all the world

And all things that are in it, that I fear

I shall fall like a tree, and find my grave,

Only remembering that I grieve.

My God, that’s beautiful, in a bitter-sweet sort of way, of course. I don’t mean any offence to anyone, really I don’t. It’s about love in general, a certain kind of deep love, as in, “Only love can break your heart, only love can tear it apart.”

If I’m not mistaken that’s a line from a Neil Young song; and a good one too, Neil.

I went through days when I kept repeating that passage from The Maid’s Tragedy, out loud, as if trying to work through something. After all, there’s a reason why people sing the blues.

Maybe I still am, right here and now, singing the blues, talking to whoever you are, reaching out from intolerable solitude for company and comfort.

And maybe it will all be all right, after all.

7 thoughts on “That dull calamity

  1. I once craved and fought for solitude but when it found me I was desolate in it’s grip. I am humming that Neil diamond tune too today. I am praying for the “warm weather” to reach your soul sooner than you know.


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