Remembering a marriage

In this time let me remember that it is you, the lost one, who stood between me and the raging light of day: a protection, a distancing, light-eons of conduit reducing the hazard of our primal fire, the sun. To live in your ambiance was to be warmed and flushed benignly by your transforming heat and hue. Direct rays of life which, unmediated, convey destruction as well as growth , came channeled through you, came gentled. The sun itself proved its best influence through you: its destructive power converted, transported by your space of mediation.

In this time of recollection I look again to the depot sun to supply me through your far-traveling experience. For I have discovered that the years with you still flow across distances. Though I need the stark brilliance of day, though I require its power for growth and survival, I continue to discern its energy through your life-maintaining transit. The remembrance of you mitigates that first fire-force into a temperate existence where plants and purposes keep greening.

Ten years, and still you speed billions of miles to my side, a controlling, ameliorating presence. We once called it love. I still call it love, remembered love. By virtue of that memorial - which can bind the most disparate phenomena - I accept my life in the world along with my loss. I still am warmed at a nourishing fire, I am illumined by a bearable light. I still partake of you in the world: in the white gull over the river and the black one below; in the pyracanthus keeping its green leaves and orange-headed pomes; in the cold moon that arcs over my head all night and, still radiant, wakens me by morning. What would otherwise endanger me and the features of my world, you bring acceptably, safely, to my door. You are the saving distance.

Everywhere in my life I learn to know your moderating touch. You teach me - even more than in those years when you had a name and a distinct location - to recognize you in natural recurrences of time and space: trees, grass, flowers, their lift and fall. You live unceasingly in the pronoun you. It encompasses even your absence. As long as the rhythm of nature prevails, you prevail. There is no desolation, no ultimate loneliness.

Presence is precisely a matter of close attention. Now earlier distractions and preoccupations dissipate. I become all one intense perception: like Confucius, so delighted by the sound of a carillon he forgot for three months on end to notice what he was eating. Like air, let me live in the sound of your music. Be the carillon of my city.

Let me change the name of death to music. That year in Flanders, we lived in the sound of the belfry: the very cobbles resonated, and the tuberous begonias in the walled garden. Splinters of glass topped the wall to keep out neighboring cats. Unhindered, music poured down over us. Damp air held the music like drops of moisture. The mist-music trembled the shards, drenched our pulses. Every winding canal, a tapetum, lifted up the clanging splendor: as rays of light in the eyes of nocturnal animals are reflected back from a crystalline layer, thus increasing vision in the dim illumination. Oh then I was aware enough, wit-warm enough, to value your human resonance, the metal of your instrument. Seperation is the beat of clapper on bell, releasing a bound essential music. And I am listening.

Listening, I am all suspense. I am waiting, in that watchful tension where everything is happening, everything surprising, possible, new: as once in Flanders, where everything was strange, where for a year we attended, alert and seeking, to signs and intimations, hoping to define the essential Flanders. Carillon? cobbles? canal? pollarded willow? But these elements are diffuse signals. The essence, name me the essence! I try words, analogies. I ponder, I posit. But though the core of truth - or do I mean the sum of it? - lies beyond me, I can speak of you, and in that deep pronoun can somehow embrace the animator of my days. Through the intervention of the world's images I can move beside you. And through this conjunction you can still care for me, through this firm transaction. This insistent nevertheless.

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