On, In and Around Mondays: How Do You Feel About 'Again'?
I have been here before, says one of my favorite poets, in "Yoked Together."
These words follow me around the yard. I have been here, and here, and here before. I have raked pine needles at the crest of this hill, watched autumn have its turn with maples, dogwood, the blueberry bushes now crimson. I have been here before.
I lean to pick up a pile of pine needles, put them in my wheel barrow. Why should I come back to this another year? Why should I care? It is like the way I made tea again this morning, ate an apple, kissed my daughter on the top of her head. It is never enough (the same favorite poet said that), but it is also too much. I wonder about the repetition of it all.
This is the kind of thing that drove me mildly insane as a mother to young children. Again, again! Always again. Some Dora song would haunt me in my dreams. "Delicioso!" Dora cried. And I thought maybe I would cry at the monotony of it.
I am no longer a mother to young children. But the yard needs raking. Again. I have been here before.
I turn the wheelbarrow over, dump pine needles into the compost pile. I think about my grandmother's last years. She could look my mother straight in the face and say, "You're my friend, right?" but not know why my mother would care to be her friend. My mother's name was gone, and too the days when my mother probably sang her own version of a Dora song. There was no again for my grandmother. This is insanity.
In Memory for Forgetfulness,* poet Mahmoud Darwish writes of exile. It is worth quoting at length...
You want to travel to Greece? You ask for a passport, but you discover you're not a citizen because your father or one of your relatives had fled with you during the Palestine war. You were a child. And you discover that any Arab who had left his country during that period and had stolen back in had lost his right to citizenship.
You despair of the passport and ask for a laissez-passer. You find out you're not a resident of Israel because you have no certificate of residence. You think it's a joke and run to tell a lawyer friend: 'Here, I'm not a citizen, I'm not a resident. Then where and who am I?' You're surprised to find the law is on their side, and you must prove you exist. You ask the Ministry of the Interior, 'Am I here, or am I absent? Give me an expert in philosophy, so that I can prove to him I exist.'
Then you realize that philosophically you exist but legally you do not.
The exile has reached a point of no return. There is no again. Perhaps it could drive a person quietly insane. More so than my grandmother, who didn't understand what she had lost.
Now I rake more pine needles. The hill is almost clean. I know that I have been here before. I want to come again.
Sunday Visit at Anya's photo, by Sara. Used with permission. *Darwish quote is in Memory for Forgetfulness, quoting original source Journal of an Ordinary Grief.
On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place.
Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below. If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)