Sitting in my usual window seat at my local this morning, sipping my usual cup of soy chai tea, I sent out a prayer to the Blogospheric Gods for some inspiration. Although, I must admit, my ‘prayer’ resembled more of a breakdown than an actual prayer (“f*&k this creative process… i just need wooooooords”), they answered! The BeeGees actually came to my rescue – unfortunately not in the melodically immortal form that I hoped but hey, we can’t have it all. Point is, they responded and inspiration came – in the form of the form of the Northcote Town Hall (see right). I just looked out the window and there it was, along with an ‘aha’ moment thrown in for good measure. It was (and is) beautiful. Huge, yet delicate. So stately yet so humble in the bicycle riding, veggie loving ‘burb of Northcote.
I’m not sure that it was the town hall itself that became the source of my inspiration though, as much as it was what it did to me. It reminded me of how to love, and how to love wholly and really. My dear friend Iris Murdoch was well aware of the type of love that I am referring to when she said:
Love is the difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real
In my state of frustrated tantrum throwing, the size, the proximity and the inescapability of the town hall provided this realisation for me. Suddenly, life became more than my dilemmas, disturbances and deals with the Gods. It became more than just me. Kat was no longer the only real, in existence thing. She had gotten a grip. Listened to Louise’s “geez”. Taken on Trev’s “whatevs” and gotten over herself (all while beginning to refer to herself in the third person)!
When I was completing my year 12, I was privileged enough to spend a good six months acquainting myself with twelve of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Therein began an instant love affair – yes, I mean love. Although each and every one of the sonnets that I studied (if you can ‘study’ Shakespeare – I prefer to think that I ‘explored’ or ‘discovered’) spoke to me on such a dear, intimate level, only one remains with me to this day. Sonnet 73. Oh how my little heart leaps and weeps simultaneously at the words of this sonnet. “Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang”… “Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by”… Here, please, let me share:
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Yes, it’s a sonnet about ageing. About the process. About its effects. But at its core, it is a sonnet about love. The kind that we have been discussing. For, the realisation that the speaker of this sonnet has that what they have loved well, they “must leave ere long”, is nothing less than a grieving and pained acknowledgment of their lover’s impermanence; their death. And how ironically so. In that “time of year” that this speaker finds his lover slipping away from him, like the leaves falling away from a winter’s tree, he also becomes aware of her reality and, thus also, I believe, for the first time – their love.
Shakespeare… Iris Murdoch… sonnets… too complicated? I hope not because, really, all I’m doing is sharing. The thoughts of, let’s face it, other people. Perhaps a little older than us. Perhaps a little wiser. But perhaps not too. I just think they got the love thing right – if ‘right’ is even possible with such a heart speaking, core moving, life affirming thing.
Happy loving xx
Any thoughts? Please, do share!