The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.
– WH Auden: In Memory of W. B. Yeats
For all sorts of reasons – and in a rush of senses – the past week or so has become intensely dispiriting. So, as is my wont, I dragged my disobedient bulk out through the front door for an amble around ‘my’ village: just as the light was losing its fight against the increasing darkness of night.
Yet, there was no need for streetlamps; and, as I wandered, my torch remained, forgotten, deep in my warm fleece pocket: the deepening blue overhead, looking past Oxhill, towards Stratford, still bearing echoes – as the church clock struck ten – of the slow sunset song of clearing, cleansing skies punctuated by tender, murmuring clouds; and Jupiter, glowing majestically over Whatcote, forming an auspicious procession of gleaming gods, through Venus, to Mercury, gradually slipping behind the horizon, as I returned home; the lusty blusters of the day also waning as the barometer rose.
All sorts of thoughts flickered through my head as my boots pulled me onwards: Messenger, by hazard, crashing and burning – fittingly – by Shakespeare basin – a metaphor, perhaps, for my susceptibilities; or the similar trajectory of government (or at least a large portion of its subjects…)? Even vestiges of Arthur Miller scurrying and scrambling across the thickening canvas of my cares – diamonds, shining in the dark, indeed (but not “rough and hard to the touch”) – all such murmurations gradually withdrawing as the evolving atmosphere enfolded me; and not another soul to be seen – just hints composed of ephemeral shadows cast on comforting curtains: the blue flickers of small screens; or perchance hinting at hidden bookworms.
It is hard, centred in such a situation, not to feel a profound belonging in your bones; cherishing the experience, the scene, the place; thinking the world of it; and finally believing (perhaps) that God really is in His heaven… and all may be right with that world – eventually.
It’s dark there, but full of diamonds.
– Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman