all your beauty, all your wit, is a gift, my dear, from me
I thought about this poem a lot today. I’ll explain – in a circuitous kind of way – in a minute (first let me finish my lazy copy ‘n paste and compose myself).
Soliloquy of the Solipsist
I? I walk alone; The midnight street Spins itself from under my feet; When my eyes shut These dreaming houses all snuff out; Through a whim of mine Over gables the moon's celestial onion Hangs high. I Make houses shrink And trees diminish By going far; my look's leash Dangles the puppet-people Who, unaware how they dwindle, Laugh, kiss, get drunk, Nor guess that if I choose to blink They die. I When in good humor, Give grass its green Blazon sky blue, and endow the sun With gold; Yet, in my wintriest moods, I hold Absolute power To boycott any color and forbid any flower To be. I Know you appear Vivid at my side, Denying you sprang out of my head, Claiming you feel Love fiery enough to prove flesh real, Though it's quite clear All you beauty, all your wit, is a gift, my dear, From me.
Today I was talking to the Radiant One. (Actually, we weren’t talking so much as we were communicating via a rampant and quite revolutionary corporate instant messaging set-up which has wrapped its super-effective interruptive tentacles tightly around my working day… to mostly good effect.)
The Radiant One is on the brink of international fame in some circles. We *talked* about that for a bit. We chucked in a few emoticons. (Well, how better to encapsulate our enduring bonhomie than with some well-chosen smiley faces with pokey-outy tongues?)
Then, moving onto more pressing matters, I asked the Radiant One to get a stamp made for me. Not knowing too much about the ink stamp world (other than I like to make excellent wrapping paper with them), I assumed the Radiant One would have to call for her carrier pigeon, plump its feathers tenderly, fuel it with breadcrumbs and tepid water, stuff a rolled up instructional scroll in its micro-chipped collar and send it on its way.
From there I pictured the pigeon winging its way to a far-flung, highly altitudinal place (most likely an attic or turret of some description – that seems to make the most sense) perched atop a barren hill,* enmeshed in the dewy gauze of the finest clouds. The old stamp maker would receive the pigeon on his windowsill, painstakingly unravel his directive, put plainly, double-spaced in Arial font 12, so as to avoid confusion.
Then the old stamp maker would set about with his supply of bubblegum-pink rubber and his suite of fine engraving tools. His cup of mead and wheatmeal crackers put to one side in order to ensure the utmost concentration. His hands trembling ever so slightly, eyes half closed as he made the first incision.
The old stamp maker would work through the night. And the following night. And the one after that. Until he had in front of him, in his saggy hessian-aproned lap, the finest ink stamp known to humanity.
And by the time he had affixed his business card of gold-woven parchment and wrapped the stamp in layers of gossamer, saddled up the half-dead-from-waiting pigeon and sent it back to whence it came, it would be about three years too late for me. I wouldn’t have need for a stamp any more.
That’s what I pictured, anyway.
So I said to the Radiant One: How soon can you get me this stamp made?
She said: How soon do you need it?
I said: Now. Then I reconsidered and corrected myself. No, actually, I said, yesterday would be good, if you can manage it.
Sure, the Radiant One said, probably cursing me. (Not that I’d blame her if she was. I make some fairly outlandish demands, on a fairly regular basis. Oh, but only with the best intentions, and always nicely.)
Apparently I am getting the stamp hand-delivered by tomorrow afternoon. Who knew they could turn around stamps so quickly!! A late night and sore wrists for the old stamp maker, maybe. But we will pay him handsomely, so I cannot let myself lose sleep at the thought of his RSI and droopy eyelids, or his hoarse early-hours-of-the-morning stammer as he watches a drizzly sun come up through itchy, unblinking eyes. Such is the cut-throat nature of commerce.
I thanked the Radiant One profusely for her swift stamp-brokering skills. I drew attention to her radiance, her irrefutable powers of persuasion. We talked some more about her imminent fame and whether the world is ready for it.
It was good fun. We carried on in this vein until we hit the outer reaches of absurdity, a mid-afternoon cul de sac of lapsed logic. And it made me think of this poem.
*Kinda like where Gargamel lives/lived
Filed under: meandering, modern life, poetry, things I like, writing | 1 Comment
Tags: diary, poetry, stamps, Sylvia Plath, things I like