In my first or second year in college, I put two little would be poems on paper, that as I think about them now, have a certain kind of compass like relationship to each other, and to the process that I call myself. They were these two, first:
A man is a blind mass of wood
In evening he glimpses the night, stars and God.
In daylight, he carves of himself.
and, the other
I let my mind go wander in the park
It promised to return by dark
But it’s not here.
Did it cut itself on a piece of broken truth?
Perhaps, in our search for meaning we are misdirected. We are always learning something new, whether or not we recognized that as it is happening. At the moment I am reminded of myself at about seven or eight swinging in the back yard, and noticing a scab where the bleeding scrape on my knee had been. I remember thinking, “Wow, that healed so quick.”
I may have thought about healing before that time. Like all children I’d been sick with colds and fevers from time to time. When I was bedridden my mother always placed a bell on the table next to the bed so I could ring it if I needed her for anything.
But the notion of healing quickly that came to me that afternoon seemed new, and had something enlightening about it. Even if I bleed, I can heal.
Bleeding and healing has meta-morphed itself into part of my adult cognitive structure over the years. It takes a place near the carving of my self, and the cuts from broken truths.
We can be understood as walking ideas, or, perhaps more fittingly as limping ideas, the truths learned at one stage of life, broken and re-shaped by our experiences into something simultaneously the same and different from when we first encountered them.
While I was in the Army, I read Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. I must have been reading it when I lost my father’s ring, my ring, our ring. Its a very long, perhaps seven volume, book and it may be time for me to take another look at it.
As I have been writing this, my own remembrance, it suddenly dawns over the horizon where memory, like the sun, seems to suddenly appear, that perhaps his style has been guiding this effort of mine, and that is the “why and what” that keeps “re-minding” me.
A moment ago I could no longer avoid looking up the title to be sure I would be correct in citing it, and discovered that it now appears to have another title as well as the one I remembered. That is a new title, I am quite sure, one that did not exist when I was reading his masterpiece. Scholarship must have advanced and produced the need for this new title.
Will the new name affect the reader? Will it change the meaning of the book? That question requires a ‘yes and no’, and an ‘of course’ and ‘of course not’ kind of answer. What is certain, that when I find the time to re-read some of it, I will be both the same and a new reader…and thus the book itself will also be both.