Summer Rain

Ⓒ Erik Mons Larson

Ⓒ Erik Mons Larson 2015, Cambridge on the 4th of July

Indoors in the middle of a lightning storm. The patter moves in crescendo, the only other evidence a growing, exponential, trend of droplets on the pane, each time the night lights up

Illuminating
the spots, the scars, the sky-drawn tears

And sudden back,
gaps to contemplate.

Reading Beckett’s biography

I started off reading James Knowlson’s Damned to Fame, a biography on the life of Samuel Beckett, like a textbook – fishing for details with an eye to catch dates and places. More than 700 pages later, as the bibliography looms, it feels as though I’m peering into a mirror held up to my life, and I cannot go on. Can barely go on. The things one held, things at some point lost, things once hoped for.

It is a tribute to Knowlson’s writing, who blends a spectacular palette of narratives into one – a life – to reflect a story that, at some point, we recognise ourselves in.

Writing the thesis

One difficulty in writing the PhD thesis is reading your own work after a couple of days, and realising how much you’ve changed in that short span of time. And your writing changes with you. So looking back at last week’s draft often means making changes – sometimes drastic ones – in order to move ahead.

One thing I’ve learnt: Be fearless in making cuts.

iManuel

You take centre-stage, just like that,
A sudden revolution, and there you are             before me, bringing the dawn of a new day.
Your rays caress, to give me insight
No longer Icarus, I say, striving after
With waxen wings, goodbye Ptolemy                who in a moment of pressure
Put too much stress on autonomy
And gave way to self-idolatry.
Your turn was sudden, unexpected,
Lighting my heart before I even knew
And as I walked I could not help                         but burn.

One Word

One word

From you

Would be all I need

To be free

From these chains;

One word

To cast out the demons:

An exoneration

Long wished for.

One word

From you

Would be enough

To soothe these sores

The remaining bastions of

An empire built in dust;

One word

To set the peons free

Who, up til now, still roam

The grasslands,

Scavenging for rubrics

To measure themselves, by the by.

One word

From you

My balm, my solace,

Would remind me of who I am

Not who I should have been

Not where I’ve fallen;

One word

To put my aching heart

To rest.

One word

From you

And these walls would fly

That mountain move

And walk into the sea –

but one word

you say

in gentleness,

in 

unfathomable

love,

in knowing a time

not yet come,

in seeing my goodness,

my all:

“Stay.”

My Michaelmas Room

My Michaelmas room is a battlefield

Where I put up resistance

Every morning

Roll call comes late at eleven

When, giddy with yesterday’s smog, I rise

Only to fall back in line

With the skeleton crew, those roaming pirates

Who hail no good thing master.

Slowly, my legs shrink with atrophy

And my ASOS jeans fit…

Clang!

Goes the metal motor

Our crew zips away

Off, off, into the high seas,

Only this time the danger is clear:

Beware the jabberwocky, my dear,

Whose craven mouth

Awaits the slothful, the banal,

And claws out hearts of fear.

While they do great things

While they do great things

I wash the linen, white and pure

So that their garments may be spotless, evermore

While they do great things

I iron out the creases, tease out shadows from past rinses

So that these vestments shine, like a new comet named mine

While they do great things

I hang them by the fire to dry

So that they prove beyond the dye

While they do great things

I fold them close to me

So that one day, soon, they’ll truly see