John William Waterhouse - Pandora (1896)
(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift
It is a poem out of context, of course. Mary Oliver was refering to a book of poems that dealt with the spiritual meaning of loss. Of course, it can be interpreted in many ways, but it did make me think about love and darkness.
Trying to find some balance in this world...
Remebering what it is like to see the mood shadows across a beloved one's face, like clouds across the sun and indeed was that person indeed a gift, or just an excuse to find the reason behind all of those once-bright colours with the shaded undercurrents? I am then reminded that this is indeed better than to see a face that was once so full of passion become an ashen grate, the fire gone out.
What brought this one? Hubby was going through the cupboards that housed my late parent's possessions. It is not the fact they have passed, it was the time scale and the manner of their passing. I have half of my father's sword collection and my mother's clock with the Westminster chimes. Time encapsulated, childhood in a cupboard stuck. My mother, a charismatic spiritualist medium; my father, a well-read introvert with an obsession with Tudor England, red wine and Jimi Hendrix. I have their jumpers sealed in a plastic bag, alongside little boxes and momentoes once treasured. Some things I have come to terms with - others, not.
I also have huge engagement portrait photos of maternal grandparent, aged 21 in that cupboard, taken a little over a hundred years ago. Plus, a photo album that documents the second world war - photos of my paternal grandfather on a ship in warmer climes, paper cutting of sunken ships and medals issued. I even found a Russian fob watch - navy issue - which was won in some card game nearly eighty years ago. Family tree shut away. Where does that time go? Clocks go un-ticked and the jumpers remain cold.
Time doesn't stick - it marches relentlessly on, but the people in your memories stay the same.