26

Eleanor and Rosamund played blind man’s bluff on the trampoline yesterday.  Our trampoline has a hedge along two sides of it. The leaves of the hedge are the length of a finger with a reddish midrib and a green blade that narrows and tapers to a point.  A dark and knotted range of branches support the chorus of leaves that thickly point up to the sky.  I’m not sure why studying the varieties of shade and light across all those leaves should be involving but it is.  Something better to do than scroll through the internet learning of death, after compounding death.

Watching people play blind man’s bluff is an emotional roller coaster.  The best players do very little, and gamble well.  The best players know that even if the one who is blindfolded is only a foot away they are likely no closer to getting you than if they were three metres away.  But blind man’s bluff sort of requires everyone to be swept away in hysterics for it to be fun otherwise it becomes a game of intense silence: the blind straining every sense against their isolation, the sighted seeking stillness.

I’m trying very hard to read Eliot’s Four Quartets.  It is a mixture of the limpid and the opaque: a long unfolding thought on time.  Mostly, in my first turn at these poems I am struck by a few lines at a time, or perhaps a short passage, rather than being able to fit the whole thing in my head.  Little bits and pieces leap up off the page and grab my attention:

…Yet the enchainment of past and future

Woven in the weakness of the changing body…

– Burnt Norton

Something of the whole poem’s motor is in those two lines.  As we grimace into the mirror each morning we enact these lines, remembering what we used to look like and speculating on what lies ahead.

As we grow older

The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated

Of dead and living.

– East Coker

The deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds over only a few days is an illustration of that.  A reconfiguring of people within my own experiences; a poignancy interleaved into any re-watching of Star Wars, or Singing in the Rain.  A greater weight added to the ballads of George Michael.  But also a change in my self perception and my own memories of myself.  The tremendous youth and sparking interplay of Fisher when I was a boy added an idea to my developing notions of what a woman could be both in a flicker of preteen desire, and my love of her banter.  It is a moment for self-reflection when the person who gave you those first feelings dies.

And to all that, I can also add the new-minted memory of my daughters’ utter boredom when we watched Star Wars together last night for what, I have come to realise, maybe the very last time.