menu Language Is A Virus

Gestalt at Sixty by May Sarton

For ten years I have been rooted in these hills,
The changing light on landlocked lakes,
For ten years have called a mountain, friend,
Have been nourished by plants, still waters,
Trees in their seasons,
Have fought in this quiet place
For my self.

I can tell you that first winter
I heard the trees groan.
I heard the fierce lament
As if they were on the rack under the wind.
I too have groaned here,
Wept the wild winter tears.
I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner peace
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises the ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it.

Who wakes in a house alone
Wakes to moments of panic.
(Will the roof fall in?
Shall I died today?)
Who wakes in a house alone
Wakes to inertia sometimes,
To fits of weeping for no reason.
Solitude swells the inner space
Like a balloon.
We are wafted hither and thither
On the air currents.
How to land it?

I worked out anguish in a garden.
Without the flowers,
The shadow of trees on snow, their punctuation,
I might not have survived.
I came here to create a world
As strong, renewable, fertile. As the world of nature all around me —
Learned to clear myself as I have cleared the pasture,
Learned to wait,
Learned that change is always in the making
(Inner and outer) if one can be patient,
Learned to trust myself.

The house is receptacle of a hundred currents
Letters pour in,
Rumor of the human ocean, never at rest,
Never still....
Sometimes it deafens and numbs me.

I did not come here for society
In these years
When every meeting is collision,
The impact huge,
The reverberations slow to die down.
Yet what I have done here
I have not done alone,
Inhabited by a rich past of lives,
Inhabited also by the great dead,
By music, poetry —
Yeats, Valery stalk through this house.
No day passes without a visitation —
Rilke, Mozart.
I am always a lover here,
Seized and shaken by love.

Lovers and friends
I come to you starved
For all you have to give,
Nourished by the food of solitude,
A good instrument for all you have to tell me,
For all I have to tell you.
We talk of first and last things,
Listen to music together,
Climb the long hill to the cemetery
In autumn,
Take another road in spring
Toward newborn lambs,

No one comes to this house
Who is not changed.
I meet no one here who does not change me.

How rich and long the hours become,
How brief the years,
In this house of gathering,
This life about to enter its seventh decade.

I live like a baby
Who bursts into laughter
As a sunbeam on the wall,
Or like a very old woman
Entranced by the prick of starts
Through the leaves.

And now, as the fruit gathers
All the riches of summer
Into its compact world,
I feel richer than ever before,
And breathe a larger air,

I am not ready to die,
But I am learning to trust death
As 1 have trusted life.
I am moving
Toward a new freedom
Born of detachment,
And a sweeter grace —
Learning to let go.

I am not ready to die,
But as I approach sixty
I turn my face toward the sea.
I shall go where tides replace time,
Where my world will open to a far horizon.

Over the floating, never-still flux and change.
I shall go with the changes,
I shall look far out over golden grasses
And blue waters....

There are no farewells.

Praise God for His mercies,
For His austere demands,
For His light
And for His darkness.