It’s spring in 1827, Beethovenhoists his death-mask and sails off.The grindstones are turning in Europe’s windmills.The wild geese are flying northwards.Here is the north, here is Stockholmswimming palaces and hovels.The logs in the royal fireplacecollapse from Attention to At Ease.Peace prevails, vaccine and potatoes,but the city wells breathe heavily.Privy barrels in sedan chairs like paschasare carried by night over the North Bridge.The cobblestones make them staggermamselles loafers gentlemen.Implacably still, the sign-boardwith the smoking blackamoor.So many islands, so much rowingwith invisible oars against the current!The channels open up, April Mayand sweet honey dribbling June.The heat reaches islands far out.The village doors are open, except one.The snake-clock’s pointer licks the silence.The rock slopes glow with geology’s patience.It happened like this, or almost.It is an obscure family taleabout Erik, done down by a cursedisabled by a bullet through the soul.He went to town, met an enemyand sailed home sick and grey.Keeps to his bed all that summer.The tools on the wall are in mourning.He lies awake, hears the woolly flutterof night moths, his moonlight comrades.His strength ebbs out, he pushes in vainagainst the iron-bound tomorrow.And the God of the depths cries out of the depths‘Deliver me! Deliver yourself!’All the surface action turns inwards.He’s taken apart, put together.The wind rises and the wild rose bushescatch on the fleeing light.The future opens, he looks intothe self-rotating kaleidoscopesees indistinct fluttering facesfamily faces not yet born.By mistake his gaze strikes meas I walk around here in Washingtonamong grandiose houses where onlyevery second column bears weight.White buildings in crematorium stylewhere the dream of the poor turns to ash.The gentle downward slope gets steeperand imperceptibly becomes an abyss.
© 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.