Friday, 2 November 2012

The River's Daughters

I don't see the Thames, either when the train's pulling into Charing Cross or when I'm going home again.  In the morning I'm too busy reading Edna O'Brien and in the evening I'm writing.

The clouds are orange in the orange-blue sky and greyish, late-autumn light.  It's half-term, the train is packed and all around are children's voices: 'Dad.  Dad.  Daddy!'  The glass sides of buildings reflect the sunset and I wonder how the sky manages to be blue and orange at once, in the whole spread of it.

There's a man standing behind me.  He's reading a newspaper, turning the pages above my head.  The proximity of it makes the back of my neck flinch.

I catch sight of the sunset between buildings.  There's a cloud: 'Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish'.  I love that line.  I remember Malcolm playing Mark Anthony at a theatre in Battersea when I was young and trying to act.  I was cast as Octavius (we didn't have enough men) and wore a wig that kept expanding on one side, so that by the end of the play I looked as though I had a growth.  During his meeting with Pompey, Malcolm unwittingly exposed himself to the audience because his tunic was too short and his pants ill-fitting.  We wondered why everyone was laughing.   

I'm full of bonhomie this evening because I spent the day with Terri at the British Library and we walked back together through Bloomsbury, where I picked up a leaf from the pavement while we were talking.  'For my blog,' I told her and she offered me a clean page from her notebook to keep it in and it made me happy because only a true friend would give up a page of her notebook.

The roofs of houses corrugate against the skyline.  I write that and then pause, satisfied with the beauty of my line.  Then I can't write anything else because I've dazzled myself.  I've begun to panic too about how to end.  It's always the same, another reason why I don't write prose.  How to end?  Tunnels, a crowded train, the setting sun.  The train says, 'List it.  List it.  Commit it to the page, to the screen.  Finish by pulling all the, no, almost all the threads together.  Say Goodbye, as we hurry to the Weald.  Say Goodbye as the sky darkens and the carriage becomes the day.  Say Goodbye as a child asks, 'Daddy, I don't want my drink, can you close it please?"

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