Monday, October 31, 2005

All Hollow's Eve

Late night... Can't sleep... Watched the movie version of "Wuthering Heights." I read the book on the Appalachian Trail in 2000. Remember finishing it after a day of hiking in the rain. The next day I heard about "Crash" dying. So much death, pain, suffering, darkness. Life teems beneath it all, happy and exultant, bursting through snow crust to break free from a long winter of discontent.

We invent this costumed holiday, an excuse for masquerade, revelry, a celebration of the macabre, an acknowledgment of our brief time on this mortal coil. Everything dies. The harvest store is soon consumed. The next year's harvest lays dormant in the ground, patient. Everything that lives feeds on the living and the dead. We are all grinning skulls, bones to be bleached.

Epidermal Macabre
by Theodore Roethke

Indelicate is he who loathes
The aspect of his fleshy clothes, --
The flying fabric stitched on bone,
The vesture of the skeleton,
The garment neither fur nor hair,
The cloak of evil and despair,
The veil long violated by
Caresses of the hand and eye.
Yet such is my unseemliness:
I hate my epidermal dress,
The savage blood's obscenity,
The rags of my anatomy,
And willingly would I dispense
With false accoutrements of sense,
To sleep immodestly, a most
Incarnadine and carnal ghost.


"With a great effort the Don opened his eyes to see his son once more. The massive heart attack had turned his face almost blue. He was in extremis. He smelled the garden, the yellow shield of light smote his eyes, and he whispered, "Life is so beautiful."He was spared the sight of his women's tears, dying before they came back from church, dying before the ambulance arrived, or the doctor. He died surrounded by men, holding the hand of the son he had most loved....Michael observed [the funeral] with a tight, polite smile. He was not impressed. Yet, he thought, if I can die saying, "Life is so beautiful," then nothing else is important. If I can believe in myself that much, nothing else matters."

Mario Puzo, "The Godfather"

"Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves."

"Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?"

"You said I killed you - haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!" Emily Bronte, "Wuthering Heights"

"I stand in awe of my body, this matter to which I am bound has become so strange to me. I fear not spirits, ghosts, of which I am one, that my body might, but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them. What is this Titan that has possession of me? Talk of mysteries! Think of our life in nature, daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?" -- Henry David Thoreau "Ktaadn"

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word,Lenore?,
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word,"Lenore!" Merely this, and nothing more. --Edgar Allan Poe "The Raven"

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