Yes … April is the cruellest month when lilacs struggle to bloom while bodies are buried from living hands.
Yesterday I took another day of holiday and sat outside in our garden patch with Dido. The sky-blaze-azurite. I am on the lookout for a long tailed tit but I can only hear a hidden blackbird. Something is wrong. The sky is soaring birds. They are large and white. Seabirds are nesting in the tower blocks. I think of the albatross and suddenly the largest sneeze, a sneeze the size of multiplying Covids expands across space. A sneeze that was not sneezed into anybody’s elbow. It must have come from a nose as big as Mehmet Özyürek‘s who has been confirmed as having the world’s longest nose recorded. His nose measured 8.8 cm (3.55 inches). If not his, it must surely have belonged to Pinocchio. it sent me and Dido flying back to my magic carpet bed. And vitamin D capsules.
Last night I listened to the Chancellor and the Government spokesman and it filled me with doom. I have admiration for Rishi Sumac and he is the best communicator but how can he understand the significance or implications of his own words. Government’s most used adjective has become ‘unprecedented’; it has almost grown into the stature of a verb. If we are living in ‘unprecedented times’ then how can anybody be sure of anything. I would like to believe that things will change and indeed some things will for better and for worse, but one of the worst things for me about the twenty-first century has been the rise of ‘Fascism’. I think somewhere in War and Peace Tolstoy may say something about human nature forgetting rather than remembering. How do we change the default position from forgetting to remembering?
The other thing that astonishes or stones me is that we have lived under the myth that the British nation has the best healthcare system anywhere in the world. While nobody would say that about the US I think they would say that there has been another argument amongst medics as to whether the US or the UK leads in providing the most radical treatments for difficult diseases like cancer and Parkinson and many others…Here we are making fools of ourselves compared to Germany, Eastern Europe in some instances, and South Korea. Now there is the terrifying suggestion that just as many public schools in the middle of the twentieth century had a Jewish quota of pupils, so is the UK operating a similar type of age quota as to who will be admitted to ICU and who will not be admitted in a way that France appears not to be discriminating.
Personally, I would rather make my departure from my bed. By the way my bedding ‘bounced back’ at me ferociously this morning as I forgot to change the sheets and duvet cover yesterday but they are now in the washing machine. Yesterday was an odd day for many reasons and included the fact that one professional writer wrote to me saying they were feeling so down they couldn’t write and what should they do…another person wrote to tell me before they went to sleep that they were finding painful solace in trying to write about their loneliness their failure. Their isolation.
Ash Wednesday has always been my favourite Eliot poem. It feels apposite to my mood today.
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us (Eliot)
PS The Chancellor was also keen on his new metaphor of ‘righting the ship’. Maybe more on that tomorrow.