1 + 1 + [(3+1)-1] = 5
death be not proud, from holy sonnets of john donn,
set by benjamin britten; ian bostridge and graham johnson
*ronandini pieta, 1564
this eve, i will go up north to meet family, now we are five, not six.
wait, we are six this evening i think. the wee one will be with us. in small fragments, embedded deeply in each heart, continuing to pulse and send the warm blood out, right to the fingertips and little piggies, then back, carrying worries, happiness, disappointment and of course, joy.
when i was a kid, i saw my family as: 3 + 3 = 6
three little unruly kids and three adults.
when i moved out, i saw it as: 1 + 3 + 2 = 6
me, loner, adults who deemed me crazy and bros
years later, then my older bro moved out: 1 + 1 + ( 3+1 ) = 6
gabe never moved out. in fact, he was well on way ton convince the three adults to buy a house with basement apartment, so that he may live like a proper baby brother.
then he rolled the car and that was that: 1 + 1 + [(3+1)-1] = 5
the total sum of this family equation changed for first time in 28 years.
i understand that soon another one will go from the group. granny's old, she's in dusk. each time i see her, she's bit shorter, a little bit more tired, brightness of the eyes show the hint of cloud- may be a veil, like the old screens at the movie theaters that rolled down at the very end. recent winter cough took much out of her and she is of old age. once she leaves,
1 + 1 + [(3-1 + 1)-1] = 4
i feel for my mom. i think what she really wanted was: 6
no equations, divisions. just simple single group which happen to have six components. she never thought that we would lose one, nor her kids- esp me, would be so head strong that ( i ) would move out against all traditional practices she knew as old-school korean.
instead, she's got a rather complicated one, which hangs with many brackets and fine threads. it may break at the slightest pressure- as they work so hard and the generational and cultural gab have left us oceans apart.
lucky that ocean is full of love.
even when it brings all consuming storms,
taking the ships upside down,
punching it on the eye socket.
but then, thats what the ocean does.
during the recital today, the soloist kiddie decided to read the two selections from the holy sonnets of john donne (mystical poet of late 16th century), set by benjamin britten. and then it struck him and all of us- the weight of the text, the wish, which turns into a hope, extinguishable and unquestionable- for one to be free of weight of death, not just the act of dying, but of inevitable losses, the desperation now exalted into a feverish reverie, fleeing away from poison, demise and withering touch of life- as all born must age, suffer and die.
i had to hold self fairly tight mentally.
it all came together. the full moon i saw shortly after i buried the little one (mayday, 201), the first time i had the chance to look up from the weight of death of close one and related draining tasks, it is out tonight, pale and silent, moving across the empty streets, sending only the palest light to few city dwellers, still up at 430am, with burning sensations in our stomachs- whether it be love, loss or hope... as they are all equally dangerous.
the tear stains, lacrymosa of 'iii. oh might those sighes and tears return again,' of the holy sonnets- like the old rust stains on the building that is past its prime. the stains that now is part of the surface. blood of dying metals. coppery, crumbly rust. the ones that fall to the ground as dried chips as one touches it with lightest hand. like my mother's hand, which hardly has any finger prints left from working.
and fervent, delirious declaration of death of 'death' in 'ix. death not be proud'- bizarre. till today, i thought it as declaration of the faithful who believed in truth. but today, i heard brilliant moment of lucidity of a mad man who's been pickled in sorrow- the man who have not died. may be he is dorian grey. today, it was a delusional declaration of insanity in its full manifestation- at which point it becomes real.
then a friend sent me a poem, about man who was losing his wife, wondering what would happen if you went to heaven to pick a flower and came back- and found flower in his hand- what would happen? and it drew things out of me.
...then i would wonder
if it is the flower that i hold
the flower holds me
whether i am smelling the flower
flower smells me, of life, of tiredness,
and it wonders why
oh why it is so important
that all things line up the same way
is it real that (you) hold me in (your) hands
or shall ( i ) say ( i ) hold you with my life
as time turns
as nothing stays
as real as pain may be
as unreal the loss, perhaps,
as one never lose another
perhaps only by a very thin line
drawn on sand with a stick
i have a long day tomorrow. i better sleep. or at least sink into the depth somewhere that i may hear the murmur from the other side of the line. may be i will hear that continuing repeated pitch in my head- my, and wee brother's heart beat, as he lives somewhere in that complicated place, full of blood and fervour- whether i seek for life or death, which seems be the same at this moment. if i lie quietly, would i feel the heart of my mother, father and granny, whose heart would also carry bits of the wee one? would i hear slightly younger beating of my older brother's heart? would they be mourning? am i mourning?
i am confused and dazed. the feeling of thin fog enveloping my heart and my feet, slightly cold and clammy. uncomfortable. just like life is, most of the time. i grieve this dark night. i deplore.