Thoughts and Losses
The loss of the thing, or the
loss of the thought of the thing?
Twice I have lost a ring,
One an ounce of gold from my father
With his family crest as the signet.
The other a sliver of lead from my mother,
A sliver of lead from the leg of her great great grandfather,
A sliver encased in a dull metal ring and inscribed Waterloo.
The lead far more valuable than the gold.
For the thing itself has no value, but only the thought of the
So when a woman who as a child had known Mervyn Peake
Came into my bookstore and talked of his favourite books,
How he'd loved above all Stalky & Co, had known it
So that if she said "Page 53" he'd recite it by heart...
And I don't remember her name, have lost another
Glittering sliver of life, love of life, love of books,
Unknown and unproved, unrecorded, and lost...
Not the thing, but the thought of the thing.
And this is an atone poem.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Robin
Helweg-Larsen would be pleased to hear them.
Mervyn Peake, Self-Portrait