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May 20, 2024

The Scholarship Girl 03

By Abigail George

I remember great poets, and I recognise that I am getting older, more set in my ways, moving forward towards something impenetrable, invincible and that I'm protected in this mysterious world, projecting myself forward into a future not filled with spiritual poverty, or wealth that is known as prosperity and being grounded by the gravity of Mother Earth, joy (Beethoven, Tchaikovsky), the Russian writers (Nabokov's Lolita which wounded me, and that taught me that we learn from our scars, we are not our scars, we are not our wounds, it is just part of our personal journey, our psyche, the teeth sunken into my personality), and Kubrick. So Abigail George has become A. George.

Failure can hurt. Young girls who think they will be goddesses forever can hurt you just like publishers with their neatly typed (by their secretaries who wear their hair in chignons) rejection letters (forgive them for they know not what they do), other writers who have won more prizes than you have, who have the world eating out of their hands (forgive them for they know not what they do)? Do you understand that? Do you understand compulsion? Do you understand the complexities now in the mind of the poet and that there is an unstoppable fine line, a psychological thread that borders the finesse of the writer and the instinct of the poet? Then there are films, which are at the very fabric of our human nature. They are like a flame. They reverberate with a kind of poignancy. Meanwhile poetry is like an invisible woman while films are the art form of this century and I have to confess that I miss it, I miss the medium. So the poets come, the greats come and they guide me on this journey, this route like Saints when they come marching through my consciousness like child soldiers. Unnatural, disturbing, an avalanche of them, an avalanche of thoughts of Anna Kavan's ice or asylum piece. No light. Only night. The night of an insomniac. And if I have to examine the unquiet mind of the poet I would say that it is included in all of that I have mentioned above.

Despair is painful when it comes to rewriting drafts of poetry and it is easy to feel disillusioned. It is easy to become a Buddhist monk in a second but keep at it. Do not retreat. It is easy to become distracted by other people's insults but still you must keep at it. Because believe you me you will reach a stage where what you are writing as a poet, that is which is hardwired to your brain, that which is authentic, will suddenly become brilliant on the page and someone will take knowledge away with them from something that you thought was nothingness. It is powerful to be honest. There are not a lot of honest people left in this world. Then possibilities will be endless. One person will become two and so forth and so forth.

Sometimes I do not understand life but I know I must make sense of the pride that people have, the racism that they keep close to their hearts, their egos, their narcissistic identities, flesh and blood. Humanity needs these personal experiences to become more and more elevated, as they move closer and closer to their true home which is to recover their harmonic spirit, release the woundedness of the past and accept that the physical body is just that, a vessel and sometimes an empty one at that because we are living with so many material possessions around us, beautiful and valuable things in 'many rooms of mansions.' Perhaps that is why so many of us feel loneliness, despair, hardship, suffering and we sometimes feel that we deserve an award for the role that we play in this world-drama.

Therefore, we come to the summing up, the words of shamanic wisdom.

I believe in gratitude, abundance, blessings, and angels above on the astral-plane and on the earth-plane, foundations, goals and dreams.

Because without dreaming, without writing poetry, without the unseen and tortured consciousness we would have no dreams, no visionaries, no awareness, only introverted leaders, the internal struggle within all of us that either instructs us in a pure direction or corrects us to go to a higher level, connects us with others. Humanity is made up of love, some of it is unconditional, some parts of it is inherited, and love is not just a ritual, a relic, or an ornament. How else do you explain how far we have come, our journeys, and our paths that have coincided with historical events that have changed the course of humanity?

Winter is the perfect time to rest. There is a lightness and a being in the air. Now there is only time for 'botanical drawings of observations,' a palace, the throne room, metaphors, and for growing older, the illustration of a dark horse of a man growing dimmer and dimmer. Childhood transformations have come, gone taking bedtime stories, Disney, and chipped teeth with them. Family history, imagination, the wilderness. When the world feels apocalyptic. When your mind's eye sits through silences. The day your parents told you they were both going to separate or divorce and you felt like an interloper. I was the chosen one in summer, spring, winter and autumn. The tortured poet says, 'I was the self-losing tree with its beautiful leaves. The abundance of moths betrayed by the light. I am the sonnet, the pleasurable food chain, the preparation of the sheltered golden roast in the oven, and I am a refuge from progress, regions of green feasts for the eyes. I am a swimmer in a public domain. Love is my life belt. It gives me self-preservation.'

'Poetry,' says the tortured poet, 'gives me a drowning helplessness, sustains me, and fuses my cheap pleasures that I get out of fashioning solitude. And when I entangle myself in the oppression of intimacy, and the proportions of misery that sometimes come with it I must carry on secretly with my life work in order for the feminine not to be altered but to be praised, worshiped confidently, to make her pure and significant and the fundamental masculine to be esteemed. Not distorted, displaced, or limited in any way by dark behaviour or a masked disguise.'

As much as it is begun to be said, Africa is a country. A continent marked by both black, and white. An energetic, depressed, traumatic continent where you can make abstract drawings of people just by observing them. And for those who like alien and hallucinatory prose I only have two words for you. Go back. Go back to gossip (what will you find there you might be asking yourself. You will find illuminating words.) Go back to poetry, talk to your children, your spouse, even the frailty of the elderly, the infirm, the noise of your young, boisterous family and there you will find the same thing. You cannot erase language because language crowds everything out. You cannot erase touch because touch crowds everything out. You cannot erase the unseen, the unquiet mind of the tortured poet because it drowns everything out.

Something is beginning to shift inside me. Therefore, I must begin to speak to the one that I love, about the one that I love, the unseen, the unquiet, and the tortured. I am often left with this question of where my home is. I know where my battlefields are and my playing grounds but where is home? My home is where the sea meets the shore's feast and the river's mouth. It is in my lap and arms in my hands like black water or blackstrap molasses. I am poured into Hollywood's grave where the shallows swim into J. D. Salinger (into you). The roses are lovely this time of year. Everest is listening. Pound's second Alba. You are no stranger to legend. When I look at you, any photograph of you, it is as if some power switch has gone off inside of me. Parachutes fall from the skies and a wilderness history rises up out of darkness and history. What I will remember of you is this? The elixir of the waves of your dark hair. You tiger. All the details of you. Your rough magic trivia. Once upon a time, you were my poetry. (Can torment be poetry in and of itself? I think so). I walked tall and pretty my high and pale September friend. Once I followed the bittersweet blueprint of angels but now I feel like yellow sunlight and a field of stars dead to the imagination. Of other poets and I am left missing you (again I speak of the torment of the poet here. The torment, which is unspecified and indefinable). Anguish fills my heart. Words do as paper dolls do. They are nothing but pretence. There is no substance to a paper doll. What can curb its dangerously mysterious anxiousness, its depression that it develops into, and what can it exchange for the solidity and substance, hours of contradictions of life. How can it grasp anything of life, the simplicity, the sadness, duplicity and the happiness of childhood?

Pain has a muscle multiplied. An adolescent's moodiness, defensiveness, and the hours for them only consists of a schizophrenic harmony whether they are sad, or happy, or pensive, or have a longing rising up with them and it is only a poet with their unquiet mind who can understand the depths of the isolation and rejection that sometimes this young adult feels on the periphery of an adult world that he or she does not yet fully comprehend or can understand.

And there found in the translation of pain (of physical torment and the pain of the mind) love is a ghost with serious intent. It is heavy illumined with light and salt. Heavy with your laughter and it is a wonderland of people. It is a wonderland of traffic.

Who is the 'you' I am speaking to or rather referring to here? Is it not the unquiet mind of the poet?

The sun and days compensate for the lack of you. Now we talk about love/poetry as if it is a mountain. We want to hike to the stars and forget about our hearts and what startled us into believing that we cannot live forever. 'Love is not love when it alteration finds.' Shakespeare said that with a genuine and artistic sensibility.

I believe in God now. This is what I know for sure. When I was in my teens, He was irrelevant. Then one day I got sick, sick. The illness (lithium toxicity) that had come silently out of nowhere (because I hadn't been having regular blood tests) had made me slip into a coma for two weeks; then out of the blue I woke up one morning in the hospital. I could not speak but I could see. I could not walk. I was in a lot of pain. I was in ICU. I do not remember a lot of that time only that estranged family came to visit. I cannot recollect conversations only that people who were never there for me before suddenly appeared at my bedside and they prayed for me. Now I believe in God and that He instructs my writing, my befuddled passion as I gather all the accumulations of my lifetime so far. He has to be found in the reliable source of the generous details and as I experiment with the machinery of words. It is becoming more and more naturally to me now. Writing I have learnt does not only come with a spiraling intuition; it also comes with a unique spiritual awareness.

Unlikely stories.

This transition of the streaming of words; gifted fragments from my mind to the page makes me feel like an ancient fossil steeped, enriched with history. It leaves me drowning like the leaves spilling down a drain during a downpour. My writing promises a generation love and the calling of imagination; to journey gently on a river wide no matter what I was faced with; glass ceilings, brick walls, floods in reality and floods that were surreal, Dadaist, swirling in my head spaces, surfaces of pools that were both telling of rings and circles of my inherent moods and reflections, the inner spaces of wings of birds that promised new beginnings and secrets.

My first stories when I began to write when I was a girl, a child were stories of love; the romantic love that my parents did not give up in our presence as children so I imagined it into reality like Barbara Cartland did in her pink mansion; I imagined it into truth and tricked myself into believing that love was something real; that you could reach out and touch like a gift. I have never believed in Valentine's. Perhaps this was my parents' fault.

What does love mean to me then? An embrace, a kiss, winter rain here again, haiku, leaves softly whispering on the ground, words, words and more words, the terminal at the airport. It is all suspended in mid-air for me like machinery. How much does it take to love? I have realised it is the very essence of your soul, of your being, much of what it takes to write; this is the image that I have of love in my imagination.

At Bible school, I found myself, wisdom, purity, humanity, maturity, alchemy in daily prayer and meditation. In witnessing people, adults, praying in tongues when I could not in the struggle of my life as an adolescent, a skinny teen languishing in sadness and depression; of not being built to fit in with the rest of them; the popular crowd, the girls with budding bosoms. Prayer taught me truth and the truth was that the art for me was not to fail. Failure meant nothing. Prayer grew me up. The desire that I had to be near God meant that emotional maturity beckoned and was not far off. Words buzzed like fizz in my head.

Unlikely stories, Bible school were my tools. My instruments, sermons, hymns, my childhood, the divine mysteries of the scriptures. I realised that I could somehow transform essays into miracles on paper. All of the cogs and the wheels that I had at my disposal became my machinery. Madness, chaos, disorder ruled on my desk, in my brain, in my environment. They humbled me; held me captive. I believe that every time I sit down to write it is God's perfect angelic timing but nowadays people do not want to read about God and miracles.

I left Bible school before I finished the apprentice year. I felt I had learned all I could. Before I went I wanted to know why it felt these words just existed for me, passing through, healing my emotions, my hurts, tending to my goals, why they seemed to exist not only for me but for strangers, why I possessed them, how they fell into place windswept, caught beautifully, swept away the lull of the day, gathered harmoniously for a captive audience, built for humanity, they were metallic when I hit them, the sound bouncing around in the elegant, silent rooms of my psyche. These words were a hit. They sparked a revival and a crusade as television evangelists did.

Article © Abigail George. All rights reserved.
Published on 2017-05-29
Image(s) are public domain.
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