Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Ghosts

Last weekend I traveled interstate to celebrate my best friends wedding and to have early Christmas with my family. It was just lovely, although a very busy weekend, to be with friends and family and celebrating. The wedding was wonderfully simply and elegant and the ceremony just perfect for the bride and groom. I had the pleasure of reading a short poem as part of the ceremony, although I had the challenge of finding one for myself.

Love at first sight
by Wislawa Szymborska

They're both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they'd never met before, they're sure
that there'd been nothing between them.
But what's the word from the streets,
staircases, hallways -
perhaps they've passed by each other a million times?

I want to ask them
if they don't remember -
a moment face to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps a "sorry" muttered in a crowd?
a curt "wrong number" caught in the receiver? -
but I know the answer.
No, they don't remember.

They'd be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.

Not quite ready yet
to become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it parred their path, stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.

There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn't read them yet.
Perhaps, three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood's thicket?

There were doorknobs and doorbells
were one touch had covered another
Suitcases, checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream, grown hazy by morning.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.

While passing through the airport, this book caught my eye - "Winter Ghosts" - by Kate Mosse. I had previously read "Labyrinth" and really enjoyed it, and this one looked much shorted. So I started reading this on the plane and have been engrossed until finishing the book today. It was a much simpler read, and fairly engaging. I enjoy the historical aspects, involving the war of the Cathars in 13th C France. I also enjoy the mysterious storytelling of Mosse who cleverly presents the history intertwined with deep emotions.

Chance? The story I chose to read, and the poem I found for the wedding, were both about the chance encounters of strangers??? and that those encounters changed the characters lives. I am a believer of mysterious/serendipitous meetings that lead to life changing moments. I appreciate the forces (divine, chance, destiny???) that lead us through our daily lives.


Karen said...

Glad to hear you had a great weekend away - it sounds like you fitted a lot in! I have been looking at this latest book by Mosse for a while now and wondering if I would enjoy it - what do you think??

Tamara said...

Hi Karen, It was a quite and easy read for me, for you - too easy perhaps. The storyline captured me, not necessarily her writing style. Happy to loan it if you want :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely poem, thank you for posting it. A good choice for a wedding.

I hvae Labryinth waiting patiently to read, so am glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Robin said...

I love the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska!...and I must read some Kate Mosse! Happy reading in the New Year!