Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tremors

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wake up and feel that the room is shaking around you? Not a violent trembling, you understand, just the thinnest of tremors, subcutaneous, as though your bed were the flank of some great animal, quivering in exhaustion.

In moments like these you look to objects for verification. Are they shaking too? For a moment it's hard to tell. You manage to imagine that there is a real earthquake happening. Suddenly the walls seem to close in on you, the ceiling becomes your enemy. You jump out of bed. As your feet touch the icy stillness of the floor you realise that there is no earthquake. The world is perfectly still. It is all in your head.

Could it be that fear, like some seismic force, lies at the very centre of all existence? Could it be that our lives, so solid-seeming, exist only on a thin fault-line of hope? Or is this purely physical? Some coincidence of muscle and bone that leaves you shivering like a leaf?

Dickinson writes:


IT was not death, for I stood up,
And all the dead lie down;
It was not night, for all the bells
Put out their tongues, for noon.

It was not frost, for on my flesh
I felt siroccos crawl,—
Nor fire, for just my marble feet
Could keep a chancel cool.

And yet it tasted like them all;
The figures I have seen
Set orderly, for burial,
Reminded me of mine,

As if my life were shaven
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key;
And ’t was like midnight, some,

When everything that ticked has stopped,
And space stares, all around,
Or grisly frosts, first autumn morns,
Repeal the beating ground.

But most like chaos,—stopless, cool,—
Without a chance or spar,
Or even a report of land
To justify despair.


So much for imagined earthquakes. For real ones, there's Mastercard. And links to organisations you can give to here and here.

10 comments:

Pareshaan said...

How the hell can you be so well read?
And how can you write so damn well, and sound so literary?
Wanted to compliment you, but ended up just expressing my envy - Congrats on a beautiful blog nevertheless.

Veena said...

"How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a specter through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat?"

And Pareshaan, he is a bot not a real person.

Heh Heh said...

He is a bot not a real person

On no no, sometimes he's too real. I once had to sit through a straight six-hour punning session on "geographical locations across the world". Our man puns when he is drunk, amongst other things. Am sure clueless has more to say on the issue.

meditativerose said...

No, it's because he doesn't believe in sleep, and doesn't own a tv :)

absolutely clueless said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
absolutely clueless said...

LOTS more 2 say...i have borne the brunt of our man's drunkenness in more ways than one...but b4 that, HWSNBF, have u done wat u were supposed 2 do???

Falstaff said...

Pareshaan: Thanks, I think. Both for the envy and for the comparison to Guiness on your blog (though any statement that connects me with Stout doesn't always go down too well)

Veena: Hello? What have I ever done to you? And by the way, I looked up my programming and it says that I am not a bot but a person. So there.

HWSNBF: Good times. Must do that again someday. Soon.

MR: I do believe in sleep - just not 8 hours of it.

Clueless: I wish you'd phrased that differently.

Also, yes, HWSNBF, have you done what you were supposed to. Do tell. Please.

Mrudula said...

Ah! Emily Dickinson! One of my favourites.

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