I dreamt of Avalon’s hands, Lyria dreamt of David’s, and then today at this dinner I found the fork difficult to hold, a little. Even the body’s hands are a little stiff. For the body’s hands, it is likely the season and some gardening, or perhaps their arthritis. Likely the dreams were caused by such (David has said his are all right, so it was a dream-dream.)

Ah, I used his name. Well I will not edit it to D unless he asks, for I like the full. I like how it begins Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Of course when the hands become involved I think of San’s hands, which also troubled him. Once I would have taken the ache in mine as a guide, and if truth be told they trouble me a little just now. But now I think of it as a question: if they ache now as they did then, and there is no San, and no bond, then perhaps they have been mine and I should learn to listen to them.

Although I follow my old beloved Morningstar’s advice – only forward – I still miss San as the night follows the day. This missing also brings with it its little torments, most of which begin with why. When I find it distressing I read poetry, one of my more native tongues, but newly understood. Not Eloise and Abelard. Right now I tackle T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. There is much in it I do not understand, so I take it slowly. But there are hands in it, three times – the magic three. The middle hand is thus:

‘Trams and dusty trees.
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees
Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.’
‘My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart
Under my feet. After the event
He wept. He promised “a new start”.
I made no comment. What should I resent?’
‘On Margate Sands.
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.
The broken fingernails of dirty hands.
My people humble people who expect

I have broken fingernails – on stone, on cement, on the ground, on trees, and on guitars.

Lyria tries to convince me to look at Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass instead and perhaps I will, soon. Lyria is always surprising with poetry but rarely wrong.

But I suppose what comes most to me is Pablo Neruda’s hands. He wrote many of them, but I think of this one today.

When I die I want your hands on my eyes

When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
for you to smell the sea that we loved together
and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.

I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song.

It is even better in the spanish. Particularly the “floreciendo, florida”.

I do not speak spanish well; a few years at school, but combined with the latin it does all right enough to hear it:

Cuando yo muera quiero tus manos en mis ojos:
quiero la luz y el trigo de tus manos amadas
pasar una vez más sobre mí su frescura:
sentir la suavidad que cambió mi destino.

Quiero que vivas mientras yo, dormido, te espero,
quiero que tus oídos sigan oyendo el viento,
que huelas el aroma del mar que amamos juntos
y que sigas pisando la arena que pisamos.

Quiero que lo que amo siga vivo
y a ti te amé y canté sobre todas las cosas,
por eso sigue tú floreciendo, florida,

para que alcances todo lo que mi amor te ordena,
para que se pasee mi sombra por tu pelo,
para que así conozcan la razón de mi canto.

Once that is what hands meant, but now I think the dirty fingernails are the better. There is the work to be done.



About Jenn

Find me on Twitter @JennGruden
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2 Responses to Hands

  1. David says:

    I have no time to talk for the child says ‘No! Stand up!’ as I try to type. If we are not too tired, I will look for you this noontime, although I know the warrior queen might have other plans. And I am pleased to have my full name here.

    I have only contempt for the thought that *you* cannot be loved. The failure is in the agent, not the recipient. It is like — if I paint a painting, and you say, “I cannot like this painting” that doesn’t mean the painting is not able to be liked. It is only that *you* cannot.

    (J & I are both typing here, so it is confused, but the sentiment is true. And if we do not see you today, we will tomorrow.)

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