Sunday, September 26, 2010

My old man

There are things that irritate me about my husband. Currently:

* He drives at a million miles an hour if someone is behind us on bendy French roads because" they get annoyed if you don't"

* He can't go a day without visiting a do-it-yourself shop and standing for hours fondling various screws and brackets

* He has always just read the greatest book ever and goes on about it to everyone

* He worries about everything, the fosse (septic tank), the boiler, Rupert Murdoch, the attention span of today's kids.


He makes me laugh, we love the same things and people, we agree about all the important things like politics and religion and since the very worst he could imagine ever happening, happened, he has been fantastic about it. About leio and how he now shares my life and might in fact run off with me sooner rather than later. He has played along religiously with my let's not let it ruin what time we do have philosophy, he has become fonder, he never let's me see him feeling sad even if we both know just how much he is; he makes me tea in bed.

I cannot conceive of what it will be like, no comfortable silence, no quirky shared smiles, no punch on the arm on waking. It's too much for him to lose. Which is why when he read out this poem chosen by our friends, Chris and Denise, at their recent wedding (after 26 years together!) I wept, like them, but for different reasons I hope:

For What Binds Us
by Jane Hirshfield

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.
And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,
as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest—
And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.


  1. "I wept" ... and so did I Jean.

  2. Hi Jean
    Just wanted to clock in to have lost your emailbtw can u send to
    Like the photo of the old man too! and, hey, don't diss men's love of diy shops. personally, when abroard in non-englisg countries, one of my first ports of call is the local ironmonger/hardware type of shops; house full of useful things such as plastic carriers for 6 eggs (germany); brass heads to hold back louvered windows (france, unused); red earthenware pot thing with a hole in (spain, of no known use); metal salad spinner (now rusty, Bulgaria)...lots of love to tout, john (and claire, jack, harry, maia and noah)