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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Yeats and the Queen of Ireland. Burning down the House.

                                                              I dreamed a Dream
                                                                                                                                                                 At Easter, on Holy Saturday night,  I dreamed I torched my nest. No really. In the dream I lived there, it was all walls, partitions, arteries, a network of branches and I put a match to it. I felt guilty, true.   Defiant also, at the time, in the dream. But afterwards, looking at the blackened devastated  ruins, I was glad. I felt guilty and glad at the same time, if you want to know...

Carl Jung says better to ask what a dream is for,  than what a dream means. I think he was onto something there.  I though about that all day Easter Sunday. With a weather eye on the Easter 1916  Commemoration with all it's fuss and strut, on my corner flat screen TV. Tiny President Higgins stood  erect, back arched, his greatcoat jutting forward, as he inspects the army, injects the guard, something like that. At night they showed the The Queen of Ireland.  He's tall, his shy eyes fly off as he talks, he's lovely, Rory O'Neill.

People tell you that you, the mother, will be afflicted with a sense of purposelessness when your children leave home. The empty nest syndrome.  Your nest is empty baby,  your life is over.  You have to fight your way back to some compensatory meaning till death takes you. A depressive episode even is to be expected.  Or it would be if you have any trace of a womanly heart in you at all.  "I just can't wait" I say in rage at this definition of my purpose on the planet. "I just can't wait, and whats more,  I have been anticipating it for years" in a fury at the thought that this how you see me as a woman. How you see nothing, nothing at all.

                                                       my nest is not empty its buzzing

But that's just good old self assertive perversity. I am not waiting at the door of the old nest, my cabin  bag packed, just yet.  My house is busy busy still but if it is a nest then it has expanded from a twig and feather bowl affair  to a vast many layered edifice, complete with galleries,  eccentric extensions, twisty stairways, spiralling and grand. And the fact is that  its been emptying out for years, as the children move from stage to stage, leaving behind them ghosts, chimeras of their former selves in the abandoned spaces behind them.

              O Chestnut Tree...

You can go down the spiraling way to the beginning of it all, hear a desolate babycry still, catch peripherally afterglows of the flickering angel smile on a baby's face, the boss, maybe the boy,  shadowy hauntings. Or upwards to the level floors of prepubescence, primary school.  Holograms; the beautiful girl and her sister in time, they wear the school uniforms, brush each others hair, argue, root for schoolbags, giggle.  Look over there they sit together with the boy, open faces painted after the halloween school play, watching television, scooping popcorn from a bowl in perfect ease, a foot resting careless over a sibling, a vigorous tugging of the rug they sit under, voices.  "You're taking it all" "am not!" "yeah, you are" "shut up, can't hear"  "mammy mammy mammy" "Oh listen! listen, listen, to me!".

                             great-rooted blossomer...

A half floor  up we keep the ghost of Miley Cyrus, in her doe eyed girlish days. She, and her Autobiography sit with the beautiful girl, the boss hanging shyly at the door. Ah Miley, Miley how you were beloved, I love you too in sympathy. Look there across the hall the boy packs fishing gear, hooks, a reel,  container of squirming worms into his school back pak. Battilions of tiny green soldiers lie dead on the battlefield behind him.  He looks up, and catching me and you, ghost smiles.

                                     are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?....

And on to living galleries, the beautiful one holds her room reserved for summer easter christmas break, a quiet space where old debutante dresses flutter in the air when you open the door, and she anxiously layering on make up, a frail pale ghost in the tall wall mirror you glimpse as you softly close again.

                                           Oh body swayed to music.....

Doors yawn wide always on the messy expanding lairs of the Others.  The Boss's garments,  make up, books, guitar, paint brushes, posters, music scores spill into the high-arched rooms she carves, the boy adds empty beer cans, cigarette papers, books, more books, to electric guitars, fishing stuff, the dear old soldiers carefully packed and stored beneath his childhood bed that barely holds him.

                                                        O brightening  glance...

Theres's other spaces here they keep,  for other stuff you never name because its none of your business, but you know. Other dark recesses, room for secret things you ignore, the smell of hormones, alcohol, crazy love, (not my) music, teenage kicks, better than sex or crystal meths; ecstasy. Oh yes you know the dark places, the solitary child shades stuck, you coax them out in time with cunning words, with sweeties, slowly slowly.

                                                                  How can we know the dancer from the dance.

And there you are at the top of the house, pushed up and up as years pass, spending your days regulating, feeding,  reading , thinking, holding.  Sometimes patrolling, the old nest rim with a spyglass in your long black coat, keeping things out, letting things in, planning for the day your children will drop of the rim, into the world.

                                    You can have my house when I'm good and ready

I listen with bemusement all week to people raging, seething about the fabulous wheeze of some genius politician to totally solve the housing crisis in  Ireland. Yeah, older people, empty nesters you know,  should leave, give up their  houses, give them over to the young. I believe there was to be a modest financial inducement though that was not entirely clear. It may have been a moral obligation, to sort of guilt you into going, or  maybe hell they were planning to round people up and out to one-roomed boxes, nursing homes.

                                          you think it'll never ever be over then its over.

Well anyway, you can have mine in time, for market value mind you. Soon, when I, when we have no more use for it.  And I will not be keeper of the museum for the visiting departed. I will not live for that. I have plans.  It's a good house. The little ghosts won't trouble you...

And I, when they go, am off. You've taken nothing from me either. The nest is wedged under the breast bone of my perilously expanded heart. I'm ready for a new adventure, me and Bilbo Baggins then, if anyone ever asks or actually wants to know.