my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?

6.12.2005

This Happened


A student, a young woman, in a fourth floor hallway of her lycee,
perched on the ledge of an open window chatting with friends
Between classes;
a teacher passes and chides her, Be careful, you might fall,
almost banteringly chides her, You might fall,
and the young woman, eighteen, a girl really, though she wouldn’t
think that,
as brilliant as she is, first in her class, and beautiful, too, she’s often
told,
smiles back and leans into the open window, which wouldn’t even be
open if it were winter,
if it were winter someone would have closed it (Close it!)
leans into the window, farther, still smiling, farther and farther,
though it takes less time than this, really an instant, and lets herself
fall. Herself fall.

A casual impulse, a fancy, never thought of until now, hardly thought
of even now …
No, more than impulse or fancy, the girl knows what she’s doing,
the girl means something, the girl means to mean,
because, it occurs to her in that instant, that beautiful or not, bright
yes or no,
she’s not who she is, she’s not the person she is, and the reason, she
suddenly knows,
is that there’s been so much premeditation where she is, so much
plotting and planning,
there’s hardly a person where she is, or if there is, it’s not her, or not
wholly her,
it’s a self inhabited, lived in by her, and seemingly even as she
thinks it
she knows what’s been missing: grace, not premeditation but grace,
a kind of being in the world spontaneously, with grace.

Weightfully upon me was the world.
Weightfully this self which graced the world yet never wholly itself.
Weightfully this self which weighed upon me,
the release from which is what I desire and what I achieve.
And the girl remembers, in this infinite instant already so many times
divided,
the grief she felt once, hardly knowing she felt it, to merely inhabit
herself.
Yes, the girl falls, absurd to fall, even the earth with its compulsion to
take unto itself all that falls
must know that falling is absurd, yet the girl falling isn’t myself,
or she is myself, but a self I took of my own volition unto myself.
Forever. With grace. This happened.

C.K. Williams


Today's fragrance: I'm going to pull out those Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab imps I waited so long for, and see if they were worth it. More later.

10 Comments:

Blogger actonbell said...

admiration coming from the east...I enjoyed that immensely.

6:05 AM

 
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

WoW...The visual imagery, coupled with the words and your perfume, give this post deep, rich meaning.

7:20 AM

 
Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

I never neard of C.K.Williams before. I just googled him. I love this writing. Really, really, drew me in.

7:57 AM

 
Blogger Annieytown said...

I loved this M. Perfect in every way.

8:48 AM

 
Blogger Yesrie said...

Ack :-( This draws me back to my least favorite lycée (in the States, but my most tyrannical teacher taught French) and the methodical binding of our independent little spirits. I wouldn't have leaned back, but if I'd had any life skills I would've hopped a freight at the earliest opportunity :>

I'm deliberately being literal. I like my poetry to be WYSIWYG :> and so I suspect there are layers upon layers of embedded sociopolitical comment here. (Me: Yabbut what, exactly, happened?)

My "ack" above is not at you, though, M. I love the accompanying illustration, and it's not a bad thing to revisit dark places in one's life... makes the present freedom that much sweeter.

9:44 AM

 
Blogger AP3 said...

Hi there... very cool blog! I'll be back...

2:21 PM

 
Blogger Kate said...

Reminds me of that moment in the movie "Jules and Jim", when Catherine jumps off the bridge.

6:42 PM

 
Blogger Tom & Icy said...

What's with all these froggy women like Ophellia when Hamlet said Get thee to a nunnery and then splash!

12:25 AM

 
Anonymous Laura said...

This is awful. I, too, once stood on a window sill of an open window in October, three flights up, at age 18. Not thinking, not meaning to, at all. And yet there I was --the possibility presents itself under such circumstances. The instant of grave, casual danger was over when I saw the horror-filled look on a friend's face as she stood in the doorway watching me. Then I casually stepped down. I sometimes think of that moment, but never more chillingly than when I read this poem.

4:18 AM

 
Blogger mireille said...

I also saw a parallel between the poem and the disappearance of the girl in Aruba. You -- without thought or maybe with destructively subconscious thought -- make one wrong move, and you're gone.

7:36 AM

 

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