Because I’m just that type of person, I spent an unnecessary amount of time agonizing over what to put as a title for my blog after putting Cor as my header image. I chose a line from this poem so I figured I’d share it.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

"Portage" John Glenday

We carry the dead in our hands. There is no other way.

The dead are not carried in our memories. They died in another age, long before this moment. We shape them from the wounds they left on the inanimate, ourselves, as falling water will turn stone into a bowl. 

There is no room in our hearts for the dead, though we often imagine that there is, or wish it to be so, to preserve them in our warmth, our sweet darkness, where their fists might beat at the soft contours of our love. And though we might like to think that they would call out to us, they could never do so, being there. They would never dare to speak, lest their mouths, our names, fill quietly with blood. 

We carry the dead in our hands as we might carry water - with a careful, reverential tread. There is no other way. 

How easily, how easily their faces spill.

A Panoramic View of San Francisco

after the photographs of Eadweard Muybridge

Sepia suits clapboard well. It varnishes the houses with a period air, their dusty stoops and cedar shingles gleaming wearily. We can almost smell the pitch and resin. Street after vacant street banks down towards the water. Scoured paths and pavements of compacted mud craze in the morning heat. A panoramic view of San Francisco. He laid out the surrounding precincts frame by frame, like freshly chloroformed insects. But his plates were slow. Even at the widest aperture exposure times were what -- seconds at least? Enough to let things that were quick enough rub through into transparency. Hundreds of passers-by were turned to a threadbare gauze when they crossed between his camera and the haze of distant light. Perhaps the currency of immortality is staisis rather than enduring power, genius or evil. Once, someone wrote, means never. Most of us falter simply through living once. Notice that packhorse, tethered by the neck to history, its head fudged into anonymity where it ducked to dislodge a fly. That half-presence shows how bodies sometimes turn to dust because they move. Scratch love, shadows, ignorance or the grave, it's what we see which makes us blind.

John Glenday

The Ugly

I love you as I love the Hatchetfish, the Allmouth, the Angler, the Sawbelly and Wolf-eel, the Stoplight Loosejaw, the Fangtooth;

all our sweet bathypelagic ones, and especially with those too terrible or sly even for Latin names; who staple their menfolk to the vagina’s hide

like scorched purses, stiff with seed; whom God built to trawl endless cathedrals of darkness, their bland eyes gaping like sores;

who would choke down hunger itself, had it pith and gristle enough; who carry on their forehead the trembling light of the world.

-John Glenday

I read about him that was given wings. His father fixed those wings to carry him away.

They carried him halfway home, and then he fell. And he fell not because he flew

but because he loved it so. You see it's neither pride, nor gravity but love

that pulls us back down to the world. Love furnishes the wings, and that same love

will watch over us as we drown. The soul makes a thousand crossings, the heart, just one.

John Glenday, “Landscape with Flying Man,” Grain: Poems (Pan Macmillan, 2009)

The River | John Glenday

"The River" John Glenday This is my formula for the fall of things: we come to a river we always knew we'd have to cross. It ferries the twilight down through fieldworks of corn and half-blown sunflowers. The only sounds, one lost cicada calling to itself and the piping of a bird that will never have a name. Now tell me there is a pause where we know there should be an end; then tell me you too imagined it this way with our shadows never quite touching the river and the river never quite reaching the sea.

Portage, by John Glenday

We carry the dead in our hands. There is no other way.

The dead are not carried in our memories. They died in another age, long before this moment. We shape them from the wounds they left on the inanimate, ourselves, as falling water will turn stone into a bowl.

There is no room in our hearts for the dead, though we often imagine that there is, or wish it to be so, to preserve them in our warmth, our sweet darkness, where their fists might beat at the soft contours of our love. And though we might like to think that they would call out to us, they could never do so, being there. They would never dare to speak, lest their mouths, our names, fill quietly with blood.

We carry the dead in our hands as we might carry water - with a careful, reverential tread. There is no other way.

How easily, how easily their faces spill.

John Glenday, "Undark"

And so they come back, those girls who painted the watch dials luminous and died. They come back and their hands glow and their lips and hair and their footprints gleam in the past like alien snow. It was as if what shone in them once had broken free and burned through the cotton of their lives. And I want to know this: how they came to believe that something so beautiful could ever have turned out right, but though they open their mouths to answer me, all I can hear is light.

Undark by John Glenday

And so they come back, those girls who painted the watch dials luminous and died. They come back and their hands glow and their lips and hair and their footprints gleam in the past like alien snow. It was as if what shone in them once had broken free and burned through the cotton of their lives. And I want to know this: how they came to believe that something so beautiful could ever have turned out right, but though they open their mouths to answer me, all I can hear is light.