Moon on a stick

There are times when the clarity which has built up over a number of conversations and hours of contemplation vanishes in a vital and vibrant haze of imagination. You know the path you ought to take, it rears up in front of you like so many snakes, treacherous, dangerous but ultimately safe, but you can’t … hang on. Hold that thought.

Let’s start again. I lay me down to sleep. And yet sleep is the last thing on my mind. Through my bedroom window the moon shines, its tranquil luminosity almost spiteful in its innocence. I know intellectually what I must do, and that is to let go. There are things which cannot be beaten, walls which cannot be broken down. When an irresistible force meets an immoveable object, nothing gives, nothing takes; the continual increase in pressure is met with an equivalent increase in resistance. All that obtains is a pair of sore heads and resentful stares.

Two goats, horns locked, fall from the cliff oblivious.

My mind, perfectly conversant with this conundrum, has its own version playing out as if in spite. When valour preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with, and my resolve dissolves in the face of frankly unwarranted, uninvited and un-bloody-helpful images. As my sleep deprivation grows, so the images become more vivid, more personal, more directed: it is as if my worst fears are realised on film. I am replaced, usurped, overthrown, forgotten. Worst still, the images themselves are created externally, in order to make me feel replaced, usurped, overthrown, forgotten.

And I am, though I find it hard, very hard to accept. I see everything that I don’t want to see, and yet it is my imagination playing a show reel for my reason. I suppose the point is to demonstrate the demonstrably true, to show just how immoveable this particular object is. Bless my vivid imagination. The images become quite surreal, moving from the perfectly reasonable to the rather unlikely, and from moving pictures to stills to conversations to …

The common factor that links them is my absence. I am absent from my own imagination, reduced to voyeurism as it attempts, I suppose, to teach it a thing or two about life.

Perhaps I do want the moon on a stick, but it’s increasingly plain that the stick prevents one from touching it, embracing it, loving it. Like Semele, I desire nothing more than to see, but unlike Semele, I know exactly what that vision will do.

That, I suppose, is what my imagination is saying to me. You may crave that presence, but the very presence you crave will burn you up.

Now, the question is, where do I go from here?