Monday, 5 November 2012
A photo portrait of Clarissa I took on the iPhone January 2011 in a hotel room in London at the time of the T S Eliot Prize giving.
I love the way light can hold a face and make it look radiant. It was the secret of Caravaggio, Georges de la Tour and Rembrandt. Faces became a source of light through reflection. They shone.
Darkness is the other half of the equation, of course. The act of leaning forward from darkness into light is a metaphor for moving from the unknown into the almost knowable. Sometimes I think we know next to nothing. And that is, in some ways, a comfort. Full knowledge is pitiless and absolute. It bleaches us out and reduces us to precise wave patterns that can do perfectly well without us. Our obligation as poets to verbal precision is like a very distant trumpet heard through mist.
Clarissa is almost exactly 62 here, though you wouldn't know it. Sometimes youth transfuses a face. It takes it over, fills it out, runs over, speaks for it, moves before it like music.
Tomorrow I am at the Warwick Arts Centre reading for Wordsmiths & Co with younger poets like Polar Bear, Dan Sluman and Elizabeth Charis. It should be great fun. I really look forward to it. Clarissa and I will drive up together and hasten back the next morning for a wedding, at 11:00.
And I will continue with the sports Furies later this week.