Tuesday, June 28, 2011

For John — with Dove and Ardor

“What is writing” asks Pippin, and Alcuin answers: “The keeper of knowledge”. “What is the word?” – “The betrayer of thought”. “Who begot the word?” – “The tongue”. “What is the tongue?” – “The scourge of the air”. “What is the air?” – “The preserver of life”. “What is life?” – “The delight of the happy, the bane of the sorrowful, the expectation of death”. “What is man?” – “The slave of death, the guest of one place, a traveller passing”. ~ from J. Huizinga, Homo Ludens
What proceeds within the playground of my mind is not always fluent, cogent and purposeful. Sometimes Thought betrays me and makes a mad dash to the finish line we had agreed to cross together. He cruises past the chalky mark almost before it's been drawn.

And there's Regard and Attend. They're sneaky, they cheat and move their stones off the hopscotch  lines. They don't want to lose their turn, even when they clearly, by way of the rules, should. Sometimes they drop the other foot in a square and say nothing. I become irritable with them. I have to leap to catch up. Dismayed by their duplicity, I'm breathless, I fall to the side.

Sometimes, I fall asleep at the swing-n-slide wheel.

(Sometimes, I fall to pieces. But rarely.)

The space between Thought and Papyrus is gooey. Invisible-gooey. There's an inky force incarnate by the jungle gym, he takes my hand, leads me to Aedos, to whom I demurely bow. Impatience is the bane of the writer, she says.

As is goo, I reply. But look what the bright and modest star, Antares, gave me. I dangle the award before her:

Thank you, Antares!

It can't be all bad, right?

Everything is subject to change, she reminds me (as does Antares).

I won't let them trick me, or get ahead of me again, I assert.

It's alright, she smiles, there is a margin of error. Then there's a margin, and what happens there is anyone's guess. Your friend here can help you to the bubbler. Drink. It fills.

I tuck the award under my arm, and the inky force leads me to the fountain. Somehow, I trust him more than my other friends. He stays by my side. He says, Forget about what happened at the playgroundwell, maybe not entirely. But you know, you need to get back on the swing. 

Swings make me dizzy. 

Get back on it anyway. Grab the chains, pull, kick forward and back. Eventually, you'll find the rhythm, the arc of the swing, and you're off. Trust me.

I'm still thinking about my friends, about Thought and Papyrus, whom I'd always likened to conjoined twins with a shared brain. But what happens between them, in that invisible-gooey area, is mysterious and not always—I'm learningeasily translatable. Despite the common cranium, they each have their own lexicon and tropology, distinct yet familiar. So much for mind reading.

At the bubbler, I take a sip of water and obediently hop on the adjacent swing, tucking the inky force in my pocket. Kick forward and back. Suddenly, I'm rising and falling. Rise and fall. Higher and higher. There, an arc leaves an imprint in the air. Margins float in the periphery. I close my eyes and see Regard. And Attend. I let go the hurt. So they trick me at times and often try to get in the middle of Thought and Papyrus. They're still fun to play with!

From the high arc of the swing the playground is still, and I observe the quiet beauty of its architecture.


  1. Egad: Dove, Ardor, Regard, Attend, Thought, Papyrus... that's a hell of a crowded playground here at Ms. Jayne's School of Personification and Apostrophe. No wonder they can't help crashing into one another while scrambling about on the monkey bars and running the bases on the kickball field.

    And swings can be dangerous, too. By all means admire the beauty of the architecture, but give Attend some responsibility for getting you back down safely!

    (Beautiful allusive post, you know. Congratulations on the well-deserved award!)

  2. As always, beautifully arranged words, Jayne. It sounds like the playground in your head must be an entertaining place to visit. And a little Neil for background music...perfect!

  3. Oh my, I had been thinking of some word-related drilling down into meaning, and your exquisite prose motivated me to get to it. Thank you.

  4. JES- Oh, now I have my own school! What have I done? (Well, there was failure to warm up.) I'm going to need a little tutelage before I can help my poor students.

    Next time, I'm going to the pool. I'm staying away from all gym-like apparatus. I'll take my various floaties with me. You can never have too many of those. ;)

    (Antares has no idea! I mean that in the kindest way.)

  5. Beer- Entertaining, if not disorganized. I am glad, in 2011, though, that I can blame it on ADHD. Yep, that's all it is, just a minor issue... ;)

  6. James- Ah, I'm glad to hear that. To think my words could possibly motivate anyone to do anything (healthy, that is) is a pleasant surprise. Though I suddenly feel responsible, like, uh-oh, I hope I don't get you into trouble...

    Good luck with the drill-down, James. :-)

  7. That's a fine award that you've earned many times on my playground, so you're always welcomed to come and play.

    When we first run out onto the playground, it's such a rush. I wanted to be there all the time. And then my congenital caution set in and the complications took over. Now, it takes real courage to show up, every time. I believe most bloggers know that experience, which makes this fine company to be brave in.

  8. This is such an incredible piece, Jayne.

    Muses and gods are not the masters of goo.

    Haven't read Homo Ludens, but that's subject to change;)

    P.S. I have no idea about what?

  9. Nance- And I always love romping through MM's landscape!
    Isn't it funny how we blithely run out to the playground, without hesitation, climb the ladders and shoot down the slides? And then, just when we're getting comfortable with the array of toys and what-nots, things start to look scary.

    It's my own gaffes that give me pause. Courage is right, Nance! Courage. ;)

  10. Antares- I thought you might ask (I would have let you in on it anyway)... There's been a few thread blunders over at JES's place--my bad.
    I blame it on sleep deprivation, but it was indiscretion, for I should have known better and slept in.
    Thankfully, JES is very generous and has a wonderful sense of humor.
    And what I've learned is that I know how to scribe nonsensical comments, too! (But I'll try to limit those.)
    So, with irony striking me on the head, I accept your fine award. Thank you kinly, Antares. ;)

  11. For "very generous" read "too confused to object." I sort of carry that into my blogging life from my real life.

    You did have an excuse that day: just back from your workshop experience, fried. Still, when I tried to diagram the thread connecting comments to posts (and, indeed, to blogs), I ended up with something that looked like I'd dropped a can of BBs into a particle-detection cloud chamber.

  12. JES- !! Gawd you crack me up. The imagery of your comparison not only looks noisy but sounds it, as well! Which makes me think that there was more than just optical phenomena going on there. (No, I'm giving myself too much credit here.)

    Jeez, I'm just plain dangerous.

  13. thanks, i enjoyed the little trip to your playground. it was real nice not having to pick up after my dog too.

  14. WOW, maybe we should have a play date?! My playground persona's have yet to be named so let's just refer to them as "Trouble x 3!" :)

    Great song selection and congrats on the award!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  15. BP- My playgrounds are always absent animals. I have enough to look after as it is. You're welcome any time. No responsibility! ;)

  16. Jules- I'll bet my playground personas and your playground personas would get along smashingly. I'll bet they would even--gasp--share. Imagine how productive they'd be? ;)

  17. I love love love this post! I do feel somewhat motivated to go deeper...

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  19. You've received a well deserved award- congratulations!
    I know these playground mates. I didn't realize I was playing with them until now.
    Excellent, fun piece to read!

  20. Congrats on your award. A poet I know would LOVE this post :)

  21. JanieGirl- Go for it!

    Leonora- Thank you. You've been playing with them for a quite a while. They're very good to you, in fact. ;)

    Carol- Thank you kindly. Feel free to share the post... :-)

  22. Whoa that's one amazing playground of words! Great post Jayne and congrats on the award. :)

  23. Maria- Thank you. Still waiting to hear more on what's going on over in your part of the world... ;)

  24. Jayne, I visit the playground early in the morning when the kids are sequestered to school, this way I have the swings all to myself. I still step in goo left from the night before, but old goo is easier to remove than new goo;)
    This is an amazing post by an amazing writer. It kind of reminds me of summertime; even though she authors sunburns, mosquitoes, thunderstorms, we still fall in love with her. So it is with writing. I will be reading Homo Ludens. Thank you for that.

  25. I've never considered the space between Thought and Papyrus. Perhaps that will be the topic of my timed writing today. However, I don't think much exists in my space there. Just the flow of the pen writing garbage.

    Interesting post.

  26. Oh, Leah- How we do fall in love. She irresistible but exasperating. My, I think I should have named my daughter Summer. ;)
    As much as I try to hit the playground solo--no matter what time--everyone else seems to show up. And well, you know, I can't be rude can I? Hmmm...

  27. MJ- Garbage, junk, found objects--all that gooey refuse is often repurposed into works of art. It happens all the time, you know? ;-)

  28. Congrats on your well- deserved 'great commenter' award!

    I like the playground picture and your fine, smart words on Regard and Attend, Thought and Papyrus.
    Thanks for sharing the lovely Neil song. It goes well with your post.

  29. "The space between Thought and Papyrus is gooey" -- great metaphor, and I can relate.

  30. That playground makes a walk around the neighborhood a lot more interesting!