Lately at night I’ve been retreating to bed with Emily Dickinson (a lovely fat Faber collected poems, kindly given me by my brother, for my birthday–he even wrote cutely in the front of it!). Sitting there, by my lamp, reading aloud, is my antidote to these days–these last days of the thesis. During the day, it isn’t Dickinson, but Millay who is taken up for pleasure when the writing and editing gets too much.
Once more into my arid days like dew,
Like wind from an oasis, or the sound
Of cold sweet water bubbling underground,
A treacherous messenger, the thought of you
Comes to destroy me; once more I renew
Firm faith in your abundance, whom I found
Long since to be but just one other mound
Of sand, whereon no green thing ever grew.
And once again, and wiser in no wise,
I chase your coloured phantom on the air,
And sob and curse and fall and weep and rise
And stumble pitifully on to where,
Miserable and lost with stinging eyes,
Once more I clasp, –and there is nothing there.
I’ve taken up residence in my mum’s study, with the built-in-bookcases that make me feel studious, and the deep wooden desk with brass handles, and the ashes of my grandmother. To my right, the leaves of the magnolia; to my left, a cabinet of china cats. This used to be my bedroom. I wonder, looking at the key in the french doors that has not been turned since I slept beneath, whether that is why I come here now: lonely with writing.
The sky is darkening. The floorboards are popping, as they used to. The parents have returned from a weekend away, with a pink cupcake for me, no less. Hehe.