At school

Some beautiful things I learned at primary school have made a lasting impression. I remember single lines of poetry. In The Bat, it was “And Oh! A little one, that clings!” They are still worth reading:

Lightless, unholy, eldrich thing,
whose murky and erratic wing
swoops so sickeningly, and whose
aspect to the female muse
is a demon’s, made of stuff
like tattered, sooty, waterproof,
looking dirty, clammy, cold
Wicked poisonous, and old;
I have maligned thee!… for the cat
lately caught a little bat,
seized it softly, bore it in.
On the carpet, dark as sin.
In the lamplight, painfully
it limped about and could not fly.
Even fear must yield to love,
and pity make the depths to move.
Though sick with horror, I must stoop,
Grasp it gently, take it up,
And carry it, and place it where
It could resume the twilight air.
Strange Revelation! Warm as milk.
Clean as flower, smooth as silk!
O what piteous face it appears
What great, fine, thin, translucent ears
What chesnut down and crapy wing?
Finer than any lady’s things
And oh a little one that clings!
Warm, clean, and lovely, though not fair.
And burdened with a mother’s care;
Go hunt the hurtful fly, and bear
my blessing to your kind in air.

In this one, “Take hold of the Loam”.  Sylvia Plath, plotting a takeover:

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

I thought that was grass. I had forgotten it was mushrooms. I remembered the sense of Love and beauty, strength and silence.

In secondary school, the rollicking drama of Bagpipe Music grabbed my attention:

If you break the bloody glass, you won’t hold up the weather.
If you break the bloody glass, you won’t hold up the weather.

Strong, bloody violence

from the start and throughout.

No, now Menelaus the great spearman ran him through
square between the blades as he fled and raced aheadtearing into his flesh, drilling out through his chest-
he crashed facedown, his armour clanged against him.

That’s nothing.

Meriones caught him quickly, running him down hard
and speared him low in the right buttock-the point
pounding under the pelvis, jabbed and pierced the bladder-
he dropped to his knees, screaming, death swirling round him.

Some characters have a brief introduction before they die:

Meges killed Pedaeus, Antenor’s son, a bastard boy
 but lovely Theano nursed him with close, loving care
like her own children, just to please her husband.
Closing, Meges gave him some close attention too-
the famous spearman struck him behind his skull,
just at the neck-cord, the razor spear slicing
straight up through the jaws, cutting away the tongue-
he sank in the dust, teeth clenching the cold bronze.

His killer pays him attention like his mother did? What? I was going to say that all these deaths come from one book of the Iliad, but so far they come from one page of the Robert Fagles translation.

Diomedes, aka Tydides, has gone bare-shirt, bare-sark, berserk:

Down the plain he stormed like a stream in spate,
a raging winter torrent sweeping away the dykes,
the tight, piled dykes can’t hold it back any longer…

As a lion charges cattle…

Here is the grief of war-

he ripped the dear life out of both and left their father
tears and wrenching grief. Now he’d never welcome
his two sons home from war, alive in the flesh,
and distant kin would carve apart their birthright.

Here, its joy:

“Now be men, my friends! Courage, come, take heart!
Dread what comrades say of you here in bloody combat!
When men dread that, more men come through alive-
when soldiers break and run, goodbye glory,
goodbye all defences!”

Diomedes attacks Gods!

he with his ruthless bronze was hunting Aphrodite…
gallant Tydeus’ offspring rushed her, lunging out
thrusting his sharp spear at her soft, limp wrist
and the brazen point went slashing through her flesh

She flees to Mount Olympus, where she is instantly healed, but Athena and Zeus mock her.

More death:

bronze splitting his belt and plunging down his guts-

Down they crashed like lofty pine trees axed…

stabbed him right where he stood, the spearpoint
pounding his collarbone to splinters…

deep in the guts the long, shadowy shaft struck
and down he fell with a crash as glorious Ajax rushed
to strip his armour…

The book ends, but the battle continues. Even the Gods are dismayed! Ares cries out,

“Father Zeus,

aren’t you incensed to see such violent brutal work?
We everlasting Gods… Ah, what chilling blows,
we suffer- thanks to our own conflicting wills-
whenever we show these mortal men some kindness.”

Eos and her son Memnon

The Descent of Inanna

Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, wants Gilgamesh, King of the city of Uruk, as her lover, but he spurns her. Your lovers have found you like a brazier which smoulders in the cold, a backdoor which keeps out neither squall of wind nor storm. In a rage, she calls on her father god Anu to give her Gugulanna the Bull of Heaven to take revenge on Gilgamesh. He refuses, but when she threatens to break open the doors of the Underworld so that the dead shall eat food like the living, he relents. The bull snorts and the Earth opens, and the warriors of Uruk are killed; but Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the bull. Inanna curses Enkidu, who throws the bull’s right thigh at her. For this, the Gods kill Enkidu.

Inanna arrays herself as the Goddess, in royal robe and crown, and the breastplate called “Come, man, come”, then descends into the underworld to attend the funeral of Gugulanna, whose husband is her sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the Dead. She leaves behind Ninshubur, her servant, with instructions if she does not return. She pushes aggressively at the door of the Underworld, and Ereshkigal commands the doorman to open the seven doors a crack, letting her through but removing her royal garments. “Let the holy priestess of heaven enter bowed low.” When her garments are removed, Inanna protests: “What is this?”

“Be satisfied, Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.” Or,
“Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect,
They may not be questioned.”
(The first comes from this prose translation, the second from this verse translation.) Inanna makes Ereshkigal stand, and takes her throne, but the seven judges shout her guilt, and she is turned to a corpse, hung on a hook.

When she does not return, as instructed Ninshubur petitions Inanna’s father-Gods Enlil, Nanna and Enki to rescue her. Enlil and Nanna refuse, saying “Inana craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. The divine powers of the underworld are divine powers which should not be craved, for whoever gets them must remain in the underworld. Who, having got to that place, could then expect to come up again?”

Enki creates two demons to rescue Inanna. He gives them the life-giving water. They go to the underworld and find Ereshkigal sick and in mourning, her unwashed hair “bunched up as if it were leeks”. They sympathise, and she offers them a river of water. They demand the corpse, sprinkle the life-giving water on it, and bring Inanna to life.

When Inanna returns, she is escorted by demons who will accept no sacrifice, but afflict humanity- “tear the wife from a man’s embrace”- without pity. She must bring back a substitute, for no-one has ascended unscathed from the Underworld. She finds Ninshubur in mourning, and will not send her, but her husband Dumuzid is dressed magnificently and seated on a throne, so she chooses him. The demons seize him. He escapes briefly, and his sister asks to share his fate: each will spend six months each year in the Underworld.

Stone bowl offered to Inanna

 ♥♥♥

What does the story of Inanna mean?

It is incantatory and repetitive. You would hear it as a story, and the repetitions would please you like the returning themes of a symphony.

The Jungian interpretation is clear. Jesus said, When you strip naked without being ashamed, you will become children of God and have no more fear. Inanna’s finery is mere pretence, masks so she might look good- though Isaiah 64:6 sees them differently: we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Our pretences are stripped away, and we are free.

The individual garments may have individual interpretations:

With the me in her possession, she has prepared herself:
On her head she wears the shugurra, the crown of the steppe.
Across her forehead her dark locks of hair are carefully arranged.
Around her neck she wears the small lapis beads.
At her breast she wears the double strand of beads.
Her body is wrapped with the royal robe. [or, She covered her body with a pala dress, the garment of ladyship.]
Her eyes are dabbed with the ointment called, “let him come, let him come.”
Around her chest she wears the breastplate called “come, man, come.”
On her wrist she wears the gold ring.
In her hand she carries the lapis measuring rod and line.

What could each mean? Comment! Knock yourself out!

Joshua J Mark, in the Ancient History Encyclopaedia, eschews the Jungian interpretation: the tale shows how self-centred and unfair a Goddess may be, and humanity suffers. Also the change of Dumuzid and his sister explains the seasons. Though myths may pass through many hands, and have meanings added. He thinks Ereshkigal is praised at the end of the poem-

Holy Ereshkigal! Great is your renown!
Holy Ereshkigal! I sing your praises!

-because she sought justice against Inanna; but the Goddess of the Dead should be propitiated, especially after portraying her as outsmarted by her sister.

For me, a myth speaks to the unconscious. I can explain the meaning that we lose our pretences, our identities, when we find our unconscious, because I have become conscious of that. There may be other meanings in the story.

I have been at thirdwaytrans again. He finds the identity “a trans woman” a prison, because it means we can no longer present male. A commenter brought up Inanna. First I tried to please the World with my hyper-manly persona (from Greek for mask) then, more truly me, with “Clare”. After descending into Hell, or reaching rock bottom, I learn how valueless the masks are. Before I transitioned, I thought that in five years’ time I might be trying to present male, but transitioning was the only way to get to that place. My identity as trans liberated aspects of myself I could not express otherwise.

Unilantern, commenting, claims masculine and feminine are patriarchal oppression. She produces a great long screed arguing masculinity is seen as instrumental, femininity as expressive. If a man is expressive he is seen as feminine. But composers, painters, poets, philosophers, even writers, were until recently overwhelmingly male.

Healing-stars Goddessastrology compares the removal of the seven garments to the purification of the seven chakras, though chakras are understandings from a different culture. Hooray for eclecticism!

Inanna

Warming her pearls

Next to my own skin, her pearls. My mistress
bids me wear them, warm them, until evening
when I’ll brush her hair. At six, I place them
round her cool, white throat. All day I think of her,

resting in the Yellow Room, contemplating silk
or taffeta, which gown tonight? She fans herself
whilst I work willingly, my slow heat entering
each pearl. Slack on my neck, her rope.

She’s beautiful. I dream about her
in my attic bed; picture her dancing
with tall men, puzzled by my faint, persistent scent
beneath her French perfume, her milky stones.

I dust her shoulders with a rabbit’s foot,
watch the soft blush seep through her skin
like an indolent sigh. In her looking-glass
my red lips part as though I want to speak.

Full moon. Her carriage brings her home. I see
her every movement in my head…. Undressing,
taking off her jewels, her slim hand reaching
for the case, slipping naked into bed, the way

she always does…. And I lie here awake,
knowing the pearls are cooling even now
in the room where my mistress sleeps. All night
I feel their absence and I burn.

Carol Ann Duffy

Indictment III

That did not meet the most File:Paula Modersohn-Becker 016.jpgbasic rule of natural justice. An indictment needs to be specific: “On [date] you resigned from that job,” not “I hide away, and run away”. I stood it as long as I could. When I think of something specific, I see the extenuating circumstances. That is what I had to do, in that situation.

It is also appallingly negative, and after deciding to be Positive I see myself, now, particularly negative. George Orwell wrote of most people succumbing to the hard grind, and given that they might grow up in the shadow of The Mill and live their lives in it- and, perhaps, the Workmen’s Institute, or the Church, and have families, that might be alright, especially as I myself am not going to be a manual worker

then Rilke says something the same, living in the grind: his “Young Poet” was a soldier, and he has to conform to that Profession- which I might think inimical to poetry, one must possess the person, or the other- and the profuse notes in my cheap edition say Kappus’s novels were “cheap and popular”-

Then here is Seamus the Famous, a Poet. Another Poet (James Fenton, I think) joked about the border-guards checking his passport- “We don’t see many of those, sir”- and the Nobel Laureate for Literature writes about-

not understanding. Conflict. Loss. Fear. Not being good enough.

Actually, what was it Rilke wrote?

I know your profession [military officer] is hard and filled with contradiction of yourself, and I anticipated your lament and knew that it would come. Now it has come I cannot appease it, I can only advise you to consider whether all professions are not like that, full of demands, full of hostility against the individual, saturated so to say with the hatred of those who have reconciled themselves mutely and morosely to their own insipid duty. The situation in which you now have to live is no more heavily burdened with convention, prejudice and error than all the other situations, and if there are some which make parade of a greater freedom, there is certainly none which is itself wide and spacious and related to

the great things of which real life consists.

Not understanding, not- achieving with ease, instantly, what I want to achieve, and not being able to cease to want that-

The indictment is not against me, it is against the World: its Creator, its Biosphere, everything down to the molten Mantle and up to the stars, all of which I hate and Resent-

and all of which is as good as it possibly could be.

Encounter

File:Lough Derg St. Patrick's Cross 2009 09 17.jpgWhat is that image? Caliban trudges over, sniffing suspiciously, and pokes it with a stick. That hypocrite Ariel would no doubt pretend to luxuriate in it, then fly off. What could it mean?

As a somnolent hymn to Mary rose
I felt an old pang that bags of grain
and the sloped shafts of forks and hoes
once mocked me with, at my own long virgin Fasts and thirsts, my nightly shadow feasts
Haunting the granaries of words like breasts.

I sense the old fear more clearly now than then, perhaps. Heaney is on an ancient pilgrimage route, which is reassuring: why would he want a pilgrimage if he did not respect it? Yet this simile

like an absence stationed in the swamp-fed air
above a ring of walked-down grass and rushes
where we once found the bad carcass and scrags of hair
of our dog that had disappeared weeks before

is the absence felt in the church, under the kneeling boards. I reassure myself that this absence is only in the utterly corrupt Irish Catholic “church”- or even the absence is the still point in the turning world.

What if he should convince me? And- I want to understand him, know his position, which must involve interpreting and categorising this.

A footnote explains that William Carleton converted in the early 19th century from Catholicism to the Church of Ireland- still “my lot” though I know that Erastianism is a crippling flaw in a church. “Traditore! Traditore! Traditore!” To join the church of the overlords- I judge, and sympathise. Another footnote explains lines are quoted from the Inferno, where Dante is assured of the care of Beatrice. And then we meet the murdered man. His brow was blown open above the eye and blood had dried on his neck and cheek… shites thinking they were the be-all and the end-all came to his shop in the night, banged on the door, and when he answered it shot him.

“Forgive the way I have lived indifferent-
forgive my timid, circumspect involvement,”

I surprised myself by saying. “Forgive,
my eye, he said, “all that’s above my head.”

Out into the afternoon sunshine. Will that huge mass of black cloud rain on me before I get back home? The wind is so strong I fear it will blow the wig from my head, which would matter on the bridge over the river. I nearly step on a khaki snake as it darts into the undergrowth, its fear and shock greater than mine. The profusion of blackberries is so great that I can still cherry-pick the softest and most luscious, and be satisfied.

I might forgive my sensitivity. It is almost bearable.

Seamus Heaney

File:Seamus Heaney (cropped).jpgI get down my copy of Station Island, and look at my inscription on the first page. Stephen Languish, 7th May 1989. I had almost completed my postgraduate diploma.

I had not read it, really. I may have forced myself to look at the words, one after another, hurriedly so I could lie to myself that I had, perhaps. I wrote in my diary on 7 May that I had got it: “One needs to read modern poetry, if only so as to drop names” but did not write about it again that month.

As I thought: this was Culture, and Culture is a good thing. But Heaney was an Irish Catholic, the Enemy, the Terrorists: at the absolute best deeply suspect. The book made no impression on me at all. I did not see the value in it. Unlike my battered copy of TS Eliot Collected Poems (Stephen Languish 2 8 86) it is only battered from being moved from house to house.

Around 2000, at the Community Building weekend- too soon for me after Good Friday 1998, the IRA had not decommissioned- I met Tom Deevy, also known as Christopher Condren (I have no idea why or when he used the different names) and said to him something like, You’re Irish Catholic, you’re the enemy, and yet- you’re not; and he said he felt something similar.

Celebrate that moment of openness. Celebrate the opportunity, and that I took it, and won, and recognised, that connection and that divide. I had been so chained up, how could I be otherwise; This has been so difficult! The pain of it! I am not File:SeamusHeaneyLowRes.jpgchained like that, now. Why should these poems have any effect on this racist homophobe?

Then there was the BBC documentary. I videoed it, because, still, this is Culture, and Culture is a Good Thing. Kirsty Wark and Melvin Bragg and others talk of Heaney reverently, and there are extracts from his TV documentaries and interviews, and I half-watched part of it, while playing with my computer.

Then this morning I watched the rest of it, and saw- how beautiful he is! He was a voice against death, and- I must not be too harsh on that earlier I, but- I could not see it, because it was important that the Right Side win. I see it now. I am glad I see it now

So, Station Island. Much thicker than the average slim volume. The title poem is a long poem in twelve parts over thirty pages. The first part, of five-line stanzas, each line 4-7 syllables long, with clauses and sentences ending mid-line, seemingly randomly- these statistics are actually the best way I can give my impression of it-

It introduces three characters: Simon Sweeney, tinker and Sabbath-breaker; a crowd of shawled women; and a Narrator, split between self-as-child and self Now. Trapped in my ideas of clear, defined categories, Good and Bad, rather than Good and Good, of course I could not understand it.

At last, perhaps I will read it.

On the other side of fear

Julia Fehrenbacher stills her conscious mind, and creates.

She writes (I have abridged): When I drop below the level of thought and step fully into the moment, a quiet yet powerful knowing meets me right where I am. This sacred space is not concerned with right doing or wrongdoing, changing or fixing. It is the space where softness rests and hunger fades. When I make a conscious choice to be there, even in fear, magic and freedom happen. A world of possibility that my mind cannot possibly fathom opens wide before me.

When I sit down to write poetry or pause before a blank canvas it is my intention to get out of the way and allow something fresh and rich to flow through me. My mind jumps in with gripping resistance, telling me why I am not good enough and how I should do it, and each time I must quiet the noise of my mind. My practice is to keep returning to what is right before me, to allow my heart to take the lead.

 She believes we may live in the same way, wide awake, to meet what is with the fulness of me. This book has the purpose of freeing us to live in that way. Behold, the pictures are beautiful. I do not see the bird straight away, and it gives me such pleasure when it comes to my attention. Is that red storm threatening? Well, it is the same colour as the woman’s robe. See how erect she is!

This is where I am not. I want that sense of Presence, and I want to Live in it, more than to experience it, to act out of it. I am aware that my fear and anger is also in my subconscious.

The beautiful poems may be heard quickly, they are limpid and simple. There is little punctuation, the varying speed comes from the line breaks and the rhythms of the words themselves. And

here

stands out as the bold single-word stanza. On we go, in a spiritual journey. Quieten the inner critic, there is only the perfect, shining self. See the oak shed its leaves, as it does, being itself. Be yourself, your wild and tender perfection. See the amazing beauty of the quotidian, and Love is the only response, bringing delight. See the amazing beauty of your own body, breathing and heart-beating: that knuckle, how perfectly it does what it does as part of the whole.

I will
empty myself
again and again
and again

until all that is left is
Quiet
and a Knowing
that it is all
right

Just as it was
Just as it is

Out of this comes Life in all its fulness, unleashed. Together, we are Everything. This, Here, Now, is perfection. One more picture, and then it will be time for me to kneel.

In my ritual space,
rather than accept,
I honour myself, I honour physical body, mind, brain, spirit and psyche
Qi and life-force, instinct and being

past and present and future

__________________

On a completely different note, I have just gained the Kreativ Blogger award. To imagine how pleased I am, think of Scrat with his acorn. Ha! I have awards to give out! Be nice to me- Or, how about swapsies? I do not have a Beautiful Blogger or a Candle Lighter or even an Inspiring Blogger award, all of which I clearly deserve. Apart from her excellent taste, I am intrigued by Cathy‘s ventures into energy healing and the route to the Divine- or the Collective Unconscious, the liberated personality, call it what you will. As one example, read her on centering in the Body, in direct sensation.

____________

Added, 31 July: I am delighted to have pleased Julia as she describes in the comments. Her book did me good, and I want her to know that- and I am very happy if potential readers of her book know that too. And I am pleased to get the link and plug from j, through whom I heard of and got the book, who writes, “Clare wrote a truly stunning, soulful response to the book on her own blog.” And- I am tempted to say, “It is all a load of Crap! Julia says eveything is Nice, I thought for a moment, how Nice, it is no more than that.”  That would not be true.

And- it comes from the feeling that when I respond Nicely to a Nice thing I get a pat on the head, and all my struggles with my Shadow self, the unacceptable bits of me which I can no longer suppress and must integrate are devalued. That is what I want to be Heard! I also want you to Hear me having fun in decorous and oh-so-mild subversion. I will come back to this in my post Anchorite shortly.

I seek acceptance, and I do not accept myself, despite all the acceptance I receive, the rejection is so much more vivid to me.

Round and round I go
Accepting- Rebelling-
Accepting- Hurting
I so hope I make progress
somehow
________________________________

The “pat on the head” comes from me. It is my own acceptance and then withdrawal. I can accept the nice bits. I have rejected and suppressed the difficult bits. I move towards greater acceptance.

Dr Seuss

File:Dr. Seuss WikiWorld.png

Regularly, new Dr Seuss books would come through the post, and my sister and I would look at them with my father. The verses are simple for young children, and say worthwhile things. The wildness and unpredictability of real life, and its wonder, are here.

From there to here,
from here to there,
funny things are everywhere.

If you never did
You should.
These things are fun.
and Fun is good.

-One fish two fish red fish blue fish, 1960

I am a little disappointed to see in Wikiquote that two of my favourite Seuss quotes, which speak to adults, are misattributed:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.

Whoever said them, they are worth repeating.

Well, if I post daily, I have to have some filler posts, and quoting this humourist seemed entertaining enough, until I came across “Oh the Places you’ll go!” aimed at those leaving high school, and written in 1990:

Congratulations!
Today is your day!
You’re off to great places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.’
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.

Until I got to this bit:

The Waiting Place… for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
Or a plane to go or the mail to come
Or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
Or the snow to snow, or waiting around for a Yes or No
Or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite
Or waiting around for Friday night
Or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake, or a pot to boil,
or a Better Break or a string of pearls,
Or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or
Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

Oh God, is that me? Not applying for work or anything, not going out to meet Healers, writing a bit-

Everyone I meet, just about, can see I am TS and, I have such shame and anger and fear around that, and- am I working through it? Getting past it? Or just moping, so that the fear grows? I cannot be certain-

Picture. I would rather use Geisel’s own work, but given how Wikipedia tiptoes round it, it seems the copyright is important to folks. As is their right.

The right no

Che Fece [what did]

For some people the day comes
when they have to declare the great Yes
or the great No. It’s clear at once who has the Yes
ready within him; and saying it,
he goes from honor to honor, strong in his conviction.
He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,
he’d still say no. Yet that no-the right no-
drags him down all his life.

-Constantine P. Cavafy
 
In December 2009, I walked out of my job with the idea of killing myself. I had the sleeping pills, and I would take them. I said goodbye to the receptionist about one o’clock and went home, and sat in my living room. The strong desire to die went away, but I realised I could not go back to work. I was on a final written warning with an ultimatum “do this or get sacked”, and the next month I resigned in order to avoid being sacked. I took my month’s notice on the sick, and have only worked for six months since.
 
I had had to get out, immediately, without any plan for what to do next, and only the knowledge that I would rather die than stay there made me do it.
 
I do not know how this post will end.
 
————————————————————————————————————–
 
I was going to write, “All my life I have run away and hidden and I have to come to terms with that” and-
Is that true? I have not really progressed a career, I have not had many friendships,
but I have transitioned. That took courage.
 
Perhaps rather than Cavafy, Awdry:
 
Once an engine in front of a train
was afraid of a few drops of rain.
He went into a tunnel
and squeaked through his funnel
and wouldn’t come out again.
 
So Henry was bricked up in the tunnel, and with no head of steam he could not call Hello to the other engines. Though it is a children’s story: he comes out eventually, and is happy.
 
Perhaps rather than Awdry, the Goddess: Durga dancing in me, and me in her.
 
————————————————————————————————————–
 
OH GOD! IT HURT! IT HURTS!!!
 
————————————————————————————————————–
 
I wanted to kill myself because I was hurting that badly. I still do. I slowly – no, patiently and carefully, at the fastest speed I can manage, release my own bonds and come to self-acceptance. As I do so, it becomes possible to move on, perhaps to say a Yes- though I cannot yet be sure. And part of this is realising how awful and destructive my self-criticism has been, and mitigate it.
 

I know what I have to do. I want to get a job. If I want to heal, or to do performance, I have to develop my raw talent and get doing it. I took the opportunity on Saturday 26th: friendly audience of about forty, I compèred, some told me I had done it well, noticed that I had thought out what to say. And after, in the night, I was distraught, thinking of the level of human connection then and the chance to show off and be applauded, and then going back to my loneliness. And-

it cannot always be a high like that, and I have the skills to make more opportunities like that. And there will be more opportunities like that.
 
My life has been really, really hard. And I have now transitioned, and come to greater self-acceptance than before. And I am calming my fears.
 
 
The Episcopal Church ordains trans people to the priesthood. Thanks be to God.