Sunday, 21 May 2017

An Eternal Fixation.

Today I saw the woman I’ve mentioned a few times before on this blog, the one I’ve referred to as ‘the most beautiful woman I ever met.’

I’ve seen her a few times across the years and managed to meet each encounter with composed resignation. Today I felt unusually sad. I was reminded of the fact that she it was who ignited my fondness for a popular Irish ballad. It’s one I've posted it before, but I’ll post it again in case anybody’s interested (and I won’t be offended if nobody is.) The poetry is a compound of the sublime, the unsophisticated, and the slightly silly, but the narrative bears some small resemblance to my own experience:

It also occurred to me that writers can be a little prone to fixations with that one bright light which sucks them in, caresses them with a firm but demure eye, and then holds them with their walk, their personality, their demeanour, and their lightness of being – all the things which make a woman beautiful whether she is pretty or not. And if she adds that quality into the mix, well…

Kavanagh had his Hilda, Yeats his Maud, Dickens his Ellen, and TS Eliot even married his fixation when he was sixty eight and she was only thirty. (It takes a woman’s particular brand of courage to do that, I think.)

And then my own minor ditty flowed quickly and remorselessly into my head. It’s embarrassingly syrupy, but I do admit to there being an embarrassingly syrupy side to my nature, a side which occasionally – though not often, thankfully – finds egress when I’m not frowning and staring steely eyed at people I dislike.

Do kiss me once before I die
Before the redd’ning of the sky
Before the final lullaby
Before the dark'ning of my eye

Before the race of life is run
Before the setting of the sun
Before the battle’s lost and won
Before my deeds come all undone

But no, belay that trifling plea
Forgive the shameful symmetry
For ladies fair must ever be
In concord with their honesty

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