First sight

Feb 2013
Digital collage / computer generated
61cm (24") x 76cm (30")

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I awoke knowing that I had dreamt of you, but had no recollection of what had been in the dream.

(To say that I awoke is a slight exaggeration; I became conscious, but was not yet in 'The Land of the Living' is nearer the mark.)

My hands were loosely entwined on the pillow in front of me, and beyond them the bright daylight shone through the pale green curtains.

I hoped to return to sleep, to return to the dream. Futile hope; In the million years since I last saw you similar hopes had never been realised.

I tried to empty my mind of thought, and succeeded until I noticed that I had too many fingers and too many hands. There the hope ended.

I noticed that some of my hands and fingers were solid, while others were translucent and possessed the texture of the weave of the curtains. I also noted that the hands and fingers seen from the left eye were different from those seen from the right, and different again from those seen when I allowed my eyes to look straight ahead.

Parallax, parallax, parallax and blurred. In this optical illusion all three views are true, and all three views are false.

I said, you said, you said, I said - and would you still say "Never mind what I said."?

Parallax and the optical allusion.

Staring unfocussed straight ahead, the real and the parallax fingers and hands are blurred, so too the curtain's weave.

It was the blurring I think which brought to mind vapour trails - to change the optical allusion.

In a windless sky the vapour trail leaves a record of what has passed, slowly thinning, blurring at the edges, eventually separating into isolated cloudlets.

In the million years since I last saw you the edges have blurred, the cloudlets are isolated.

I remember the texture of your jacket when I stroked your back and you flinched away from me as though I were a monster.

I remember the fingertip massage of your forehead to take away the pain of a headache.

Speaking of the forehead, I remember the lightest of butterfly kisses you allowed me to plant there.

I remember the wheel like patterns of the boiled sweets.

I remember the yellow scarf.

I remember the unintended innocence of your face as you slept.

I remember when you allowed me to hold your hand, and when you refused to let me hold your hand.

I remember the undeserved dirty look you bestowed on me the first time our eyes met.

What I mostly remember is the series of inaccurate preconceptions which you projected onto me. I had the parallax and the blurring, you had your eyes closed.

I said, you said, you said, I said. The parallax, the blurring, the allusions. Not least the illusions - you said, I said, I said, you said.

(And never mind what Descartes and Berkeley would have to say.)

She made a meal of lightness and conceit
And thinking I had found my feet
I stood upon the precipice
Stared into that dark abyss,
And though it seemed step for step
She always looked away.

Within her edifice
Beside the precipice
She made a meal
Of lightness and conceit,
Outwith the edifice
I took it for the real.

Yes, she made a meal
of lightness and conceit,
And I, foolish me,
I took it for the real!

Aye, the reel it was - a merry dance,
Of lightness and conceit,
And though it seemed step for step
She always looked away.

A part she played, a simple act
Of lightness and conceit,
Artifice her edifice
Of lightness and conceit.
And though it seemed step for step,
The merry dance,
She always looked away.

So dim the lights
And play it reel for real.
See -
Outwith her edifice
Upon the precipice
No lightness or conceit.
See -
Where I lost my feet
Upon the precipice,
Fell into that dark abyss.....

And though it seems step for step
She will always look away.

(Words - May 2016)


'By the time I am twenty I shall have learnt the secret of the confusion that women cause in men's minds.'
Erich Maria Remarque,
from chapter 6 of All Quiet on the Western Front.

'Some hope!'
Me, age 63.