Sometimes a sentence sticks with me. Sometimes just a word.
Last Month, Janice posted a bit of poetry:
a game known as
I liked this very much. Blue is such a terribly lovely literary color. There’s William Gass’s On Being Blue and Maggie Nelson’s Bluets to name only two contemporary canvases.
I don’t read much poetry. I never know what to do with it, with an entire book of poetry. But this snippet stuck with me. I thought daily of decay.
This wasn’t a drag though. Decay is a game! Not a moldy skull with worms wiggling in and out of the eye holes. Decay contains intrigue and promise. It might result in you winning something unknown to us.
“No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay,” Pat Barker writes in her 1991 novel Regeneration, which is about World War I, among other things. In this scene, a doctor is contemplating metamorphosis.
Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul, for those whose cast of mind leads them to seek such emblems. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.
I did not read the rest of the poem, just as I have not read Barker’s novel. I picked up these quotes from elsewhere, snatched them from the roadside like two blue roses poking up amidst the bramble and litter.
A time will come when great upheaval will occur, when serious conversations will be concluded with inexorable decisions. In A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit explains how this works: “The process of transformation consists mostly of decay and then of this crisis when emergence from what came before must be total and abrupt.”
Soon enough decay will turn into something beautiful and new, a butterfly colored bluer than blue.