There is always the next hill

 Posted by at 11:57 am  Atelier
Sep 102010

You quote Saramago, ‘we learn as we go along, through the
words we speak.’ We might learn the words of the Temptations’ My Girl, we might
already know the lyrics and be singing them as we cycle along some quiet back
roads in Viareggio until confronted by the revolution that is never quite
happening – a promise of something else and as such always a betrayal.

We might even learn to speak italiano. But politics is about
managing power, sleight of hand, corruption, shuffling the pieces on the chess
board and smiling at the camera as those judged too feeble to fight back are
mashed once again. What is the nature of learning in this Colosseum of the
oppressed? Piles of bullshit tend to disgust us and I get a sense that there
are any number of people who currently hold this view of TB – the sort of
bacillus for which antibiotics are completely ineffective – and he’s made
enormous piles of dosh!! To add insult to injury. And to cap it all, did he
learn nothing? This must be what we call bitter disappointment.

Every now and again we are impressed by the bizarre and
contingent nature of this divine comedy. On Friday a week ago, I was due to
have lunch with a friend during which we would chat over the events of our
lives and whatever political shenanigans had come to our attention as well as
share the poems we had written since we last met. At about one o’clock I got a
phone call from her husband  to say
that there had been an accident at Halwell blocking the road and she had
decided to return home. On Monday the Guardian had a report of an accident at
Halwell caused by a runaway strawbale that escaped a trailer, rolled down a
hill, smashed through a hedge and crushed a van, killing the cellist of the ELO
(in the seventies) Mike Edwards who until his demise had been continuing to
play his cello in the Devon Baroque Orchestra and delivering water. He is on
the cover of the current Totnes Festival brochure. A gentle Buddhist, a friend
commented as we chatted in a car park yesterday. Yes, we might be called away
at any moment!

The perennial philosophy must be so called because of the
infinite nature of this thing that we call life and the never ending failure of
our puny attempts to imagine an understanding of it – though, it has to be
said, we never give up despite our rasping breath and muscles on fire as we yet
again set out to climb the hill and in a very real sense we never learn.