Sitting here alone in my tenth - and last day - of quarantine. Various representatives of the UK Gov. have been keeping me from feeling lonely by phoning me every day, asking me what I am up to, and making sure I am not doing something illegal. I did not realize I was not allowed to go for a walk until Day 2, when I was taking my normal hour stroll around the neighbourhood. 'Hello' said the government person on my telephone. 'Where are you? I replied that I was out for my walk and was told I had to go straight home or I would be fined.
So here I am. I have done my two required expensive self-administered Covid-19 tests and sent them off. The first came back with 'Unclear' as a result, telling me that I might have to quarantine for another ten days. I told one of my government friends who called that there was no way I would do that. They could go right ahead and arrest me. My government friend was sympathetic but firm. Hopefully tomorrow the second test result will come back negative- I have been vaccinated!
And meanwhile the lovely Prince Philip has left us. I always had a massive crush on him...The poor Queen- what must she be feeling now-
I remember what it felt like in the days after my Keita had died. There is that outraged feeling that everything is going on as normal in the world. How dare the grass need to be cut, how dare the tube trains keep running? how dare people go shopping and prepare meals and even laugh as if nothing had happened? And the shocked realization that I even laughed myself, and was able to talk for about two minutes before remembering once again the awful truth that HE is gone and will NEVER come back.
That is why that Auden poem is so wonderful- the Funeral Blues- because it understands that outrage of ordinary things daring to affront by carrying on as normal- and also because it understands that beautiful things, like stars, are irrelevant- the sun and the stars keep on shining but it is for all the others, it is no longer for me.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,Silence the pianos and with muffled drumBring out the coffin, let the mourners come.Let aeroplanes circle moaning overheadScribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.He was my North, my South, my East and West,My working week and my Sunday rest,My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;For nothing now can ever come to any good.W H Auden