Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Birthday buddy

Not Waving But Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

- Stevie Smith (1902-1971)

While I was getting up this morning and preparing to take younger daughter to school, they were burying my half-brother five time zones away. They found his body almost two months ago, and the inquest must have finally wrapped up.

In the years that I thought my father was dead, I had visions of him lost, drunk, and alone. When the video for "Joey" by Concrete Blonde came out, I could hardly bear to watch it. It turned out that my father landed on his feet. My half-brother, alas, kept on falling:
My half-brother's birthday is on Saturday. It's the same day as mine.


peteraj said...

You sound like you feel "it" is your fault, whatever "it" is. But feeling guilty for another's circumstances is congruent with blaming others for one's own mistakes.

Happy birthday for Saturday - truly.

Persephone said...

Having never met my half-brother (with the exception of two incoherent phone-calls and some exchanged cards and letters), I don't feel responsible for his demise, but no man is an island, y'know? I am diminished by his loss and paradoxically both saddened and relieved by my own helplessness. I hope that makes sense. Thanks for your wishes.