“Failure is a bend in the road, not the end of the road.” Roy T. Bennett.
I picked this Email up this morning, but neither know Mr. Bennett, nor this Internet newsletter ‘Seeds4Life’. This time I haven’t thrown this letter into the trash, but decided to read it and use it as a prompt to start the flow of my New Year’s thoughts.
For years I’ve received prompts from Anna, my Muse, and enjoyed her support in stimulating my creative writing. Having started out as a poet, as early as age fifteen, I wished to share my emotional life with my friends, my readers, and Anna was one of my first readers and a loyal follower. A Muse.
She brought me the spark that ignited the fire in me. Her constant dedication to my poetry at first, she guided me by commenting about structure, imagery and emphasizing rhythmic quality. Gently and lovingly she shared her own love for poetry with me. I had no idea where Anna wanted me to go at first, but soon I realized that her guidance through the world of her poetry – she had taught at a secondary school – made me understand the awesome literary work of Greek Nobel Laureates, I would have otherwise not come across, living in a country teaching English literature, where English poetry was predominant.
However, Anna had seen in me a poet, who wished wholeheartedly to move forward.
“All we do is out of love”, she used to state and answering her question of what kind of poet I wished to become, I answered: A poet of love.
Having failed as an architect to continue conducting a reasonable living, as most of my repeat clients had left Southern Africa, moving to Canada and Australia, and as I became therefore gradually more and more depressed, it dawned on me that I too had to leave the country that I loved behind, which I had helped to develop through the construction of numerous buildings.
But then another door opened suddenly, as I met Anna on a social Internet channel. She was different to the majority of people, who were in a hurry to find friends and intimate partners. Soon it was clear to me that sorting out of matching friends was indeed based upon a speedy footing of the Internet. Anna and I clicked: Similar age group, same interests, similar tastes in food and philosophical outlook, a common taste for contemporary clothing and a modest view on social interactions. Above all, a tactile sense for belonging. Really? We had good chemistry that bound us together, creating good vibes and we enjoyed our company entirely, neglecting our existing family members. We belonged together. We had enthusiasm for art and literature and physically – being both aesthetes – fitted well together. Anna always marveled about having won the lottery with us meeting, but she lamented that we had regrettably met too late. I didn’t think so, but then I did not have a clue that our relationship was doomed by fate.
At one stage she had visions of a family we could have created together, with some children and enjoying their inherited talents. This moment had moved me deeply, but later her sudden revealed news of her terminal illness caught me by surprise and I wouldn’t believe it until she was transferred to a hospital. Her cousin delivered to me a message to abstain visiting her in the hospital: I should remember her as she was happy with me in the good times.
When I heard the news of her death through her daughter, it grabbed me really hard emotionally and I became physically ill. It felt like my end. This relationship had failed and it was my fault. Did love loose its healing powers? No. It was Fate, the dark shadow accompanying love that had failed! It was a higher power that had made a mistake of bringing us together that late. Or was it supposed to be my role to be there for Anna and help her to have still a fulfilled life, when desperation had struck her with a physical trauma?
After all we had found the gift of an unusual triad of love: Mind, body and soul! Complete harmony as it seldom comes to human experience. Was this the price for her dormant terminal cancer? The ultimate triumvirate of emotions that is found in a great love? Everything had fitted in our lives. A superb experience of perfection in love. Top of the tops. Fate’s failure was passed on to me as our failure.
But then I realized that Anna had passed on to me her knowledge, had fostered my talent to grow as a poet. Then she made me go forward through short story writing, and had me advance to a novelist. I had written my best love poems for her, an elegy: Elegy of an Unusual Love. My response to her Love Letter of over twenty pages. A celebration of star-struck lovers, betrayed by the ruthless Bone-man.
First we had everything in abundance, a poet’s paradise, immaterial but rich, undemanding, unforced, purely natural and intensely responsive. And then her sudden death, the force major, the unavoidable and devastating snake that bit Eurydice into her heel at her happiest moment in life. Death. The end. Telos!
I saw her and myself burning to ashes at the stake of a cruel inquisition, out of which two ghost-like beings rose on wings to be united forever. A dream? At first it was. But then I had inherited part of Anna’s soul and mind. As the matter of the mind also perishes, it will live on in the soul that will never die!
Anna is always present when I write or dream, or when I am loved by other friends. One friend in particular. I appreciate her thinking of me at times, like X-mas, bringing me surprise presents, helping me to get ahead in my real life with its hard facts and in the wake of token social-democratic behavior.
I have plans for a new painting. I had been painting while having taken leave from my spouse. For 49 years we had stayed together through thick and thin, through real hardships and though changing a lot, we have stayed together in the ultimate basis for staying alive, even if we both had once stumbled across the great love of our lives.