Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#SOL17: I will arise and go now

Forgetfulness (M.A. Reilly)


From somewhere in the high heavens, the places I could not see, far beyond my gaze, there was a future floating down. I was alive, feet on the earth, so I could not outrun that future and slowly it covered me up.
There is, my dear friend, in the heart of every living being, the will to go on. 
KAO KALIA YANG, Your Threads Have Come Undone: A Letter to a Grieving Husband

The words quoted here are from a letter, Kao Kalia Yang wrote to a stranger who was deep in grief. Her words are poetic, brave, fierce, and so very, very right. I have been struggling to understand what it is I have mostly learned these last two years and it is the unquestionable understanding that the will to live is an untamed pulse.  Something fundamental urges adherence to living when the self is less sure of breath. 

At first I didn't feel. Shock insulates, slows the blood. Then I resurfaced and forgot. Each step in the day was a moment to anticipate Rob. I surfaced and remembered and it hurt in ways that defy language. When light began to creep in, to sink below the shut eyes of doubt it was largely because of the company I kept. Awakening happened alongside others deep in their own bereavement--mostly women I met in grief circles. In time I shared and shouldered sorrow and joy, and these connections rerooted me to the planet, to earth. I was feet to the soil. 

A day or two ago, a friend, Sandy, commented on a set of images I have been making this summer.  The presence of blackbirds can be found in so many of my paintings and truthfully I had no reason I could name as to why their presence in each painting was so prominent. She told me what I simply had not seen:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life

Birds in Flight (M.a. Reilly, 2017)

You were only waiting for this moment to arise 
- The Beatles


What now feels like a million years ago, though it was just the summer of 1990, Rob and I traveled north of Sligo to visit Innisfree. There we were rowed across the lake to the island and spent the day in Yeats' bee-loud glade. Born there was the promise of something permanent and something also fleeting.

I will arise and go now.

 And I am.


  1. Your words always move me. It must be so bittersweet to live each day with these strong emotions. You are right- arise and go. Your art (in picture form and word form has such power and depth.

    1. Thanks so much. I appreciate you reading the post and also commenting:)

  2. These words spoke to me: "the will to live is an untamed pulse."

    I love your art and your writing. I love how you have woven the Beatles and Yeates into this post.

    Have you heard Anthony Hopkins's reading of "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"? It moves slowly, the way grief moves through our lives slowly.

    1. Glenda, I have not heard Anthony Hopkins and would love to.

  3. Words embed themselves into our souls without us even knowing they are there, but they are, and they rise when needed. Love this awakening, Mary Ann.

    1. I think you are right, Linda. Words come to me. I also dream language and rehearse a painting in my sleep.

  4. Beautiful words to hear from you today - arise and go.

  5. Beautiful images, both in art and prose. I love that you have friends who see what you didn't, because in doing so, they are seeing you--and we all need to be seen, to feel grounded.

    1. I had not thought of it as you describe. Thanks:)


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