THAT'S WHEN YOU FALL
For Madame George
This opera and that opera, this Schubert and that Schubert, this drama and that drama. This is all my ranting. He’s trying to get a word in. “Yes, but how about Bob Dylan?” “Who?” I say. “Never heard of him. Or wait.” I’m having an epiphany.” Yes, yes, of course, isn’t he the one who’s banging on that instrument that is so deafening?” “Sorry,” I say, “except for Wagner, I don’t like loud and disconcerting music.” “Fair enough,” he says, laughing at such embodied ignorance. He has seen better days and women. He decides to go for Van the Man. He doesn’t answer either to the Irish or the English stereotype of the man of the day. Larkin has both the priest and the doctor running around in their long coats over the field after having solved the puzzle of what a day is good for in this life. Van laments: “Oh, won’t you stay, Stay a while with your own ones, Don’t ever stray, Stray so far from your own ones”. Van is into astral weeks not days. Some formal introduction is needed, we all feel. “Madame George, Camelia Elias, Camelia Elias, Madame George.” “Elias is from Vienna, a good acquaintance of Stefan Zweig,” he says. La George bows. She knows Zweig’s work on astral hours. And Elias is totally into prophets. “Let’s go see one,” she says. But as she doesn’t like the train, she suggests that they all take the plane and fly to Israel. Elias needs to see her mother before the fall. The other two have businesses of their own.