The Second Going

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dear Maud,

Heaven’s above.

On Friday, the plane bearing me northward sprang a leak. Fortunately, Maud, the malfunction was not fatal, though it did prove to be terminal – in fact, several hours therein.

Between books, I observed the birds; up, down and all around. The sight of a diminutive figure, headset in place, guiding a pedestrian airliner across the tarmac led me to conclude that, just as we ought not judge a plane by its gait, we ought not judge a Data Entry Officer by his Lunchbox Letters. In our element, Maud, we might all excel.

As it was, I stared at the sky for so long that I vertigot. Flying, I realised, is easy – a mere matter of letting go and dropping heavenward into the hands of God. (Heard of them?)

Later, I arrived at my true destination: an artful alliance of poetry and panorama. As the ‘blue remembered hills’ tumbled before me, I savoured the words, etched in stone, of one George Essex Evans:

He knows not Life who hath not felt the breath
Nor gazed once in the mocking eyes of Death.

This brings me to the Second Going, which, oddly, precedes the Second Coming. That’s right, Maud – our exchange is yet again at its end.

Why must it be so? Well, as Elvis Costello knows, ‘when three goes into two, there’s nothing left over’. Sadly, Maud, I need the time to do other things; namely, to create Sophie’s Big Scoop and Yeoman’s Hut.

Speaking of my chillun’s book, how’s this for an opening:

Somewhere in the universe there’s a place called Pluto. Not the planet, which isn’t a real one any more, but the street, which is. Pluto Road is Sophie’s place, so it must be real. It’s where she was born (in a car that wouldn’t start), where she made her first friend (Sven, the boy next door) and where she baked her best cake (ricotta and cherry). It’s where, one week in the holidays, she got her big scoop.

Redundant, no doubt.

Like this final paragraph. Knowing that I cannot possibly close with an opening, and never having been one to use my own words when another man’s will do, I append an apt excerpt from A.J. Cronin’s A Song of Sixpence.

Marked ineradicably by my singular childhood, by an upbringing in which too many women had participated, I was, and always would be, the victim of every sentient mood, the unwilling slave of my own emotions.

Heavens above!

Yours etc.