Monday, January 3, 2011
It's not so easy
The challenge of writing the story of my walk across the Peloponnese last autumn is proving to be a greater trial than I had anticipated. Describing the route I followed, places visited and the scenery through which I strolled presented few difficulties, but finding words to describe the sensations the journey stirred in me, particularly those engendered by my fellow ramblers, is presenting many. Most of all I am having difficulty trying to communicate how I related to my fellow strollers. Throughout the walk we remained, superficially at least, a harmonious group. There were, inevitably, differences of opinion about many things all of which were always resolved equitably. My great difficulty has been to express the effects of these differences had on me without giving a quite fallacious impression of my being at loggerheads with my fellows throughout our time together!
To a large extent my difficulties are, I believe, a direct result of my being who I am. My father died in 1993, my mother six months ago, but their influence over me did not die with them. Much of it will, I expect, remain with me for the rest of my life. Because they were decent loving parents they inured in me of showing, at all times, consideration for others. Such an excellent job did they make of doing so that, well into my seventh decade, I am yet inhibited from unreasonably upsetting third parties and struggle to explain in writing my differences of opinion and disappointments in ways that are unambiguously congenial. At other times and in other ways it is easy for me to carelessly repudiate parental tutelage but my written words silently point, like Dickens’ ghost of Christmas future, accusingly back at me.
In writing this post I can but bring to mind Old Lark’s , “This be the Verse”. I do not in fact subscribe to the substance of Larkin’s verse much preferring Adrian Mitchell’s rephrasing of it:
They tuck you up, your mum and dad
They read you Peter Rabbit, too.
They give you all the treats they had
And add some extra, just for you.
Man hands on happiness to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
So love your parents all you can
And have some cheerful kids yourself
However, when struggling to express what I feel while protecting the sensibilities of others it is Larkin’s original I recall rather than Mitchell’s rephrasing!