For Virginia Woolf, March 28, 2011
House damp, house untidy. Winter’s lyric mood. Who seeks a versatile vegetable for a chilly spring hears Tomahawks scream over someone else’s skies. A bomb drops, a window rattles. From underneath, where you were watching, danger appeared: a silver pencil, a plume of smoke. Walks which had given delight, walks which had given words. Then the greatest pleasure in town life gone. Prayers and anthems—the thought of peace like a sawing of branches overhead. Like a desperate illness, punctual as vespers. Routed today by clearing out kitchen. Sausage and haddock. One writes, gains a certain hold. Then the zoom of a hornet which—any moment—might sting you to death. Just a piece of studio wall left standing. Otherwise rubble where I wrote so many books. As the foxhunter hunts, as the golfer golfs. One pilot landed safe in a field. You can’t think what a raging furnace—open air where we sat so many nights, gave so many parties. Searchlights, a sense of invasion. How close it comes—hum and saw and buzz all around us. Allies holding. The marsh soggy and patched with white. To soldier on, even in the thick. A stone, a walk, a little before noon. Two very small lambs staggering in the east wind. Shall I write . . . something grieving and tender and heavy laden and private?