Thursday, January 10, 2008


I'm an amphibian these days, halfway suspended between the old world that is passing and the new world that has arrived. I find it hard to shake the memories of voices and places, poises and faces, noises and spaces. I miss them all and yet I am learning to love their replacements. It is a terrible task, but I am working on it.

I feel like a newt, a neotenous salamander, that which should be fiery but which is now watery and squidgy. I am neither here nor there; I breathe air, and I might as well be tunnelling through the earth. It is horribly unfair to the memories of those who are gone and it is horribly unfair to the people who are really here now.

Today I was in a corridor when I bumped into one young lady of the present. I greeted her, "Madame." And I suddenly felt a twinge of pain, almost like angina. It is not her fault she now stands in the feet of power. But it is her position now, and I cannot begrudge her that place, despite the fact that it once belonged to someone whose memory still walks the corridors. I cannot quite bring myself to exorcise that ghost. It is all very silly, I suppose.

And then Trivandrum and Spam came visiting. That was even more painful. They too are now amphibian, not here or there, not even allowed the transforming power of the Green Mile.

We are all caught for now, caught like flies in amber, stuck in halflife between one state and another, somehow unable to move on. It isn't that we can't, I think. It is probably that we fear the pain of an ultimate parting, a confession of unprofessional weakness, a heretical impulse to actually disburse the wealth of our shrunken hearts and write off the loss forever.

In the meantime, a special alchemy must serve. I slowly denewtify. The degree of amphibiosity, of newtness, can be measured and is shrinking by the day, I hope. This quantity must, I suppose, be measured in its smallest quantum. I shall invent a unit of this new thing, this quantum of newtness. I will call it the newton.

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Blogger Albrecht Morningblade said...

Salamanders can last for ages, though they prefer rotted logs, piles of decomposing leaves, and such. Hate to think of you being under a mush pile of compost ... But wait! You're a teacher; same thing, innit?

Ha ha

Friday, January 11, 2008 4:26:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

though positions may be the same, perhaps the titles are separate. a title that began with one should perhaps stay with that same one. other titles can follow. i suppose the first is always the first.

i similarly felt the twinge.

Sunday, January 13, 2008 12:28:00 pm  

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