you've got to burn straight up and down and then maybe sidewise for a while and have your guts scrambled by a bully and the demonic ladies, you've got to run along the edge of madness teetering, you've got to starve like a winter alleycat, you've go to live with the imbecility of at least a dozen cities, then maybe maybe maybe you might know where you are for a tiny blinking moment.
Winter near the shore is cold. The wind kicks up a salty mist and elephant seals come to shore to trumpet and rut and birth their pups. Retired people put sweaters on their lap dogs and drag them down the street on retractable leashes in a nightly parade of doggy humiliation. Surfers don their wetsuits against the chill of storm waves and white sharks adjust their diets to include shrink-wrapped dude-snacks on fiberglass crackers.
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, I have forgotten, and what arms have lain Under my head till morning, but the rain Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh Upon the glass and listen for reply, And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain For unremembered lads that not again Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree, Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: I cannot say what loves have come and gone, I only know that summer sang in me A little while, that in me sings no more.
We spent the first night of our honeymoon in a country hotel, with Tudor architecture oak beams, and floors which sloped, of the Queen-Elizabeth-Slept-Here variety. There were old tennis-courts - the Tudor kind where Henry VIII was said to have played; and gardens filled with winter heather, jasmine and yellow chrysanthemums. [. . . ] So that first night together was spent in the ancient bedroom with the tiny leaded paned windows, through which shafts of moonlight touched the room with a dreamlike radiance [. . . ]