The great object of life is sensation—to feel that we exist, even though in pain. It is this ‘craving void’ which drives us to gaming—to battle—to travel—to intemperate but keenly felt pursuits of every description, whose principal attraction is the agitation inseparable from their accomplishment.
Because death is like memory and memory is like love.
And they are all three like a snake swallowing its own tail.
Becoming itself to destroy itself.
The noise caves in. A
love that understands only itself
craves him. Surrounds with its
sound an emptiness, enveloping. Sings
until silence permits relinquishing. Excepting,
unexpectably, the unacceptable. An entering
in, as if agreeing. Consequence
seeking consent. Secret. A love
unashamed of filling absences, hollowings
resounding with song. Becoming experience.
The noise craves, comes. Unsought,
this desire is of the
sort that wanders. Walks until
wanted. Gets off offering what
no one ever stops to
ask for. Performs pleasure endured,
not nurtured. Purchased, not earned.
Unaltered, adulterated by those whose
solitudes theirs cultures, informs. How
this lyric that loneliest moment
allures. Rich with histories every
echo labours to pour forth.
Mysterious as knowing where flame
returns when fires goes out.
That sort of warmth, cooled.
This is how he yearns.
From out of the craving
void emerges his thirst without
words. Love-hungry, sweating. Inside, an
equinox and a solstice, polarized.
A puzzle that perspective changes
as time elapses. Throws out
shadows in the shapes of
seasons. Knows those he holds
always go, snow blown in
a globe. Stirred, shaken, strewn.
Returning to them a shade
grown, despondent from longing for
him. How silence suffocates sound.
Lower the spirit let go.
Beneath its eyes and ears,
what mouth this world shows
cuts with bladed tongue. Swallows
that hubris of his no
crowd avows, not now, for
no one is around. To
ward from its fading toward
its having faded, he allows
breath a purpose. Extinguishes torches.
Ghosts. Permits to be painted,
sits for, a portrait mourned
over in another’s memory’s corner.
1Lord Byron, to Annabella Milbanke, September 6th, 1813, from London, in Byron’s Letters and Journals, Volume III: ‘Alas! the love of women,’ 1813–1814: Edited by Leslie A. Marchand, published at Cambridge, Massachusetts by Harvard University Press in 1974; pages 108–110.
2Conner Habib, “Part Four”, in Hawk Mountain: A Novel, published at New York by W. W. Norton & Company in 2022; page 226.