Saturday 24 July 2010

Layers and folds

Reading between lines

The common things that most women do so well. Certain traits are acquired, certain cultivated but there are those eternal ones which one is born with. Let us take the emotion of feeling pain. Even when I utter the word 'pain,' I can think of atleast three references to what caused me pain. Effortlessly it flows. No initiation. No forcing. It just flows. And how . . .

I remember whenever I am so pained that I start crying, I cry not only for the present pain but for all the pains that have passed by me. And that happens in chronological order. That's magic. How can one be coherent in pain? Well, it happens.

After the order, comes the detail. I think no one else can be a sucker for details as me. Gradually the scene unfolds (of the past pains). The dialogues. The exact words. The pain that was there then. The days of wallowing in self-pity. The end which strengthened and made me spur on.

The place and the time: Well, I tend to take it a bit further and think of the songs that reminded me of that pain.

This does not happen when I am happy. Happiness captures only the present moment. No flashbacks. No details. Probably that is why happiness is lovely to be in as it completely wraps up your senses to the present. And that's why I like to be happy happy. Sometimes one forgets that and raises tragedy to greater heights calling it the high point of emotion. Nah.

Let me leave you with a poem by Hopkins. It talks of pain.

'No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief.'

~ by Gerard Manley Hopkins

No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing —
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked 'No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief."'

    O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.

Poem courtesy: Internet


  1. Beautiful and reflective.;)

    Details of my pain are often repressed. To the point I might mix them up and conclude my own versions of what happened. I like to forge pain, never really dwelling on it too much. I cry a lot (and easily) and feel the pain to the bone, but then after I have relished in it I let it go...

    Now happiness; i remember every single detail.;)) That is also the way I create; I do my best writing and painting when I am happy, in contrast to the best and great artist.;) I often wonder if this means I am no artist really at all.;))

    Have a splendid Saturday dearest Susan and thank you for another great post,


  2. i tend to remember my pain quite vividly and it sneaks up quite easily...the trick is not allowing it to steal your happiness...i do cry at times...i think it is healthy...

  3. This is a very beautifully pensive post, Susan, and a true joy to read. I share your feelings; I can often recall the details of pain I have experienced, yet I am not able to do the same when it comes to happiness. And maybe it is best this way, after all, isn't the very essence of perfection and happiness that it is fleeting, and to prolong it would be to diminish its meaning.

    The poem also was a delight, thank you for sharing it. I shall definitely set about finding more of Hopkins' works :)

  4. Great post, Susan! As for how I feel and deal with painful momments I can totally relate to you.
    Beautiful poem, indeed! I really enjoyed it!
    B xx

  5. I have repressed so much pain and heartache from the past that I have a tendency to sometimes overreact with perceived pains from the present. I am learning to confront past transgressions so that I can let go. It is damn difficult to do so, though.

  6. You are really clever, my dear Susan. It had never occured to me that that is exactly the way it is, with happiness and pain.
    I am just amazed! I guess it's the same to everyone.
    So come happiness and joy

  7. "Sleep". It is the Small Death. But "pain" is the eternal dying.

    I think the reason why we focus on past pains when we are in pain is because...

    When we are in pain, we are opened up from the inside out. We are in pain because we have opened ourselves up to being transparent, and allowing all truths and memories to come in. Happiness is more of a present moment emotion because it happens in an all of a sudden fashion. I don't think we tell ourselves, I will open up myself to be happy. And when happiness comes, it hits us like a flash, and then it's all the more focused on the present because we are still reeling from that "flash" moment's surprise.

    And songs... they do have such power, don't they? Music, in general, I think, has that power of evoking memory and enlisting emotion... parallel only to smell. Smells really do have a way of triggering my memories, too.

    It's always such a pleasure to read your posts, Susan. For me, they are like a little candy bar during my day of hard work and non-stop thinking. They are a treat that I can sit down and enjoy with relish for a few minutes. And how!


  8. Zuzana:

    You are a special person, Zuzana and I'm glad that you remember only happiness in detail. And please don't wonder about the artist part, there are exceptions to every rule and you are one!

    A joyous Sunday to you :)


    Crying is highly recommended as it lets off the steam. The joy after that is priceless.

  9. Sam:

    How glad, how glad it is to have you back in the circuit. Welcome dear Sam. I think it is very human to recall details of pain more than happiness. Well said when you connect the fleeting quality and the impermanence. You should read more of Hopkins, some good work there.


    Thanks for your kind words dear one. Glad to have you overboard :)

  10. Polly:

    Pain should not be repressed. I guess you would have experienced the happiness of letting it out. I wish you happiness and joy always :)


    Your comments always make me feel nice. You have a way with that dear Dulce. I guess it is the same with most of us and as Sam said that quality makes happiness fleeting. Oh, yes, happiness and joy always :)

  11. Nevine:

    Talk about eternal dying. But sometimes one, to a certain degree finds comfort in pain that a kind of permanence is sought in being in that pain. It's dangerous. Pain can also be an addiction when one is lazy to pursue happiness. I can tell that from personal experience. I wish no one is there in that state any day!

    Songs, oh don't talk about them. They play on in the mind on and on and increase the intensity a hundred times over. I am a smell person as well. Ufff. I can go on and on, dear Nevine. You bring out the ME from me.

    Thanks for you kind words Nevine. The mean a lot to me. And quoting you, your comments are my 'treat' for a nicely-written post, always.

    Joy always :)

  12. Isn't it odd that it is the bad things that we tend to remember
    our minds working overtime and acting as a faithful retriever
    things that gnaw and gnaw away ferociously like cancer
    burning away our vitals like a never-ending ember.

    Good post Susan. As usual. Thanks for sharing. The poem as well.

  13. Govind:

    Finally you find time to comment. Been long. Hope you are doing well and so are all things around you. Hopkins writes difficult poems. He was a highly depressed man for he felt writing poems was a distraction from his calling of serving god. He was a priest.

  14. A great reminder in this post dear. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

  15. Great post...and really moving poem. Thanks for sharing-and nice of you to stop over at my spot. Cheers!

  16. JBR:

    You are always welcome, dear one. Have a sprightly week ahead :)


    Welcome to the meanderings. Hope to see more of you in the coming days. Cheerio!

  17. Wow. Suddenly I have an urge to cry. I don't want to. I need to go out in the sun and cheer up.

  18. Jen:

    Don't. Just go out as you have said and enjoy the flowers and the sun.

    Wishing you smiles and butterflies always :)

  19. You are so right Susan, pain seems
    to dig up all the little details
    you'd much rather forget.
    Very perceptive little essay.

  20. I cry whenever I am reminded of painful memories; the trigger usually is a song, some object or people... something bearing resemblence to what had been there at that point in time. It is hard not to forget them and it does hurt...
    How well this post defines that agonizing turmoil, I can identify with it so much...

  21. Cynthia:

    Thanks for coming by. You are quite perceptive yourself. Been long. Hope all is well with you. Your words are always appreciated.


    All we need is a trigger, no. I can understand whatever you have expressed dear Ruchi. May joy always fill you and pain be far away from you.

  22. First of all I would like to say that the traits you presented here are not just done well by women only. In fact even most of men do it so well. The fact is that, some hardly speak of such things. :) Period
    Coming to the emotion of feeling pain, I have a completely different view, which I would like to present here.
    Speaking in general terms it’s a human tendency to forget the pains and remember only the happiness. But speaking specifically there are different constraints to it in analyzing the situation.
    First think/imagine about a good relationship and if you love somebody deeply and if the person leaves you then after sometime, you tend to forget the sorrows or pain incurred by that particular person and you start thinking or remembering only the joys or good things about the person which makes you very nostalgic and you start missing that person. No wonder we call it love. In love you can not feel or remember the pain incurred by that special someone. And True love can be of any form, it does not have to be specific. Moreover it does not have to be a person only; it can simply be an animal with which you have a strong bonding.
    Next think/imagine about a person whom you hate or who has spoiled your life to the core, can you remember anything good done by him/her to you (Even if they ever had done anything good to you)? And when ever you remember about them, automatically the pain, the sorrow, the curse and everything they inflicted on you resurfaces and you start crying and your soul becomes handicapped. Everyone exactly at this phase becomes a sucker for details. Isn’t agonizing to suffer the same pain for ages just remembering it again and again?
    Isn’t it hard to control our emotions sometimes (esp. when it is hatred or pain)? In the long run, it’s very difficult to forget the people whom we hate or whom we love because of the past times we spend with them. But can we forget a person whom we hate unless and until we forgive him/her? Hence the wise sayings say, “It is always better to forgive the person who has inflicted pain on you. By doing so you can do a great help to yourself.” Here the help which we do to ourselves is that the moment we forgive them we tend to forget the pain we suffered thus saving ourselves from the repeated pain we experience by remembering it.
    Finally, I think I don’t have to speak about the pain due to objects as I think it is not worth speaking about it as I feel that physical pain is nothing when compared to the pain felt by a sensitive heart.
    Happiness is indeed lovely and it will completely wrap up our senses not only to the present but also to our past and future provided that you are constantly in love with the surroundings you are in and constantly in love with the people you meet. Is it tough to achieve??? At least can’t we try?
    It is a great feeling to see someone bring forward such sensitive issues. Thanks for posting it here and I can understand the pain you suffered till now which made you to write such a touching post.
    Take Care...

  23. Asif:

    Ah! so many things here: Pain, happiness, love, forgiveness. Asif you take so much time to explain things and that's why I like to read your comments. Glad indeed! True, Asif, men generally don't talk about all this. What I was talking about in this post is that when we do experience pain, we tend to remember all the earlier pains but happiness isn't like that. It envelops and makes us see only the present.
    But as for remembering, we do it only with happiness and not sadness.

    Asif, as always a pleasure to read and respond to your comments :)

    Joy always.

  24. Today I had a great day and I’m very very happy as I have achieved something spl. Last time I had this feeling, I celebrated with all my frnds by going to xyz place for the dinner. Then I went there to ABC and bought a spl gift for each and every person of my family…This time I’ll plan something even bigger. ;) ;)
    Have a nice day :)

  25. Thank you Susan :)
    love and hugs...



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