Operation Oysterhood: Day Fifty

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.



Yep. Fifty.

Last night, another three hours on Skype with my friend Michela. Girls’ talk. We met at university in 1996. She was the South African pioneer in our department. I followed in her footsteps. She still teaches SA literature at the university in Vienna. A love impossible to deny or forget.

I think my headaches might be the result of too much screen time. I slept through the night, but had important Karavan Press admin to get through in the morning, so I got going shortly after waking up. With lots of coffee. Lunch, some more emails, more work, and then a short visit with a cat who had an operation yesterday, but her only human is an essential worker and could not look after her in the afternoon, so I offered to check up on her. She was all fine, purringly happy to see me.

I read an upcoming poetry collection in the afternoon. Poetry always restores me to myself. Pamela Power asked a few authors to share their favourite rereads with her and posted the results on her Go See Do Reading Matters today:

The Joy of Rereading

I didn’t think of poetry, but yes, I return to poetry all the time. And my all-time favourite poem, by Rilke, still gives me goosebumps, no matter how many times I read it.

Lösch mir die Augen aus: ich kann dich sehn,
wirf mir die Ohren zu: ich kann dich hören,
und ohne Füße kann ich zu dir gehn,
und ohne Mund noch kann ich dich beschwören.
Brich mir die Arme ab, ich fasse dich
mit meinem Herzen wie mit einer Hand,
halt mir das Herz zu, und mein Hirn wird schlagen,
und wirfst du in mein Hirn den Brand,
so werd ich dich auf meinem Blute tragen.

Melissa A. Volker luckily remembered poetry and said: “I re-read poetry. I have a thirty year old anthology and I always read the same poems.  Robert Frost. Robert Herrick, Louis Macneice. Especially Meeting Point. I love that one.” No wonder the descriptive passages in her prose are infused with a poetic sensitivity.

My favourite Aunt is celebrating her birthday today. I am drinking a glass of lovely wine to her health! I hope she was able to celebrate despite everything.

The global numbers are crushing. 4.5 million confirmed infections. Over 300 000 deaths. Almost four times the number of inhabitants of Jelenia Góra, the city I was born in.

Just in case anyone was wondering why we are sheltering in place…

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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