my take on this
If you are at all like me, what you had to say to yourself that day was this: It’s over. It’s all over.
You could draw a breath. Did you say that to yourself as well? You may well have. Draw a breath—these may well have been your words—as you held a hand to your heart and indeed took a breath. It’s over.
It had to come to an end.
You did know that – right?
It could not go on and on. It had to come to an end, and now it has, and now we may go on again.
A dove rises up to the heavens. The sun comes out.
Such things may have been in your thoughts then, if you are at all like me.
It may have seemed like it went on a long time, and truly it did, but it had to come to an end, and it did, and it’s over.
We were patient. We went on with what we had to do. And all the time there was – what shall I call it? – a profound woe.
We turned away from it. But it was there.
It lay there. Like something dead.
Never mind that, we would say at the time. Let it be.
And let him be. Let him do what he will. Let him say all these things. Each morning.
False. Puffed-up. Reckless.
Still, let’s say no more of him now. Let’s not speak of him, now that he’s gone (but does not think he’s gone, so it would seem).
We may close that door now. And let’s have it locked. Indeed, let’s have it locked.
Let nothing again come in the way of honesty and honor.
Something like this you’ll have said, if you are at all like me.
Close the door, on him and on all that were with him.
Now we may do what must be done. Look at the state we are in! Not a day should be lost! On with it!
But the door: it is not still.
They are knocking at the door, knocking and knocking.
There are such powers in that knocking.
We look at the door. We look at one another. Still they go on knocking.
What should we do?
Things cannot be left like this. The door. The knocking.
It’s up to us to do what’s right. We have to let them in again, we say.
You know what this is. You know how it goes. You have been here before.
They cannot be left there. We have to let them in.
And then what?
When we have let them in again, then what?
Will they be with us?
Will we be with them?
It’s not over, you know.
It’s not over at all.
*as told to Paul Griffiths.
Pre-eminent writer on music, librettist, novelist, essayist Paul Griffiths is author of many books including let me tell you, a novel which, like my take on this, manages with the fewer than 500 particular words Ophelia has in Shakespeare's Hamlet; and Mr. Beethoven, about the composer's fantastic sojourn to the U.S. of A., forthcoming from New York Review Books.
[photo: Hurricane Ophelia, 2017]