Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Life, Politics, Writing

Day 63

Every day presents us with new dilemmas. I feel guilty for being weary. I am not a refugee. I am not being threatened by an army. I am not being threatened by white men with guns. I am not being bombed on the outskirts of a desert in Africa. I am not starving. I’m not thirsty. I’m not on the verge of death. I have a swollen ankle that I don’t rest enough. I’ve been crunching spreadsheets for the last 3 days. I have been wandering and sitting around with a giant albino in my head obsessing me. That’s the sum of my woes. That’s the sum of my dilemmas. It’s nothing.

I will, this morning, on the radio, play out the first movement of Gorecki’s wonderful Third Symphony, although I’ll start it 3 minutes in because the first 3 minutes are almost inaudible, and that doesn’t make for good radio. I did discuss this piece briefly with Mrs S who has spotted me through work and is now reading my blogs, and the impossibility of not crying when listening to the piece, at which point I said I wouldn’t play it out. But such is the universal pain of the world encapsulated by this music, that, this morning, this grey grey morning, in this peaceful, if sometimes violent, city which is now my home a thousand miles from conflict, I need to play it. There’s no option.

England, and it is little England coming up for 6 years after the EU referendum, is such an insignificant insular place now. It was insular even when it was an empire, because it was an empire built on exceptionalism and the suppression of anything different. The country has walked backwards in time, remained obsessed with the out-of-date trinkets of royalism, jingoism, and class, walked so far back in time that it has no relevance or influence in the modern world. It refuses to have any influence, refuses to sanction those, regardless of nationality, who would spread malevolence and spite so they can remain rich and powerful, with no conscience or regard for the needy. The right-minded amongst us have to share the cesspool that is England with those who deposit even more cess in the pool. A horrendous thought.

The words have all the wrong weight this morning, on this desk littered with papers, cables, reference books, phones, calculators, remote controls, biros, and fountain pains, notebooks and blank lines. The world sits amongst all these things in its ugliness, and leers at me with its pestilent skeletal face.

Gorecki’s music speaks of atrocities and redemption.

I will make time to tidy the apocalypse from my desk.




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  1. Beth

    4th March 2022 at 14:40

    The world in all its ugliness, England, my own former home of the U.S….yes. But right now, outside my window here in Montreal, there’s brilliant sun on pure white snow, the chirping of birds, and a fine spray of icy snowflakes blowing off the roof, each one shining in the sunlight. I’m about to listen to some William Byrd, which my choir sang last night — it was my first time back since October and Omicron. And then I’ll listen to your Gorecki. The news is dreadful; and after these long winter months I can finally feel the heat of the sun on my skin. I’m trying to remember that it’s both the darkness and the light together: not a matter of choosing, but holding one in each hand. Thank you again for these morning writings.

    1. Richard Pierce

      4th March 2022 at 18:12

      Thanks for this wonderful comment. The lyricism gives me hope. And it is the darkness and the light together. It always has been. That’s what we are, creatures of darkness and light. πŸ™‚ <3

  2. Ren Powell

    4th March 2022 at 15:18

    I am late to the desk today – but here. Knowing you don’t want to write about this but knowing how we can’t not even if it is the guise of a novel.

    1. Richard Pierce

      4th March 2022 at 18:10

      Thanks πŸ™‚ You know you’re in my head all the time anyway. Very strange unsettling days. Rx

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