today, though calm and quiet (as i spent most of my day in my own company), i felt overwhelmed.
overwhelmed, as i so often am anymore, with how many people there are in the world- and how little room that leaves anyone to stand out, fit in, find themselves, amidst the noise of so many mewling humans.
i rode my bike on a little loop up lorain, over on bunts, and down franklin and detroit until i got to the Diner on Clifton, where I parked myself at the counter on a stool and ordered: just a coffee, please. i'm comfortable there, in the off-hours, amongst the smattering of regulars sitting in booths and the women working there with smiles, and a stool at their counter is fast becoming one of my favorite places to be.
this afternoon i had my norton anthology of english literature open in front of me; i flipped to the poems assigned for tomorrow's brit-lit class, my mood swinging low despite my cozy habitat. in the absence of a notebook i wrote in the margin of the first full page of gerard manley hopkins' biographical note: "it's four- or almost four- and i'm reading at a diner and realizing that there are too many people in the world, and everyone who wants to be someone is fucked."
i've been swallowing bullets in between the need to determine my soul and the heavy thought that i will never be anyone, trying to figure out if it's worth it to figure out who i am and what my spirit wants to love. i was sitting at the counter this afternoon, watching other people's eggs and bacon walk by on plates, trying not to cry into my coffee, thinking and feeling to degrees i am lately unused to, and gerard manley hopkins started talking about philosophy.
at first i was annoyed, reading the background on his curiosity about "inscape" and "instress," thinking about the pompous air of the philosophy-interested pricks i know from my stints in academia. i moved on, though, from norton's notes on hopkins' life and into the poems themselves, and realized: gerard manley hopkins is a fucking genius.
maybe he's a genius because i was vulnerable this afternoon, and thus open to the possibility of being saved by a few good lines. i think he might be brilliant anyway, but my hopelessness was soothed when i read the first (of two) stanza of as kingfishers catch fire, which i share below.
from as kingfishers catch fire
as kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
as tumbled over rim in roundy wells
stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
each mortal thing does one thing and the same;
deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
selves-goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
crying What I do is me: for that I came.