It’s exactly fifty years since we were wed, on a snowy day, January 2nd, 1971, at Aldershot Registry Office, and today feels very like that. We didn’t know then about the disaster at the Ibrox Stadium when 66 people died and over 100 were crushed and injured. No danger of that happening today with social distancing and Covid putting the mockers on all social or sporting events, but there is a feeling that Armageddon is not far away all the same.
It’s a long time ago, fifty years, and many of the people I love now weren’t born then. Some had already died. Others are waiting for their turn to enter the world.
Auden’s villanelle, ‘If I could tell you‘ written in 1940 at the start of WW2, echoes the uncertainty we feel today, and the villanelle form with its circular and repeated phrasing seems the perfect vehicle for this:
The choices that we make outlive us. Everything changes, yet some constants remain. Love, oblivion, death. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Reflecting on the past year, maybe we have needed a dose of reality away from the consumer rat race to focus on our real concerns.
Time will say nothing but I told you so…