What I Was Talking About When I Was Talking About My Foot

They are and suffer; that is all they do: A bandage hides the place where each is living, His knowledge of the world restricted to the treatment that the instruments are giving. And lie apart like epochs from each other -- Truth in their sense is how much they can bear; It is not talk like ours, but groans they smother -- and are as remote as plants; we stand elsewhere. For who when healthy can become a foot? Even a scratch we can't recall when cured, But are boist'rous in a moment and believe In the common world of the uninjured, and cannot Imagine isolation. Only happiness is shared, And anger, and the idea of love.

W.H Auden: Sonnets From China, Sonnet XIV [from the Complete Works). In Time of War, Sonnet XVII [from the Selected Poems] Either way, a.k.a. 'Surgical Ward'.

Copyright ignored because I was trying to make the same point in my last post.


Addendum: I found a nice quote from Auden's diary (no, I do not go about reading dead poet's diaries as a rule - well, not that often - but found this one here.)

This voyage is our illness: as the long days pass, we grow peevish, apathetic, sullen; we no longer expect, or even wish to recover. Only at moments, when a dolphin leaps or the big real birds from sunken Africa veer round our squat white funnels, we sigh and wince, our bodies gripped by the exquisitely painful pangs of hope. Maybe, after all, we are going to get well.

Peevish, apathetic, sullen. You talkin' to ME? I said, Are YOU talkin' to ME?



Posted by: expat@large on Aug 23, 08 | 7:46 pm | Profile


Hey, if it makes you feel any better (ha!), next time you are walking to the toilet spare a thought for Douglas Mawson...

"Even when the soles of his feet separated from the flesh he continued. He simply smeared lanolin onto the exposed flesh, bandaged the separated soles back into place and kept walking."


Posted by: rambeaux2 on Aug 23, 08 | 11:28 pm

Gross me out dude!

I just smear alcohol on my liver... internally!

But I suffer as hangovers are twice as bad and come twice as easily thanks to the drugs...

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 24, 08 | 3:50 am

Yes but the Mawson quote refers to the soles of his boots, not his feet!

Posted by: Indiana on Aug 25, 08 | 1:00 pm

Indy: LOL! You 100% sure it wasn't his SOUL that was coming loose? I was the diet of raw dog liver that made him fall apart - Shackleton and co lived on penguin soup mostly for 6 months of more and their footwear remained sturdy...

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 25, 08 | 2:11 pm


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