I had to go and see a man about a lozenge, but he was at a tangent. He suggested I take a wafer. I have written elsewhere, at some length, about wafers, and I do not intend to repeat that pretty little escapade, not when I am standing at the bottom of a staircase down which I fully expect a ghoul to traipse. Upon the descent of the ghoul, I shall climb the staircase myself and enter the chamber from which it has been expelled.
My arrival may well cause consternation. A ghoul leaves, and almost immediately afterwards a chubby man wearing filthy gloves appears. When I use the word â€˜chubbyâ€™ I am referring to my inner chubby man, you understand, my shadow self, the man I would be in my dreams.
I do not know who awaits me in the upper chamber, although I now know that whoever it is will half expect me to be carrying a wafer. I can use the filthiness of my gloves as an excuse for not doing so. It is an excuse I have flourished on many occasions, not always successfully. Like the ghoul, I have been expelled from chambers and attics and parlours and even from cow sheds.
But I will not be expelled from the chamber at the top of the staircase, for it is written that I shall dwell therein, unto the last trump. I am waiting for the ghoul to be thrust out, all dignity rinsed out of it, out out out, and then I shall rise up, a chubby man puffing up the staircase, and I shall take possession of my final chamber.
Is it just my inner weasal going on an inquisitive bender, or is there a lot of potentially repressed Christian symbolism swilling about in this strange stew? The ‘wafer’ is, of course, a common substitute for bread at a communion; the ‘upper chamber’ somewhat similar to the ‘upper room’ where the Last Supper took place. Admittedly I have never heard the Holy Spirit described as a ‘ghoul’ before, but both of them seem to be fond of descending upon the uncertain.
I am at a loss as to how the ‘chubby man’ fits into all of this.
“No symbols where none intended” – Samuel Beckett, Watt
Ha! Watt did he know?
I think that this might be the best thing you have ever written! Seriously. Rearrange the line breaks and submit it to the Times Literary Supplement as a poem – it’s a poetic masterpiece.
As to the Christian tendancies – well, I have always detected knowledge of Chritianity in your work, Catholicism I would say, though no doubt lapsed. Possible early torture by Christian Brothers or Jesuits? But then the language of the Bible, of the prayerbook and sermon, has influenced all writers in English. I would say that much of your writing is pervaded by a acute awareness of mortality. You are drawn to decay, rust and loss. Your lost Arcadia is not in some golden Arthurian age, but an overcast, muddy, hinterland somewhere between Moldova and Iceland, peopled by strange Englishmen trying to keep their heads above the mire.
Dear Mr. Yard, I agree with Stan, this is a charming piece