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October 2014, vol 10 no 3

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Jonathan McKeown

The Sense of Humour

"Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed …"
                                             Genesis 17:17

Lying here, it's taken a while to place the faint static sound that seems to be coming from everywhere.

threshold soft morning rain on the roof

Probably the humidity, I think: clouds come over like an extra blanket and overheating, my body's barometer pulls me from one of those other worlds we call simply sleep. Whatever it was the night has left me unready for the day. Malingering, my mind hovers and descends – returning me to that part of yesterday where I dropped round to see my daughter after work. Sitting there, half-listening to her mother, I had noticed a little hand-written "Do List" lying on the table. Unlike those I often make, my daughter's was still full of things she was looking forward to. And that feeling – waking up with an unblemished sense of expectancy – is as remote as a past life to me now.

school holidays
savouring     the sound     of surf
from my bunk in the van

Is it naïve to believe life will keep its promises? – What after all are the dreams of children if not a kind of promise life whispers to them? It is as if somehow I drifted across an invisible threshold – perhaps the far horizon of my own childish dreams – into this safe harbour beyond dreams. Here I make lists of things I must do against the tendency to forget such things must be done. This harbour of dead dreams, of desiccated dreams where one comes to expect only disappointment; where fulfilment is a fairytale we were told as children. This harbour where old men no longer dream, nor suffer little children that do…

morning fog
the element in the jug
begins to crackle