Helen Waygood and I were at school together.
Decades later she told me how St. George had come to help her when she was 12 and her natal family began to break down.
She did not look at me for fear – for fear for all the years she had not told me – that I would not believe her.
Of course I believed her because I loved her and knew her. Perhaps she did not think that love overrides skepticism.
She took her life in April 2014, suffering from the same illness as her father: an illness which broke first her father, then her family, then her.
August is her birthday month. Time heals nothing and I am bereft without her.
Despite the reserve in which we were trained, she was a persistent and most compassionate witness of my life. That took quite a bit of doing because we lived our whole adult lives on different continents.
She would smile and, kissing me, say: silly girl! if she knew that I am completing her St. George in needlepoint, full of colours, of course – which I shall leave unfinished, a little.
Imperfect as the love I expressed for her while she lived. As the poet says:
‘I am made of incompleteness,
the words are not there in words….
life untouchable, by no name, with no beginning…’
THE WONDER OF THE IMPERFECT
W.S. Merwin, 1927-2019, American,
from The Moon Before Morning (2014, Copper Canyon Press).
Nothing that I do is finished
so I keep returning to it
lured by the notion that I long
to see the whole of it at last
completed and estranged from me
Charger with St. George in chivalric mode; the motto reads ‘Above Fear and Beyond Reproach’; earthenware with polychrome and luster glazes, 1907. Walter Crane, 1845-1915, British. Delaware Art Museum.
but no the unfinished is what
I return to as it leads me on
I am made whole by what has just
escaped me as it always does
I am made of incompleteness
the words are not there in words
A needlepoint translation using wool on cotton scrim, 2015-unfinished, by the author of this blog.
His world is no longer round: the saint is in motion and the dragon always there in every century and always the great struggle.
oh gossamer gossamer breath
moment daylight life untouchable
by no name with no beginning
what do we think we recognize