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Letters to my Daughter

Posted Sep 27 2010 10:32am
"The horses whinnied as he touched their fetlocks, and the kine were shaken with bellows of their breath, and he touched their new horns. The little mice of the fields fled about him, and he gave them his unchanged position, and the night birds murmured above, and he moved not, and the creeping things he had not numbered or known, looked at him from a million eyes, and his eyes were there also, and the things in the trees made walking and running on the branches, and he spoke not.

Whom should he disappoint now?

And everything and its shape became clear in the dark, by tens and tens they ranged, and lifted their lids and looked at him; in the air and in the trees and on the earth and from under the earth, and regarded him long, and he forebode to hide his face. They seemed close ranged, and now they seemed far ranged, and they moved now near, now far, as a wave comes and goes, and they lifted their lids and regraded him, and spoke not in their many tongues, and they went a far way, and there was a little rest, and they came close, and there was none. Closing in about him nearer, and swinging out wide and from him far, and came in near and near, and as a wave, closed over him, and he drowned, and arose while he might yet go.

And whom should he disappoint?"

Dear Kezia

That is from Djuna Barnes Ryder published in 1928. Poignant and poetic.

Whom should I disappoint now?

The four of us - myself, Nanda, Jaime and, more than us all, yourself have been through five years of hell, although much of the early days I hope you cannot remember.

When you were two years old, they stuck needles into you left, right and centre multiple times! You cried and screamed and shouted.

Myself, Nanda and a nurse forcefully held you down as the doctor tried to find a vein to take a blood sample. And then being told you have leukaemia. And having to tell Nanda who broke out in sobs.

Whom should I disappoint now?

And explaining to Nanda you would both have to stay in England.

Whom should I disappoint now?

And for four years I only saw you for a few weeks, an absent father – I’m sorry.

Now five years later, you’re back in Sao Tome … but after a year of acrimony between your mother and myself, unhappiness for all of us, once again we are separated. I won’t place blame – needless to say you and Jaime are not - but myself and Nanda and circumstances are.

Nanda has taken you from here in Capela, our home in the uplands, to a house in lowland Sao Marcal, near a swamp. From health to sickness. I really hope not.

Whom should I disappoint now?

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