31 May - Last Evening of Spring
I don't know why, but two ordinary days in a year are special to me: 22 November and 31 May.
Usually I remember what I felt and did on those days, though there's no obvious reason for that.
Yesterday in the evening after the working day I went to the Tudor Sport Ground near my home.
The ground is in fact a golf course with a field at its centre for cricket.
You can imagine an English evening with black trees around the edges of the lawns and Turneresque sky above it.
The sun has just set and the twilight is so soft and tranquil that the rare tweets of birds are echoed by the faraway horn of a car.
An empty tennis court with a net hanging tiredly.
An old uninhabited building with a sign 'AD 1920' on the front, meant to be the cricketers' dressing rooms.
If you go further - a line on the grass, bordering the cricket field.
On your left a squeaky see-saw, playing in the darkness with a soft draught.
You can feel a smell of burnt paper in the air, kids' voices can be heard from afar - a hint on what's happening there, behind the bushes, which separate the golf course from the cricket field.
A rare train, a random passer-by, an occasional dog running towards you... The evening of the 31 of May.
As if everything around you tries to say something to you.
You start to deconstruct meanings: the blackened trees, which you know by names: oaks, maples, sycamores, ash- and lime-trees, standing here for a century or two - you came - they were here, you'll leave, they will be here...
The greenish sky with rare brushstrokes of yellowish clouds - what does that symbolise? About the routine waking of the sun? About the principal darkness of the universe and a small gulp of the light which we are lucky to have? About you soul as immense and as sad in the middle of this evening?
What does the white lane on the grass represent? What about the forgotten tennis net? What about the empty see-saw?
Ultimately you can answer these questions in some metaphoric or straight way, but there will be always a gap of dissatisfaction, which is the starting point of any poetry.
Because first of all it's all about you.
It's you who are lending language to the grotty building with an 'AD 1920' sign on its front, to the lonely flapping flag over the golf-hole, to the empty bench in the name of someone, who loved to sit here many years ago... 31 of May... The last evening of spring...
But are your perennial sentiments of 'les temps perdu' - of the lost times - sufficient for the apology of poetry?
Imagine people in this world who are tortured, who are imprisoned, who are starving, who are fighting for their lives.
Will they accept it?! Maybe not just the answers, which you gave, but the questions, and even the whole language, which you applied to the lost and late plane, leaving a cloudlike trace in the sky, to the smell of burnt paper in the air, to the siren-like sound of the horn from afar - are wrong?
Maybe there's nothing extra in it: this metal table under the birch-tree is scheduled for people to play bridge or read newspapers, when they are not eating a sandwich or drinking a coke.
This plastic bin next to the play ground is a box where mums dispose nappies or cigarette ends, when they bring their kids to play on the see-saw and dog-owners taking their terriers for a walk throw litter.
It's just 'out of office' time for all this equipment and stuff. I think it's 21.47 train from the Welwyn Garden City passed there to London. It's time to go back home...
So the 31 of May, 2011 has ended.