Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Melancholy









Ovid describes the Lemuria, a May festival in Rome, when householders begged the ghosts to leave. Ancient civilisations understood the link between the seasons, our minds and bodies. It was a coincidence that I found a reprinted book by Jane Ellen Harrison 'Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion'. May was a bad month for me and many friends, packed with ghosts, and as I was reading I came across a phrase 'the natural melancholy of the spring'.

It was there like a gift, an insight waiting to be pounced on and the clouds of elderflower and cow parsley blossoms, swathes of poppies on the Downs, made sense too: sophorific scents, the colour.

Seven years ago this month, Sunday 27 June 2004, my brother Michael was killed in a plane crash. When there is not a chance to say goodbye, to make peace, I think we reconfigure these ghosts constantly and need to usher them out for a while until the day of the dead comes round again.