Just Something To Go On With

A curious, very beautiful afterword follows Canicula di Anna in Anne Carson’s poetry and essay collection Plainwater. Carson’s closing words capture, with precision and economy, that spaciousness that opens out at the end of a powerful story.

It runs for two and a half pages, but not to spoil the effect if you intend to read Plainwater, here’s an appetizer:

After a story is told there are some moments of silence. Then words begin again. Because you would always like to know a little more. Not exactly more story. Not necessarily, on the other hand, an exegesis. Just something to go on with. After all, stories end but you have to proceed with the rest of the day. You have to shift your weight, raise your eyes, notice the sound of traffic again, maybe go out for cigarettes. A coldness begins to spread through you at the thought; a wish forms. Perhaps it is something about me you would like to know-not that you have any specific questions, but still, that would be better than nothing. I could pour you a glass of wine and go on talking about the sun still upon the mountains outside the window or my pet theory of adjectives or some shameful thing I have done in the past, and none of us would have to leave just yet.

2 thoughts on “Just Something To Go On With

  1. Yes, and I sometimes find myself thinking of the last sentence of that wonderful afterward, following her promise of ‘something to give you…something to go on with’:
    “It is simply the fact, as you go down the stairs and walk in dark streets, as you see forms, as you marry or speak sharply or wait for a train, as you begin imagination, as you look at every mark, simply the fact of my eyes in your back.”

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