Between the rapture and the ruin

Today’s article is about life and what it is that truly defines our existence, that makes our lives of worth and value. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t the great moments of my life that defined it, but the great divide between them. I spent far too long searching for those perfect moments or wallowing over the moments of pure anguish to realise that I was wasting the days I was actually living in.  I was merely existing, in a perpetual waiting room, listening for my number to be called so that I could move from one great moment to the next, only to find that the moment passes in the blink of an eye and then I was back in another waiting room, eerily like the last.

Don’t get me wrong, the great moments are obviously important, they shape our views and opinions, send us down one path and close off another forever, but we only ever exist in a finite space and time and those great moments are over almost before they’ve begun.   I live right here, right now, in this space, in this very moment – I’ll likely remember it for the rest of tonight, I may remember it tomorrow, maybe even in a week, but the clarity of it will surely fade with time, because the importance of this moment was fairly low in the scheme of my life. But like all the memories I have of keeping this blog, it will join the amalgam of feelings I am building, of the contentment and catharsis, the joy and fulfilment that I associate with this space where I freely share something of my art, my views and feelings.

Maybe an example will help clarify my meaning!  I can’t remember every experience of writing or painting, but I remember painting Convergence after my Nan died, how that individual piece helped me to make sense of my feelings.  Then there’s the poem “Witness to the Storm” that was such a powerful and liberating experience of writing my very spirit and essence onto the page in a visceral and enlightening experience.   Those two memories stand out loud and proud, they were pivotal pieces of art that happened and became defining moments in my life, but even as important as they are, they fail to match the overriding sense of purpose, rightness, contentment, catharsis and achievement that my experiences as a whole of creating art over the years of my life has given me.  That body of work to date started as early as 7, when I used to make up stories for my little sisters and comes right up to now, to this blog post I’m writing at this very moment.  Together the collective span of artistic experiences have and will continue to shape my life immeasurably, the collective emotions of those memories are far more important that one single stand out experience.

So that’s what the poem “Between the Rapture and the Ruin” is all about, those seemingly insignificant moments that make up the majority of our lives, that when brought together have the weight and gravitas to create those emotional caveats around our repeated experiences and to elevate the mundane and familiar memories to a status beyond import. The rapture tonight is my words, weaving around me, spilling forth like a font of spiced wine, captivating me as they haven’t for a while and the ruin is a picture, a place I have visited so many times in my life, a beautiful ruined castle that speaks to me on a deep and personal level – Corfe Castle in Purbeck, Dorset, on the South West coast of England.

I took this picture in 2009 on my birthday, it was a beautiful, hot, sunny day, with some truly atmospheric cloud formations that worked very well with the high contrast, black and white treatment.  It seemed a fitting picture to put with this poem.

Take a moment why don’t you to contemplate the great divide between the rapture and the ruin in your life and hopefully you’ll find something magical too, maybe even an ephemeral wisp to hold on to.

Wealie x

Corfe Castle - Copyright R.Weal 2009

Corfe Castle - Copyright R.Weal 2009


Life is not the moments that define it
Not the rapturous joy
Nor the ruinous pain
Life is the moments in between
Each sunrise
Every sunset
Everything you have ever been and all you are not yet
The cumulative clamour of your every heartbeat
Every reckless breath
Each considered thought
All your comforting words and thoughtless taunts

Life is not the moments that define it
It is the passing through of the seasons
The time that so easily slips unnoticed through the fingers
The complete volume of all your tears both sorrow and joy
Your every seasoned plan or Machiavellian ploy
Each tremulous smile
Every small slight
The sum of all your warm kisses and bitter delights
Every delicate touch
Each blundered fumble
It’s every moment through which you’ve soared or tumbled

Life is not the moments that define it
It’s the passage in between
Grant me not great joy
But spare me great pain
The sincerest wish I ponder
That there is a man with whom I might wander
Who will share with me contentment
Between the rapture and the ruin
Be a part of me like a second skin
On whom I might always lean
Who’ll live with me in the ephemeral wisps of the moments in between

Ruth Weal
14 April 2008 8.22 pm

Copyright R.Weal 2008 ©

Written in an ephemeral wisp, of a moment in between


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