silent stones, gifts from 3 Kings’ Day, 6 january

silent stones, gifts from 3 Kings’ Day

my lovely wife, Priscilla, desires a New York holiday with her daughters after our trip to Florida with Deirdra and her 3 children. On King’s day I heard these stones, silent stones,

Elisabeth in conversation about lupus told Priscilla, her mother, 

  •  Deirdra in Tampa, Florida, has more ‘than one bald spot’ at the at the back of her head; she has multiple lesions

Priscilla did not know.

  • Sarah, the middle of the three sisters, told Priscilla that she ‘had to stop running …her legs, toes, big, small are, were ‘hurting so’

We did not know.

  • Elisabeth mentioned that her Whole30 plus diet was ‘helping with her inflammation’. She has arthritis and lupus. 

We know.

Deirdra, her youngest, never spoke about her lesions; and Priscilla never asked about her bald spot.
Sarah never asks; does not respond to texts. Her mail ‘box is full.’
Elisabeth, the oldest, a nurse who supports family care givers, is very busy and tired from her children’s and husband’s cares; works and graduate school. She struggles to call, but we can imagine.
They give what they can: silent stones.
And each of these silences was, is, like a Samuel Beckett stone, a silent stone.
In Beckett’s ‘Molloy’ (his title character) describes his attachment to 16 stones, 
“Taking a stone from the right pocket of my greatcoat, and putting it in my mouth, I replaced it in the right pocket of my greatcoat by a stone from the right pocket of my trousers, which I replaced by a stone from the left pocket of my trousers, which I replaced by a stone from the left pocket of my greatcoat, which I replaced by the stone which was in my mouth, as soon as I had finished sucking it. Thus there were still four stones in each of my four pockets, but not quite the same …”

For Beckett’s Molloy,  the process of moving a  stone from pocket to pocket to pocket to mouth and back to pocket is life: move, remove, suck, absorb, replace and move again. What are these stones? Why this process?

I can’t and won’t answer for another, including Beckett. For myself, the stones are my memories, objects and  items;  absences and silences. They haunt me; they absorb as they speak or rest. They are silent though. And  I can not speak with them within me; within my mouth. Silent. And I can’t hear either as I focus in on their movement from pocket to hand to mouth and back to pocket. Only they matter. Or  do they matter? They don’t. 

They don’t. Not as long as I can not speak or hear. And I can’t this 3 King’s Day. I echo Molloy here, 

Deep down it was all the same to me whether I sucked a different stone each time or always the same stone, until the end of time. For they all tasted exactly the same. And if I had collected sixteen, it was not in order to ballast myself in such and such a way, or to suck them turn about, but simply to have a little store, so as never to be without. But deep down I didn’t give a fiddler’s curse about being without, when they were all gone they would be all gone, I wouldn’t be any the worse off, or hardly any. And the solution to which I rallied in the end was to throw away all the stones but one, which I kept now in one pocket, now in another, and which of course I soon lost, or threw away, or gave away, or swallowed…

Silent stones are about me-may ‘never’ being with and never ‘being without.’ It doesn’t matter which, as long as there is silence.

silent stones.


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