Monday, June 30, 2008

Wanting In

Katharine: Will we be alright?
Almásy: Yes. Yes, absolutely.
Katharine: "Yes" is a comfort. "Absolutely" is not.

--The English Patient, 1996

You see it there, right?
That frantic, unworldly hieroglyph?

Those are the
dark scars left by a
tenacious ivy,
pried loose from the
building's side,
upon its renovation.

In 1969.

Not--no, not--the
claw marks of someone,
or some thing,
desperate for walls
to crumble,
hungry to get in.



Yes . . .


[Photo of Chubb Hall, campus of Ohio University--
reputed to be one of the most haunted places in
the country. Of course.]


Nothingman said...

I have been to just one haunted place and it was bombed with graffiti done by ghosts with paint cans.

This one is unique.


ChrisEldin said...

I love how you pull so many elements together for one writing piece!
Haunted, eh?

Beth said...

I absolutely love English ivy even though it is a destroyer of old buildings. If I lived in an old place, I'd want ivy clawing it up. Great description.

Jaye Wells said...


Aine said...

I just came from reading the last part of Vesper's ghost story. And I find this.

Another delicious taste of summer haunting... the best time for it.

PS-- 1969 is not that old, right? Why am I starting to get a complex?

Sarah Hina said...

It's good to see you again, Nothingman!! Funny how prolific those ghosts are with their spray paint. ;)

Chris, I'm having fun using the new camera. I think it's going to draw out new strains of thought. This pic immediately conjured claw marks for me...

Beth, I love ivy, too. It really makes a building feel more organic, and imbues it with an air of past life and mystery. Thanks!

A little, Jaye. About as spooky as I get.

Oh no, Aine! Not absolutely. ;) I'll never trust that word again...

And 39 is not old in people years! But ivy footprint years?


Just "yes."


Anonymous said...

I've given it some thought, and I can see that "yes" is a belief, while "absolutely" is a desperate wish.

A belief sounds more comforting.

Now let's see that clawing monster!!

Sarah Hina said...

Yes, Jason. Very true.

And I'll work on luring that thing out of the shadows. ;) It may just be a little camera shy during the day...

Abhinav said...

Lovely piece! I admire how you can draw inspiration from just a few words, Sarah. Though Ondaatje's prose is lyrical enough to inspire oodles of poetry out of us all. ;-)

Sarah Hina said...

I'm always so pleased to see you pop by again, Abhinav. :) I hope you're doing well.

And yes, Ondaatje could squeeze a poem out of a flea, I imagine. ;) He's a real magician with words.

Hotwire said...

the set up of the quote, coupled with your wonderful piece, was a nice daily double!

Sarah Hina said...

Thanks, Hotwire! It was a strange conversion. :)

Anonymous said...


Whitenoise said...

Interesting observation, interesting inference, all nicely tied together in pretty string of words.

sexy said...