Silent Light – Gareth Evans

Field Notes

Image from Silent Light

Where shall we live?

Where, but in the moment of our bodies, tendered to another; this, our barter and our touch…


Each time that we lie down, each might be the last. Love’s work. A history made in rooms, this treaty cast between us. This hand that signs your skin with all the lace lines of my life. In rooms. And in the garden, in the fields, the gather of the glade, all those rooms without the fix of walls.

In this room, above the restaurant, a simple weekday afternoon. With children’s voices always somewhere, like the circling birds. The rare, slow surf of vehicles across the summer plain. You in this room. Solar, our encounter. All God’s space for this, that light must travel longest, silent miles to this our hourless bed, its coming so to honour us; arriving at your mouth with ceaseless gifts for quiet harvest. Ripple of the pilgrim on the casual wall, its breeze blown message for us only, here, and here, and now. The smear of you, a polish, on my thigh.

Barefoot in the avenues of grain, we walked and walk towards each other, smiling. We carry small, strong lamps in each, high alcove of our separate sight. My gaze becomes your stepping far into my head, until I watch myself in mirrors out through your own seeing of my breath. I rise and fall like bread, like hawks above the plough; I too in suspension as they wait for what will feed them, what will keep them living in the air.

I have stood in the great yards of the night and counted all the horses of the stars. Do you know Andromeda, two and a half million light years from this whole earth, and from my holy retina, sacramental, glancing on your truth. How far this eye can see without assistance… Soon you shall be further from me than its fine, faint gleam. Easier it shall be for a galaxy to know me then than you, whom I must untenant in the pastures and the public ground and in my own bright soul. We are no more one thing, meeting in itself entire.

Oh, our naked eyes. We said, this shall be our faith, this, our common prayer. Shelter in the steeple of my hands…

I am…

I stand between the scales. I stand upon the threshold of the clock. I am what most unravels you; uproots you like a storm in stampede sky. Do you understand my face? It is only the grain of all the wood I am. Years inside this bone tree like the fire inside a match. You are roof beam, wall and floor to all your growing family. I am singled as the larch that lingers near the bathing water pool. I drank from my own cup, from the solitary stream of uncalled days. Until I drank from your held hands, and what they held… was me.

I am Marianne. I saved you from… from what? From all you felt at the daily table of the morning world, in the ticking kitchen, from the tide of loss, of fear, of missing the knowing that you knew, had known the meeting in your own life, in the learning place. Our meeting, fleeting, there…

So we met. And all that came to pass. Until I salved another from the very final bed.

Still, life.

I have come through. And you, and she and all born after, with your blessed name.

In this one place, our storied time among the trees, silent in the light that reaches now and now again from all the distant halls, and calls…

Oh, we were…

Come through.


Gareth Evans is a writer, editor and Film Curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London. He produced Grant Gee’s acclaimed essay film Patience (After Sebald), curates the PLACE festival at Aldeburgh Music, Suffolk and edits the journal Artesian.


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