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Monday, 25 October 2010

'Aching Joy'

The 'aching joy' of youth.
Tintern Abbey, William Wordsworth.

There was not much I took away from studying Wordsworth, but this one phrase has resonated with me.

To celebrate Vonnie's parents emigration we snuck out of the party and escaped to Roydon park. It is a strange feeling walking in to the landscape of your past, as if at every moment you might discover a fleeting ghost of yourself. Roydon Park is filled with so many of my teenage evenings and lost dramas. Vonnie and I hold hands and I feel giddy again as if I am drunk on cider. The darkness holds the same shapes and together we recall them like summoning spirits. I point to a bench or a tree and sketch out with my fingers absent friends, forgotten revelations.
Then I remember something else, in the fun of recounting and the fun that we once had, suddenly I remember that I was sad. The 'aching joy' of my past returns. Only when you are young (perhaps?) can 'joy' ache.

In 2008 on the discovery of Wordsworth's words I wrote 'when you laugh so hard your stomach hurts and you feel as though you might die from lack of breath. When you are waiting for him to text back. When you go on loving him even though it hurts. When you listen to, watch things, talk about things which make you cry. Running, dancing, spinning, until your stomach hurts. 'Aching Joy' is longing, it is knowing that the ache is suitable sacrifice for the joy. It is Barclay park, it is Ollie, it is Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley, it is Moulin Rouge and the end of Duke of Edinburgh.'

I don't think I was right back then, some of those things are the real thing, genuine 'aching joy' like laughing so hard your stomach hurts. But I was also a little confused about that particular joy of taking pleasure in pain, this is not the joy Wordsworth means.

'Aching Joy' is when you throw everything you have in to something. You ache because it is all so beautiful, because it all cost so much. It is also something which comes from memory, from distance. I feel only 'aching joy' now when I remember those beautiful things, beautiful days and nights, beautiful moments of my past. It aches to know that they are gone, but there is joy in the memory that they happened and joy in the possibilities for the future.

1 comment:

  1. Joy does indeed ache when you remember things/people/places that made you happy. And you wish you could be there again.