Hairpieces and Nocturnes

A third email from Luke appeared in my inbox this morning. It contained another poem and a set of photographs from our sessions back in June when we were experimenting with the box of wigs and assorted costume paraphernalia that Leonard had retrieved from the cupboard in the back room. The round convex mirror in the workroom distorts my reflection like a fairground mirror so this is the first time that I have seen myself wearing the hairpieces and I feel odd when looking at the photos because I barely recognise myself in them. The poem in the main body of the message is quite unlike the others that I have received from Luke as the characteristic combination of self-pity and macabre imagery that is so commonplace in his poetry is strangely absent. It is - dare I say – almost cheery:

‘When the pump and the swell of my body is done
And I'm called to your side when the battle is won
See me not as accuser, or bearer of pride,
But a friend and an equal who stands by your side.
For we need one another more than darkness needs light
And without an aggressor there is no will to fight.’

Although the intended recipient of the sentiments expressed in Luke’s poetry always remains anonymous, it is clear that his words are directed at someone in particular. Is it selfish to secretly wish that his next poem will begin with 'to my dearest Helen' or 'to the one I love'? But it is precisely this air of ambiguity and mystery that draws me to him. Besides he is such an amazing teacher. Leonard is an excellent teacher too - that goes without saying - but Leonard will take a conversation to a point and then he will change the subject as though he has been warned not to cross a line and reveal too much information. Luke, on the other hand, is much more forthcoming with his advice and he is eager to share his knowledge with me. He will elaborate on Leonard’s teachings by teaching me new words and demonstrating simple techniques that open up entirely new pathways of study. Luke tells me that although Leonard would no doubt approve of his ‘enhancement of my expertise’, there is no need to mention our ‘extra-curricular activities’ to Leonard and worry him unnecessarily.

Speaking of teaching, Leonard is in the process of writing a beginner's guide to Biblical Greek and he has asked me to read through the drafts. I find it very amusing that he manages to 'shoehorn' his painting into almost every subject and the introduction to the book is no exception:

On another note (quite literally) there is a beautiful piano piece on one of Leonard’s cassette tapes that we have been playing repeatedly in the workroom for a number of weeks now: it is Chopin's Nocturne in E Minor, Op.72 No. 1. I have purchased a copy of the sheet music and I have been playing it on the piano in the back room during Luke’s sessions. Luke and I love it so much that it has become 'our song' (things must be getting serious!).