She got them to make sense for him. She was his first teacher after all. He learned his words to the sound of her voice. She calmed him. She gave him comfort in a place I can't reach. I mean really can't reach-- just look at those great hairy math thingies!
I have been thinking again this year about how the best Christmas songs are not the ones that are bright and cheerful. The very best ones have a darkness to them. They make you aware that you are a tiny little bag of red, shivering under the stars with others like yourself-- and you are chipping a bright place out of the winter darkness. Yes, of course the light will come again. But it will be real dark first. Dashing Through the Snow is not a Christmas song.
That baby came, and his birth was his foot on the road to a horrific death. Poor little baby. Most of us would never mistreat a baby. We are gentle and good with babies. We recognize them as precious. But we don't act that way to the former babies, 30 years on. I have never crucified anyone, but I have often failed to be kind. Or I am so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I just don't see, or speak up when I should. I forget to remember. It is like meditating. You are supposed to think of nothing. So you make a blank place, and then you think "Hey I did it-- there is nothing there! Oh, wait, well. Damn..." You just have to try again.
I think I got the Marlowe story unstuck, maybe. He is with me all the time, which is lovely. Really, you invite people into your thoughts, and then you wonder how you did all those years without them. I would miss him unbearably if he left.
I was looking at his picture the other day. You know the one-- there is only one. And he is wearing that ridiculous doublet with the slashed sleeves, (which he was so not supposed to wear at school! Bad Kit!) and it makes his arms and shoulders huge and his head tiny. But if you look carefully you can almost see how his body went underneath. He was skinny under there, and, God, so young. His face is still round with puppy fat. He looks a little haughty, but his eyes are measuring how well it is working. He is not really wrapped up in himself, he is watching to see if you fall for it. His whiskers are unconvincing. His crossed arms are weird in a portrait. You would expect him to be holding something, or have hands on hips. That would be more usual. Instead he is pulling his arms close. Is he closing us out? It looks insecure. And with that face above I am pretty sure of it. He is watching himself from the outside. He is playing a role. The poet-- the witty young man.
Poor Kit, with Debtford ahead. Poet, and former baby, like Jesus and the rest of us. I will try again to not forget to remember.