Wednesday, June 01, 2016

St. Christopher is Lost

I was given a specific assignment for my next blog post, and I appreciated that since my last one was mostly about how difficult it is currently for me to come up with ideas. Thankfully this assignment was more of a vague question and less of a demand for an exegesis, so you'll all be spared my less than brilliant literary analysis.

"Now I lost my St Christopher, now that I've kissed her."

The Inquisitor takes a more optimistic view of this line than I do. St Christopher is indeed the patron saint of travelers (as well as of poor mortals suffering from a toothache as well, but that's a subject for another day...). Inquisitor likes to think that the poet doesn't need the St Christopher any more because he has found someone to take its place. But the poet of the song didn't abandon his St Christopher or it lay aside, he lost it. Its not tucked safely in the top drawer of his desk. It is lost.  Which leads me to believe that he too is now lost. If the St Christopher was protection during his travels, then he no longer has it and is adrift on the tide. Being lost, as Inquisitor says, has its own kind of reckless appeal. There is a great deal to be learned and experienced when one is lost.  It is the stuff of fantasy... to get in your car, leave your life behind, and drive as far as you can go. New people to meet, sights to see, food to eat.  The desire for those things is one that most of us don't lose, in fact it seems to get stronger with age.

However, I have spent a great amount of time actually lost. Like, I took a wrong turn on the way to a place I've been seventy-five times and now I'm in Mississippi, lost. My sense of direction is bad enough as to be almost a disability. GPS directions on the iPhone have been an absolute life saver for me, not to mention salvaging my dignity from the scrap-heap of having to call my father repeatedly and try to tell him where I am so he can talk me through getting home. So, unfortunately, I know all too well what getting lost feels like.

The difference is that Inquisitor is lost on a solitary and exciting adventure. He is lost on purpose and with a purpose.  I'm usually lost and therefore late to wherever I'm supposed to be and panicked because someone (my mother or my friend or my child) is going to be upset about that. Lost, for me, brings no adventures and no lessons... It brings stress and anger and too many gray hairs. So I envy Inquisitor his ability to get lost and embrace it.

And maybe that is why I read that line so differently. Our poet has kissed the girl and been spun out into space by it. And it is a Romantic (Capitol R) idea that she may take the place of his St Christopher and now anchor him to earth. But that sort of cataclysm holds no appeal for me. I see only that his former anchor is gone and he is lost... And all of the accompanying stress and anger and gray hair that go with it. More than likely this girl is nothing special and will leave the poet high and dry when someone with a steady paycheck comes along. Then he'll be, without her and without his St Christopher, well and truly screwed.

The line is beautiful and heartbreaking, like most of my favorite poems. But in life, unlike in poetry, I prefer to turn on my GPS and not take the wrong turns. Wrong turns do tend to lead us to tarts' beds on occasion, and as I have climbed out of one in order to write this, I'm going to stay out.

1 comment:

The Grand Inquisitor said...

I am lost on purpose, but not WITH a purpose. Purposeless lost is all the more fun.