Si, is the very lovely late actress Vanessa Redgrave, who I think was die last week because I see a tribute to her on the BIFTAS. Here in this picture she is also dying, but just pretend dying, in the role of the socialite Isadora Dunkin, who was invent not just the modern dance but also the scarf, autoerotic asphyxiation, and the donut. And although she was American, she had two Irish children, Deirdre and Patrick, so she was not all bad. And also although most right-thinking people said when she died that she had it coming, the way she was carrying on, ignoring health and safety, being decadent, dancing on peoples' graves, and so on, we must not forget her legacy. Or her armacy. In his poem Isadora Dunkin, Carl Sandburg, the fascist poet, wrote
"The wind? I am the wind. The sea and the moon? I am the sea and the moon. Tears, pain, love, bird-flights? I am all of them. I dance what I am. Sin, prayer, flight, the light that never was on land or sea? I dance what I am."
She was a Cristiano Ronaldo for the flappy generation.
I was remind of Isadora when I see Vanessa's obituary on satellite television last week (with the sound off, I admit; I thought I had hear burglars outside, but it turn out just to be the wind. And the sea and the moon) and I was led to reflect on not just what an unhappy year it have been for Vanessa, what with dying and all, but also how tough life must have been for her in general, born into a world of privilege and good fortune and famousness only to see all her dreams shatted like broken mirrors in a grotty West End cabaret night club urinal. Not just the loss of her extremely gorgeous and sexy daughter Miranda—who will forget her Queen Victoria in Blackadder?—but also the fall of the Soviet Union, the implosion of her Troskyite Workers Revolutionary Party, and the triumph of her estranged brother Steve at four separate Olympic Gameses. But it was not just Vanessa's life that I was reflect on. It was all of us's lives. Si. We all have such moments of despair and failure and abjection and humiliation and unsuccessful coverups in our lives, don't we not? Sometimes it is the end of a beautiful long-term relationship with a member of the opposite sex, unsullied by carnal knowledge and resplendent in its many hours of mutual contemplation of the Divine, terminated only by the cruel hand of MI5. Other times it is the death of a younger sibling with whom one has shared intimate biological secrets and become a kind of plaything to one another in a way that some people might think is improper but which you was see nothing wrong with at the time and so what? We was both condescending adults. Other times again it is when you are caught with half a dog in your freezer. What was all that about?
When I am have undressed myself of an evening and before I say my prayers and climb onto my bed, sometimes I am catch site of myself in the full-length mirror on the ceiling. And though I am often take my own breath away with my majesty, even without glasses on and though I am very diminutive, even still I can make out, under all my fur, the various and numerous scars that I have acquire over my 56 year on this appalling loathsome planet. The dent on the top of my head where the skip of rabbits fell on me as I pursued escaped Nazis through the backstreets of São Paulo (I was only trying to give them their paintings back!); the pockmarks where Dick Cheney shot me in the face with a BB gun while showing off to some girls sat on the wall by the shops—he claims it was an accident, but if so why did he do it repeatedly?; the delicate cicatrix on my neck where the surgeon removed my first face; the mass of blisters around my crotch that will never go away, no matter how hard I scrub; and, of course, my stigmata, which I am wear with pride but also use as a sex aid, and also to scare children, and also also to settle arguments about where the nails went in Jesus and to prove they had guns in those days (there are still bits of shrapnel in the wound on my side).
Our scars are thus a way of telling our life story, a kind of chronological moonscape, particularly if you have a pimply arse. But a pimply arse is not the hole story. For the body has such remarkable powers of renewal that all the outward, visible imperfections are neverthenonetheless repaired, testimony to the genius of our creator, and also doctors. There always remain unhealed, unrepaired, internal scars. These are mental scars, scars of the soul. And sadly, as was point out by the bishop of San Sebastián, José Ignacio Munilla, recently in relation to Haiti, these scars are more permanent, more real, and much bigger scars than any mere physical wounds, amputations, decapitations, or cuts and bruises. They are cause by consumerism, materialism, communism, and they consist in jealousy, envy, pride, lust, gluttony, indolence, disobedience, septicism, and science.
I am not here today to tell you what the answer is. You are already know what the answer is. The questions is, what is the question?