The Centre of the Universe

You probably all know, you probably haven’t seen it – I read this poem about eight years back and it stuck in my head quite a bit. I think how each time someone shouts out for help I pop by. I realise the times when someone offers help – half-heartedly, to kill with insensitivity. I look in the eye those who turned away when I asked for help on those rare occasions. And soon we all give up asking for help. But sometimes the helplessness gets so overwhelming I wonder where the rest of the world might have gone. Sometimes it isn’t worth explaining any further because you still have to fix your own problems on your own when they strike.

There were kind souls who tried to lend a hand – maybe, maybe not; it all boils down to how much one can divulge and accept as help.

Regardless, a lovely poem:
——————————————————————————————————————–

The Centre of the Universe – by Paul Durcan

Pushing my trolley about in the supermarket;
I am the centre of the universe;
Up and down the aisles of beans and juices,
I am the centre of the universe;
It does not matter that I live alone;
It does not matter that I am a jilted lover;
It does not matter that I am a misfit in my job;
I am the centre of the universe.

But I’m always here, if you want me –
For I am the centre of the universe.

I enjoy being the centre of the universe.
It is not easy being the centre of the universe
But I enjoy it.
I take pleasure in,
I delight in,
Being the centre of the universe.
At six o’clock a.m. this morning I had a phone call;
It was from a friend, a man in Los Angeles;
“Paul, I don’t know what time it is in Dublin
But I simply had to call you:
I cannot stand LA so I thought I’d call you.”
I calmed him down as best I could.

But I’m always here, if you want me –
For I am the centre of the universe.

I had barely put the phone down when it rang again,
This time from a friend in Sao Paulo in Brazil:
“Paul – do you know what is the population of Sao Paulo?
I will tell you: it is twelve million skulls.
Twelve million pairs of feet in one footbath.
Twelve million pairs of eyes in one fishbowl.
It is unspeakable, I tell you, unspeakable.”
I calmed him down.

But I’m always here, if you want me –
For I am the centre of the universe.

But then when the phone rang a third time and it was not yet 6.30 a.m.,
The petals of my own hysteria began to wake up and unfurl.
This time it was a woman I know in New York City:
“Paul – Ney York City is a Cage”,
And she began to cry a little over the phone,
To sob over the phone,
And from five thousand miles away I mopped up her tears.
I dabbed each tear from her cheek
With just a word or two or three from my calm voice.

I’m always here, if you want me –
For I am the centre of the universe.

But now tonight it is myself;
Sitting at my aluminium double-glazed window in Dublin city;
Crying just a little bit into my black tee shirt.
If only there was just one human being out there
With whom I could make a home? Share a home?
Just one creature out there in the night-
Is there not just one creature out there in the night?
In Helsinki, perhaps? Or in Reykjavik?
Or in Chapelizod? or in Malahide?
So you see, I have to calm myself down also
If I am to remain the centre of the universe;
It’s by no means an exclusively self-centred automatic thing
Being the centre of the universe.

I’m always here, if you want me –
For I am the centre of the universe.

(from Poems – Deep & Dangerous by Josephine Philips) 

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