please also see the link to Jude Walton’s web site.
Lhasa de Sela, What Kind of Heart
Eight black Shetland ponies in a white field, in pairs.
Jean Follain, Speech Alone
‘For my part I know nothing with any certainty … but the sight of the stars makes me dream.’ (Van Gogh)
Sanna Kurki-Suonio, Vaskilintu
Old Holland Vine Black watercolour pigment
Max Picard, The World of Silence
Jean Sibelius, Malinconia
‘Things to be blasted’ – Gerede
‘In my childhood is born a childhood burning like alcohol / I would sit down in the paths of the night / I would listen to the discourse of the stars / And that of the tree. / Now indifference snows in the evening of my soul.’ (Huidobro)
Dedication: History & Locality
‘Less the childhood, more the place / and the childhood of the place;
and through the childhood of the place / the present: the present people.’
‘A gentleman having to come to Dundee from Abernyte in the morning took a snow-plough, to which four horses were attached to clear his way but came to a part of the road where the snow lay ten feet deep. He was compelled to give up the attempt to clear the road and had to seek a way through the fields to Inchture.’ (5 March, 1881)
Black Shetland ponies.
Fire — most especially, fire butane gas portable cabinet heaters.
James Merrill| A Vision Of A Garden, in ‘Water Street’ (Atheneum, 1962)
Marie Howe| The Snow Storm, in ‘The Kingdom of Ordinary Time’ (W.W.Norton, 2008)
Rebecca Watts| The Cult of the Noble Amateur (PN Review 239, Volume 44 Number 3, January – February 2018.)
Sheila Legge| I Have Done My Best for You, in ‘Contemporary Poetry and Prose #8’ (Roughton, 1936)
‘I was a child, I did not know / That what I longed for would resist / Neither what cold lines should my finger trace / On colder grounds before I found anew / In yours the features of that face / Whose words whose looks alone undo / Such frosts I lay me down in love in fear.’ (Merrill)
Tinsel – like a rag of plastic caught in the branch of a tree – but purple, and green.
Vasily Grossman| Everything Flows (Vintage, 2011)
Water — from mountain streams running snow melt.
‘This quote was in the article from the Adventure Syndicate about their Puffer with the 4 school girls, loved it and thought it applied to us too at a certain time in the morning … ‘But keep inching forward and nothing stays the same. The sun always comes up in the end, casting aside the fears and doubts felt in the darkness.’
The posts are made of clay. This post is sleeping under some cloth a section of the true cross this post is sleeping in the shade under the leaves of a great rose tree that casts shadows onto the cloth and ornaments it like a threadbare icon with shadows of anxiety; over the smell of clay autumn clouds pour east.
(Arnold Böcklin| ‘Die Toteninsel’ (Isle of the Dead). Sergei Rachmaninov composed a Symphonic Poem Op. 29 after the fourth version of this painting by the Swiss Symbolist artist. This painting was made on copper plate and was lost during an allied bombing raid in WWII – only a black and white photograph of it exists and it was this in particular not the original ‘coloured’ painting that inspired Rachmaninov’s work.
I was in Carrbridge recently; celebrating a marriage. I took a room in the Carrbridge hotel and – as I always do in hotels – I opened and closed the wardrobe doors and pulled open all the drawers of all the other pieces of furniture in the room| Room 147. It was in the bed-side drawer that I found the Gideon Bible with its torn chapters of Genesis.)
‘The events of my life would fill more than a novel. It would take an epic, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and a Homer to tell my story … I won’t recount it today, I don’t want to sadden you. I have fallen into an abyss. I live in a world so curious, so strange. Of the dream that was my life, this is the nightmare.’ (Camille Claudel to Eugène Blot| Montdevergues Asylum)
‘Camille Claudel: A Life,’ Odile Ayral-Clause—A life, romanticised in print and in film; this work of scholarship dispels some of the myths that have been woven around Claudel’s life, not least around her relationship with Auguste Rodin; it offers a more considered picture of her achievements as a major sculptor in the Paris art world of the late-nineteenth-century.
At night he dreamt| the smell of apples heaped on barges floating down the river| rough studies sleeping under some cloth.
‘He was unwrapped by her breathing; by the rise and fall of her eyelids.’ (Eugène Blot)
Littlemill, Fortnightly, Ardlach, Coulmony, Ferness …| Flo – requiescat
‘Now I tie my pyjamas loosely round me, and lie under this thin sheet afloat in the shallow light which is like a film of water drawn over my eyes by a wave.’
A hard and remote milky blue ceiling of sky over the field; cold tears standing behind my eyes.
It’s dark but the sky is coming up, peach grey, worm, and alizarin. And as far as Longforgan, and then nothing; a slow-moving cord of haar from floor to ceiling, a thick wall of water seeping deep into the cup of the hills, and it’s cold, and heavy and grey, while the smell of the fields is cold and heavy and astringent; humid and clean. Earth. Earth; stubble and a rotting mustard crop on one side of the lane, gouged ground on the other; wet, heavy earth, turned tidal into deep black welts. A blackbird sings over everything. (Wednesday 15 February)
‘But I will stretch my toes so that they touch the rail at the end of the bed; I will assure myself, touching the rail, of something hard. Now I cannot sink; cannot altogether fall through the thin sheet now. Now I spread my body on this frail mattress and hang suspended. I am above the earth now. I am no longer upright, to be knocked against and damaged.’
Now for the wet and the cloud. The field all-silent, as if offered from another world. Only birds and a bitter cold wind – against the wars and famines, the expulsions and forced migrations—A heartless and perfect beauty: the snowdrops ruby red; soft; silky to the touch, their green stems like veins outside a body; snowdrops on the graves; the field orange and tan; and the pure disembodied silence—In my life—nothing urgent, nothing pressing; only this soft sky above the village, all painted, and looking very near; running deer tracks in Kirkton Wood. Reading Carson – a woodpecker at the sardine tins. (Wednesday 22 February)
‘Let me pull myself out of these waters. But they heap themselves on me; they sweep me between their great shoulders; I am turned; I am tumbled; I am stretched, among these long lights, these long waves, these endless paths, with people pursuing, pursuing.’
Doris moves east from Ireland – a great storm; wet snow on the garden; slabs of thick white slush; air cleanliness, not a soap and water one. Oddly enough I woke up thinking of D.’s redhead hair; Pre-Raphaelites; the cramped room in Ballyfermot and the small farm in Kilkenny—the overflow pipe continues its metronomic dripping onto the shed roof; dot … dot … dot … Last night I made a start on an essay – in mind since October last year – with the line: ‘This essay is written – facing the wall – in the cramped tunnel beyond these dots; in the darkness that followed their creation.’ (The dots in question are The Six Red Dots found at the furthermost reaches of the Lascaux caves in France.) Now straight unbroken sleet. Trees red spotted with rowanberries – only just visible in the grey downpour. (Thursday 23 February)
What I give is fallen.
Spurs – visions of truth yield nothing but by occasion – the sempiternal façade of continuity to our selves; makes much of each flat and holy shadow, as of all our shadows.
Umber – raw sienna, orange, but it’s tubes of ‘dead pharaoh’ – ‘Mummy brown,’ that make the ploughed field; the voices of children like birds.
‘The day is stark and stiff as a linen shroud. But it will soften; it will warm. At this hour, this still early hour, I think I am the field, I am the barn, I am the trees; mine are the flocks of birds, and this young hare who leaps, at the last moment when I step almost on him. Mine is heron that stretches its vast wings lazily; and the cow that creaks as it pushes one foot before another munching; and the wild, swooping swallow; and the faint red in the sky, and the green when the red fades; the silence and the bell; the call of the man fetching cart-horses from the fields—all are mine.’
‘All that lies over the water in the brain of that ridiculous little man. Why ridiculous? Because none of it fits. Encloses no reality. Death & war & darkness representing nothing that any human being from the Pork butcher to the Prime Minister cares one straw about. Not liberty, not life … merely a housemaids dream. And we woke from that dream & have the Cenotaph to remind us of the fruits.’ (Monday 5 September 1938)
Roy Batty| back in the real world| Pygmalion| Vapour trails
‘Month by month things are losing their hardness; even my body now lets the light through; my spine is soft like wax near the flame of a candle … I think sometimes (I am not twenty yet) I am not a woman, but the light that falls on this gate, on this ground. I am the seasons, I think sometimes, January, May, November; the mud, the mist, the dawn.’
‘L. is doing the rhododendrons …’ (Monday 24 March 1941)
Grey day. Overslept, and not well. Read Brockington – on Bell. Set the fire; read over the fire; stayed in all day except to fill the pale with coal – dirty-yellow pale, black coal; straight unbroken rain; clay-coloured sky, the colour of ash over the field. The pillowcase a shade of blue that reminded me of Franz Marc’s Large Blue Horses – a welcome thought on a featureless, grey and wintery day, Bell’s paintings the exception. (Sunday 26 February)
The wasp byke, close up and out of focus—like the screen of a confessional; Moorish window architecture; Fellini’s 8 1/2; Abraham’s Motional—bits of desiccated wasp, near powder; brushed to the floor with a bookmark in the way that a cat pushes a pen or a clothes peg over the edge of a table. There have been no cumulus for a long time, only clear blue sky or grey impenetrable stratus … sky a dirty shade of wall pitted with a mould, pin holed to another universe where a painter pricks a charcoal cartoon for a late settlement of piety having received confirmation of Saint Helena’s vision of the true cross; Courbet’s Red Apples. (Monday 27 February)
‘When you are silent you are again beautiful. I shall never have anything but natural happiness. It will almost content me. I shall go to bed tired. I shall lie like a field bearing crops in rotation; in the summer heat will dance over me; in the winter I shall be cracked with the cold. But heat and cold will follow each other naturally without my willing or unwilling.’
March| Viridian, viridian, green, green, green
March| Silver, silver, green, viridian, turquoise …
‘Sharp stripes of shadow lay on the grass, and the dew dancing on the tips of the flowers and leaves made the garden like a mosaic of single sparks not yet formed into one whole. The birds, whose breasts were speckled canary and rose, now sang a strain or two together, wildly, like skaters rollicking arm-in-arm, and were suddenly silent, breaking asunder.’
‘In the garden where the trees stood thick over flowerbeds, ponds, and greenhouses the birds sang in the hot sunshine, each alone. One sang under the bedroom window; another on the topmost twig of the lilac bush; another on the edge of the wall. Each sang stridently, with passion, with vehemence, as if to let the song burst out of it, no matter if it shattered the song of another bird with harsh discord.’
‘The birds sang passionate songs addressed to one ear only and then stopped. Bubbling and chuckling they carried little bits of straw and twig to the dark knots in the higher branches of the trees. Gilt and purpled they perched in the garden where cones of laburnum and purple shook down gold and lilac, for now at midday the garden was all blossom and profusion and even the tunnels under the plants were green and purple and tawny as the sun beat through the red petal, or the broad yellow petal, or was barred by some thickly furred green stalk.’