Monday, November 10, 2008

decomposition, cold and stormy, out of tune

Posted by PicasaSeveral years ago I found this leaf skeleton on the compost heap. I subsequently scanned it and used the image in the design of a Christmas card. By reversing it, I was able to put it and its mirror image side by side so that together they looked like a pair of wings. The recent photographs, which I have been taking of leaves reminded me of it. Here is the original image that I made. I know that, should I ever want to, I could make another, because I preserved the original leaf between the pages of a notebook and find that it has remained intact - something which I treasure, a piece of the most delicate filigree, worked by the same processes (fortunately arrested in this instance) of decomposition, that turn leaves into leaf mould.

Last night the wind blew and the rain beat against the windows. Which Victorian novel begins with the words "It was a cold and storm night"?

If there were a gift that I would ask of a passing genie it would be to be able to sing in tune. Sing, I can and with pleasure, but because I cannot achieve the notes I look for, it has, out of kindness to others, to be a solitary pleasure. So for the time being I must console myself with this poem by the American poet Stephen Crane, which I have just come across:
" There was a man with a tongue of wood
Who essayed to sing,
And in truth it was lamentable.
But there was one who heard
The clip-clapper of this tongue of wood
And knew what the man
Wished to sing,
And with that the singer was content.

1 comment:

Roderick Robinson said...

The phrase "It was a dark and stormy night", made famous by comic strip artist Charles M. Schulz, was originally penned by Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton as the beginning of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford. The phrase itself is now understood as a signifier of a certain broad style of writing, characterized by a self-serious attempt at dramatic flair, the imitation of formulaic styles, an extravagantly florid style, redundancies, and run-on sentences. Bulwer-Lytton's original opening sentence serves as an example:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

Thank you Wikipedia (although note "dark" not "cold"). I think the explanatory sentence almost qualifies as wit.

I'm sure I'd got much further in journalism if my surname had been Bulwer-Lytton.