Saturday, November 22, 2008

looking up, knocked down, panicum

Posted by PicasaLate afternoon sky, late in the year.

It seems that the deserted cinema site and the shops that form part of it, in the centre of Tunbridge Wells, are a step nearer demolition. The cinema is not a memorable example of 30s architecture and certainly looks a mess now. Nobody will weep for its removal. Though many will doubtless dislike what eventually comes in its place. New buildings are seldom admired. If they are architectural masterpieces, it will probably take a new generation to appreciate their merits. If they please the majority and offend the minimum number of people, they will probably not be masterpieces. Meanwhile in the empty window of one of the empty shops, the notice, everything knocked down first the prices , then the shop, strikes you as one of those statements that have a disturbingly general appliciation.

In a vase, some panicum grass, a lovely ornamental grass with panicles of tiny flowers. The flowers are so small that it is hard to discern their features, though they appear as bright points of light, that shiver with very little reason. A garden plant in this country, Panicum viratum, (also known as panic grass, switch grass, wobsque grass and black bent) grows wild in the prairies of USA. In the US it is also used for ornamental purposes, and I read with pleasure on the web site of a US garden centre: "In the fall we love to watch the quail foraging in our panicum".

4 comments:

Lucy said...

Wobsque grass? Wonderful!

(Don't panicum!)

Dave King said...

Seems to me that much of what you say has a general application. Thoughtful.

Lucas said...

I really like this sky photograph which I think complements the grazing sheep nicely. Both have a quality of being seasonal yet outside the limits of time. Thanks for these.

Plutarch said...

It would be interesting to know the reason for the appeal of a word like "wobske", Lucy. It sort of makes you laugh but not quite.

I think that's partly intended, Dave. Precise and specific statements that can have a wider interpretation have always attracted me. I remember being fascinated by a notice which appeared on London buses in my childhood. it went: "At the sign shown on the right, the bus will only stop when you hail the driver. At the sign shown on the left, all buses stop." I'm not talking about symbolism, which can be a clumsy device in are and literature.

Lucas: Being seasonally aware is important. Classic haiku are, I believe, supposed to include seasonal awareness.