Thursday, February 25, 2010
Ephemera 4. Highland Spring is the brand name of some bottled, spring water from Scotland. It appears boldly here on a used crown cork abandoned in a flower bed in Tunbridge Wells.
"Yes, the hair was a conniption that framed the fierce soul". I had to look up the meaning of "conniption". I owe the search to Holly Anderson, a poet, who uses it in a poem recently published in the web magazine ,qaartsiluni. At first I take it for a line in a longer poem, until I realize that it is one of a sequence of haiku called On Suzanne. The haiku, taken together, form a powerful elegy for the eponymous Suzanne. The seventeen syllables of each haiku are set out in single sentences each arranged as a single line. The haiku follow the prescription of Alan Ginsberg, who called this version of the Japanese form, "American sentences". I am grateful to Holly Anderson and qaartsiluni for the information on the American sentences form of haiku, for a touching and memorable composite poem, which I shall return to for pleasure and enlightenment, and for a new word. According to Chambers Dictionary conniption means a fit of rage or hysteria. Its origin is described as N American slang.
In pursuit of ephemerae, I stop on in The High Street to examine what looks like a small, blue plastic box on the pavement. A passing woman dives into my gaze and picks it up. It incorporates a window and a button of some kind, but parts of it are missing. The word pedometer catches the woman's eye. "Pedo-meter" she says emphasising the first syllable. "What's that?". I tell her, and she puts it on a ledge outside the shop. Suddenly it is no longer a piece of discarded ephemera, but an object with possibly some residual value, and therefore of no interest in my present search.