Saturday, April 24, 2010
magnolia, 80, Eyjafjallajokull
What more is there to say? This magnolia is just round the corner from where we live. Sometimes its early blooms are spoilt by rough winds or late frosts. But this year it opens in its glory, an exotic tree, which has found a home in these parts.
The other day, referring to a neighbour, I found myself saying, "he's 82, you know!" and I realize that age, which is important when you are very young - I remember being four and a half and letting no one forget it - has suddenly come to matter again.
It cast mountainous clouds of ash into the air, kept aircraft out of the sky and stranded travellers all over the world. Yet I doubt if many people know how to spell it, let alone pronounce it. Eyjafjallajökull, unless it causes further problems, will now probably fade from our memories;, unlike, it occurs to me, Popocatepetl, another volcano, this time in Mexico, which has a prettier name, and remains in the memory thanks to a poem by W.J. Turner. The poem begins:
"When I was 13 or so,
I went into a golden land,
Took me by the hand ..."
"...I stood where Popocatapetl
In the sunlight gleams."
Inspired by what seems to be the same number of syllables in the name, it occurs to me write a parody, replacing the names of Mexican volcanoes with Icelandic ones, but I cannot (apologies to Icelandic speakers) find a vestige of romance in the names, and Turner's poem is, after all, called Romance.