Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Castiglione, applause, unexpected cards

Even before the first poem in Safest by Michael Donaghy, which arrived in the post today, I read in the epigraph, which he takes from The Book of the Courtier by Castiglione:
"In dancing, a single step, a single movement of the body that is graceful and not forced, reveals at once the skill of the dancer. A singer who utters a single word ending in a group of four notes with a sweet cadence, and with such facility that he appears to do it quite by chance, shows with that touch alone that he can do much more than he is doing".
It pomises good things to come.

As I walk down the High Street, I hear what sounds like a desultory burst of applause. It is the clapping of wings as two pigeons make for and land on one of the ledges above.

An unexpected card, from someone you are pleased to hear from, recalls a past encounter and the interim between then and now, seems for a second to vanish; and then the present returns as you get a glimpse of the new life he is leading.

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