Friday, February 10, 2006

Composition, silver shard, peacock's feet

I like the way birds and animals seem to arrange themselves as though composing a picture for the viewer. This morning, as I raise the blind, two pigeons on the roof opposite compete for one chimney pot, then agree to one each, as the weaker settles on the adjacent pot on the stack. Later, on the station platform, the shadow of the bridge that crosses the railway and the platform shows up black against the brightly lit tarmac beyond. On the edge of the shadow a pigeon, silhouetted, pauses in mid-strut.

As he train leaves Tunbridge on its way to London there is a gravel pit, become a small lake or a large pond. It is bordered by water meadow and frequented by Canada geese, ducks and other wild fowl. Here, even practised commuters raise their eyes from their reading matter, to view the scene. As the train distances itself from it, this bright morning, the expanse of water, from being a mirror, is seen only as a silver shard in the landscape.

Alan Bennett again. "Speaking of a peacock, " he writes in Untold Stories ..."its flesh is not supposed to decay, a symbol of immortality and resurrection. Less well known is the fact that it was supposed to scream at the sight of its own feet, not recognising them as its own - a predicament which one sympathises with more and more as one gets older."


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