Thursday, December 06, 2007

goden apples, sleepwalker, sadness

In the lamplight, some apples fallen under a tree which overhangs an alley, become golden apples. I have passed them often by daylight, green and not very interesting. But this afternoon I recall W. B. Yeats:
"...And pluck till times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun."

A small book of watercolours by the German artist Emil Nolde turns up in the Oxfam bookshop. Among the treasures inside is a picture called Nachtwandler. A man with long hair, moustaches, a blue nightshirt, bare feet, and one arm outstretched is profiled again a billowing fog-like brownish background; a streak of orange lights up the top right hand corner. It is one of those odd pictures which stay in your mind like a familiar tune.

I keep returning to a book called The Book of Shadows by the contemporary Scottish poet, Don Paterson. This is a book, not of poems but of epigrams and observations - pithy, rude sometimes sad and often funny. Opening it at random I come upon:
" The sadness of old shoes. Putting them on again, I suddenly remember all the old friends I haven't seen for ages; and why." Things are often sad in themselves. Who was it who spoke of "the sadness of things"?

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