Tuesday, January 15, 2008

will do, contractility, umbrellas

"Ye'er, will do, says a girl into her mobile. The emphasis is on "do". There is no compliance in her voice to reflect the nature of the words, only aggression. I still haven't go used to people talking on mobiles in the street, and to the decibel-level required.

I thought that "contractility" might raise an eyebrow. It is in the Oxford Dictionary. The quote comes from a poem by the American, Marianne Moore, which I tend to remember when thinking about style, and in this case about the 30-word observation:

To a snail
If "compression is the first grace of style",
you have it. Contractility is a virtue
as modesty is a virtue.
It is not the acquisition of any one thing
That is able to adorn,
or the incidental quality that occurs
as a concomitant of something well said,
that we value in style,
but the principle that is hid:
in the absence of feet, "a method of conclusions";
"a knowledge of principles",
in the curious phenomenon of your occipital horn.

Proper rain today: no pussy-foooting showers, heavy rain and wind. Witness to the violence of the weather, in two successive litter bins there are the sad remains of collapsed umbrellas. In one, the umbrella is blue and green, in the second, a brilliant red. In both bins, broken ribs stick up, askew like the legs of butterflies, the nylon coverings crushed and folded over, once proud hemispheres, now useless and bound for landfill.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Hits the snail on the head, Plutarch!