Saturday, March 15, 2008

territory, triumph, ballet

Two blackbirds on the roof of the house opposite, this morning, dispute territory. One sits on the chimney stack while the other marches up and down on the ridge of the roof. Every now and then, the roof-walker hops on to the tiles, then back on to the ridge. Suddenly both birds fly up in to the air, peck vainly at one another in mid-air, and return to the front line.

In one of his mysterious, densely structured Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges describes an imaginary novel, where one of two antagonists will not refute the sophisms of his opponent "so as not to be right in a triumphal fashion."

In the Grove, this afternoon, I stand still for a moment, look around me and listen. There seems to be a ballet in progress. Children on swings; families strolling with and without push chairs, each at a different pace; boys throwing balls at one another, turning, diving and catching; dogs scampering, birds on the wing, in the wings. The music is provided by the shouts and cries of children, the gruff calls of adults, the song of birds. The choreography is self-defining.

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