Thursday, June 18, 2009

ranunculus, conciseness, crow

Posted by Picasa Perhaps the Latin name for the genus, ranunculus, will make this buttercup more acceptable to those who dislike it as a weed of creeping habit. Although I admit to digging it out of flower and vegetable beds, I cannot stop myself loving the flower.

There are some authors,- Jorge Luis Borges - is one of them, who I always want to have close to me. Another is Italo Calvino, whom I came to recently on the recommendation of my son, Toby. Six Memos for the Millennium is currently holding me transfixed. It consists of five of the six Charles Eliot Norton Lectures he was due to have delivered in America when he died in 1985. The titles of the lectures are in themselves so intriguing that I find myself thinking about them, even before returning to read them - Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility and Multiplicity. This afternoon I find myself copying down several passages, of which I will quote this one because the idea has always appealed to me:
"Conciseness is only one aspect of the subject I want to deal with, and I will confine myself to telling you that I dream of immense cosmologies, sagas and epics all reduced to the dimension of an epigram. In the even more congested times that await us, literature must aim at the maximum concentration of poetry and thought."
A few paragraphs furhter on he writes: "I would like to edit a collection of tales consisting of one one sentence only. So far I haven't found any to match the one by the Guatamalan writer Augusto Monterreso: "Cuando despertó, el dinosauro todavía estaba alli." (When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there."

Twice today I have a close encounter with a crow. The first is when I am on my way to the vegetable garden. I hear a flapping and a floundering in the shrubs by the path. Is it an animal or a human being in trouble? Or a monster of some sort? After a full minute, the big crow, flaps slowly out of the bushes and lazily flies across the garden to the wall on the opposite side. The second encounter is in the road round the corner from where we live. Another crow, but more likely the same one, flops on to the fence of the front garden which we are passing. It watches us with an interest not dissimilar from that which we are showing in it. I unstrap my camera, but too late! When I look up, camewra at the ready, it is gone.


Dave said...

I love the Calvino quote. I must share it on Twitter!

June Saville said...

Our crows aren't averse to swooping up behind you as you approach their nests in the season, and peck at your head!

Some Australians wear helmets in their gardens to avoid the onslaught.

Unknown said...

I thought that you might like that quote, Dave. It seems to fit in with some of the thoughts I have picked up from Via Negativa.

June: The crows round here are less bold and seem on the whole to be in a defensive rather than an attacking mode. There have, however, been several instances of seagull attacks on humans to my knowledge, in south coast towns.