Thursday, March 18, 2010

starry, elephants, one

Borrowed from the night sky and brought down to earth.

Have you noticed how certain phrases that come from, who knows where, catch on and stick in the fabric of every day language? Suddenly there is an elephant in the room. It's a dramatic image, quite pleasing. But how many elephants can you fit in a room?

From the train window, I see a horse alone in a field, in the middle of the field, sovereign, god-like. It is a solidly built cart horse. Perhaps it is lonely. But its strikes me that any solitary creature, visible in the middle of a field, - a crow or a bull perhaps - looks as though it is in charge, as though it owns the field.
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Lucy said...

The elephant in the room is very odd isn't it?  The point is supposed to be that no one can miss it but no one will mention it, but who on earth wouldn't mention an elephant in the room? it's not like the emperor's non-existent clothes which are a source of embarrasment.  I came across an interesting one in a rather smug piece on time management in an English teaching book, which is the Elephant in the Distance.  It means events and demands which one probably wouldn't take on if they were the next day but which look manageable and unimportant because they are a long way in the future, so you might agree to them for that reason, but which will loom a great deal larger when on top of one. 

Do you know Ted Hughes poem 'The Horses'? I expect you do, but there's a copy here (as well as a rather stomach-turning one by Robert Frost I hadn't read before...).

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link to The Horses. Yes, I do know that poem, and I have a special feeling for it because, one day, early in the morning I went for a walk up a hill somewhere in the Malvern area, and came upon a similar field of horses. It is one of those instances, where it is hard to separate your own experience from that described in the poem.

There is something mysterious about horses, such powerful animals, when they are free if only temporarily from their servitude to homo sapiens