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March 14, 2007


Truly, deeply, beautiful.

As if one had, inadvertently, caught a glimpse of the Other Place.

A kind of ekphrasis, perhaps. The park is a work of art which you are rephrasing. Parks, arranged as they are are very glib photo subjects, with their easy avenues and stings of lighting. I agree with Teju, mostly. The dark masterpiece is a pulling attraction. But I feel I have been let off at way station, not the Other Place, but a portal to it perhaps. I hope the Other Place is not man-made. I'd so much prefer something like the breast of a warbler in a wood, or a bank swallow skimming over a pool in a river.

I am not the great reader you and Teju are, but my mind violates catagorical distinctions and I think of the one "great book" I have read in recent years, "The Radeztky March" by Joseph Roth. The death I think of was in daytime, richly textured and gentle, with a pet canary singing voluably throughout the afternoon. The Other Place was that sunlight, that birdsong. A death lovelier than many a wedding!

The source of attraction in your photo is over that low horizon where orange sodium light changes to cool, perhaps due to mercury lamps. Hmm. Hell?

"STRINGS of lighting", I mean!

I hope I haven't been too contary! Please know the more I reverse myself the happier I am. I shift in circles like a dog trying to find a comfortable resting postion. I may be spinning, but I love this bed!

Thank you, Teju and Bill. I'm glad this photo said something to you - it just barely captures what it felt like last night in the park, with the fog rising about four feet above the remaining snow and ice, and pools of water; the dark wet tree trunks and the various light sources with their halos. "Over the bank" is a lake where, until yesterday, people were skating, even very late at night. I agree it has a sort of ominous feel in the photo.

Bill, I never think of you as contrary, and I always welcome your poetic and unexpected comments. I will look for this book you mention by Joseph Roth...

Beth, it would be extraordinary if I were able to give one as well read as yourself a useful literary reccommendation! I have the good fortune to have an older brother who is a voracious reader. It took me years to get around to reading "The Radetzky March", which he gave to me. I aborted after the first attempt, finding a central character unreasonably vain. Actually, in this book are three generations of unimaginative and inflexible male protaganists. The reader's vanity is not aroused and he/she holds the characters at a distance. The culmination of their lives is their deaths. Their lives begin to appear scrim-like, back-lit. Uniforms, loves and drink--even a singing canary on a spring afternoon-- all seem very enmeshed in with death. I suppose all that might be standard in "great" literature, but I wouldn't quite know. It's also a good read if you are at all interested in the last days of the Holy Roman Empire and, really, who isn't?

You photo is now my new computer desktop, if only for a day!

Oh, Beth, thanks for your kind allowances. That said I'll go ahead and scribble and carve some more over the clean, smooth page of your blog. This connection of brightness and death, as in Roth's colorful soldiers--and by some circuitous pathway your not-light-at-all photo--brings me to the vernal equinox, which is very appropriate for all the goat talk going around! Please forgive me if I take the pleasure of tapping out this poem by Mr. Howard Nemerov:


After the morning of amazing rain
(How fiercely it fell, in slanting lines of light!)
A new breeze blew the clouds back to the hills,
And the huge day gloried in its gold and blue.

The road they walked was shoe-top deep in mud,
But the air was mild. And water of the spring,
The new, cold water, spread across the fields,
The running, the wind-rippled, the still-reflecting.

Life with remoreseless joy possessed them then,
Compelling happiness beyond the power
Of prudence to refuse; perforce they gave
To splendor their impersonal consent.

What god could save them from this holy time?
The water, blinking in the sun's blue eye,
Watches them loiter on the road to death,
But stricken helpless at the heart with love.

Sorry about that..

I find this an extraordinary photo. Thank you for sharing it.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.