Tuesday, May 12, 2009

four beautiful things

Just before four in the morning, just before dawn at the bus stop in the never quite empty road outside Clapham Junction Station, every scrap of rubbish from the surrounding streets seems to have arrived at the cross roads to whirl around in the high wind. One hesitant object slides and tumbles along, but will not take off. Gradually discerning some familiar features, I walk out between the red buses to rescue a small teddy bear with a pathetic grin who is clutching a red red rose.

At seven in the morning, two jet planes taking off one after the other, seen from a place very close to the point where they lift off the runway at Gatwick Airport. I never tire in my admiration of their powerful symmetry. A minute later they suddenly vanish from the top down, nose and tail first, engines last, as they bore through a thin layer or sheet of dense silver cloud. Moments afterwards, at the point where they have disappeared, two inverted commas of creamy white condensation form and then slowly roll apart in the cold vortices that are slowly whirling behind the fleeting wingtips.

At eleven in the morning on the edge of a broad undulating pasture, with my back to a chilly north wind, I see the newly grown summer grasses bending in waves that are weaving from side to side and chasing one another quickly across the contours of a low hill towards a row of small trees that are rocking gently from side to side.

At three in the afternoon, fresh coriander, signal green, forms an enigmatic calligraphy when strewn over the steaming bright sauce that covers my pasta, signal red.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

oiseaux sans chansons



etym. wazzocks ME ( iybtyba )

guilty postscript added a few days later ...

Confessions

Many years ago, in the subconscious part of my mind that discovers unlikely things, in the middle of a conversation with a trusting and deeply affectionate woman, I found a near-assonance between mike harding’s derogatory noun, often aimed at people whose wit and intelligence were less nimble than his own, “wazzocks”, and the French plural noun for birds, “oiseaux”, which a northern student beginning to learn french might easily mis-pronounce.

I lied to her.

I told her that wazzocks were an extinct british bird, slow moving and too trusting, like a cross between a wood pigeon and a turkey, and were once commonly found roosting in the rafters of large buldings such as churches and tithe barns, up until the period following the dissolution of the monasteries and during the increasingly common ownership of hunting guns, around which time they disappeared for ever.

If it isn’t too late, I really ought to apologise.