After little big one
fifth to root for chorus
third to root for verse
if you liked it you should have put a ring on it
you should have en-sphered it
the grey is the hardware for the wire heart.
avant-garde Hindu position:
man stands as tree
woman sits off as woodpecker
withdrawal of the first completer
and the mechanism of the bloodline
which made the pattern
who made the wall and the white nest’s eye
You know I love your voice.
I mean it’s a pleasure
to see you but I think
it’s your best attribute.
How hearing only sound
you are eager to listen,
when sensing only form
you were eager to love.
from The Bell Clerk’s Tears Keep Flowing (The Figures, 1978)
In a painting if there is a person in it you scan it in a much more detailed way […] There’s a little huddle in the middle. There’s no question that for a human being looking at the painting that huddle becomes the main event. Next is the rabbit. There is no objective animal that can look at that. Presumably if you were a member of the tree race, the thing you would notice is that log down there and think, that’s awful, like a dismembered arm.
The equivalent of that is hearing a voice on a record. You cannot help but pick it out and to the extent you get into the record what that voice is doing and to the extent that you can recognise it as a fellow human and what it’s asking of you.
—Robert Wyatt (of Soft Machine) speaking about Samuel Palmer’s brown ink and sepia drawing Early Morning (1825).
and farther, three piles
of white sand a red
wheel and a rhombus.
A toytown which gainsays
the spectacle of empty houses
with every passing season
As part of his project for the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale,
Kent, Alec Finaly collected renditions of Basho’s famous haiku on the
bee and the peony:
botan shibe fukaku
wakeizuru hachi no
These poem-renditions were written on labels and hung in the Brogdale
cherry gardens to coincide with Hanami, the annual blossom festival.
The versions are intriguing in their variety. Some are playful,
linking the scene to local allusions. Others draw out and meditate on
particular moods. This one is by Luke Allan:
it’s all over
but what light
For me, the most compelling translations do not refer explicitly to
the details described in the original. Basho’s haiku relays the drama,
perhaps small in scale but having no less gravity, of the bee
reluctantly leaving the deep pistils of the peony from which it has
This version enacts this drama with a different cast. Here, tragedy is
signaled in ‘it’s all over’. At the scene of the lapsed event, the
petals of the flowers are scattered on the ground. But there is also
an undertone of relief. It’s a truism that beginnings cannot be
sustained forever. On the other side of anticipation, we are released
from the burden of the blossom as overbearing symbol. The sun
stretches easily through the branches.
The anthology of renditions on Basho’s haiku is part of Alec Finaly’s The Bee Bole, a series of projects considering the various ways -artistic, scientific, political, economic- in which cultures have engaged with the bee.
The care with which the rain is wrong and the green is wrong and the white is wrong. The care with which there is a chair and plenty of breathing. The care with which there is incredible justice and likeness, all this makes a magnificent asparagus, and also a fountain.
- Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons
He volunteers that I seem like someone for whom words have a big ontological importance- like things don’t quite exist till I’ve said them. ‘Or,’ I say, ‘maybe it’s more about loss- things exist without words, but without words I’ve no safeguard against losing them the next minute.’
- Eve Sedgwick, A Dialogue on Love