not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Barthes, "...each photograph always contains this imperious sign of my future death..."

the pitch pool tugs you down, sable, consuming shadows,  secret belly secret like your sex, your death, your dark dreams

you descend, mouth gaping small circles like tugs of teats, salmon ascending, the mind trying to rouse the mind from sleep

in this way we die while living
in this way we live while dying

Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
    The night above the dingle starry,
        Time let me hail and climb
    Golden in the heyday of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
        Trail with daisies and barley
    Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
    In the sun that is young once only,
        Time let me play and be
    Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
        And the sabbath rang slowly
    In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
    And playing, lovely and watery
        And fire green as grass
    And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
        Flying with the ricks, and the horses
    Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
    Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
        The sky gathered again
    And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
        Out of the whinnying green stable
    On to the fields of praise.

And honored among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
    In the sun born over and over,
        I ran my heedless ways,
    My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
        Before the children green and golden
    Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
    In the moon that is always rising,
        Nor that riding to sleep
    I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
        Time held me green and dying
    Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

(((for my uncle henry, for my mother, for all of us)))


  1. Replies
    1. isn't their joy heartbreaking?


  2. J'aime beaucoup ce texte. La poésie n'est pas qu'une forme physique sur le papier. Elle est aussi, musique, atmosphère, mélancolie, beaux jours, tempêtes dans nos cœur. Elle est la mort et la vie, elle nous dépasse, nous surpasse, nous submerge et vient se blottir, là, entre les mots où personne ne l'attend. C'est sa force, son élégance clandestine et ce texte magnifique en est la preuve.


    1. with this poem especially, roger, fern hill. it is my favorite poem and has been for more than half my life:))) dylan accomplished something here that i yet stubbornly and dumbly think is impossible. and yet he has done it and does it every time i read the poem!!!!

  3. as rosaria said, the photos say it all. your children (and they are your children??) arms open to the elements. why is it we always open our arms when we are presented with transcendent nature? i think it is because we are of it and we want to welcome it back into our bodies before we forget again.

    1. amanda, yes, these are my children, their younger selves. they are now so old and ripe that they do not open their arms like his and run head-on as often.

      i think you are very right about nature. it took me a long time to remember to go to it to find myself (clean) again.


  4. overwhelming in softness, as hard as a hammer, killing softly. all of this together, just so. just just just an ache.

  5. Beautiful poem by Dylan, I reread them it and I get excited because anything he says is alien to me, everything is too close.


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))