Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On Chesil Beach

Arnold Bockin: Isle of the Dead *
My grand-daughter, who had been staying here with me, left last Monday abandoning on the table a copy of  'On Chesil Beach', by Ian McEwan.  Finding it there on Tuesday morning I picked it up and, over my morning coffee, I began to read it.  Before I rose from the table I had finished reading all of its 166 pages.  It is a tragic tale beautifully written.  In less able, or more salacious hands several passages essential to the story could easily have been narrated sensationally but McEwan handles his story to invoke emotions of tenderness and understanding rather than eroticism.  I enjoyed reading 'On Chesil Beach'.  In a way it left me feeling much as I did when I had finished reading William Trevor's,  'The Story of Lucy Gault'.
*Oh yes, despite the principal protagonists surviving to the end of the story, there is a connection!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer's Passing

Things are changing; until this morning I had seen no clouds here for months; erratic zephyrs of cool breeze have been springing, quite suddenly, from every direction rattling bone-dry leaves on hot stone terraces; early mornings glisten now with sparkling dews; ripening fruits - wild pear, pomegranate and luscious prickly pear glow in shades of deep yellow, orange and mahogany red; grapes cut and laid in thick, deep-purple carpets turn the late summer sun into currants (or is it the sun that turns grapes into currants?); dessert grapes no longer able to contain the pressure of the over-sweet juices within their skins split and are gorged upon by wasps.
All these are portents of summer passing into autumn, harbinger of dark winter.

Cue for a poem!   How about this from Yahia Lababidi who sounds as though he might have done more than a little cloud watching?


to find the origin,
trace back the manifestations.

Between being and non-being
barely there
these sails of water, ice, air -

Indifferent drifters, wandering
high on freedom
of the homeless

Restlessly swithering
like ghosts, slithering through substance

in puffs and wisps


Lending an enchanting or ominous air
luminous or casting shadows,
ambivalent filters of reality

Bequeathing wreaths, or
modesty veils to great natural beauties
like mountain peaks

Sometimes simply hanging there
airborne abstract art
in open air

Suspended animation
continually contorting:
great sky whales, now, horse drawn carriages

unpinpointable thought forms,
punctuating the endless sentence of the sky.