Sunday, May 22, 2011

no electric sheep

Finally sort of emerging from my den - a little. The last two weeks have been a horrible blur. A fortnight ago, I caught the flu and the meds have completely messed with my sleep and ability to think. (For two weeks? Yes. Such is the delicacy of the wires that string my system together)

I reach for thoughts that aren't there, books fail to keep my attention for more than 15 minutes (I wonder how I managed to get through 2 whole books anyway?) and writing? Writing is a forgotten dream. A faraway dream of a dream I may have once had.

You know, I'd really like to watch a movie or a TV show - a good one,not a mindless summer blockbuster. Something hideously literary or epic.

Oh heck. Just some time off to wander around and have tea with friends would be nice.

In the meantime....


Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer

We turned into the drive,
and gravel flew up from the tires
like sparks from a fire. So much
to be done -- the unpacking, the mail
and papers; the grass needed mowing ...
We climbed stiffly out of the car.
The shut-off engine ticked as it cooled.

And then we noticed the pear tree,
the limbs so heavy with fruit
they nearly touched the ground.
We went out to the meadow; our steps
made black holes in the grass:
and we each took a pear,
and ate, and were grateful.

-- Jane Kenyon


Just as a post script. I fully realize that no one likes to find that they have been drinking water in which a dead body has been floating. Really I do. I would be sickened too. (The rhyme is unintentional)

But does NO ONE have any sympathy for the poor girl? Maybe I'm missing the reports of residents expressing their horror over the wanton killing of a poor girl but all I've been reading about is how disgusting it is and how to prevent access to the rooftop etc

Have a heart guys. I know she's a maid and not exactly some high flyer but still.... I hope they find out her identity and can send her home to Indonesia soon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

M. Uchida plays Schubert Piano Sonata in B-flat, D.960


“It sometimes seems to me as if I did not belong to this world at all.”
- Schubert


"I find it hard to account for the intensity of the spiritual response that the slow movements of late Beethoven and late Schubert produce in me. Why is it so much greater than that aroused by overtly religious music? That’s just me, I suppose. (After all, while I’m quite often exposed to the sublime works of these masters in the concert hall, my chances of hearing great music in church, especially a Catholic church, are pretty slim.)

But here’s a interesting question. Do the religious convictions of musicians add an extra dimension to masterpieces? Ronan O’Hora is a committed Catholic. I’m sure no one listening to him play D960 would be able to work that out, yet knowing it somehow elevated my experience of the performance.

Then there’s the case of the Japanese baroque conductor Masaaki Suzuki, whose still incomplete cycle of the Bach cantatas is strongly influenced by his own conviction, as a Protestant Christian, that he shares in the divinely mandated mission of JS Bach to spread the Gospel through music. And here I’m certain that you can tell the difference: Koopman and Gardiner are equally fine musicians, but it is the audible reverence of Suzuki’s cycle that lends it true authenticity.

Anyway, these are just disorganised musings written late at night after a tremendous recital. Any thoughts?

From here.


So lovely it made me cry a little. This is Heathcliff music, Emily Bronte music. Music to listen to when sitting in a chapel out in the hillside, alone with God.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the gentle light that strays and vanishes

"Try To Praise The Mutilated World"

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rose wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

--Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Clare Cavanagh

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I have never seen bluebells in a wood in Spring but what I find myself longing for
is not just the sight of bluebells in a wood but poems about bluebells, drifting lines about their hazy blue scent and the humming that rises from a wood lined with the green of Spring.

Friday, May 6, 2011

the dream


In a book I read recently, the grandfather of the protagonist told his mother that he'd give her a dream as a wedding gift.

Name something you'd like to dream, he said.

A garden, she said. I'd like a garden

And from that day on, she dreamt the same dream of a garden with irises, roses in the summer and sweet peas. She had a garden even when living in a apartment as a single mother with three little boys.


I had a dream too. It's kinda sorta in the past tense because I don't run to it as often anymore. Which is a good thing.

But as far as I can recall, I always had this dream cottage by the sea. A low wall with roses, cats, a small car so I could buy groceries and books, a dog and a piano. A cottage with so much silence and peace built into its walls.

It only ever existed in my mind and the oddest thing is I've never seen any cottage like it in real life. Not for the want of trying too; I used to love poring over magazines devoted to impossibly beautiful homes and gardens.

This picture I saw today got me all excited because this, this is the closest thing to the dream cottage that I've ever seen. It's almost there and it's so real. There are places in the world that wonderfully lonely and filled with blue sea and sky.

The only other thing I've ever seen that's quite like this, is the fishing village depicted in Ponyo - yes, that house that the family lived in!

So I mean, I guess I'm just blogging this because I want to be able to remember this place and to look at the picture every so often. I know there's nothing really actually extra special about it; I'm not so far gone in my own world that I can't see that.

But well, here it is. The hiding place, the metaphysical bolt hole, my personal version of a castle in the air, only its a cottage :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jewel of a day

Photo from here.

Began the year with 5 very pregnant friends and today, the 4th little baby joins us! Baby Jewel was born a couple of hours ago and because it's now the year 2011, I found out through Facebook/Twitter when in the last it would have been a phonecall or a text.

Down with flu and feeling too awful to write anything intelligent so here are a couple of funny little anecdotes from the last couple of weeks.

Plus - oh! a new photo blog find! - Ricor is a Taiwanese photographer who takes only film photography and his shots (like the one above) are so so dreamy.

Perfect for a coughing girl on a rainy day.


V(after surveying my room): Wah you have a lot of obsolete technologies here ah!

Me: Huh, I do?

V: Yeah you actually have books and CDs and even a TV.

Me: Well... er *suppresses a giggle* yes I suppose I do have a lot of "obsolete technologies".


At Sunday School class:

Teacher: So we don't know for sure what the second coming will be like or the resurrection but we do have glimpses of that life to come. Like we know that Jesus said that there will be no marriage ....

Student: Yah so those who want to get married better get married in this life!

Rest of class collectively goes into fits of laughter.


At lunch one day the American Civil War gets fought all over again:

J (American dude): So you like tomatoes too?

G: No J, she likes to-MAH-toes. Not to-MAY-toes.....

J: yeah but you don't say po-TAH-toes do you?