Thanks, Douglas. I haven't been conscious of letting the past in as you
say; but I suppose in "trying to be true" to his world as far as I know and
am able, I suppose I do that. For what it's worth, I find the distant past
more interesting but less accessible than less distant past. I'm not sure
where that takes me, in this context.
I stare at standing stones quite unable to deduce anything much, both from
lack of knowledge on my own part and lack of available knowledge, also
aware that so many have been moved or destroyed it is unlikely anything
much can be deduced. But graves somehow seem more knowable; and i look at
those a lot. Yet a little knowledge there suggests a mind set way outside
of mine, burials, exhumations.... There's a place up north of here that
left a corpse that had been dunked in a peat bog for some long time and
then, mummified, seems to have been inside the house, sitting around, for
some generations before being buried under the floor.
Now, that, as I think P J O'Rourke once said of some extremely odd
behaviour is alien. Apart from Jeremy Bentham. But UC is a bit odd!
And often the burials are used not just over centuries but by different
cultures, which we barely discern one from another. There's an entrance
grave that had unexpected contents and the excavating team surmised that
Ennor had hit bad times and in desperation threw in sacrifices, not knowing
what the purpose of the structure was. But of course one can see today. Who
knows but that in extremis I'd start chanting hail marys.
The past as you have spoken of it is suggested perhaps by familiarity. Some
decades ago a Greek waitress walking between customers with a large plate
flat on upraised hands was straight off a frieze two millennia old; though
helped of course by the similarity of her features in general to those on
the walls. And a grave stone I saw in Xania, with the dead woman visited by
family, triggered memories of personal griefs for all that the museum notes
told that it was a stock item with stylised corpse and visitors - artists'
repeated image rather than portraits.
Roman Britain, what I know of it, seems very close, in a way that anglo
saxons and almost vanished jutes do not. To me. City boys, I suppose, those
who influenced things directly
Maybe. I don't have the knowledge to say such things. I need another
lifetime or two.
Or perhaps it is the way the past persists, so that for all the modern
materials, the way an Island boatman throws or catches a rope has not
changed since we had ropes. Walking down a lane picking blackberries.
Gleaning at the sea's edge. It's catching those things; that's what I take
from Max's kind words.
On 22 January 2015 at 22:09, Douglas Barbour <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Well, I enjoyed our replies, too, L. But this, as said by Max, caries a
> tone that allows a feeling of pastness in. Yes, he can't be perfectly of
> then when you, of now, are forever translating him onto these pages, but
> one of the things that does it, in all the poems, is the structure, staid
> in its way, but as his way, & so sharp as his mind, always it seems at work...
> I enjoyed it, in other words...
> On Jan 22, 2015, at 8:02 AM, Lawrence Upton <[log in to unmask]>
> > Elidius
> > I watched one tallying today. By the dock.
> > He was superb; managing three boats, five men,
> > with a charcoal stick against the white-washed stone.
> > Each of the labourers had a different pace,
> > doubtless intending to outwit him; he was good.
> > He saw, I guess, a line that no one drew,
> > a line for each man working. When each crossed
> > their line, he marked it, black on white, boldly,
> > dividing attention, without it slackening,
> > like a fisherman landing prey or guards on watch;
> > and at the fifth in every case, he cut
> > through the previous four, like one harvesting
> > with a scythe, in one movement which could only
> > be extended to mark uprights elsewhere
> > as fast and as dexterous as boys at harps.
> > Only now I think he was left-handed.
> > They wanted to cheat him. They didn't dare.
> > He took no part in further operation.
> > The counted sacks, crates and bottles were snatched
> > by other men, whom I assume owned them,
> > as a mouse or familiar takes what it can get.
> Douglas Barbour
> [log in to unmask]
> Recent publications: (With Sheila E Murphy) Continuations & Continuation 2
> Recording Dates (Rubicon Press).
> that we are only
> as we find out we are
> Charles Olson