Sunday, 16 March 2008

Hasta pronto

Off for three weeks now and think I need to keep my aching head mostly away from computer screens. Back in April with photos of Vienna and, who knows, perhaps a little writing done.

Saturday, 15 March 2008


Today I saw, and fell in love with, this little sculpture by Juan Muñoz (photos not mine - click to enlarge)

It was inspired by a work of Gentile Bellini, which I saw in 2006 when it visited the National Gallery from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

I was thrilled and delighted by the Juan Mu
ñoz Retrospective at Tate Modern. Had only seen photos of his stuff, heard mostly that friends found it amusing and provoking. Yes, amusing and provoking, but also warm, beguiling, impressive, disturbing, subtle, alarmingly clever. I could have lingered for days before this or this.

But the scribes, both Bellini's and Muñ
oz's, just... utterly... intrigue... and... entrance me. So small, intent and self-contained. And yet their work - copying, transcribing, illustrating the words of others - is quite the opposite of self-contained. I suppose it's what I'd like to be, a scribe, but I was born too late and they were always men.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


...a smeary window
is a shady place
a calm micro-climate
where shy plants thrive

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Knit, slip and yarn over

Concentrating ferociously on my first knitting project that's not plain stocking stitch, to accompaniment of I Fagiolini singing a Monteverdi madrigal, the rather obvious but very motivating thought that more complex knitting patterns are like polyphony.

Grey alpaca lacy scarf in three voices.

Friday, 7 March 2008


Reflections in a

warped window - or the tipsy
tilt of my own mind?

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Lemon (and a very quick translation)

copa amarilla
con milagros,
uno de los pezones olorosos
del pecho de la tierra,
el rayo de la luz que se hizo fruta,
el fuego diminuto de un planeta.

Yellow cup
Full of miracles
One of the sweet-smelling nipples
Of the breast of the earth,
A ray of light that became a fruit,
The diminutive fire of a planet

Pablo Neruda
Translation by Jodey Bateman
Full text in Spanish here, with another translation
(I like bits of both translations, the whole of neither)

(later) Since I don't find either translation quite satisfying, here's my own very quick try. No time to check the grammar or the false friends that speed has no doubt made me prey to .

From those blossoms
by the moonlight,
from that
smell of exasperated
buried in their fragrance,
the yellow

left the lemon tree,
the lemons
left their planetarium
and came down to earth.

What tender merchandise!
The quaysides and the markets
filled up with light,
with sylvan gold,
and we opened
the two halves
of a miracle,
frozen acid
from each of a star’s
two hemispheres,
and nature’s deepest wine,
immutable, alive and
was born from the freshness
of lemon,
from its fragrant home,
its secret, acid symmetry.

Into the lemon,
the knives cut
a small cathedral,
its hidden apse
opened acid windows
to the light,
the topazes,
the altars,
the fresh architecture
spilled out in drops.

So when your hand
pressed the hemisphere
of cut lemon
on your plate
you poured
a golden universe,
yellow cup
of miracles,
one sweet-smelling nipple
of the earth’s breast,

the ray of light made fruit,
the tiny fire of a planet.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


I've a friend who lives in the Barbican and have been there quite a bit lately. I'll never like the endless corridors and many clanging gates, the cavernous underground spaces or the vast Arts Centre, the most confusing building in London. But the uniform mauveish grey of the bricks, the still reflecting lake and peaceful sheltered gardens have their own austere charm
that increases as familiarity softens the shock of the estate's sheer size and density.

Monday, 3 March 2008

The god of small things

This past end-of-Winter weekend (no snow here, but tempests of words and papers in closed-in Winter offices), a foray, filled with delighted anticipation, to bathe in fountains of colour – the wool-shop stuffed with bright arans and alpacas, cottons and cashmeres, twists and tweeds; the flower market famous for its orchids, azaleas, early daffodils and tulips. Too much, too soon! Drowning in colour and choice, I gasped and gulped and headed for shore, came away with fragrant pastel lavender and muted dark-red primulas, and with a small package of soft grey Peruvian alpaca yarn; left the riotous rainbow pleasures for another day.