Monday, July 28, 2008

I Remember

"Many a man has met death from the rushing flood of his own eloquence; others from the strength and wondrous muscles in which they have trusted."
Juvenal, Satire X

This blog is not so much about my garden, as about things I learn there. Like: the world is round, and I am pear-shaped. Like: how the French expression equivalent to calling a spade a spade is “appeler un chat un chat”. Calling a cat a cat.

My pear shape prevents my thoughts from fitting into tidy squared-off compartments of thought. There are times when I can squeeze through the convoluted corridors of memory and access certain areas inside my own head, the richer veins of contemplation, the quiet peaceful aisles where memories are stored in sweet soft pillows rather than tidy file cabinets. I try to fit in as much as I can as long as I can, then I have to squeeze beneath the overturned cup like the octopus in the laboratory; to wriggle beneath the curvy ropes of my coiled brain, and slip out into the sea, expanding and rocking beneath the moon above and deep currents below.

That’s not say that I have a disorderly mind; that my ideas, inspirations and recollections sprawl inside my head with their limbs entangled; or that they’re like lint clogging the corners of god’s laundry room. Tangled among the tight convolutions of my brain, thoughts that rub up against each other chaotically, randomly, like tossing a deck of cards on the bed and then bouncing on it.

I remember rolling down a short grassy hill, smelling like summer clover and honeysuckle. I remember that my body then was small and quick, unencumbered by pain. I remember it so clearly.

Relying on your own eloquence to escape death, Juvenal says to me, can be just as futile as relying on your strength. So I’ll shut up. I’m off to sit on the porch with un chat, and remember.


walk2write said...

Don't forget to stand up and stretch your piriformis (thoughts) from time to time! I love the way you think and therefore write. Your blog is a refreshing change from the ordinary, sort of like a scrumptious hors d'oeuvre.

Martha in Michigan said...

I believe you have just set a world record for the number of metaphors in a single posting! This is not a dig. As a reader, I find few things more enchanting than metaphorical expressions. I think it is because I admire them but generally cannot produce them myself. My mind is too literal, hierarchical, relentlessly left-brained. That's why your more fanciful writing, often drawing connections where they had not occurred to me, so frequently delights me.

Lucy Corrander said...


Martha's comment is interesting. I enjoy your writing because to me it is very earthy and unfanciful. It has all the stones left in.

But that's an aside.

What I was going to say . . . I missed several of your posts without realising so I've just been catching up.

I want to say something encouraging but I don't think you'd appreciate remarks which risk being sentimental or obvious - and I don't understand everything you say so this would be almost inevitable.

So, while I'm whiffling away like this, I've decided to tell you a joke. (It's the mention of stones which did it.)

This is one of those things which purports to be true but . . . ? ? ?

The army and navy had the same jam suppliers. (Perhaps they still do.) (This is the Britich army and navy.)

The navy insisted that the stones be removed from the jam. The army didn't. The jam was sold by weight. The company making it skimmed the stones from the navy's jam and put them in the jam it sold to the army.

That, surely, must be a metaphor?


greeny said...

Posts you write cause sparks of recognition or understanding in me in a delightful and meloncholy way.

Weeping Sore said...

Someday I'll catch up to your vocabulary. I always have to look things up, so thanks for the parenthetical definition. I'm glad you saw I'm going for refreshing, rather than soaked in sweat.

I can't wait to torture this into a garden-themed metaphor: skimmed the stones from the navy's jam and put them in the army's jam".
Sounds debauched, slightly off-color and more than slightly overweight. Like me!

"enchanting metaphors"! Here I just thought I could only imagine and remember by strolling through metaphorical edifices, constructed of cliches and Shakespearean references. As I recall from back when I was in seminary school, that's how men remembered in the pre-literate days: by visualizing a speech as a structure, with floors, walls, decorations all stood for memorized meanings.
Turns out, I'm not illiterate, just not a cool and analytical writer like you. I'm fanciful and frequently delightful.