Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Swerve Subsides into a Hopelessness That Is Reasoned Yet Also Neurotic

  • A pine tree we planted when first moved into house twenty-eight years ago, well, there in the photo happened past Sunday morning
  • Fine metaphors abound, we rank things, especially, me, my fine metaphors abounding, our idiot species
  • this one not dire or dark or ominous or even sad, the tree dying from vine, tilting more and more towards house, and two Saturdays past when I was mowing the grass ticks rained on me from the tree
  • Earthgirl and I have hiked Sugarloaf so many years I forget our first date included a Sugarloaf hike until I saw yesterday a Moco tweet about White's Ferry, part of our first date thirty five years ago
  • Nap killed a bird yesterday 
  • Someone removed the golf ball eye in tree on Dark Branch Trail we installed the previous Sunday we discovered this most recent Sunday past on our hike after watching the execution of our tree and after Earthgirl installed trolls in the knot of a tree on Tobacco Farm Trail 


Anne Carson

“I cannot keep my dreams straight.” By this complaint Kafka meant, keep them going in a straight line from front to finish. His dreams were inclined to swerve back on themselves, for example his dream of Hölderlin. Kafka dreamed that Hölderlin caught fire. “Finally you somehow caught fire.” Kafka began to beat out the fire with an old coat. Now the swerve begins. “Instead it was I who was on fire.” Here the swerve collides with itself. “And it was I who beat the fire with a coat.” Finally the swerve subsides in a hopelessness that is reasoned yet also neurotic. “But the beating didn’t help and only confirmed my old fear that such things can’t extinguish a fire.” Myself I find palindromes bleak—how they march forward as if to unfurl some wisdom then there we are cowering again at the back of the cave. And wasn’t it also Kafka who dreamed of swimming across Europe with Hölderlin river by river? So off they go, but soon the reasoning sets in. “I can swim like the others only I have a better memory than the others, I have not forgotten my former inability to swim. But since I have not forgotten it my ability to swim is of no avail and I cannot swim after all.” See that swerve and collapse. That after all mood in which he pinches the little specimen in two fingers and nips off its wings.
Myself I don’t dream at all these nights.

1 comment:

  1. 1)i wondered who hölderlin was, and about kafka's relationship with him - it turns out they were not contemporaries

    the following translation of one of his poems is by james mitchell

    Out for a walk

    The margins of the forest are beautiful,
    as if painted onto the green slopes.
    I walk around, and sweet peace
    rewards me for the thorns
    in my heart, when the mind has grown
    dark, for right from the start
    art and thinking have cost it pain.

    There are lovely pictures in the valley,
    for example the gardens and trees,
    and the narrow footbridge, and the brook,
    hardly visible. How beautifully
    the landscape shines, cheerfully distant,
    like a splendid picture, where I come
    to visit when the weather is mild.

    A kindly divinity leads us on at first
    with blue, then prepares clouds,
    shaped like gray domes, with
    searing lightning and rolling thunder,
    then comes the loveliness of the fields,
    and beauty wells forth from
    the source of the primal image.

    2)that's a good looking photo of tree surgery - the operation was a success and the patient died

    2.2)i had tree extractions in both my front and back yards, relatively early in my occupancy here - done by a guy dba "jackstraw"

    2.22 noun. one of a group of strips of wood or similar objects, as straws or toothpicks, used in the game of jackstraws. jackstraws, (used with a singular verb) a game in which players compete in picking up, one by one, as many jackstraws as possible without disturbing the heap. Obsolete.