The Silver Eel

"A gape-jawed serpentine shape of pale metal crested with soot hung high for a sign."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Been after the full context of the following quote for some time, as it's mentioned by Heaney and Hughes in essays. Found it in the introduction to Penguin edition collected Milosz poems:

The work of human thought should withstand the test of brutal, naked reality. If it cannot, it is worthless... A man is lying under machine-gun fire on a street in an embattled city. He looks at the pavement and sees a very amusing sight: the cobblestones are standing upright like the quills of a porcupine. The bullets hitting against their edges tilt and displace them. Such moments in the consciousness of a man judge all poets and philosophers. Let us suppose, too, that a certain poet was the hero of literary cafés, and wherever he went was regarded with curiosity and awe. Yet his poems, recalled in such a moment, seem diseased and highbrow. The vision of the cobblestones is unquestionably real; and poetry based on an equally naked experience could survive triumphantly that judgment day of man’s illusions. In the intellectuals who lived through the atrocities of war in Eastern Europe there took place what one might call the elimination of emotional luxuries. Psychoanalytic novels incite them to laughter. They consider the literature of erotic complications, still popular in the West, as trash. Imitation abstract painting bores them. They are hungry - but they want bread, not hors d’oeuvres.


Found this site on Scottish lullabies. Warms me to see they're operating out of my home area.


Won't be doing a lot of posting for a while. Baby daughter born 14th May at 12.22 am. Good lungs, feeds and sleeps a lot. Parents less so. Her older brother is, blissfully, attentive and (so far) not jealous.

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