Monday Morning Musings:
“For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”
–C.S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory
“If there is any point in using language at all it is that a word is taken to stand for a particular fact or idea and not for other facts or ideas.”
Tom Stoppard, Travesties, Act I (p. 22), Grove Press, Inc. 1975
What language, what words
can express the golden glow
diffused through trees, the way it swells
between valleys, over hills
the pensive blue, the egret white
a reversed silhouette in sapphire light,
the shimmering silver rills on river beach,
colors almost named; flavors almost tasted.
Now the crystal sky is smudged with grey,
red flowers bloom and grass grows greener,
drinking deep, as rain seeps to nourish roots below—
last call, last dance, before they sleep—
the squirrels scurry in the shortening days,
and majesty with wide wings spread
soar in azure above our heads, like thoughts
here, gone, left unexpressed, but
spinning–as our Earth–
water-tilted, wobbles, remaining true to blue–
but what are the words for this time
of seeking beauty in strife and destruction
there’s no deconstruction of this theme,
no truth that dadaism could bring–
but in the apricot dawn and violet dusk
with words we almost know
and sounds we strive to hear.
Happy Monday! I feel like everything is unsettled right now. It was a strange week, and I’m behind on everything. We had some beautiful, almost fall-like days, and now we’re getting much needed rain—though it’s so sticky and icky feeling that we turned the a/c back on last night.
There was a recent dVerse post that I missed on unusual words, but then I went down a Marginalian rabbit hole and discovered the word “saudade: the vague, constant longing for something or someone beyond the horizon of reality.”
Yesterday, we took a rainy walk in Philadelphia and then saw the Lantern Theater Company’s production of the Tom Stoppard play, Travesties. As with all his plays, it’s a brilliant whirlwind of words, ideas, and styles, including a defense of art. All the actors were excellent—there’s so much fast dialogue, and it’s a long play. I also liked the set and lighting (something I don’t usually notice).
Here’s the synopsis from the theater’s Website:
Zürich, 1917. In Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning comic masterpiece, obscure British diplomat Henry Carr and Dadaist Tristan Tzara are in love with Cecily and Gwendolen, who are both in love with someone named Jack. Carr stages a production of The Importance of Being Earnest with James Joyce, and the action gets heated when Vladimir Lenin bursts onto the scene. Soon everyone in neutral Switzerland is at war over the question, “What does it mean to be an artist and a revolutionary?”
Also, dealing with language, but of a different type, I’m reading the novel True Biz. It’s a coming-of-age novel set mainly in a fictional school for the deaf in Ohio. It’s truly illuminating. It’s making me see things about a culture I didn’t even really know existed. (More so, than I felt in the movie, CODA.)
We finished season 3 of For All Mankind on Apple TV+. Highly recommend it.