Atunement - candid

A mechanical metronome has appeared on the piano, a present for my 57th birthday. I didn’t want an electronic one. I couldn’t bear the idea of having the beat dictated by a device requiring throw-away batteries.

This reminds me of an episode in my life when I was living in Paris and refused to use an electronic guitar tuner. “If I can’t tune my guitar naturally using my own ear then I won’t play” I declared. All I needed to tune the guitar was to be able to fully relax but the pace of life in Paris is stressful, there never seemed to be any time to fully relax, and substances that take the edge off stress don’t exactly improve imperfect pitch. Eventually my desire to play the guitar proved stronger than my dislike of being aided by electronic devices and I bought an electronic tuner.

Pleased with my fully mechanical metronome, I wind it up. And I set it to play. It is exhilarating playing along with it, as long as I’m on the beat. When our beats start to diverge I get annoyed at it for having slowed down or speeded up. I become convinced that it is taking longer to swing to the left than to swing to the right so I turn it round to see if I have the same impression when it’s facing the other way…

cooking term.
French     English
verjus       verjuice

the ver means green and sour and not worm.

Instead of “signing” I typed “singing” and realised how close they are. Tracing, engraving. Later I try to type signed and it comes out as synged.

Lise is practicing Bach’s cantata “Sheep may safely graze”. Graze, gaze, phase, maze, peso.

segueing. to segue. I feel this word has sneaked into the English language behind my back. I know roughly what it means but must look it up and find out where it came from.

for quel que soit I usually prefer irrespective to regardless.

ruthless cunning has a certain ring to it.

Monadhliath mountains – how come I had never heard of these before? Did they just spring up suddenly when I wasn’t looking, or somehow segue into the landscape?

dutes for duties

Heinz Wismann has published a book called entre les langues – between the tongues. He reminds us that it’s the space between language and reality that allows meaning to sneak into discourse, and evokes the idea of us creating our own native language – which is how I prefer to translate langue maternelle rather than mother tongue.

Reading in World Wide Words about “the Dutch angle in film” being German, another mistaken use of Deutsch, which is also known as “canted camera”.

Members of death metal band Abortus Dei working on lyrics about a prisoner in his cell writing in his own blood.  


We've the gratitude attitude

and i shall weave a web of words a web of words a web of words
to protect me from the hordes and chandeliers, lemon curd and the absurd
and i shall weep a well of wailing as if my inner joy were failing

i shall drink the sky above with my insatiability for love and in the drinking of my thinking there’ll be an inkling of more inking galore.


Oedible chunks of reality


Bk VII:759-795 The transformation of Cephalus’s dog Laelaps

“Oedipus, son of Laïus, had solved with his genius the riddles whose meaning was previously not understood, and the Sphinx, dark prophetess, had hurtled headlong from the cliff, her enigmatic words forgotten. Immediately Aonian Thebes was plagued again (since righteous Themis does not leave such things unpunished!) and many country people feared that the Teumessian vixen would destroy their flocks and themselves. The young men of the neighbourhood came, and we beat over the wide fields. That swift creature leapt lightly over the nets, and cleared the tops of the traps we had set. Then we slipped our hounds from the tether, but she escaped their pursuit, and, travelling no slower than a bird flies, mocked the pack. With one great shout the hunters called on me to loose Laelaps, “Hurricane” (the name of my wife’s gift). He had long been struggling to free himself from his leash, and straining his neck against the restraint. He had scarcely been released properly before we lost sight of him.
‘The hot dust showed the print of his paws, but he had vanished from sight. No javelin was quicker than him, no lead shot from a whirled sling, no light arrow shot from a Cretan bow.  There was an intervening hill whose summit overlooked the surrounding fields. I climbed it, and watched the spectacle of this strange race, where the quarry seemed to be caught, and then to escape its fate. Nor does the cunning animal run in a straight course in the open, but it eludes the pursuing muzzle and swings back in a circle, so its enemy cannot charge. The hound presses hard, and matches its pace, seems to grip it, and does not grip it, and worries at the air with its empty snapping.
‘I turned to my spear for help. While I was balancing it in my right hand, while I was trying to fit my fingers into the throwing strap, I turned my eyes away. When I turned them back to the same place, I saw (a marvel) two shapes of marble in the middle of the plain. One you would think to be fleeing, the other pursuing. Assuredly, if a god was with them, that god must have willed that both should be unconquered in the race,’ He got so far in his story, and was silent. ‘What crime has the spear committed?’ said Phocus. And Cephalus recounted its crime.”
I had “mis-remembered” this story. I believed the dog belonged to Oedipus. That not only did Oedipus solve the riddle of the sphinx, but that he also got rid of the wild beast that interestingly sprung out of nowhere when the sphinx disappeared. In my memory there is no sign of a spear. Only – and crucially – a ‘moment of inattention’, which is what allows the gods to intervene.

This story has more ramifications than the oak trees I can see from my window as I write. I like to explore some of them from time to time.

I am chagrined at the recent news of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica being discontinued on paper. I bought the paper version just before it was first available on CD. Such a major change within a medium slice of one lifetime.


I would live in the moment but...

They’re all running around
About the next minute, the next mile
Hardly breathing, hardly daring about who and what they are or where
Totally immersed in the struggle of daily grinding, teeth to be cleaned, trains to be caught
Colds to be treated and lots and lots of
Hunger, anguish, thirst, despondency and despair in the air.
Smoked glass panes and bicycle lanes and everywhere the main idea of a rhyme we cannot fathom
How often do they stop and look
Beyond the frame, beyond the shame
Driven and pulled, pushing and lulled into a sense of being without end
Sending messages of hopelessness and senselessness and an ever-turning wheel that steals the minutes and the half-digested memories.

Sitting on the settee, trousers clinging to the knee, I tie my laces, call a truce
Forsooth they never told me it would be like this
I was one of them am one of them will be one of them and yet not
quite the same, seeing, fearing, sensing farther on the outside the emptiness surrounding our too-filled bubbles of trouble
How to get to there from here
How to think and be sincere
I would live in the moment but I don’t have time
Rushing from dime to dime and crime to sign, symbols clashing in my mind
The eye of the I of the aye of the ail
Who will have mercy on my whole?