8.4.08

there is continually Something

You can become used to living in an unstable perceptual world, but there will still be times when what you think you see is not what you see; or perhaps, what you see is not what you think you see. Last night, after a long telephone conversation, I went out onto my little deck to smoke and look at the sky, as I am wont to do. There was an inky black cloud, shaped like a scorpion with tail upraised, floating near the steeple of St. Andrews. Intricate, very dark, unusually detailed. Floating in front of the paler, greyish clouds behind, that were drifting slowly northwards. Except - was it? A cloud? Or smoke? A chemical exhalation from some burning factory? I looked into the sky over the apartment block next door, to see if there were any other black clouds about. No, but there were black spaces opening between the cumulonimbus that have been intermittently dumping heavy showers on us over the last couple of days. Back to Scorpio, but Scorpio had gone lumpish and vague, far too quickly for it to have been made of water vapour. It was in fact a briefly scorpion-shaped gap in the clouds I had been looking at, a figure-ground ambiguity that sent me, as briefly, into a reverie of here be monsters. Fragments of a dream of an explorer came back, I was Tasman navigating pent up seas, threading the weedy stone walls of a canal that separated Utopia from the main: I had met a looming figure along this dark causeway and he had hammered down fists of adamant upon me in the seconds before I woke up sweating beneath the duvet. The candle-lit banquet hall beyond forever lost to me; but not the semi-circular quays of Utopia, or not at least their image. The mind as an autonomous zone, out beyond wolf-howl, making its accommodations with the ambiguous shapes of perception. Orion now lay where the scorpion had been, not a hunter, not at this latitude, but Te Waka o Tama-rereti perhaps; or something that is not yet thought; or something that can never be thought. And now the veritable words of Abel Tasman, no longer in a dream, return, written just a couple of days before he did at last see the merest tip, islanded, of the Great South Land: ... also our compasses did not stay stable as they ought or here are some mines of Loadstones, is indeed possible for our Compasses do not stay stable up to 8 points, there is continually Something which makes the compasses move or run. And heard the sound of horns blowing from the misty forests of Van Dieman's Land; and saw the giant steps cut in the trees, where men who are other than we are climbed to make their inscrutable imaginings real.

7 comments:

Michael Steven said...

'. . . And I savour in the cigarette liberation from all thought/I follow the smoke like a route of my own. . .'

Martin Edmond said...

hoo dat?

Michael Steven said...

Alvaro de Campos.

Michael Steven said...

ps: a line from his poem 'Tobacconists'

Richard Taylor said...

That is great writing Martin. Beautiful and strange the human mind.

Lefty E said...

Martin, I've been meaning to drop by to the blog sometime and tell you how much I loved Luca Antara. Unputdownable.

What is about the Portuguese in Asia?

regards,

Lefty E said...

Damn, why do I never proffread.