15.10.08

The Autonomous Zone

Somehow we settle on text messages as a way of communicating. It isn't ideal, doesn't always work, messages don't always arrive or leave intact, what remains is often cryptic and always erratic ... but at least there's a reply button. She sends, apropos of what else I do not know: No rest for the saintly - Keats? I reply (not in my own words): ... queen / Of secrecy, the violet: what strange powers / Hast thou, as a mere shadow! But how great, / When in the Eye thou art, alive with fate! She comes back with: I am looking for a book of his - any or which may come my way - as it is it is to be. Next morning I wake up with a strong image in mind. Gold writing on a green spine. I go off to look for a car in a car yard in Ashfield and on the way pick up a copy of Baudelaire's Intimate Journals, translated by C. Isherwood with an introduction by W. Auden. Thence to Berkelouw Books in Leichhardt where in the second hand poetry section I find the actual volume: The Globe Edition of the Poetical Works of John Keats, London, Macmillan, 1941. First published in 1884 and edited by William T Arnold. It feels so peculiar to hold this dreamed of book in hand that I almost don't pay the $8.50 they're asking. No inscriptions. A Dymock's Book Arcade sticker inside the front cover that is worn and damaged. It has lain somewhere in the sun with another book on top of it, you can see the outline on the back. Just holding Keats' Poetical Works in your hand can make you weep, I don't know why. I do. I inscribe it to Samsara, write Bright Star on the flyleaf and will send it to her if I ever find out where she is now. It isn't The Thousand Ruby Galaxy. Or rather it is but where is that? ... city of stars / out beyond wolf howl / in the Autonomous Zone ...

5 comments:

Richard Taylor said...

Keat's poetry is beautiful - I have always loved his "Ode to Autumn" since reading it at school as teenager. Also his "Ode to a Grecian Urn", "La Belle Daem Sans Merci" etc, "Lamia" I like also - and that strange fragment written in (anger?) to his beloved about his hand...

Those beautiful old books are sought after - I just sold an early edition copy of Ella Wheeler Wilcox's Poems to Australia.

Annandale Dream Gazette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin Edmond said...

well I don't know if she's mine and she didn't ask for Byron, only Keats.

Annandale Dream Gazette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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