Thursday, October 31, 2013

Street Mask

Embellished architecture at the foot of a staircase in Berlin, preserved photographically here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



The rain, in the back yard where I'm watching it
come down, comes down at many different rates of knot.
Its central zone is finely woven curtain  sheer net, perhaps 
thinly broken, relentless in its fall, but
relatively slow, which must be down to the lightness
of its drops, a sempiternal, frail precipitation,
like real weather atomised.

Heavier and noisier the elemental drops
that fall close to  hand to the walls to the left and right:
here the calibre of grains of wheat, there plump as peas,
elsewhere ample glassy marbles. Along window rail and sill
the rain washes horizontally, while clinging to
their undersides in rows of tetrahedral beads.

According to the whole surface of a little zinc roof
overhung by my lookout, it streams in a very fine sheet,
shimmering on account of the currents
variously created by the imperceptible undulations,
bumps and ripples of the metal blanketing;
and in the adjoining gutter runs slowly along with all
the force of a low-gradient runnel, managing
to let go its flow in a long, perfectly vertical,
elegantly braided thread to the ground where
it shatters and spatters into brilliant glinting needles.

Each of its modes generates a particular tempo to which
a particular sonority responds. The whole ensemble pulses
like a complicated, living mechanism, as precise as it is
erratic, like a store of clocks whose springs depend on
the weight of a given mass of constantly condensing vapour.
The tinkling of vertical strings as they strike the ground,
gutters going glug-glug, dings, dongs and tiny gongs
resound and multiply in simultaneous concert, by no means
monotonous, and not without a certain fluid delicacy.

And in due course, as the springs run out of steam,
some of the waterwheels go on operating, though more slowly
and more slowly, until the mechanism ticks to a halt.
Then the sun comes out once more to wipe the slate clean;
the whole brilliant apparatus evaporates: it has rained.

*          *          *          *          *

Irish writer Ciaran Carson recently published this water-poem (permitting the suspicion of a tribute to Robert Southey's famous High Romantic water-poem of 1820, The Cataract of Lodore) in the London Review of Books.

He (Carson, not Southey) appeared once before on this rolling screen  for the excellent epistolary novel he offered to a largely indifferent public in 2011, The Pen Friend.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Two panels from . . .

Mother, Mother, I Feel Sick: Send for the Doctor, Quick, Quick, Quick

Remy Charliip illustrated this children's book in 1966.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Honey In The Flesh, 1959. On the back cover (if you turn it sideways) an existential orphan is revealed, with "Taffy-Colored Hair  Blue Eyes."

G.G. Fickling's fictional investigator reminded me immediately of a letter Rilke wrote in 1925   

". . . it is our task to impress this provisional, transient earth upon ourselves so deeply, so agonizingly, and so passionately that its essence rises up again "invisibly" within us. We are the bees of the invisible. We ceaselessly gather the honey of the visible and store it in the great golden hive of the invisible."

Images here

Sunday, October 27, 2013


September 28
Recipe for Reassuring Readers

Today is the international day devoted to the human right to information.

Perhaps a good opportunity to recall that, a month or so after atom bombs annihilated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the New York Times discounted rumors that were terrifying the world. 

On September 12, 1945, the daily published a front-page story by its chief science reporter William L. Laurence, which challenged the alarmist notions head-on. There was no radioactivity whatsoever in those razed cities, the article assured one and all, it's only "the Japanese continuing their propaganda . . "

The scoop won Laurence the Pulitzer Prize.

Sometime later it came out that he was receiving two monthly paychecks: one from the New York Times, the other from the payroll of the US War Department. 

– from Children of the Days : a Calendar of Human History / by Eduardo Galeano, translated by Mark Fried

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Children of 1956

Dress Up and Let's Have a Party / written and illustrated by Remy Charlip, 1956.

I've never seen this same exact layout in a children's book before. Pictures and captions are justified left and right. The center of each double-page opening remains (dynamically) blank.

Images here

Friday, October 25, 2013

Young Photographer

Mabel sat in the rocking chair and took my picture with the new tiny blue camera (with tiny buttons that do, in fact, suit child-size fingers better than they suit mine).

A Gathering

Mabel called a general meeting of all dolls and creatures, tirelessly fixing up their attire and finding a seating space for each individual.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

October Light

A stick of cheese and a cup of juice. There is a small afternoon snack at school, but Mabel also often asks for another small afternoon snack at home. "I'm VERY hungry!"


Mabel and I passed our croissants back and forth at breakfast, making long torn strips out of hers and a treasure cave out of mine.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Leopard Print

By the time we got back to the house in the afternoon, Mabel and I had both forgotten about the Creature Tableau from this morning, hiding in the toy cupboard. Mabel felt moved instead (after taking off wraps) to investigate a container of orange-scented, orange-colored Hand Sanitzer. She loved the flip-up top on the little bottle.

Like a Bird

Mabel was busy waking herself up and singing like a bird as we ate breakfast.

When she was all ready for school, there was a little extra playtime before we needed to leave. Mabel picked the SMALL CREATURES box and began an ambitious tableau, laying it out on the inside of the lid. We put this lid and box away with great care inside the toy cupboard when we needed to leave for school. In the afternoon after school we will open the toy cupboard (if we remember) and take the small creatures out again to finish the tableau.