Saturday, October 17, 2009

TC: Prolepsis


Melodious liquid warble in the plum
Tree tells the sinking year how to feel
Its recession into grief as if a thorn
Poked a nester in an old wounded heart
Of stone from which slowly drips recognition
All breathing passion far above
These days atonal as white noise
Through bare branches cotton clouds drift by
Last yellowed leaves catch lone rays of sun
Going down into the motherless ocean
A light plane buzzes off toward brown hills
As shade drops over the next urban plot
To prepare the air for what the dead don’t know
How swiftly we are coming to join them



Boat and Yellow Hills: Selden Connor Gile (Oakland Museum)
Close-up of crocuses in early afternoon light: photo by Linda Spashett, 2009
Lookup (clouds and sea): photo by !rina 1984, 2009


Anonymous said...

'To prepare the air for what the dead don’t know
How swiftly we are coming to join them' My fav of the whole and I am there sat amongst your words absorbed in their feeling.

TC said...

Thanks, you. I'd guessed you might get this one. (So near yet so far away...)

Dale said...

The "Boat and Yellow Hills" is wonderful here. I've always loved this poem--and the title. It acknowledges the "atonal" "white noise" as a way to say hey, someone's still here, too, passing through in a state of tendance.

Phanero Noemikon said...

What a great painting. I love the fauvist tendency.. to shift experience at such a fundamental level, what painting says about experience.

TC said...


Selden Gile, total bleeding genius. The Monet of this slice of the planet. Pure foundational flow-capture/ vision-shift/perceptual experience beyond judgment.


"Tendance": lovely word. A pure poeticism. Of her sweet tendance hovering over him. -- Tennyson.

Tennyson's statement could of course also be proleptic, if her hovering is being foreshadowed. In which case it would probably be ironic. When you think about it, had he been writing a century later (why is it so difficult to imagine Tennyson writing a century after he did?), he could have been speaking of Ruth Snyder, who in 1928 hovered in sweet tendance over the sleeping figure of her husband, shortly before chloroforming and then garrotting him. (Folk came of tougher stock, then, it must be; maybe also dumber; Damon Runyon termed it "the dumb-bell murder case", because Ruth and her boyfriend, a fellow named Gray, who hovered in sweet tendance over her as together they performed this fell deed upon the hovered-over dead man -- note: prolepsis -- made up such a dumb story that it took only minutes to bring in a guilty verdict.)

And how swiftly indeed did she then come to join him. By way of the hotseat at Sing Sing. A proleptic pew if ever one was.

The other thing with "Tendance" is its approximation to one of those Indian names for canyons. Ten Dance Canyon. Utah is it, or Colorado?

TC said...

For those beguiled by the Gile, here is another, this one done nearer to the original heart and source of his landscape vision, the East Bay hills:

Pink Trees