Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The poetry of reality

Sometimes, from a skylight in the bedroom on the top floor of our house, I watch the grey-yellow-blue dawns of winter. The rising sun silhouettes tall trees next to the river about two hundred yards downstream from our house. This morning, our baby not yet awake, I stopped for a moment longer than usual to look at them. I have forgotten that glance until this moment at the end of the day when, with the relentless darkness all around, I come across the following passage in Oliver Morton's Eating the Sun:
The tree's purpose is the sky. Think of a beech tree in winter, its leaves lost, its architecture revealed in dark lines against the cold grey cloud. Do what Robin Hill used to urge his children to do to cultivate the artist’s eye – take away the trees established ‘common sense’ context by turning round, bending over and looking at it upside down through your legs. Its growth looks less like something pushed through the earth than it does something drawn from the sky...embodying something between desire and transubstantiation.

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