Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Eve of the supply side

We drove back that night with a profound content, and as the moon was late and high, turned off the road to spend an hour in the owl-haunted ruins of Lambousa, an old church standing in magnificent desolation upon the echoing stony beach below Lapithos. Here, walking about in the ruins, eating the sweet brown grapes we had stolen from [our host's] table we talked of our houses, of the books we were going to write, and of the lives we should be able to live here in the sun: within reach of each other on this eloquent range of hills. The owls whistled and the sea banged and rubbed under the moon. We were full of premonitions of a life to be lived which could offer, not merely leisure in sunlight, but a proper field in which to read and reflect, deploy words and study. Marie was to leave for India next morning and felt disinclined to sleep, so we drove back along the silent coast and down to the little mosque, blazing like a diamond on the rocky peninsula opposite her wattle hut. Here we bathed in a sea still full of cold currents, smarting to the flesh, and drank the last of a bottle of red Chianti which we found in the hut. The dawn was breaking before we were ready almost, rushing out of the night sea beyond Cape Andreas, a steeply mounting flush upon the bronze faces of the mountains. A dense dew lay upon everything as we drove back through the silent fields to Kyrenia for breakfast. There were to be many such mornings, many such evenings spent in good fellowship and wine, before the vagaries of fortune and the demons of ill luck dragged Cyprus into the stock market of world affairs and destroyed not only the fortuitous happiness of these friendships but, more tragically and just as surely, the old tried relationships on which the life of the little village was founded.

I don't marvel that our power centers
have their hands full with rejection,
left and right; but I do rather marvel
at the poverty of vocabulary resorted
to, to explain it. Because it was al-
ways about the money to the Right and
to the Left, at least since England
started fencing in estates, and a City
bourgeoisie became inevitable, it has
seemed derisorily artistic to look a-
head (had you thought, back?), to edu-
cation's taming of upstart deformity.

And who are they, who are that natur-
al market; who are they, who are its

Lawrence Durrell
Bitter Lemons
  The Swallows Gather
Faber and Faber, Ltd, 1957© 

Carl Julius von Leypold

Peter Laslett
The World We Have Lost
  "Paul Mellon's interest and en-
  couragement have been more
  important than perhaps he can
  have realised. I only hope that
  he may recognise here some-
  thing of the England which he
  can see for himself in his pictures."
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965©

E.P. Thompson
Customs in Common
  Studies in Traditional
  Popular Culture
The New Press, 1993©
op. cit.


  1. Replies
    1. "No worries," thank you. Durrell is such a go-to guy, for me, for seeing the world.