Saturday, May 25, 2019

Saturday commute clxx: Remembered sentences

      I can give no adequate account of
      the subtle poetry of such reminis-
      censes; it depends upon associations
      of which we have often lost the thread.

      Such is the colour of the interior glow
      of clubs in Pall Mall, which I positive-
      ly like best when the fog loiters upon
      their monumental staircases.

Henry James
Essays in London
  The Anticipation
  of Christmas
John Julius Norwich
An English Christmas
John Murray, 2017©

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Trying out for gargoyle the next time

    With our primitive and sub-rudimentary
    data connections in the regressive Vir-
    ginian countryside, if we have begun to
    posals of the moment's architects for
    the rooftops and parapets of Notre Dame,
    then we know we can trust our reader to
    be able to lead this discussion, should
    we somehow tumble from that peak of nau-
    sea to which they all have floated us,
    and be lucky, as if as a gargoyle, all
    we should dispense from here were tears.

    The other day, a considerate genius of
    our acquaintance wrote in from that city
    of angels on the further coast, to relay
    Notre Dame has acquired through her many
    centuries of witness to the follies of 
    the building trades, not least upon her 
    own elevations. I pass it along, hopeful
    that the vigor of its perceptions, if not 
    their virtue, might serve as a kind of e-
    metic buttress of humility in the face
    of the heroically self-referential rap-
    tures of our contractor-exhibitionists. 

Paul Berman
The Tears of Quasimodo
  Victor Hugo and the 
  Ideals of Progress
April 24, 2019©

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

This was supposed to be Beto

I'm reminded of the late playwright,
breakfast table habit of scanning 
the obituaries - did they die at an
age less than his, did they go on 
to actuarial heights he was doomed
not to reach? 

and we're always told that those
who persisted to a great age did so
with grace and style and full of en-
ergy, still climbing mountains at
eighty-three, conducting symphonies
at ninety-one -- I think, what right
did they have? who decides these 

Patently, this is the shirt our in-
tended Texan was destined to fill,
and (barring good health among his
rivals) may still do. But now it's
been absconded with, by another ver-
sion of the bright young thing, of
a more multi-faceted stamp. Flat-
footed, the 2-term mayor of South
Bend is not, in zigging and zagging
his compromises with the hardest-
hearted in the Resistance, and the
technicians of political necessity.

The phrase, "real man," has not been
deployed yet, quite probably for fear
of wasting it until the exquisite is-
sue of the ballot box is upon us. It
will be. Still, the mayor is filling
in the shirt awfully fast, and one
can almost see what right he has,
and who decides these things.

Simon Gray
Faber and Faber