Tuesday, July 21, 2020

flitting post with insects and trees

Day Lily (Hemerocallis variety) in Laura's garden

The cuckoo

Sweet and solved by no-one
is the cuckoo riddle:
how from such a little horn of feathers
can those wide-stretched notes roll forth?

Just now I heard his ringing,
in the newly-washed birch grove,
but his call is most beautiful when it comes
from the Vale of Eternity,
from the grown-together trees'
one crown.

The woodcutter's ascension

Laid on the block:
"Kinsfolk I have none,
but for this curly-birch stump."
The lopped head, rolling away:
"New-split alder wood is red too."
On the passage, to the ferryman:
"You need to rub the boat with tar,
not with red lead and oil-paint."
To the angels: "With respect,
you look like wood pigeons."

Icarus and Buddy Greystone

After reading 73 (excellent) poems about Icarus,
I wish to put in a word for his country cousin,
Buddy Greystone, left behind in the meadow.
I speak also on behalf of a grass tussock,
which enjoys some shade and shelter from the wind.

After reading 73 poems about flight and wings,
I wish to offer my tribute to the footsole,
the downward-aspiring spirit, the art of staying
and of owning one's weight -- like Buddy Greystone
or his sister, the home daughter Miss Sprucebush,
who is dully but forever green.

[Quick translations of more poems by Werner Aspenström from his 1956 collection Poems under the trees (Dikter under träden).]

Curly birch: also known as Masur Birch, Betula pendula var. carelica. The wood, with squiggly rings due to a genetic defect, is valued for decorative wood carving. It's very dense and hard, so I suppose it would also make a fine headsman's block!

Nettle-leaved Bellflower (Campanula trachelium) in deep woodland in West Swindon.

My sister Miranda and her family are at Idrefjäll in Dalarna, making me feel very envious. We should have been walking near Kebne about now. Anyway, here's one of their pics:

From Nipfjället

When I get up each morning at 06:25, I flip on the radio and it's playing the final piece of music from the six-hour "Through the Night" programme. That way I'm fully awake for Radio 3 Breakfast at 06:30. I wander about opening the blinds and greedily relishing the early light.

Through the Night often has more unfamiliar music than the peak-time shows so these first minutes can contain a discovery, and so it was today: Ludvig Norman, one of the many Swedish composers of whom I knew nothing, a contemporary of Frans Berwald. (He also tutored Elfrida Andrée.) The music that took my fancy turned out to be his String Sextet, Op. 18. 

At this point I'd normally embed a YouTube performance, but due to the move I'm now back to posting on my phone and I don't seem to have the embedding option. I'm still sleeping in Swindon, but now sharing the flat with little more than a vacuum cleaner, empty boxes and a kettle. 

When I've moved I'll be in a house with wifi again. I anticipate a 2 hour riot of listening to Ludvig Norman, perhaps even a download of Through the Night. Then I'll remember that there isn't actually any more time in the day to accommodate all these riches, and I'll revert to digital abstinence.

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