Monday Morning Musings:
“For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”
–C.S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory
“If there is any point in using language at all it is that a word is taken to stand for a particular fact or idea and not for other facts or ideas.”
Tom Stoppard, Travesties, Act I (p. 22), Grove Press, Inc. 1975
What language, what words
can express the golden glow
diffused through trees, the way it swells
between valleys, over hills
the pensive blue, the egret white
a reversed silhouette in sapphire light,
the shimmering silver rills on river beach,
colors almost named; flavors almost tasted.
Now the crystal sky is smudged with grey,
red flowers bloom and grass grows greener,
drinking deep, as rain seeps to nourish roots below—
last call, last dance, before they sleep—
the squirrels scurry in the shortening days,
and majesty with wide wings spread
soar in azure above our heads, like thoughts
here, gone, left unexpressed, but
spinning–as our Earth–
water-tilted, wobbles, remaining true to blue–
but what are the words for this time
of seeking beauty in strife and destruction
there’s no deconstruction of this theme,
no truth that dadaism could bring–
but in the apricot dawn and violet dusk
with words we almost know
and sounds we strive to hear.
Happy Monday! I feel like everything is unsettled right now. It was a strange week, and I’m behind on everything. We had some beautiful, almost fall-like days, and now we’re getting much needed rain—though it’s so sticky and icky feeling that we turned the a/c back on last night.
There was a recent dVerse post that I missed on unusual words, but then I went down a Marginalian rabbit hole and discovered the word “saudade: the vague, constant longing for something or someone beyond the horizon of reality.”
Yesterday, we took a rainy walk in Philadelphia and then saw the Lantern Theater Company’s production of the Tom Stoppard play, Travesties. As with all his plays, it’s a brilliant whirlwind of words, ideas, and styles, including a defense of art. All the actors were excellent—there’s so much fast dialogue, and it’s a long play. I also liked the set and lighting (something I don’t usually notice).
Here’s the synopsis from the theater’s Website:
Zürich, 1917. In Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning comic masterpiece, obscure British diplomat Henry Carr and Dadaist Tristan Tzara are in love with Cecily and Gwendolen, who are both in love with someone named Jack. Carr stages a production of The Importance of Being Earnest with James Joyce, and the action gets heated when Vladimir Lenin bursts onto the scene. Soon everyone in neutral Switzerland is at war over the question, “What does it mean to be an artist and a revolutionary?”
Also, dealing with language, but of a different type, I’m reading the novel True Biz. It’s a coming-of-age novel set mainly in a fictional school for the deaf in Ohio. It’s truly illuminating. It’s making me see things about a culture I didn’t even really know existed. (More so, than I felt in the movie, CODA.)
We finished season 3 of For All Mankind on Apple TV+. Highly recommend it.
Good morning, Merril. I think I’ll look for “a reversed silhouette” today, but maybe I’ll have to wait until this evening.
You packed so much into this post. Thanks for the book and movie recommendations. Enjoy your day! 😀
Thank you very much, Marian!
Yes, I think you need to wait until dusk. 😊
I’m glad you enjoyed the recommendations, too. I’ll probably have movies for next time.
Stunningly beautiful stuff thank you 🙏💖
Thank you very much! 💙
Soothing words for unsettled times, Merril!
Thank you, Ingrid!
Lovely musings today, Merril. We’ve had rain along with the “sticky icky” air, too. I laughed when I saw the observer viewer and your comment on IG. 🙂 I thought the same!
Thank you very much, Jill! I’m glad I gave you a laugh. 😊 I hope your “sticky icky” air clears soon.
Love the opening quote. Beautifully done, as per; but particularly so, today 🙂 I love the weather at this time of year. You have hot (but less sticky icky 😉 ) and then cool. Mind you, our last three days have been in the “feels like” 90’s and evenings remaining relatively warm, in the low 70’s.
Have a wonderful rest of Monday!
Thank you so much, Dale. Once I discovered the word, it all fell into place.
It’s still sticky here, but by this afternoon (Tuesday), it should be gone. Then we’ll have several days of beautiful September weather!
I bet 🙂
No sticky here. A lovely 72 with rain on the way – which is fine because I can’t afford to lollygag!
It’s lovely here now! 😊
It’s a wear a light long-sleeved day here! Well… make sure it’s light 🙂
The photo with the gold leaves above the green is my favorite. Saudade: exactly, that’s the feeling now. (I can’t keep up either….)(K)
Thank you so much, Kerfe. 😊
I was introduced to saudade by a colleague from Portugal when he shared this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3WGttZdksg I’ve been very taken with the concept ever since.
Thank you, Liz. It’s a word I didn’t know, but that so perfectly describes what I often feel.
Thank you for the link-so moving those students crying! When I was writing this, I found an NPR piece that had music by a variety of Portuguese and Brazilian musicians.
You’re welcome, Merril. For me, the end of August/beginning of September is the most saudade-infused time of year.
I think for me, it’s maybe more end of September, beginning of October. Do you know the song, “Urge for Going?”
No, I don’t. I just found it and listened to it. It sounds like a November song to me. That’s our most desolate month here.
That’s a good way to treat an unusual word, put it in the title and let the poem explain it.
I love that you’re seeing that lone egret. It’s obviously the same one that stands on a sandbank here 🙂
It probably is the same egret.🙂 One morning I saw three. The one I usually see (I think) was further down on the beach, and the other two were together. But when they got startled, all three flew off and stayed together. I think perhaps the lone one was the mother, and the other two her babies.
Ah, possibly. We see them on the river but they’re like herons (I think they are the same family) they spread out to hunt. They usually look as though they’re alone.
Yes, egrets are a type of heron. I saw this one again today–alone. I’ve decided she’s a she. 🙂
Those big ones are so majestic. Yes, probably a she. The one we had on our pond was a he, I think. Picked a fight with the grey heron who practically lives here.
Your words make a good fist of describing what you see and photograph
Thank you, Derrick.
Beautiful, Merril. It’s so easy to go down a rabbit hole with the Marginalian. What a wonderful word, “saudade.” And your phrase “colors almost named” is also wonderful. I often think names don’t quite fit the colors that nature provides.
Thank you so much, Robin.
I love that word “saudade.” And yes, the colors–and they change, too, as the sun moves or clouds come.
That sunset photo takes my breath away! Your photo-poem is a wonderful illustration of saudade.
Thank you so much, Marie! 😊
Such beautiful excerpts and photos!
Thank you, dear Rene!