online: 22 april 2002

22 april 2002 interludes

17:57 First picnic on the heath this year... Cool but pleasant under light gray cloud cover that is moving slowly south-eastward. I can hear a few birds, an occasional aeroplane, distant traffic and voices but I can see no people. A heron flies over with slowly flapping wings. Content with much - I feel that my life is improving.

Walking back I was enjoying the evening stillness beneath the trees. Now I watch a man jogging slowly with poise and an easy rhythm of arms and legs which few people achieve. And now a woman follows him with almost the same rhythm. The water lily leaves are already appearing all over the pond beneath the viaduct. And now I see another runner with not quite the rhythm of the first one. A bird I don't recognise is chirping to my left and a church clock strikes the three-quarter hour. I'll move on.

The picnic was a pleasant interlude in a wait of several hours to be examined by a doctor at the nearby hospital. He could not find anything wrong but his quiet assurance had a good effect. I feel completely well.

I saw several people who looked ill or unhappy and one who seemed a little mad and had to be escorted to another room as she was upsetting people. But most of the people waiting didn't look at all ill. Nor did I, I guess.

While there I read a book of poems by William Carlos Williams* - selected for me by chance process before I went. He was a doctor. He developed a way of writing poems in short lines, often in three-line verses. Besides fitting his search for a genuinely contemporary meter, related to American speech, such verses could be typed in brief intervals between patients or in his car on the way to visit them at home. The book begins with an epigraph:

"...the form of a man's rattle may be in accordance with instructions received in the dream by which he obtained his power."
Frances Densmore, The Study of Indian Music (I guess he means native American)

* William Carlos Williams, Pictures from Brueghel and other poems, New Directions Publishing Corporation, New York 1962.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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