online:9 april 2009
modified: 8, 9, 10 april 2009

8 april 2009 civilised wilderness

Sandy Heath

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees is my destroyer.

Dylan Thomas*

...these lines that many know so well came to mind when i was confronted this evening with the upturned and rotted underside of a fallen tree... now dry, and dead... but still a homeland for microscopic plants and creatures i presume...

...writing this after my first evening picnic of the year... as i gaze at a field of newly sprouting nettles where for years there were tall plants, thought to be weeds (possibly Saxifrage), that have now been cleared by the recent intrusion of landscape gardening into Sandy Heath, one of the diminishing bits of wilderness in this city park with forest...

...the force that destroys the destroyer, the ever-dividing cells that give form to life as well as death... ?

...i realised today that this duality of living-and-dying is essential in both organic life and artificial designs and developments as well in the arts and sciences... when life and death are separated from each other life becomes unreal and death becomes empty and destructive... but when they are combined there is poetry and inexplicable liveliness...

...i look up at the sky through the still bare twigs and branches of a beech tree and catch sight of a tiny fragment of tree-stuff falling to earth... to me as moving a sight as that of a space capsule returning... or the thought of Icarus falling into the sea when his wings of wax and feathers melted... or David Bowie apparently doing so in the film of The man who fell to earth**...

...this evening, now beginning to darken, i feel open to thoughts of an unspeakable unity in which apparent opposites combine in a way that is beyond telling, beyond explanation, or reason divorced from imagination, or, or, or... beyond even our ancient yet ever changing languages...

*Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems: 1934-1952, J M Dent, London 1952/1974.

...this verse, the first, ends as follows:
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

** The man who fell to earth, a film directed by Nicolas Roeg, 1978.

for comfortable line length set the window to about two-thirds of the screen width


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