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Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Shadows


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File:Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn - An Old Man in Red.JPG





There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle
Said Samuel Butler to his shadow

The shadows of old men in entirely different centuries
Go ever with me now





An Old Man in Red: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1652-1654

11 comments:

zevstar said...

ghosts
of old men
are never old except
that a shadow is entire
stretching
from navel
to crown
from root
to creation

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Beautiful Tom, what a 'thought' to have now (so timely it seems). Just finished this, first and last lines seem somehow resonant. . . .

12.26

grey light coming into sky above shadowed
ridge, red-tailed hawk calling on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

principles of integral form,
that the conception

in that case is light, sign,
two different lines

cloudless blue sky reflected in channel,
shadowed canyon of ridge across from it

leigh tuplin said...

Wonderful Tom, so much more than the few lines.

One of my favourite SB quotes: 'a hen is just an egg's way of making a new egg'. :)

Jon said...

this brings me to a place where light and dark are one and the same... two sides of one coin... a tympanum...

TC said...

... which brings me to:

"The limits of the body seem well defined enough as definitions go, but definitions seldom go far."

Lucy in the Sky said...

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage..."

According to Willy, "then is heard no more"... But one just needs to have a look at what happened to his own shadow...

Some shadows remain in our stage for a very long time... "so long as men can breathe or eyes can see..."

Let's play on!

TC said...

Lucy,

The game is infinite... until...

Quoth SB, a philosopher with a thought for every occasion:

"To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead."

~otto~ said...

old fiddles are surely better than young fiddles

TC said...

Otto,

Something tells me that's exactly what SB would have said. Once he was an old fiddler.

~otto~ said...

:-D

TC said...

I strikes me latterly that this may be an optimistic poem. John Donne reminded me.

In his Nocturnall Upon St. Lucy's Day, Being the Shortest Day, Donne played upon the scholastic "Shadow" paradox:

If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

For there to be a shadow, Donne is saying, something must exist to have cast it.

Something is better than nothing. The shadows of old men in entirely different centuries are therefore better than nothing. Quod erat demonstrandum. And a happy new year...