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Friday, 7 June 2013

In the Vale


The Vale: Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875), 1855-60, oil on wood, 35 x 53 cm (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

There is a cool pleasure in the very sound of vale. The English word is of the happiest chance. 
-- John Keats, from notes on Paradise Lost

The shadow beneath the trees, the cool dappled
Days, marking time passing. Light and shade
No longer so easy to keep apart, the dark
Parts invading the bright parts making gray
This moment, always just a moment away
From that moment, the moments bleeding
Into one another until at last they stop.


Road through Wooded Mountains: Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875) c.1830-35, oil on paper (Private collection)


A Rising Path: Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875), c.1845, oil on canvas, 17.8 x 28.6 cm (private collection)

The Bridge of Narni: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
(1796-1875), 1825, oil on paper mounted on canvas, 34 x 48 cm (Musée du Louvre, Paris)


vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Arresting--the entire poem so fluidly portentous and the finishing line stopping us in our tracks.

TC said...

Thanks very much my friend. Just following the stream... but of course it's always such a delicate passage, latterly, such a thin membrane between states, no more than the thickness of a compromised artery wall.



. . . making gray
This moment, always just a moment away
From that moment. . .

beautiful poem, and the Corots too (as always)


light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, birds beginning to call in field
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

almost not instead possible,
opposite consequently

notes not about this, seems
inevitable, as if had

grey plane of fog against top of ridge,
pelican flapping across toward horizon


marking time passing, that's it, those shadows beneath the trees when they do that. here the June Gloom cause shadowless days but no complaints, even less membrane

when I lived in Praha, in the winter the sky would get slightly brighter gray during the day and then return to darkness at night, it would go on for weeks or months like that. people went bonkers. blew out the membranes

Hazen said...

Roads, rivers, arteries—ways through and across, to another place. This one has a strong pulse, as el médico would say. Calm and resolute and lovely, like the Corots. “The moments bleeding into one another” reminds me of what William James called “the specious moment,” that bit of passing time (about three seconds, he reckoned) we mortals can come to grips with and call it Now.

TC said...

Gracias Steve, Vincent, Hazen.

Calm and resolute, who with so much as the memory of a pulse could say no to three seconds of that? The specious moment, always telling us its lies and then running on ahead and daring us to keep up, when all we wish for is a bit of a lie-down.

Three seconds of eternity, now there's a thought.

I remember once, maybe forty years ago, reading a Playboy interview with Marlon Brando, who always had a disarming way of telling the truth. I don't suppose movie stars can get away with that any more, though of course they can get away with just about anything else.

The interviewer asked why, given that he was so famously selective about which roles he agreed to take on, he had elected to take part in a stinker like Sayonara.

Brando explained his seven-second rule.

When somebody pitched an idea to him, he said, he thought about it. If he had not decided to say No within seven seconds, he said, he would say yes. With Sayonara it was not until one second too late that he realized he ought to have said No.

Wooden Boy said...

"moments bleeding" and Corot's thick shadows seeping from the feet of the trees.

Everything coming to to where there's neither one thing or the other.

"Cool pleasure" and beauty and sadness.

TC said...

Keats was making notes in his Milton. He loved "poetical" words. He said Milton had a way of taking a beautiful thing and putting it in a mist, thus making it more beautiful.

"There is a cool pleasure in the very sound of vale -- the english word is of the happiest chance. Milton has put vales in heaven and hell with the very utter affection and yearning of a great poet -- it is a sort of delphic Abstraction, a beautiful thing made more beautiful by being reflected and put in a Mist."

Corot's shadows do indeed seem to seep, and to pool.

Wooden Boy said...

The thickness of the paint in that rising path painting is something lovely.

Marie W said...

The pulse of a compromised artery wall marking time passing.
Shade and light, dark parts and bright parts. How ironic to think that when the dark part is gone, so is the bright one, and then....
they stop.