6th november 2006

Metaphysical metaphor always gives me the impression of a fingernail strking a glass and the finger at once laid on the glass's rim to stop the resonance; whereas in romantic metaphor the tone goes ringing on.

- C. Day Lewis, The Lyric Impulse

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8th november 2006

The concept of forgiveness in The Tempest attracted me; it's a rare enough quality and almost absent in our world. To know who your enemies are, but to accept them for what they are, befriend them, and plan for a happier future is something we sorely need.

- Derek Jarman

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13th november 2006

. . . Paul gathered whelks.
From the cold triangular pools he gathered handfulls
And put them in his basket.
He sang Dominus Pascit Me, gathering whelks.
Twenty seals lay on the skerry.
They turned their faces towards the psalm.
The brother sang for them also,
For the seals with their beautiful gentle old men's faces.
Then the ebb subtracted one sound
From the seven-fold harmony of the ocean.
The tide lay slack, between ebbing and flowing, a slipped girdle.
Paul gathered whelks and sang
Till the flood set in from the west, with a sound like harps,
And one by one the seals entered the new water.

- from George Mackay Brown, Horseman and Seals

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24th november 2006

exercises in content 1

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nunc turpis felis, pharetra sed, rutrum vitae, malesuada nec, dolor. Morbi metus metus, rutrum quis, pellentesque vitae, interdum sit amet, quam. Vivamus ac tellus sed arcu hendrerit lobortis. Ut et mauris. Aenean cursus aliquam nunc. Vivamus urna orci, ornare sed, nonummy ut, sollicitudin sed, pede. Nulla nonummy. Nulla interdum, mauris at volutpat varius, sapien lorem porttitor urna, non laoreet nibh arcu id felis. Integer et metus. Vestibulum ultricies. Aenean ac metus. Nunc aliquet tristique ligula.
    Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Donec nulla enim, pulvinar quis, scelerisque eget, dictum pulvinar, diam. Nulla cursus nibh non velit. Maecenas quis sapien eu mi sodales venenatis. Sed gravida auctor eros. Morbi in nisi et diam rhoncus pellentesque. Morbi molestie, mi sit amet porta fringilla, ipsum eros tincidunt dui, ut lobortis lacus nibh nec turpis. Quisque lectus sem, scelerisque a, dignissim sed, convallis sed, dolor. Cras gravida elementum dolor. Phasellus ut nisi. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Curabitur dui neque, hendrerit ut, malesuada sit amet, pulvinar sit amet, nibh. Vestibulum non mi. Cras ante metus, venenatis et, pharetra vel, porttitor sed, odio. Donec ac pede.

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exercises in content 2

- from Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy

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25th november 2006

The annals say: when the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayers inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.

The anchor dragged along behind so deep
It hooked itself into the altar rails
And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,

A crewman shinned and grappled down the rope
And struggled to release it. But in vain.
'This man can't bear our life here and will drown,'

The abbot said, 'unless we help him.' So
They did, the freed ship sailed, and the man climbed back
Out of the marvellous as he had known it.

- Seamus Heaney

'I heard of a man once,' he said, 'that had himself let up into the sky in a balloon to make observations, a man of great personal charm but a divil for reading books. They played out the rope till he was disappeared completely from all appearances, telescopes or no telescopes, and then they played out another ten miles of rope to make sure of first-class observations. When the time limit for the observations was over they pulled down the balloon again but lo and behold there was no man in the basket and his dead body was never found afterwards lying dead or alive in any parish ever afterwards.

'But they were clever enough to think of sending up the balloon again a fortnight later and when they brought it down the second time lo and behold the man was sitting in the basket without a feather out of him if any of my information can be believed at all.

'So they asked where he was and what had kept him but he gave them no satisfaction, he only let out a laugh like one that Andy Gara would give and went home and shut himself up in his house and told his mother to say he was not at home and not receiving visitors or doing any entertaining. That made the people very angry and inflamed their passions to a degree that is not recognised by the law. So they held a private meeting that was attended by every member of the general public except the man in question and they decided to get out their shotguns the next day and break into the man's house and give him a severe threatening and tie him up and heat pokers in the fire to make him tell what happened in the sky the time he was up inside it. That is a nice piece of law and order for you, a terrific indictment of democratic self-government, a beautiful commentary on Home Rule.

'But between that and the next morning there was a stormy night in between, a loud windy night that strained the trees in their deep roots and made the roads streaky with broken branches, a night that played a bad game with root-crops. When the boys reached the home of the balloon-man the next morning, lo and behold the bed was empty and no trace of him was ever found afterwards dead or alive, naked or with an overcoat. And when they got back to where the balloon was, they found the wind had torn it up out of the ground with the rope spinning losely in the windlass and it invisible to the naked eye in the middle of the clouds. They pulled in eight miles of rope before they got it down but lo and behold the basket was empty again. They all said that the man had gone up in it and stayed up but it is an insoluble conundrum, his name was Quigley and he was by all accounts a Fermanagh man.'

- from Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman

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29th november 2006

another historico-literary breakthrough

I'll give it to you straight, no shilly-shallying: the plays of Christopher Marlowe were in fact written by Francis Bacon (all that stuff about Shakespeare has just been a red herring all along). Ah, now you want proof? Well, listen.

Marlowe was of course murdered in mysterious circumstances. No, that's not nearly good enough, is it. Alright, I'll cut to the chase and give you the quotes. In Bacon's cipher manuscripts we find this:

I’ll teach you how to make the water-mount,
That you may dry-foot march through lakes and pools,
Deep rivers, havens, creeks and little seas,
And make a fortress in the raging waves,
Fenced with the concave of a monstrous rock,
Invincible by nature of the place.
And I will teach you how to charge your foe,
And harmless run along their pikes.

- Bacon, The Spanish Armada

and now let's head across to Kit:

Tamb. (to Celebinus) Well done, my boy! Thou shalt have shield and lance,
Armour of proof, horse, helm and curtle-axe.
And I will teach thee how to charge thy foe
And harmless run among the deadly pikes.

- Marlowe, Tamburlaine the Great Pt II, Act I Sc.3

Do you want any more? Er, that's it so far.

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I was unfashionable before anyone knew who I was.

- Paul Desmond