Monthly Archives: December 2011
Take the saints, for example. Here’s something from St Bernard of Clairvaux
‘Experto crede: aliquid amplius invenies in silvis, quam in libris. Ligna et lapides docebunt te, quod a magistris audire non possis. ‘
‘Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters.’
I once knew someone who had never read any A.A. Milne and had no real conception of Pooh, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Kanga and Roo, let alone Hundred Acre Wood.
This, to me, was like the the Unimaginable Sadness of Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, it’s worse.
Wind on the Hill
No one can tell me,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.
It’s flying from somewhere
As fast as it can,
I couldn’t keep up with it,
Not if I ran.
But if I stopped holding
The string of my kite,
It would blow with the wind
For a day and a night.
And then when I found it,
Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind
Had been going there too.
So then I could tell them
Where the wind goes…
But where the wind comes from
You can put off reading classics, I suppose. Or you can re-read them in a different context, but I don’t think you can catch up with A.A. Milne’s world after childhood. It just wouldn’t work. Parents, read your children a little of it, please, before it is too late.
A Turner painting is like a vague childhood memory, a romantic pre-cursor to the impressionist period of youth which is, in its turn, seen off by the hard edges of distracted abstraction in middle age.
The original work hangs in the National Gallery, London.
Mind in its purest play is like some bat
That beats about in caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.
It has no need to falter or explore;
Darkly it knows what obstacles are there,
And so may weave and flitter, dip and soar
In perfect courses through the blackest air.
And has this simile a like perfection?
The mind is like a bat. Precisely. Save
That in the very happiest intellection
A graceful error may correct the cave.
I got up this morning wondering about Wittgenstein’s idea that if a lion could speak we couldn’t understand him. This makes sense because, sometimes, when humans speak my own language I can’t understand them either. It seems that Wittgenstein meant we could not begin to conceive of a lion’s experience of life and the older I get, the harder it is to conceive of another human’s experience of life, unless it is a sort of metaphysical understanding – something beyond words. I wonder if I could apply that to a lion, despite Wittgenstein.
Thus, you will see that Richard Wilbur’s poem gave me some small clarity for the day; although I did wonder if language, rather than the mind, was more like a bat. I do not believe all thought is language-based…which brings me to another of Wittgenstein’s ideas which was that language is the cage whose walls we keep climbing. Whichsoever, the cave is dark enough for silent contemplation.
The Tatling seems to have been around forever. It hardly seems like yesterday he was group winner; arguably his finest hour coming at Ascot in the King’s Stand in 2004. I say arguably because anyone who saw him motoring wide up the home straight yesterday for an unbelievable, yes really unbelievable, short head win, would have to allow that, aged 14, he really has still got it all going on in the heart-racing stakes. SP returned at a massive 16/1. No-one really expected he was going to win… That he did, just shows. What, I would not like to say. Perhaps that there is hope for the most jaded of us all.
The sight of him yesterday, his woolly winter coat starting to come through, was enough to warm a cold heart.
He’s a really bonny horse too, with a dished head that looks a little like an Arab, or a Welsh pony. Most of the photos on the web are of him racing, head stuck out, ears back, showing all the determination in the world but not his prettiest side. I’ve therefore gone with this one of him from a win earlier this year, by far the most handsome of them all (including Hayley Turner). Photos from yesterday here
The Tatling: 23 April 1997 Perugino – Aunty Eileen
176 races: 18 wins (4 Group races), 53 places
Career Earnings: £687,763