Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Autumn mantlepiece

My mantelpiece in October

Here is my mantlepiece today, which can be contrasted with how it looked on July 2 (see blog entry for that day). Far left, a wooden table lamp. I cannot remember where it came from, but I very much like its shape and colour, which is like a conker. Panning across we find an orange and green patterned pig made out of a milk carton; two vouchers for the Robert Burns Centre cinema, valid for a year - a reward for turning out to explain Moffat Book Events at a careers day at Wallace Hall school in Thornhill; Swedish horse, a present from Pia and Barty my friends in Stockholm, holding down an appointment for breast x-ray; voter's card for the D&G council election in November; reeds in a glass jar containing unmarked aromatic liquid; tickets and parking vouchers for Lennoxlove Book festival in November; invitation to opening by the Provost of Glasgow of George Wyllie exhibition at the City Chambers; Russian doll - part of a set; another room freshener with reeds, containing l'Occitane's 'Fleurs Blanches'; yellow and blue painted milk carton pig; threeheaded cobra holding down 'World Cafe' event at Glasgow's Tramway in Nov; thank you card (gentians) from participant in our MBE Russia conference in Sept; 2013 calendar from the Russian Museum showing on the cover Boris Kustodiev's Merchant's wife drinking tea; small dish containing marbles; empty cardboard box, once containing a small bar of guest soap presumably taken from  a hotel bathroom.

The gentians on the card remind me of that remarkable, mysterious and unforgettable poem by D H Lawrence:

Bavarian Gentians
Not every man has gentians in his house
in soft September, at slow, sad Michaelmas.

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the daytime, torch-like, with the smoking blueness of 
Pluto's gloom,
ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness 
spread blue down flattening into points, flattened under 
the sweep of white day torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, 
Pluto's dark-blue daze,black lamps from the halls of Dis, 
burning dark blue, giving off darkness, blue darkness, 
as Demeter's pale lamps give off light,
lead me then, lead the way.

Reach me a gentian, give me a torch!
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch 
of this flower down the darker and darker stairs, 
where blue is darkened on blueness even where 
Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness is awake 
upon the dark and Persephone herself is but a voice
or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion 
of dense gloom,among the splendour of torches of 
darkness, shedding darkness on
the lost bride and her groom.

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