3 Figures from Anne Michaels Skin Divers taken out of order.
Minarets of burdock
Thus begins “Wild Horses”.
For the longest time, I was captivated by the junction of architecture and botany in this image. And almost equally as long, I felt a tension between the slender pointed tower of “minarets” and the globe-like burr (which resembles more the onion-dome features of Russian Orthodox churches) until at long last it appeared that the relation between the tower and the plant as a whole might make the image cohere. Alas. Not. I still view in my mind’s eye burdock as a great branching plant not at all like a slender single tower. Yet as Amy Lowell gives us the evening primrose “comrade of the stars“, Anne Michaels arrests the imagination with calls to prayer that stick.
All love is time travel.
From the closing lines of “Fontanelles” (last poem in the book) which is a trip through embryology and geology in a set of variations on ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Let us take advantage of the figure (Fontanelles allow for rapid stretching and deformation of the neurocranium as the brain expands faster than the surrounding bone can grow.) to add more material to the theme of time travel from another source, characters from Peter Ackroyd, English Music
Instead we discussed what he used to call ‘English music’, by which he meant not only music itself but also English history, English literature and English painting. With him one subject always led to another and he would break off from a discussion of William Byrd or Henry Purcell in order to tell me about Tennyson and Browning; he would turn from the work of Samuel Johnson to the painting of Thomas Gainsborough, from pavans and galliards to odes and sonnets, from the London of Daniel Defoe to the London of Charles Dickens. and in my imagination, as he talked, all these things comprised one world which I believed to be still living — even in this small room where we sat.
[… pages and pages later …]
For what is time but the very passage of music from generation to generation?
And the means to time travel through love … reading of course and writing too.
Colette said, when one we love dies
there’s no reason to stop
writing them letters.
And snipping the burdock into the shape of a minaret.
And so for day 1265