Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Hearing Trumpet

Reading Carrington feels like for the first time it's been so long. So wonderful. This passage is a remarkable interlude (and reminds me of Carla's work);

"Force of habit rather than my own capacity carried me
home and sat me down in the back yard. Strangely
enough I was in England and it was Sunday afternoon. I
was sitting with a book on a stone seat under a lilac
bush. Close by a clump of rosemary saturated the air
with perfume. They were playing tennis nearby, the
clump clump of the rackets and balls was quite
audible. This was the sunken Dutch garden, why Dutch I
wonder? The roses? the geometrical flower beds? or
perhaps because it is sunken? The church bells
ringing, that is the Protestant church, have we had
tea yet? (cucumber sandwiches, seed cake and rock
buns) Yes, tea must be over.
My long dark hair is soft like cat's fur, I am
beautiful. This is quite a shock becuase I have just
realized that I am beautiful and there is something
that I must do about it, but what? Beauty is a
responsibility like anything else, beautiful women
have special lives like prime ministers but that is
not what I really want, there must be something
else... The book. Now I can see it, the tales of Hans
Christian Anderson, the Snow Queen.
The Snow Queen, Lapland. Little Kay doing
multiplication problems in the icy castle.
Now I can see that I was also given a mathematical
problem which I cannot solve although I seem to have
been trying for many years. I am not really here in
England in this scented garden although it does not
disappear as it nearly always does, I am inventing all
this and it is about to disappear, but it does not.
Feeling strong and happy is very dangerous, something horrible is about to happen and I must find the solution quickly.
All the things I love are going to disintegrate and there is nothing I can do about it unless I can solve the Snow Queen's problem. She is the Sphinx of the North with crackling white fur and her tears rattle like hail on the strange diagrams drawn at her feet. Somewhere, sometime, I must have betrayed the Snow Queen, for surely by now I should know?
The young man wearing white flannels has come to ask me something, am I going to play tennis? well I am not really very good you know, that is why I prefer to read a book. No , not an intellectual book, just fairy tales. Fairy tales at your age?
Why not? What is age anyway? Something you don't understand, My Love.
The woods are full of wild anemones now, shall we go? no Darling. I didn't say wild enemas. I said wild anemones, flowers, hundreds and thousands of wild flowers all over the ground under the trees all the way up to the gazebo. They have no smell but they have a presence just like perfume and quite as obsessive, I shall remember them all my life.
Are you going somewhere Darling?
Yes, going to the woods.
Then why do you say you will remember them all your life?
Because you are a part of their memory and you are going to disappear, the anemones are going to bloom eternally, we are not.
Darling stop being philosophical it doesn't suit you, it makes our nose red.
Since I have discovered that I am really beautiful I don't care about having a red nose it is such a beautiful shape.
You are hatefully vain.
No Darling, not really because I have a frightful foreboding that it will disappear before I know what to do with it. I am so horribly afraid I don't have time to enjoy being vain.
You are a depressive maniac and I would be bored stiff if you were not so pretty.
Nobody could ever be bored with me I have too much soul.
Far too much, but lots of body too, thank Heavens. The green and the gold light in the woods look at the green ferns. They say witches make magic with fern seeds, they are hermaphrodites.
The witches?
No the ferns. Somebody brought that colossal bluish fir tree from Canada, it cost millions and millions, how silly to bring a tree from America. Don't you hate America?
No, why should I hate America, I've never been there, they are frightfully civilized.
Well I hate America because I know that once you get in you can never get out and you go on crying all your life for the anemones you will never see again.
Perhaps America is covered head to foot with wildflowers, mostly anemones of course.
I know it is not.
How can you possibly know that?
Not the part of America I am thinking about. They have other sorts of plans, and dust. Dust, dust. Probably a few palm trees and cowboys galloping hither and thither on cows.
They ride horses.
Well horses. Does it matter when you are so sick to get home again that you wouldn't notice if they were riding cockroaches?
Well you don't have to go to America, so cheer up.
Don't I? Who knows, something tells me that I am going to see a lot of America and I am going to be very sad there unless a miracle happens.
Miracles, witches, fairy tales, grow up Darling!
You may not believe in magic but something very strange is happening at this very moment. Your head has dissolved into thin air and I can see the rhododendrons through your stomach. It's not that you are dead or anything dramatic like that, it is simply that you are fading away and I can't even remember your name. I remember your white flannels better than I can remember you. I remember all the things I felt about the white flannels but whoever made them walk about has totally disappeared.
So you remember me as a pink linen dress with no sleeves and my face is confused with dozens of other faces, I have no name either. So why so much fuss about individuality?
I thought I heard the Snow Queen laugh, she seldom laughs."

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