7th may 2006
I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
Went heaving through the water like a swan;
When, from behind that craggy steep till then
The horizon’s bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
As if with voluntary power instinct
Upreared its head. I struck and struck again,
And growing still in stature the grim shape
Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
And measured motion like a living thing,
Strode after me.
Wordsworth, The Prelude
The boat now pitched furiously, as it seemed to him [Mark] rising almost straight up, and dipping as if she would dive into the deep. But she always rose again, and after her came the wave she had surmounted rolling with a hiss and bubble eager to overtake him. The crest blew off like a shower in his face, and just as the following roller seemed about to break into the stern sheets it sank. Still the wave always came after him, row as hard as he would, like vengeance, black, dire, and sleepless.
Richard Jefferies, Bevis
Byron famously made fun of Wordsworth's childish fear on Ullswater. The rotter. Wordsworth's boat was stolen: Mark's (in Bevis) isn't, though a few pages previously Bevis manages to escape from a sinking, stolen punt in the same storm on Coate Water.
8th may 2006
hoc est corpus meum
Matriphagy: somehow I find this very moving; the practice whereby a mother animal allows herself to be eaten by her offspring. It seems to be restricted to arthropods, and is found most commonly in arachnids. The most recent example discovered is the pseudoscorpion Paratemnoides nidificator:
During conditions of food deprivation, the mother went out of the nest and passively awaited the protonymphs . . .
15th may 2006
some sort of assonance
My grandfather used to say: 'Life is astoundingly short. To me, looking back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand, for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next village without being afraid that - not to mention accidents - even the span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for such a journey.'
- Kafka, The Next Village
'This desert,' my celebrated colleague Ibn Khaldoun has written, 'This desert is so long it can take a lifetime to go from one end to the other, and a childhood to cross at its narrowest point.'
- Brion Gysin, The Process