Friday, December 03, 2010

Metaphorical Portrait (Almost Finished)

Unfinished Portrait
Or perhaps I should say 'it will be nice when it's finished' (as one of the Python film crew apparently replied when asked what he thought of Scotland).
Or borrow that actual/metaphorical snow from Joyce's The Dead:
Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
Or, hard on the heels of that, Derek Mahon's fabulous Snow Party, which has snow 'falling / Like leaves on the cold sea.' Here's the last three stanzas:
Elsewhere they are burning
Witches and heretics
In the boiling squares,

Thousands have died since dawn
In the service
Of barbarous kings;

But there is silence
In the houses of Nagoya
And the hills of Ise.
The newspapers are indeed right: snow is (almost) general. Outside my window, right now, the hedges are bowed under it, tree branches meticulously overlaid, wires in their winter coats, the large ceramic pot on the doorstep skull-capped with a perfectly white dome. Whiteout, bailout, our drained economy... there seems to be a metaphorical synchronicity at work. But of course, metaphors are cheap. Above is a snap of the old sod as it lay yesterday, on Dec. 2, 2010. Image from the NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response website, where there are many more, all in the public domain and free to use.