Saturday, 21 March 2009
‘These long-eyed beauties, hairy as beasts, beautiful and stubborn – bellezebubbish – when they baa, what are they complaining about? What troubles, what cares?
Like ageing bachelors, they love newsprint and tobacco . . .
They obsess the rocks.’
The ‘rough chunks of stone’, below, were a rather forced link to get from Highgate cemetery to Ponge. Much more apposite are these goats, sent to me this morning by W. The final poem in Unfinished Ode to Mud is ‘La Chèvre’, The Goat, which I can’t quite call a summing-up or manifesto because Ponge would never be so solemn as to attempt such a thing, but still.
‘So the goat, like all creatures, is both a mistake and the perfection of that mistake; and hence pitiful and admirable, alarming and exciting all at once.
And us? We can, to be sure, be content with the task of (imperfectly) expressing this.
‘Hence each day I shall have thrown the goat onto my pad; sketch, rough draft, scrap of study – as the goat herself is by her owner thrown onto the mountains; against those bushes, those rocks – those dangerous thickets, those inert words – from which at first she can hardly be distinguished.
‘But yet – look – she lives, she moves a little . . .’
These particular goats, above, were photographed by W I think on the island of Rhodes, where some time ago he stayed at a centre for writers and translators. The best time to go, he says, is autumn. Few tourists, many goats. It’s tempting.