We went for a walk in Ruskin Mill’s valley, a sort of Zen garden transplanted into the English countryside – certainly landscaped by a meditation enthusiast. There is a touch of intentional beauty in the most prosaic functional objects, from the stone spiral fountains which unnecessarily swirl the water feeding the fish ponds to the wooden cottages topped with biodiversity roofs where classes are held. I am almost sure the one lonely crane that is always gazing wistfully at the safety net protecting the fish ponds is illustrating some haiku I haven’t read yet. Most leaves have now turned the colour of rust and many more are now a brown mush on the ground as Autumn drizzles. A few bright, fiery red maple-ish leaves survived and I obviously had to rescue them. And then I felt vaguely guilty for not being that sort of character the occasion and location demanded: someone who can recite by heart some rhyming Wordsworth or Keats that would elegantly describe the strangely comforting pleasure these colours give me. Instead, I thought of wheelbarrows in the rain but mostly of gubbinals, savages of fire, tufts of jungle feathers and sides of peaches and dusky pears and, yet, I also had learned that these colours are too much as they are to be changed by metaphor, “so far beyond the rhetorician’s touch”. All this doesn’t make any sense but Wallace Stevens (among a few other Americans) has practically the monopoly of the Poetry region of my brain and no dead English poet will ever be able to reclaim it.
Thanks to a good friend who brought a gift of Library of America poetry, now I am looking forward to finding more about the Paiute.
In that land, in that land,
In that glittering land;
Far away, far away,
The mountain was shaken with pain.
The crest of the mountain
Though the rocks continually fall.
(American Poetry – The 19th century, Native American, Southern Paiute )