mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Found this poem on the blog of someone I no longer follow because, though rather younger than I, they've gone curmudgeonly old: forgetting our glorious Boomer past to carp about People These Days pulling down statues and breaking windows and telling Curmudgeon how he should think which, because he's still a Boomer, he takes exception to. Oh well. At least he finds neat poems:


Last thing at night
he steps outside to breathe
the smell of winter.

The stars, so shy in summer,
glare down
from a huge emptiness.

In a huge silence he listens
for small sounds. His eyes
are filled with friendliness.

What's history to him?
He's an emblem of it
in its pure state.

And proves it. He goes inside.
The door closes and the light
dies in the window.

Norman MacCaig

Have been reading an ancient paperback, The Medieval Myths, summaries of Beowulf and Roland, Prince Igor and the Cid. But also Peredur, the ur-form of Percival, or possibly the other way around. I thought I'd read the Mabinogion but I must have skipped this one. And it's weird in that very Welsh way that makes Jungians very happy and has the editor of this compilation citing Jessie Weston, that muse of T S Eliot's. That whiff of 19th century anthropology chokes me, but the images in the Peredur story are dreamlike (meaning high-coloured and unexplained, not misty) and suggestive of things not graspable. If I were feeling more grounded I'd go back to Tim Powers' Last Call which, Gaiman-like, puts the Fisher King in America. But I'm caught in September Ghost Tide with no infants to counter the unsettling, creeping tendrils of the past, so I won't.

Only you know what? The Fisher King is De Troyes or someone misreading a French source of le roi pécheur (sinful king) as le roi pêcheur (fishing king). So the Mabinogion has to be later because it keeps the misreading. If it is a misreading and not what the original, possibly not-Christian source had in the first place. I mean, a wounded fisher king is much more resonant than a wounded sinner, but the latter is much more likely,
Tags: points, reading_20, verse

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