Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Flickering sunlight

In the New Oxford Book of Irish Verse, Thomas Kinsella translated four anonymous ninth century monastic poems. They perfectly fuse the pleasures of landscape and books.

One of them concludes that it is lovely to write while out in the woods. Here nature is not mediated through the text, it is all around, inspiring the writer: “above my book, with its lines laid out; the birds in their music sing to me”. In another, the landscape can be experienced without even looking up: “the sunlight breaks and flickers on the margin of my book.”

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