Monday, January 07, 2013

No writing just reading

Stag at Petworth Park

It has been impossible to write with anxieties about the new year, earning a living, making the most of my time. But I have been able to read - browsing Carl Sandburg's Selected Poems that has a searingly honest introduction by Paul Berman, hardly complimentary, The Body Electric, an anthology of poems about the flesh edited by Patrice Vecchione and novels, They Came Like Swallows by William Maxwell, a beautifully written elegy by a craftsman, and Night Dancer by Chika Unigwe, fascinating portrait of a family from an interesting Nigerian writer living in Belgium.

I am now reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, set in Barcelona, giving me itchy feet to be back there. A fabulous, intricate novel about a library, a cemetery of forgotten books and the story of a forgotten writer. I found it hard to get into, but went back to it and am now immersed. The Body Electric includes the poem Semen by Pablo Neruda that starts with the lines:

Because no words suffice for this cry
it lives as a blood-coloured syllable.

The stag could be staring into that metaphor! 2013 will be the year of new metaphors. My feet itch for them, for travelling and discovering them. Yesterday I cleared a woodpile on the allotment, dug weeds, put down black cloth to suppress weeds on patches where I'm going to transplant berries, put polytunnels for delicious Italian parsley, dark green kale in the spring.