Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A cat, a kite, and other bits and pieces

As Setu noted in his comment to the last post but one here, Fontaine Daniel was developed as a kind of 'model village' by the Toiles de Mayenne factory, with pattern book, pretty houses built by the owner for the workers rather like Port Sunlight or Saltaire in the UK.  I don't know how common this was in France, where industrialisation didn't follow the same kind of patterns, and I don't know much about the history of the place at all.. (Setu knows so much about so many things, and speaks and writes an astonishing array of languages.  Lovers of land art shouldn't miss his post on American artist Patrick Dougherty's amazing willow installations at the domaine de Trévarez,  )

Anyway. for one reason or another I didn't take many pictures until we reached the lake, so I can't show you much of the architecture, but it was attractive and the houses looked solid and practical and comfortable, which the projects of whimsical entrepreneurs with notions of combining the philanthropic and the picturesque weren't always.  I did snap one of the pretty neo-mediaeval church,

which has an Arts and Crafts look about it.

As we entered the village, this cat spied us.

in particular Molly.

Her look was none too friendly - Mol hadn't noticed her at all - and she followed us a little too eagerly.  She had the desperate look of a very young cat with kittens, and they often won't hesitate to have a go at a hapless deaf and short-sighted dog which wanders too close.

The day was hot by then, but then there was water, perhaps non potable for us,

but with a thoughtful bucket positioned below, which Mol appreciated.


A little late in saying, but there's my response to Plutarch's question about kites and swallows over at Compasses/Questions.  I've been fairly slack on the blogging front all round of late, I feel, and have left this response a long time, so thanks to those who still look in there and express interest; erratic and sporadic though I am with it, it's the only prompt type of thing I've been motivated to stay the distance with, and I appreciate the patience of prompter and readers alike.

When I finally settled on a response I found two came along at once.  So I gave Plutarch the choice of which one he preferred, and he chose the first, and we batted it back and forth quite a lot, so I made, and resisted, quite a few changes, and I always like it when we do that.  Like the poem in the last post, it's got quite a lot of end rhymes and its own sort of pattern to how they come, but doesn't fall to any established form.  I'm quite taken with this way of doing things at the moment.

The other one was really a bit of frivolity to loosen up a bit.  Joe liked it less because he has reservations about concrete poetry, which in fact I think I tend to share; it's not something I've tried before to the best of my recollection.  It can easily become a gimmick.  But it has quite a long and reputable history, though it wasn't even called concrete poetry for much of it, what with Herbert's Easter Wings and Hardy's Convergence of the Twain, way before EE Cummings et all.  I was going to mention Clavics, which I gave up on, having bought it as a present for a friend who is a Geoffrey Hill fan and beside whom I am a poetical and intellectual pygmy,  but I quickly realised on googling for a link that getting onto Geoffrey Hill was wandering into areas of Poetry as a Contact Sport wherein I would be rendered a mere squashed bug before one could say enjambment ...

Anyway, my bit of messing about with concrete hinges on the text centring function, and looks like this:

a red lozenge
high over house and hill 
criss-crossed with cane struts  
a ringed line running from
 end to end, its string
strung out straight
 tethers it taut 
to earth, 
its tail 
trimmed and
a tentative
laughing at
looping the
aflap and
swooping with
swapping with
funny or fearful 
fight or flight?

Kites seem to be quite a fruitful source of  memory and imagination for people.  Feel free to share what they bring to mind for you, and indeed, to add a little alliterative dyad tassel to the kite's tail if you wish.


Then in addition, to try to show Plutarch my birds eye view of a kite, I discovered the new insert a drawing function in the Google document we use for the 'test bed', with this result

Then I tried to do a swallow.

Oh well.  Plutarch was very kind about my introduction of graphic elements but gently discouraged their inclusion in the sequence as possibly distracting.  But I have no such scruples here.


Well, it seems to be feast or famine around here.  Having thrown all manner of nonsense in as garnish, I shall probably go missing again for a bit.  We've got E and B and their parents (Tom's eldest daughter and co) coming for a few days tomorrow, which is always a joy but keeps us busy and leaves us a mite fatigued afterwards. Mol's had ear trouble for the third time in 6 months, after a hopeful year free of it, poor mite, after the operation and the broken wag and all, she is a dog of sorrows and no mistake. I'm only being flippant because it makes me too miserable thinking about it otherwise. She's on the mend and the way up again now, loving and cheerful again, fortunately as she has her adoring public to meet.  


I saw what looked like a freshly minted swallowtail butterfly in the garden the other day, I dashed out with the camera but it was gone.  No way of knowing if it was one of the caterpillars, but I'd like to think so.


Must go, promises to keep and far to go etc...


zephyr said...

we have an abundance of the blue-black swallowtails this year...now that the Dutchman's pipe vine has been thriving here for a couple of seasons.

Enjoy your company...and we'll be here when you return. We're like that, you know.

Rouchswalwe said...

For the tassel ...


Lucy! Lucy! I love (yes, I'm American, I use the word "love" in this instance) your swallow drawing ... could you please do me up a smokey swallow to use on my blog? Pleeeease! When you have time ... later this year? Ja?!

This post had me grinning, guffawing, and going all gleeful after a tough day at work. Merci, sweet Lucy!

Sheila said...

Love the kite!

Love the Lucy!

Anil P said...

Loved the poem kite, and the word tail. I wished the tail went longer before finishing up.

I once saw a paper kite harangued, harassed, and accompanied by a bird of prey.

The graphic elements are not distracting at all. They add well.

The Crow said...

Enjoyed the visual form of your delightful poem. I didn't know they are called concrete poems before reading your post, so thank you for my edification!

The second image of the cat made me laugh out loud. That slitty-eyed narrow focus, that dare-you-to-come-closer hostility - feline motherhood personified in one glance. Perfect!

Zhoen said...

Lovely cat, but you never can tell with cats.

What a serene water fountain face.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a suspicious looking cat! Lovely poem kite!

Anne said...

What a lovely, various post. I admired the nervous elegance of the kitty, the colors of reflections in the fountain, and the skilled construction of the concrete poem. I didn't know it was called that, but I have an instinctive hesitation about that sort of thing. I admire it as clever, but it's sort of mental multi-tasking to look at the image and absorb the words at the same time. It might be good to incorporate such a poem into an image on fine paper and with some texture or color. I could go for that -- picking out a suitable font. Then you'd really be multi-tasking, I suppose, but still, it has some appeal for me. Don't know why.

Jean said...

I love, love the kite poem! I guess I wouldn't want concrete poetry in huge doses, but sometimes it totally delights me.

Barrett Bonden said...

Flippancy's as strong as chain-mail: a rue you wear with a difference. Your post reminds me of a cartoon dating back to the days when secretaries ruled their bosses. A cranky looking broad d'un certain age is submitting the draft of a letter: "Oh, and I couldn't spell psychology, so I drew it."

marly youmans said...

Like the kite frolic in words and pictures...

And thanks for the Dougherty link--always like to see what he up to (have seen a number of installatons and always find them fun, especially when one can creep inside.)

Health to Mol and all.

Plutarch said...

The two photographs of the fountain and Mol, one above the other crave the caption "Thirst"

J Cosmo Newbery said...

A regular smogasbord of bits! Thank you!

Laureline said...

I read this post on first waking and what careened through my head at the end was "in this world of ordinary people, I'm glad there is you." Thank you for another episode of Lucy World. It's a lovely, lovely, honest place.
And the kite poem is fun!!!
Hugs to Mol and the two of you.