Thursday, April 19, 2012

Charging like a tusked brute, gnawing like a bear

1. Flannery O'Connor on "Living with a peacock". If, like me, you had forgotten about O'Connor somewhat, this is a useful reminder of how good she is. It is hard to know what to excerpt but here is one bit:
Frequently the cock combines the lifting of his tail with the raising of his voice. He appears to receive through his feet some shock from the center of the earth, which travels upward through him and is released: Eee-ooo-ii! Eee-­ooo-ii! To the melancholy this sound is melancholy and to the hysterical it is hysterical. To me it has always sounded like a cheer for an invisible parade.
Also, here is the video of the v. young O'Connor and the backward-walking chicken. (Via Sean Costello.) Here is a stunningly ugly bird that is not a peachicken but will do:

And finally, in the spirit of "parallel passages," compare Flannery O'Connor's peacock description to Geoffrey Hill's ("his fulgent cloak a gathering of the dark" &c. Oh, and also (postultimately?), there is Robert Lowell on her face, "formless at times, then very strong and young and right."

2. "Anatiferous trees" in Browne. I really should find a copy of Pseudodoxia and read it through.

3. "Deep in clear lake / The lolling bridegroom, beautiful, there."

4. "Forest Service may blow up frozen cows" (via clusterflock, I suspect).

5. Amy Clampitt's poem "Thermopylae," which was new to me, and where the post title is from.

(I found the Clampitt while looking around -- unsuccessfully -- in her work for chapter epigraphs for the thesis, which was dispatched earlier today to the committee.)