Wednesday 18 August 2021

The pond life of Gertrude Stein

Reading Ida by Gertrude Stein up at the pond, watching pond skaters, whirligig beetles and today's hawker dragonflies in their stop/start survey of our locale. Inexplicable compelling movements by insects and sentences alike in their nearly industrial rhythm. Ida is everywhere with her husbands and dogs and translocation of a kind that sentences do so much better than life. No wonder Ida spends her life resting. 

Gertrude Stein makes you feel the world has got stuck on its way around but that getting stuck is comfortable as well as the only way to be. She is of the era of Fritz Lang's M, the start of robotics. After railways, cars and planes and multiple viewpoints, staccato rhythms, narrative suspended. 

A pond can work wonders reading Gertrude Stein, watching the movements of insects and observing them when they come up close, their brilliant spots and stripes, their compound eyes, is an exercise in integration. Immediate crossover of sentences to insect movement. The dancing flies have gone, bring on the pond skaters.

Listen to me I, I am a spider, you must not mistake me for the sky, the sky read at night is a sailor's delight, the sky in the morning is a sailor's warning, you must not mistake me for the sky, I am I, I am a spider and in the morning any morning I bring sadness and mourning and at night if they see me at night I bring them delight, do not mistake me for the sky, not I, do not mistake me for a dog who howls at night and causes no delight, a dog says the moonlight makes  him go mad with desire to bring sorrow to any one sorrow and sadness, the dog says the night brings madness and grief, but the spider says I, I am a spider ...


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