Unreal Nature

November 29, 2014

A Seal Snout Poked Briefly Through

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:34 am

… Deliciously overcast, the kind of day in August that makes you think of a day in autumn which is like a day in winter, everything simplified by all that is gathering in the north, fierce and lethal.

This is from The Diary of James Schuyler edited by Nathan Kernan (1997). [Characters mentioned are explained by the note* that the editor has added to the beginning of the book.]:

[undated]

It’s your unnegative I like so much — & putting it that way is as positive as I seem to get — .

[ … ]

Calais, September 6, 1969

Some sunny days, it’s great to try
to see the world
through Frank O’Hara’s eyes

20/20
All the way

[ … ]

[undated]

the time of day when the only light on in a house is in a kitchen

[ … ]

January 31, 1970

Sunny and clear, pale and empty as a photograph, a pause in the winter.

[ … ]

July 3, 1970

A cold night, rain in the morning changing to warm rain and now fog moving in like blindness.

August 12, 1970

Before dawn, the lights begin to come up, as though the world were being tuned.

Before dawn, distinguishable as when someone’s snoring catches and stops in a dead not unalarming silence, then resumes as a yawn which in another inhalation is again a snore — a seal snout poked briefly through the gleamingly opaque surface of sleep — there is a light which casts not shadow, hardly a light at all, more a bright darkness —

[ … ]

August 12, 1970

Fairfield eating breakfast in his running shorts: “I feel like a remark of Whitehead’s, that a man who has just exercised and had a shower can’t have a bad conscience.”

[ … ]

August 19, 1970

It seems as though each day tries to find new ways of being bluer than the last. Over the south woods there is a hand’s length of cloud, a stretched out plumpness tarnished with shadow, whose reflection in the harbor breaks up into elongated paths (at right angle to the line of cloud) faintly gilded. And nearby the water keeps smoothing out its near perfection. And in the sun everything smells like fresh ironing.

August 20, 1970

Deliciously overcast, the kind of day in August that makes you think of a day in autumn which is like a day in winter, everything simplified by all that is gathering in the north, fierce and lethal.

[*… James Schuyler’s Diary begins on January 1, 1968, when he poet was forty-four years old. For the past six and a half years he had been living with Fairfield and Anne Porter and their two daughters, Katherine (Katie) and Elizabeth (Lizzie) in Southampton, Long Island, and at their summer house on Great Spruce Head Island, Maine. The three Porter sons, John, Laurence and Jerry, had by then left home. The oldest child, John, known as Johnny, who was born with a developmental disability akin to autism, lived on a farm in Vermont and came to his family for regular visits several times a year.

Schuyler had come to stay with the Porters in June, 1961 to recuperate from a mental breakdown and hospitalization at Grace New Haven Hospital. “Jimmy came for a visit and stayed eleven years,” as Anne Porter said.]

My previous post from Schuyler’s book is here.

-Julie

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