Friday, November 23, 2007

Shards etc.

I have just spent half an hour cleaning up after a glass bottle smashed onto the terracotta tiles of my kitchen floor. The bottle was in my fridge and contained I don’t know what, but it smelled of some vile concoction of vinegar and herbs (and something medicinal) and must have been there long enough for me to have forgotten about. It was one of those things that take up residence and stay for so long that one just doesn’t see them any more until they jump out of their own accord.

Picking up the glass pieces and the nasty little splinters of glass reminded me of the word “shards” and how it is one of the words that is outlawed by the Poetry Police because, I suppose, it has been over-used. Of course, that might once have been enough to send me to the notebook to write the definitive Shards poem but now I have more pressing things to occupy me, such as looking at the dust particles on my living room window and trying to decide whether to wear socks inside my new Ugg Boots or just wear them like slippers, barefoot. I do in any case have the feeling that Shards is not one of those words that I feel moved to redeem. I remember a letter I received many moons ago (reader, that was deliberate so don’t be thinking you have caught me out) from an erstwhile with whom I had broken up. He had once given me a tulip made of glass, a lovely thing that unfortunately broke during a flat move. In the letter, he said of our relationship that it was like “gripping the shards of a broken tulip: once it was so beautiful but now it draws blood.” Even then, I had a sense of the naffness of this and couldn’t help identifying the two culprit words (beautiful was the other) that weakened what may have been a nicely compelling image, even if a bit overblown, to round off a relationship that had, to coin a phrase, gone some distance past its sell-by date.

I am rallying from what has been, so far, a challenging autumn. I am perhaps unusual for a PWME in that this is often my best season, but it has not been so this year. There may still be time to gather something, though. I have spent a week with a good friend from Poland who has been happy to tune into the variable rhythm of my days as it represented a rest and a refreshment from her usual relentless busyness. We also went out for poetry, music and theatre. Saw The Giant by Anthony Sher at the Hampstead Theatre which you can read about here and here. I particularly liked the set and the costumes but came away thinking that there had been too many words, and wondered if this was a reflection of my energy levels or whether it really would have benefited from more editing. It’s sometimes difficult to assess.

11 comments:

That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

I was almost ostracised for wearing ugg boots in the seasonal maelstrom that heralded the transfer from the hippie to punk eras in Australia. I think I might attract the attentions of the poetry police for at least two words used in that last sentence, but frankly I don't care.

My feeling about 'shards' is that it's undoubtedly had its day as a metaphor but there is no other word to adequately describe the annoyingly tiny, ridiculously sharp and outrageously ubiquitous debris that results when you drop a glass object from a height onto a terracotta floor.

xxx

Pants

NMJ said...

signs, i'm sorry about the shards, but the thrust of my comment is that i am jealous of your ugg boots, this fashion has passed me right by, my feet are too big (7), but i think i want some anyway.

Reading the Signs said...

I agree about 'shards', Pants. There are some words, though, like 'gossamer', that no-one but the most cavalier (which you obviously are) would dare use. I'm reporting you for 'maelstrom', btw.
x

Get them, NMJ! Mine are size 7. I used to be size 6 but my feet are so used to Birkenstocks and such-like that they refuse to be confined. They are the loveliest things I've had on my feet for years. I got them online at www.jumbougg.com.au

That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

In Ilford they're selling ugg boots for £10. I think I;ll get a pair as they're bound to be about $200 in Australia.

xxx

Pants

Reading the Signs said...

Pants, if you can get real Uggs for £10 I'll eat my boots. Mine cost £64 - and the ones on sale here are selling here for £140 but are made by an American company who patented the name and use sweated labour in the far east.

That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

You've just given me idea for a post - few and far between these days with all I've got going on.

Thanks

xxx

Pants

Collin said...

I don't mind shards. I think it's in the context as to whether or not it becomes cliched or over-used.

Enjoy your Uggs. I've never tried on a pair but everyone says they are super comfy.

Kahless said...

What are ugg boots????

I am going to have to go and have a look see...
ack in a mo...

Kahless said...

Ok!!!!!!

As for shards, moon, etc etc.
I say cant we write what we want???

Hope things are going well with you Signs.
xx.

Nicola said...

dear Signs, I cannot believe how often my life seems to run in parallel with yours. Last night, opening the freezer to take out some peas, a bag of sprouts I had been hoarding unfurled itself onto the floor, sending little green bouncing bombs across the room. Luckily, none of them shattered, but I was forced to clear them up immediately before they became a mass of soggy leaves.
I have not done justice to autumn,
my favourite season also. Except for one evening, climbing the hill beside my house with my youngest to gather remnants from the tree house to make a bonfire with beneath the bats, sparklers in our hands.
I'm glad you are posting again - I have missed you.

Reading the Signs said...

You're welcome Pants - will come and have a look.

Hi Collin - re. shards I think what Pants says (see above) is about right. Wearing my Uggs and very cosy.

Kahless, we have to do something to keep the Poetry Police occupied my dear. Shards, shards, shards. That should do it. Nice to see you.

Nicola I have just been running through the possibilities of combining shards and sprouts but all I can think of is that I don't like either - though for different reasons, obviously.

Bonfire with sparklers sounds lovely.