Monday November 1, 2004
So, here we are. November. There was a smear of sunshine across the sky at one point. Didn’t last long before dissolving quite away, leaving behind a murky day where there seemed to be no division between the thin fog on the ground and the featureless sky above. A day which reveals one advantage of changing clocks. You can draw the curtains an hour earlier and shut a dismal day out.
It’s just as well that dismality is a valid word, even if I do need my 2-volume Oxford English Dictionary to check its usage. It’s a word to be used sparingly but it fits my visit to the doctors’ surgery today rather well. The place was heaving with a dismality of people. The light was a whole spectral dismality of dim. Even the air was a dismality to anyone who enjoys breathing.
‘An apple a day’, we used to say. If only it were true.
And that’s about it, really. A dismality of a day, front-ending what I most sincerely hope will not be a dismality of a month. If I were a grumpy old man, I’d be especially grumpy today. If I were a moaning old man, I’d be moaning with a vengeance. Indeed, if I were old, I’d be a really old man after a day like today. ‘None of the above’ applies, thankfully, so I’ve done my best to ignore the dismalities of the day, directing my attention to poetry of the more absorbing kind.
Hidden away in an anthology I came across a poem by Thom Gunn I’ve not read before:
Considering the Snail
There’s a snag with ‘dip and taste’ poetry reading, of course. You can so easily miss gems like this. On the other hand, when you do find them, they shine all the brighter.
I really enjoyed this poem. It’s both like and unlike the mass of Gunn’s work, and that gives me as reader a dynamic I find stimulating.
The phrase drenched there with purpose, knowing nothing fits me well today. And the slow passion to that deliberate progress raises jagged harmonics up and down my spine, as does a wood of desire.
Over and above that the idea of making a bright path where rain has darkened the earth’s dark is a thought well worth considering on what could all too easily have been a total dismality of a day.