Sunday, 3 October 2010

Out of the mouths of Facebook: synasthaesia and alchemy

Out of a harmless status report of merely two lines to the effect that I was marking MA scripts and noting the Naples Yellow colour of the sky, developed a very long conversation with various people, in which Alfred wondered what the English equivalent of Rimbaud's famous poem Voyelles (Vowels) might be. I suggested some colours appropriate for the rounded English vowels, as well as some for the more plentiful Hungarian pure vowels, that's to say no dipthongs (dipthongs are not a form of underwear.)

Fine says Alfred, now write the sonnet. So I did, and this is it:

The English Vowels
After Rimbaud

A- Butter yellow, E- Ice blue, I – scarlet:
There’s your beginning. So you move beyond,
to O – deep Brunswick Green, U – violet.
The butter yellow thickly spread, bright blond

on breakfast tables. Meanwhile, ice blue E
greets day with a frozen look, its cold eye
shifting past the newspapers and coffee,
though nothing can suppress the scarlet I

in its heart, a cry rounded to fire shape
moving across the O of Brunswick Green:
the shock of declaration, a mouth agape
with grass. Elsewhere the poor shuffle between,

park and home, from underground to dole queue,
under the violet gaze, from A to U.

Charlotte responds with a poem, at the end of which she suggests that protestants in other countries had stolen the suns we might have had. I agree and suggest:

The Methodists and Strict Baptists can share the blame for the weather. Where is the Methodism in this madness? Why the strictures in a furious devout drench such as Baptists demand? Quaker weather would be plain: let your rain be rain and your snow be snow. Anglican weather would surely be moderate and ecumenical: a bit of everything among the nicest possible, slightly troubled clouds. As to Catholic weather I presume the Pope's in charge of that. Jewish weather? Don't ask!
But it is an intriguing question. Do Buddhists have weather at all? Is Hindu weather the reincarnation of earlier weather? Satanists presumably prefer black clouds and a shower of frogs. Spiritualists consult directly with the spirits whose task it is to move the clouds about. This has no discernible effect on the weather, it's just a form of radiant communication involving glossolalia.

1 comment:

Poet in Residence said...

A new poem "Light verse" (it's about an Indian guru who lives off sunlight) I've settled for the colour 'sunbrowned toast'