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That is very powerful in a very quiet and still way.

I think about what it would be like to see something that you had forgotten and how many things you would notice that you used to pass over. I'm trying to think of an example. ;-)


Do you mean that you find it strange? That's strange. :-) It's a fairly frequent experience for me. If I understand you correctly, which I'm not sure I do.

In this sense, I guess it is. Something you have forgotten to the point where it seems almost holy in its wonderfulness.


I think I know what you're talking about though it isn't that intense to me. Definitely wasn't in reading S&S, more just "Oh yeah, I remember that one."

I wasn't talking about the poem, I was talking about the horses. ;-)


Oh, I see. Yeah, that makes more sense.


I wasn't joking, it really does.

Oh, I know.


Excellent poem -- can understand why it stuck with you.

In an essay I read recently David Bentley Hart, recommending 25 "unknown" books, called Muir the "least-read great poet in English of the twentieth century." Based on the strength of this one, I think I'll have to get a copy of the selected poems.

Here's the Hart piece:


Interesting that Muir was born in Orkney, in that a friend of mine has recently been singing the praises of another Orkney writer, George Mackay Brown.

I read that DBH piece but obviously not very attentively, because I don't remember the reference to Muir.

If the number of copies available on ABE is an indication, a book of his called Scottish Journey had some popularity. In case you didn't read the Wikipedia bio, there is this wonderful quote from him. It refers to his family's move from an Orkney farm to Glasgow:

"I was born before the Industrial Revolution, and am now about two hundred years old. But I have skipped a hundred and fifty of them. I was really born in 1737, and till I was fourteen no time-accidents happened to me. Then in 1751 I set out from Orkney for Glasgow. When I arrived I found that it was not 1751, but 1901, and that a hundred and fifty years had been burned up in my two-days' journey. But I myself was still in 1751, and remained there for a long time. All my life since I have been trying to overhaul that invisible leeway. No wonder I am obsessed with Time."

Magnificent poem and great Muir quote. His finding that he'd lost 150 years in his two-days' journey from Orkney to Glasgow, made me wonder how his head would spin at the changes since his death in 1959.

That's some list of books by David Bentley Hart. I think only two or three of the authors' names were even known to me. And to say they all pretty much sound heavy-duty is putting it mildly. Love how he ends his summary of the last one, Hojoki by Kamo-no-Chomei: "it is best read just before going to sleep or dying."

Heh. I liked that last bit, too. I must say that there seemed to be a bit of posing in that piece. "Look at these exotic books I know all about that you probably never even heard of."

"I must say that there seemed to be a bit of posing in that piece."

Yeah, but he sort of covered his posterior when he wrote at the end that "lists of this sort are meant to be arbitrary, ideally even somewhat perversely so."

I think he pretty much achieved that. I have to admit, though, that there are quite a few things on there that sound interesting.

Oh, definitely. Interesting and more. But I'm thinking of bits like this: "You have, of course, read the “official” Sanskrit version of the Ramayana, and you may even be aware of certain of the heteroclite Indian dialect versions..."

See, I read that and think that's got to be a joke. Like the professor who says "You no doubt recall....", knowing full well that the students he's lecturing probably will have no idea about what he's going to say.

Yes, most likely it is a joke. I hope so.

That is what I thought.


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