Saturday, 21 May 2011

Crashaw’s Diary (part x)

The story so far: Philip Crashaw is the Curate to the Rev. Arthur Jenkins in a Country Parish in Dorset. The year is 1871.

Thursday 31st August
A mighty thunderstorm this afternoon, the sky lit up livid and purple. Before the storm came on, the air seemed to be teeming with electricity. Everyone I spoke to in B--- seemed much quicker in their manner, as if enlivened by the electricity in the air. I was enlivened by the electricity too, I suspect, or at least a part of me – the pun-making part. For as I neared home I suddenly thought, what an odd phrase it is -- “the storm breaks” -- and a rather fine joke came to me. I rushed in to tell Mr Jenkins, who was sitting at his desk.

“What do you need when the storm breaks?” I asked.
Mr Jenkins said nothing.
“Lightning repairs!”
And then I said:
“And how do you repair lightning?”
(More silence.)
“Bolt it back together!”

Mr Jenkins looked up at me from his work. I think it could be justly said that his brow was “full of thunder”. The first lightning flashed outside the window, and it struck me* that I had perhaps been rather carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment.

*(it struck me!)

Friday 1st September
What a world of coherences we live in! Yesterday, the storm lightened and the rain fell! And after the storm had passed, the wind blew and gusts of it shook the water from the trees onto the very land that they had sheltered. The trees then were like clouds! As if the storm had been the storm of the tumultuous events and great battles of mankind, and the tree a woman weeping once all had passed by! Trees! Clouds! Women! Tears! The trees like women, but the trees like clouds too and yet the women also like clouds! Pure, distant, untouchable! I can imagine that someone could make a passable poem out of this, but it is quite beyond me.

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