Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Underworld of the Disconsidered (The Orators)

   One charms by thickness of wrist ; one by variety of positions ; one has beautiful skin ;  one a fascinating smell.  One has prominent eyes, is bold at accosting.  One has water sense ; he can dive like a swallow without using his hands.  One is obeyed by dogs, one can bring down snipe on the wing.  One can do cart wheels before theatre queues ;  one can slip through a narrow ring.

   One with a violin can conjure up images of running water ; one is skilful at improvising a fugue ;  the bowel tremors at the pedal entry.  One amuses by pursing his lips ; or can imitate the neigh of a randy stallion.  One casts metal in black sand ; one wipes the eccentrics of a great engine with cotton waste.  One jumps out of windows for profit.  One makes leather instruments of torture for titled masochists ; one makes ink for his son out of oak galls and rusty nails.  One makes bedsteads adorned with carvings, at the request of friends.

   One in a red-brick villa makes designs for a bridge, creates beauty for a purpose.  One is eloquent, persuades committees of the value of spending ; one announces weddings in a solemn voice.  One is told secrets at night, can stop a young girl biting her nails.  One can extirpate a goitre with little risk.  One can fortell the migrations of mackerel ; one can distinguish the eggs of sea-birds.  One is a lightning calculator ; he is a young one.  One is clumsy but amazes by his knowledges of time-tables.  One delivers buns in a van, halting at houses.  One can emend a mutilated text  ; one can estimate the percentage of moisture in a sample of nitre.  One decorates a room for a lady in black and silver ; one manufactures elephant drums for a circus.  One has an extraordinary capacity for organising study circles.  One fosters snowdrops in a green bowl.  One does nothing at all but is good. 

From W.H. Auden, The Orators, London, Faber and Faber Limited, 1932.

All images from: Richard Moss, Plotting The Blitz -- Exploring Bomb Census Maps (Link)

I dedicate this post to the underworldly, disconsidered, former nonentity, current not-even-that-much, who bid me "shoo" yesterday while butting into a conversation that didn't involve him.  I sincerely hope (for your partner's benefit, not yours) that the "meds" have kicked in, you creep.  You're . . . so vain.

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