Manifestations of cheese

cheese_imported

I enjoy this sincere effusion-ode to cheese.  I am a cheese agnostic:  I should have been born in a better country for the love of cheese to race through my veins.  My taste is unadventurous and Hall’s poem makes me wish that I had the talent to embrace cheese in all of its splendour.  I have not the tongue to enjoy a streak of blue fracking through a block of cheese or the Italian cheese which presents itself as a riot of maggots—casu marzu.

How I love Hall’s exuberance!  It’s good to know that some cheeses are loyal and others are wise.

O Cheese
by Donald Hall

In the pantry the dear dense cheeses, Cheddars and harsh
Lancashires; Gorgonzola with its magnanimous manner;
the clipped speech of Roquefort; and a head of Stilton
that speaks in a sensuous riddling tongue like Druids.

O cheeses of gravity, cheeses of wistfulness, cheeses
that weep continually because they know they will die.
O cheeses of victory, cheeses wise in defeat, cheeses
fat as a cushion, lolling in bed until noon.

Liederkranz ebullient, jumping like a small dog, noisy;
Pont l’Évêque intellectual, and quite well informed; Emmentaler
decent and loyal, a little deaf in the right ear;
and Brie the revealing experience, instantaneous and profound.

O cheeses that dance in the moonlight, cheeses
that mingle with sausages, cheeses of Stonehenge.
O cheeses that are shy, that linger in the doorway,
eyes looking down, cheeses spectacular as fireworks.

Reblochon openly sexual; Caerphilly like pine trees, small
at the timberline; Port du Salut in love; Caprice des Dieux
eloquent, tactful, like a thousand-year-old hostess;
and Dolcelatte, always generous to a fault.

O village of cheeses, I make you this poem of cheeses,
O family of cheeses, living together in pantries,
O cheeses that keep to your own nature, like a lucky couple,
this solitude, this energy, these bodies slowly dying.

“O Cheese” by Donald Hall from Old and New Poems.

“The Fascination with What’s Difficult”

childreading

When I was six—as AA Milne would say—I read books.  As soon as I finished a book I turned right back and reread it.  And again.  And again.   I was a rereader and discovered that rereading was a source of endless delight.    When a book was too difficult, I would force myself to continue thinking in a vaguely Wordsworthian way that I was storing up great wealth for future years.

I unwittingly became an insufferable snob—or, to be kind, I developed good taste.  I wanted to experience what the adults did and started reading Proust, Joyce, and Virginia Woolf plus many poets by the time I was 13.  I knew that someday these books would become as transparent as Dick, Jane, and Sally.  I was wrong about that, but with each rereading comes greater pleasure.   This blog is dedicated to re-reading and re-re-reading.

I don’t have many people to speak with about books.  Mr. Gubbinal is great, but he’s extremely academic and often cannot remove himself from that arcane jargon of the pedant.  It seems as if there are millions of people writing poetry but few willing to read it.

I hope that this blog will become my friend and confidante.   It is to be my own private Henry Jamesian ‘ficelle’.  Now on to the hard part:  I think it will be more difficult to master tags and links than to try to explicate The Waste Land.

 

 

Initial thoughts

I have decided to very slowly creep back into an organized life: all has been chaos but I would like to impose some discipline.
Reading
Music
Cats
Mortality
Writing
Walking
Tea

Mustard Poultices

I have bustled — no, to be honest—slouched with padded foot and sullen mien—into retirement and have become obsessed with a Fitbit. I cling to my Fitbit and check my number of steps, my mileage, and my hours of sleep as if it is one and only amulet that I hold up to resist that demon Death. Could death really attack an elderly lady with a plum colored fitbit on her wrist?