The Forest of Pretty Things, 2008


The Forest of Pretty Things, 2008

From Basecamp

“You must not come to the dark conclusion that everything in the world is hard, false, and wicked. But come often to us; the forest likes you. In its company you will find health and good spirits again, and entertain more lofty and beautiful thoughts.”
Robert Walser, Frau Wilke

‘[A]nd critical shell of inflexible lust, only / in the permafrost / is the new home of the Children / of the Sun in whose nakedness / is the desire not desire / in whose beauty is the flame of red / permafrost a thousand feet deep in whose / frail buildings / the shudder of total winter in whose / misshapened sun the Children bathe’
Edward Dorn, Thesis

‘It goes that the three of them walked off the forest-road into the shade of some trees, each in turn transforming himself into a deer. At the place where they are said to have left the track, three buttons from a child’s cardigan were found pressed into the dirt, and on a nearby boulder a line was scratched in tiny letters: euc-ecc / ove / o’
Mary Cassidy, Winter Sleep


Light, as it rises over the crinkled edge of the tops of trees: space promises to be enterable, consciousness in revelation; for each pious ear this version of an incandescent season curing in the glow of an abandoned sun.

There is more than one tap here for washing the steel: one camped, a handful to the weak sun. Another, after Prévert, stock-still on a leg of plaster: faith in a faultless light keeping the going on time. And a paper-blue leaf of animal troubled by the dazzle of its journey: it only became clear through art that your heart was my heart too, in shrinking orbit; life held in place by a hair-pin of joy, grandchildren too, somehow, and monsters, more crippled in this summer clag. Ash, larvae rebounding, strangely at eye level— All linen, Mondsée my buddy, yellowed by the howling of a clotted consciousness as everything exudes a paste of sorts, cascades a new health: the gallons of muck drunk as a blast of snowfall appears reason enough; security amuck somewhere likely in a twisted wreckage of shattered knee gristle. But there it is, the kitchen to cross to be nice to the cat, the first frame of elation slowly working alone, lifting the edge of the tops of trees into space.

The seaboard gives a coherence to beginnings: mysterious cool mornings, veils of slowly lowering cloud, bright clean ground as far as the eye can see: the soil erosion of gambling with vision, history rooted in a splash of remote material; the mass spawning of glass. A coherence to form, new generations: a single stream, a small wood—stories told, and retold: of a ship and a dearly beloved island; of a crucified God—and sunshine and birds.


Ha’Carmel in every colour, sweetening in the midday sun. Bauhaus, the city; cats asleep on a wall of heat thick as a bowl of hummus. “I drive for Hadar,” she said “You want, I take you trip”—confidante to my journey’s unholy desire, envoi, at its end; the street, Kikarsion, quiet too at its end. “If I was in the wrong place, and stupid and bumbling, forgive me, I wanted only to pray as one, and for one, who could not be here;” the truth in a position, painted Mary, somewhere between tempera and the mirror, as if we could look straight into the mind of God.

Like this forever: scattered patches of mirror in the drills, the dirt holding up repetitions of passing cloud; white, sufficient: six short and two tall (gap) nine tall (small gap) and two others (gap) tiny one (gap) three evenly spaced (gap) a white house (gap) one tall (gap) two tall (long gap) one small (large gap) four tall and two short (gap) a berried lobster (gap) knotted and serrated wracks (gap) an armada (gap) etc., etc.

A soft edge of shade runs the length of the world, a breeze feathers the tops of trees: strong enough, our sky long-lasting enough; morning shivers to the history of colour in search of the place of its own resurrection; wakefulness happens this way true, with light, as it rises over the crinkled edge of the tops of trees— Love too, peacefully. Mondsée would have conjured some tall story about frosted linoleum, about how the moonlight crossed his chest four times before rising as the winter sun but there is no due season, so let’s not hang around unduly: it’s uncommonly cold, that’s all there is to remember.


Published in the exhibition catalogue, Eskimo. Polarcap publications, 2008 / ISBN 978-0-9556302-2-4 / ‘Eskimo,’ could be seen at The Gallery at Eskmills, Mussleburgh, Scotland (25 July–18 October)