Monday, September 12, 2016

'Pond' by Claire-Louise Bennett

“Even looking away was looking.”

Excerpts. 


I.
“I say such silly merciless things indoors… We’d be better off silently overlapping each other; next to a river or beneath the clouds or among the long grass – somewhere, anywhere, where something is moving. Isn’t that right? Shouldn’t we be somewhere where something is moving? It’s the treacherous stillness I can’t stand.”

II.
“Some days I think, no way, there’ll be no walking up and down the driveway today – and then there comes a little light maybe, or, more likely, some sound, such as cows or birds – something really nice and uplifting, some indication that the world is really getting going again, despite the impression it tends to give.”

III.
“Even looking away was looking.”

IV.
“And isn’t it remarkable, and a bit repugnant, how the ivy always knows where the chaos is and wraps about it, siphoning off and getting greener with its potent volatility?”

V.
“English, strictly speaking, is not my first language by the way. I haven’t yet discovered what my first language is… I don’t think my first language can be written down at all. I’m not sure it can be made external you see. I think it has to stay where it is; simmering in the elastic gloom betwixt my flickering organs.”

VI.
“I knew it was an old [storm] that had come back – it seemed to know exactly where it was and there was such intimacy in its movement and in the sound it made as it went along and around and around. Yes, I thought, you know these mountains and the mountains are familiar with you also… How loud it was and yet so fragile, stopping and starting for a long time – it didn’t know where to begin.”

VII.
“Still, as I’ve said, none of this has anything to do with now whatsoever. I don’t know what it has to do with and as a matter of fact I’m not sure what now is about either.”


Claire-Louise Bennett. Pond. 2015. Fitzcarraldo Editions, London.
Friedrich Wilhelm Theodor Heyser. Ophelia (detail). Before 1921.
This article was originally published on a retired domain and has been republished for archival purposes.

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