Caption for above pic: my small half-Pomeranian terrier Chloe, sitting nervously waiting for me to trim her nails. When her fur grows out in winter, she has a ruff like a true Pomeranian, but in summer she is short-haired and looks quite different. The collar she is wearing came from my friend Jan in England, a Blue Cross leather dog collar in blue and yellow, and it has lasted very well. She is lying on the same bed Satchi regards as ‘his’ bed, on an old but clean duvet cover that was once a pretty Liberty fabric and deserved a better fate.
Minestrone soup a great success, Internet a little more reliable. Sat with a mug of tea in between stints of drafting out a new chapter and watched cardinals in scarlet processing out from St Peter’s Basilica, their last Mass before they go into seclusion in the Conclave of the Sistine chapel. How daunting it must feel to sit casting your vote under Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes of the Last Judgement! All the same, I would love to be in Rome again, eating chewy pizza bianco at Sforno in the Via Statilio Ottato, rubbing shoulders with the scheming but well-fed Roman Curia, watching nuns light candles in medieval churches overlooking the Tiber, admiring the moon in Pisces bright as a silver coin, taking my bad snapshots of basilicas, noisy red-eyed pigeons, noisy red-eyed Catholics, calm pagan statuary, more slices of pizza bianco, more ancient stone fountains, that first spill of white smoke rising up from the chimney of the Sistine chapel, more pigeons, alas.
Poet Claudia Emerson on the urge to record minutiae and the writing instinct, sounding very Proustian:
I am extremely aware of the passing of time, sometimes too aware! I have long thought that the urge people have to photograph and video every experience is borne of that anxiety to stop time and somehow save it, or “capture” it as though it were a wild animal. My lens happens to be language, the highly ordered language of poetry. It’s a slow exposure, though, and a poem can take anywhere from days to years for me to bring it to its finest clarity. My forms have indeed been quite spare but can also become quite language-rich, with long dense lines. This could change, I know—but I sometimes find that the more personal and the more extreme the emotional subject or context, the more spare the form I choose, to distill the emotion, perhaps, and certainly to restrain what could so easily be overwritten.
And here below is the Great Dane Satchi looking shy and settling himself on a bleached patch of backyard grass with half-dead stalks of mint and salvia in front of him bordering a path of faded brickwork. The shy look may be compounded with unhappiness or humiliation because his small dog companion known as The Chub bit him when he tried to rub noses with her. You can see his ears at their most expressive, flopping down like Amelia Earhart’s leather aviator helmet flaps. If I can get The Chub to keep still, I will photograph her next.