Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the world is full of broken things

The phrase that's in today's title was worrying me, a lot, because I was sure that I'd plagiarized it, and I couldn't remember where from. But there's always Google Books... and what was at the back of my mind was, of course, a line from a Charlotte Mew poem, "Madeleine in Church" - "his arms are full of broken things." This in turn was the title of a quite terrible and implausible novel about Mew having an affair with Thomas Hardy, that I reviewed with considerable and humorless scepticism for The Guardian ten years or so ago.

But this is a different broken thing, a blue glass vase, containing some dessicated and past their sell-by date dried flowers, that I swept crashingly to the ground, or at least to my desk top, whilst trying to manoeuvre myself earlier today to pet the unpettable ginger fluffy cat. I was sorry, very sorry, to see the vase's demise - it had been in my office in Oxford for a long time, and then hanging around New Jersey in various locations since then, since I have a fondness for blue glass. But where could it have come from? It's another case of evaporated memory. I think, most likely, a store in the Cowley Road - but it does raise the question of what's bound up in a memory of a smashed ornament: its origins, or the subsequent places it has inhabited? In this case, definitely the latter ... I am trying to rationalize its untimely departure as an example of uncluttering, however un-sought for.

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