David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

05 April 2009

Stenciled on the Void

AN INGENIOUS device which paints signs on the sidewalks, but which in no way permanently defaces the street, is the instrument of choice for this anonymous street artist. To paint and publish his meta-text to all he has constructed a large rolling drum filled with water and enveloped in a stencil scroll. As the drum rolls along the water emerges around the stencil and paints an outline of the letters on the walk. The water evaporates in a short time, so no damage is done. Though his poem cannot be effectively painted on a rainy day, this enigmatic character is often seen at his task during the heaviest of downpours.