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sisters & sparrows

Poetry. Photography. Life.

Yesterday my housemate and I wrapped up in a big duvet (student heating not being particularly overzealous) and watched the last episode of The Pillars of the Earth.  A mini-series, an epic 11th?/12th? Century drama with plenty of knights and monks and cheering townspeople, with a sprinkling of male actors gorgeous enough to keep our eyes glued to the screen (Rufus Sewell, anyone? Matthew Macfadyen? My housemate has the most incredible crush on Eddie Redmayne also.)

The episode features a statue of Mary, a religious ‘relic’, actually faked by one of the characters.  On a side note, I think there’s something very attractive about the miraculous items of the Catholic religion, even though I reckon it must require some pretty heavy-duty suspension of disbelief to really place sacred value in these icons.  Anyway the interesting thing IS that the statue in The Pillars of the Earth weeps at night because a stone is placed behind its hollow eyes which LEAKS when the sun goes down.  IS THIS REALLY POSSIBLE?  If so, how?  Why, why, would a stone start weeping?  Why at nightfall?  Its all rather mystical.   It reminds me of a story somebody once told me about some cliffs which recorded the sounds of a battle pitched beneath them, because of the properties of the rock.  For ever after, they replayed the sound of the battle in stormy weather.  Myth?  Probably.  Also reminds me of the murmuring Lorelei Rock in Germany, and its various mythologies (google it).  Here’s what Sylvia Plath has to say on the matter:

Lorelei by Sylvia Plath

It is no night to drown in:
A full moon, river lapsing
Black beneath bland mirror-sheen,

The blue water-mists dropping
Scrim after scrim like fishnets
Though fishermen are sleeping,

The massive castle turrets
Doubling themselves in a glass
All stillness. Yet these shapes float

Up toward me, troubling the face
Of quiet. From the nadir
They rise, their limbs ponderous

With richness, hair heavier
Than sculptured marble. They sing
Of a world more full and clear

Than can be. Sisters, your song
Bears a burden too weighty
For the whorled ear’s listening

Here, in a well-steered country,
Under a balanced ruler.
Deranging by harmony

Beyond the mundane order,
Your voices lay siege. You lodge
On the pitched reefs of nightmare,

Promising sure harborage;
By day, descant from borders
Of hebetude, from the ledge

Also of high windows. Worse
Even than your maddening
Song, your silence. At the source

Of your ice-hearted calling —
Drunkenness of the great depths.
O river, I see drifting

Deep in your flux of silver
Those great goddesses of peace.
Stone, stone, ferry me down there.


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