Notes VIII  




Russian proverb

For readers whose Mirrorussian is rusty:



Part I   Notes I
Part II
Notes II
Part III
Notes III
Part IV
   Notes IV
Part V
   Notes V
Part VI
   Notes VI
Part VII
   Notes VII
   Notes VIII
Part IX
   Notes IX
Part X
   Notes X
Part XI
   Notes XI
Part XII
   Notes XII

©, Acknowledgments
The Author





Old German type resembling daggers and barbed wire, or beautiful gothic furniture, as in:


       480-482   A gust...Twelve a row

Mortar and apostles. See note to line 405.   



From the Latin word for image; a stage of an insect or other arthropod between molts; an individual in such a stage. (The word also means to stud with stars.)




I moved into a rude square...Red's pawn structure

Chess with human pieces. See note to line 727.

In Karl Marx's only recorded game, he opened with the Muzio Gambit--daring, indifferent to loss of pieces, now seldom used.

Russian champion Boris Spassky said this after his 1972 loss to American champion Bobby Fischer (as quoted in Brad Darrach, Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World, New York, Stein and Day, 1974):

"I do not know which is more bad, the match or after the match. In a long match a player shall go very deep into himself, like a diver. Then very fast he comes up. Every time, win or lose, I am so depressed I want to die. I cannot get back in touch with other people. I want the other chess player. I miss him.

"I have played many long match. But this is first for Bobby. It will be for him a hard time. Now he feels like a god. He thinks all problems are over--he will have many friends, people will love him, history will obey him. But is not so. In these high places is very cold, very lonely. Soon will come depression. I like him, and I am afraid what will happen to him now."



       524   Quoins ratcheted. The chase of the lake locked up.

Quoins are the metal mechanisms that, when inserted and turned with a key, lock up blocks of handset type in a chase, a rectangular steel frame that sits on the pressbed.




Can materialists live by bread alone?




an ikon makes a handy pot-lid

See the following passage from the famous 1847 letter of Vissarion Gregorievich Belinski (1811-1848) to Nicholas Vassilievich Gogol (1809-1852), the possession of a copy of which in Russia at that time was punishable by hard labor in Siberia:

Isn't the priest in Russia the representative to all Russians of gluttony, miserliness, servility, shamelessness? And apparently you don't know all this? Strange! According to you the Russian folk is the most religious in the world--which is a lie! The basis of religion is piety, reverence, fear of God. But the Russian utters the name of God even as he scratches himself...he says of a holy image: If it works, pray before it; if it don't work, use it for a pot cover.

(Translation by Bernard Gilbert Guerney.)





Any lonely room--especially a companionless bedroom furnished with an alonebed. More especially, late. Lying awake, I thought of many solitary configurations: the parked cars, locked on the street outside. Frost forming on the still bell atop a tower nearby--some time ago I had heard it toll a solitary hour: one. Dark blurs of furniture.

Though in exile only for a night or two, I couldn't adapt to a borrowed room. A radio played in and out of hearing, tinnily, from someone's car or house far down the block. A window framed a section of lawn and street: no tracks crossed the thin layer of snow.

The distant bell was still. Still. Had I imagined it? (Once I had dreamed of not being able to sleep, and awakened exhausted.) I missed hearing city traffic pass like surf, floating sleep. No radio. I listened to the sharpened tick of the clock.

(See lines 317-326).   



       570   Cayuga or Ladoga?

Cayuga Lake, named for one of the five Nations of the Iroquois, is the longest of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York; Cornell University is on its shore. Cayuga is 38 miles long and a mile to 3.5 miles wide. Lake Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe (7,000 square miles), lies northeast of Petersburg. Both lakes freeze.




If languages are "organic systems produced by the conscious and unconscious use of many people over long periods of time," and not "like philosophical systems, mere constructions"--then evolutionary concepts apply better than reductionist linguistics. According to a murky Xerox (the precise attribution has slanted off at the bottom, after first irrupting in a gray glow) "No organic system excludes the arbitrary, the sport, the chance mutation; in fact, it is upon precisely those things that evolution depends."

(See note to line 960.)   



       617   Halations

The glowing, blurring light seen around the edges of backlit things. A faulty streetlight shivered down the block (otherwise dark except the light that came from snow). The clock turned out to be a bathroom faucet, dripping wet seconds onto the pitted rim of a drain.

I could not get comfortable. The sheets were rough with starch. The pain in my neck was equally hard to place and to avoid, the counterpane at once too heavy and too thin, and the pillows had mastered adversarial geometry. Petty things, caught in the lights of some inescapable mental state, can loom to the size of Abstractions and wail along the walls. Drip. Drip. Drip.



     Notes VII       Notes IX