Matilda, a leaf and the bare beauty of limbs

Blog post
Published: 31.05.2009

The leaves have been lashed off by storms. Just one remains. Just one afflicts the sky.

Matilda thinks it’s a bird. She chatters at it, entranced, her tail lashes, her little jaw judders. Perhaps she can charm it down from that high branch. But it’s tenacious. Will cling there through the bleak winter months. A reminder . . . of . . . what? The glory of autumn? The idea of leaves – an idea which holds the promise of spring (hold that thought!).

(Is the word leaf enough without a leaf?)

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Less is more. How often we have heard that! Understood by zen masters, haiku poets, minimalists. Not usually the forte of jewellers. . . though . . sometimes . . .

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Cats are sufficient unto themselves. Matilda, resplendent in glossy fur, watches me dress and undress ( I seldom “jewel”): to bathe, for bed. I could live in such a coat, licking here and there, apparently at random, to keep clean, sleek, magnificent, bending and turning and twisting my lithe body (no need for Yoga or TaiChi). Freed from critical decisions about what to wear. I think of Meret Oppenheim’s Le Déjeuner en Fourrure (Breakfast in Fur/Fur Teacup) that fabulously fur-covered cup, saucer and spoon which always evokes for me a naked woman.  In fur.  Why?  Never mind!

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All that aside: What does it take to jog the memory?
Full parure? Reggae outfit? Prayer beads? A gold band? A cross? A tattoo? A scratch? One drop of blood? Can one drop evoke oceans? A grain of sand: the world? One scarlet leaf: the promise of spring? And when does a single leaf become a bird?

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May 31
Now we see
the bare beauty of limbs.

After the lashing
one flag remains
red as a sky-wound.

Moss greens
and lichens crawl
and beard chill sides.

From twigs and tips
new worlds invert and shine and drop
while we steam our hands
and stamp.