Tuesday, March 06, 2012

`In a Pot, Brown Yellow, Transpicuous'

Bad pipes have scuttled our plans to buy the house with all the trees described in Monday’s post. The inspector found so many leaks in the plumbing concealed in the concrete foundation he didn’t bother completing his tests. The house was built in 1962, and like others who reach middle age, has trouble holding its water. For solace I consulted Coleridge’s Notebooks: A Selection (edited by Seamus Perry, 2002). Coleridge gets ecstatic about trees. In September 1803 he writes:

“There have been times when looking up beneath the shelt[e]ring Tree, I could invest every leaf with Awe.”

I know the feeling. Here he is on April 5, 1805:

“The first yellow green leaves of the figures scattered all over the Tree, & yet thinly, & yet disclosing every branch & every grey twig[,] resembled to a wonder a flight of large green Butterflies alighted on the leafless Tree / all shot through with Sunshine.”

Often in autumn, when a wind flutters the leaves of poplars and aspens gone buttery yellow, I’ve fancied them covered with dogface butterflies. This is from May 1807:

“Blue Sky through the glimmering interspaces of the dark Elms at Twilight rendered a lovely deep yellow green / all the rest delicate Blue.”

I also found a treeless notebook entry apropos of leaky plumbing. Coleridge wrote this in December 1803:

“What a beautiful Thing urine is, in a Pot, brown yellow, transpicuous, the Image, diamond shaped of the Candle in it, especially, as it now appeared, I have emptied the Snuffers into it, & the Snuff floating about, & painting all-shaped Shadows on the Bottom.”

[Just so you know I'm not exaggerating the beauty of Houston's trees, watch this video.]

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