Monday, 30 March 2020

A Brief Statement on Behalf of the Bereft Mother

She was the light of my life, my only child,
and now I live in darkness.
I exist but I am not alive.

There is never a day
when she is not my first thought
when I awake.

I feel like my heart has broken into a thousand pieces.
I can’t believe she will never walk through
our door alive again.

Never will I forget her.
Not until the end of my life.

There is no reason on God’s earth for this.
Honest to God,
I wish there was justice.



The last time I prayed was in the Lady Chapel at Ely cathedral where all the statues in their niches and the ‘superstitious’ shrines are destroyed. They were smashed by the iconoclasts following the Dissolution. It’s a barren, soulless spot to choose for prayer. I wonder what Jung would have thought?

The prayer is from        
The Three-Tiered Grave        
Sister Morphine (2008)         


Catherine Eisner believes passionately in plot-driven suspense fiction, a devotion to literary craft that draws on studies in psychoanalytical criminology and psychoactive pharmacology to explore the dark side of motivation, and ignite plot twists with unexpected outcomes. Within these disciplines Eisner’s fictions seek to explore variant literary forms derived from psychotherapy and criminology to trace the traumas of characters in extremis. Compulsive recurring sub-themes in her narratives examine sibling rivalry, rivalrous cousinhood, pathological imposture, financial chicanery, and the effects of non-familial male pheromones on pubescence, 
and Listen Close to Me (2011)

Saturday, 21 March 2020

An Oxbridge Tragedy . . .

             Eyes dart, evade. Cheeks flush. “Must dash, I’ve
             barely time for my next viva.”
             She never looked quite so alive
             as when they dragged her from the river.
  Catherine Eisner                  


Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Words in Time of Pestilence . . . Plague: Are Allegorical Pandemics Instructive? Albert Camus and Kurt Vonnegut.

The spikes on the outer edge of the COVID-19 virus particles
resemble a crown, bestowing on the disease its potent name.

The Plague (La Peste) a classic existentialist novel that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. It poses a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. An allegory of stoic resilience, charged by hope more than faith, the novel charts the challenges faced by individuals unsustained by any communal ideology other than a sense of duty, fellow feeling and the will to live.
La Peste by Albert Camus,
a philosophical novel
published 1947 

ICE-9: An alternative structure of water that is solid at room temperature, whose crystals cause all the water in the world’s seas, rivers, and groundwater to turn into ice-nine. The freezing of the world’s seas at once causes illimitable catastrophes from a causal chain driving violent storms and tornadoes that ravage the Earth’s terrain.
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, 
a science fiction novel
published 1963

COVID-19: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), previously known by the provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus, is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus. It is contagious in humans and is the cause of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has been designated a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization.

Here are some of the most beautiful words in the English language (Thomas Nashe’s In Time of Pestilence, 1593) ...

                        Brightness falls from the air, 
                        Queens have died young and fair, 
                        Dust hath closed Helen’s eye. 
                        I am sick, I must die:
                        Lord, have mercy on us. 


Postscript:

One can predict that a catastrophe on the scale of Coronavirus will spawn reflexive cinema and even now developers are in intense conclave in Hollywood. It is said that the movie, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, a 2004 drama directed by Mary McGuckian, was a consolatory narrative in response to the 2001 9/11 attack on The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
See
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bridge_of_San_Luis_Rey_(2004_film)



Tuesday, 3 March 2020

A Visit Recalled: Dame Edith Sitwell.

‘Chocolate?’
I had foolishly arrived with a scarce box of fancy liqueur chocs.
My dear, the last time 
                                       I ate
                                            chocolate
                                                  was Nineteen Twenty-Eight.’
The half-smile of the poetess was 
                                       matched only by her half-rhyme.
Points of light flashed from a large blue agate
set on one of the rings 
                                      with which her fingers were laden.
Bangles jangled as the empress extended her hand with
                                      a flourish
                                            as though it were some form
                                                  of impish
                                                        sabre-rattling at the whim
of a capricious potentate.
                                      ‘Mais non . . . !’
She selected a chocolate-coated fragment the size of a crumb.
‘. . . Maybe I’ll simply choose the makeweight 
                                      en hommage à la poésie concrète!

‘She was impressively grand, quite eccentric . . . 
She wore her usual loose, dramatic robes, her high,
Plantagenet headdress. Her lovely hands were
covered with the most beautiful rings I had ever
seen actually worn: they were deep, deep, coloured
stones — aquamarines, blue agates, large and
pool-like.’ (A Drink* with Dame Edith by
Muriel Spark. Literary Review. February 1997.)


Special Note: A ‘makeweight’ was, according to custom, a small, very thin, tablet of pure chocolate added, as occasion demanded, to a box of chocolates to meet trading standards when the tray was underweight.

*Dame Edith’s favourite tipple was, apparently, Gin-and-Pineapple-Juice.


See also: Variation on a Theme by Edna St. Vincent Millay
https://catherineeisnerfrance.blogspot.com/2019/10/variation-on-theme-by-edna-st-vincent.html

See also: Premature embalmment of anti-art
https://catherineeisnerfrance.blogspot.com/2016/04/dotty-premature-embalmment-of-anti-art.html

See also: Poésie trouvée, the unsought text
http://catherineeisnerfrance.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/colour-blind.html
and
http://catherineeisnerfrance.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/poesie-trouvee-unsought-text.html


Catherine Eisner believes passionately in plot-driven suspense fiction, a devotion to literary craft that draws on studies in psychoanalytical criminology and psychoactive pharmacology to explore the dark side of motivation, and ignite plot twists with unexpected outcomes. Within these disciplines Eisner’s fictions seek to explore variant literary forms derived from psychotherapy and criminology to trace the traumas of characters in extremis. Compulsive recurring sub-themes in her narratives examine sibling rivalry, rivalrous cousinhood, pathological imposture, financial chicanery, and the effects of non-familial male pheromones on pubescence, 
and Listen Close to Me (2011)



Sunday, 23 February 2020

Ignoble Retreat at the Edge where Earth and Firmament meet . . .

Ubi cœlum terræ se conjungit.

                           A host of angels
                                       vent their dirge obscure
           as of a vanquished 
                                       army of cicadas
           to signify alarm or
                                       their displeasure
           called to retreat, scorned
                                       unavailing stardust.

‘. . . and now in little space the confines met
of Empyrean Heav’n and of this World . . .’
                                                                                     Paradise Lost Book 10
                                                                                              1667 John Milton

A Miotic and Dilative Cosmic Eye

In his paper published in April 1930, Zum kosmologischen Problem der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie, Albert Einstein  speculates briefly on a universe in a process of Expansion (Dilatationsbewegung) and Collapse in an eternal cycle of extinctions and rebirths. His flirtation with Oscillating Universe theory develops from a presumption of ‘spherical  space [spharischen Raum], whose radius is variable over time [and, in consequence, a progressive decrease in expansion follows, which] sets an upper boundary for the radius of the cosmos that cannot be exceeded with the passage of time . . . whereupon the whole process is gone through in the opposite sense (umgekehrtem Sinne) . . .’

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Medieval Verse (4) Praise Crown Restored . . . Raise Voice in Song . . .

[ This hitherto untranscribed text is by a hand unknown and no putative attribution to any earlier scriptor should be assayed. ]

Discovered inscribed in cursiva anglicana (Middle English
and Latin) by stylus on a wax tablet. Early 14th Century.
This tabletta (tabula or ceraculum), one of a number hinged together and
sealed in a carrying-pouch, is in the personal possession of
Catherine Eisner who has transcribed the orthographical variants,
with reference to The Middle English Dictionary and 
to The Index to Middle English Verseand within 
the limitations of current scholarship Eisner 
believes this text to be a faithful rendering.

                     In Truth May All Our 
                                                         Prayers Exalt the Tongue
                     Loud to Condemn the 
                                                         Wrongs by Falsehoods Shriven.
                     Praise Crown Restored 
                                                         in Faith Raise Voice in Song
                     Not Death Besought but 
                                                         Souls their Harvests Thriven.


This verse, perhaps the final jottings on these wax tablets
to be deciphered (since the succeeding tabulae in the
series are seemingly irredeemably welded together),
 is thought to celebrate the seizure of power by Edward III,
aged seventeen, in the coup d'état against Roger Mortimer,
the de facto Regent of England; so a ‘restoration’ of the 
true king would have been strong in the mind of  the writer,
possibly a mendicant preacher. This series of verses (1307
to 1330?), therefore, spans the reign of Edward II and the
early years of his heir, the boy King Edward III. 
It’s clear the tablet-scriber was alert to the unfolding drama
within the unruly House of Plantagenet and aware, too, of the
monarchical intrigues of his turbulent times, so it’s 
frustrating that his later shrewd observations are hidden
from us. The fact that the travelling-pouch of tablets lay
concealed in a secret cache for over six hundred years surely
evidences the caution the writer must have observed
in safeguarding his indiscreet clerical broadsides. 

The figuration of the growth of the Soul as a spiritual
harvest to be reaped by Righteousness may be
found in 2 Corinthians 9:10


For a transcription of the first of these medieval verses by an unknown hand, see
Verse 1 (possibly 1307) a devout prayer on the occasion of Edward II’s coronation:
The tabulae appear chronological in composition; see the following Verse 2 of 1312:
Verse 3 (possibly 1325-1330) records the Fall of Edward II with the defeat of Queen Isabella – the She-Wolf of France – together with her lover, Roger Mortimer:
https://catherineeisnerfrance.blogspot.com/2020/02/medieval-verse-3-when-lief-churl.html

The Cambridgeshire Hoard

Provisional details of the 14th Century Cambridgeshire Hoard will be announced by Eisner following completion of the first phase of studies.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Medieval Verse (3) When lief a Churl

[ This hitherto untranscribed text is by a hand unknown and no putative attribution to any earlier scriptor should be assayed. ]

Discovered inscribed in cursiva anglicana (Middle English
and Latin) by stylus on a wax tablet. Early 14th Century.
This tabletta (tabula or ceraculum), one of a number hinged together and
sealed in a carrying-pouch, is in the personal possession of
Catherine Eisner who has transcribed the orthographical variants,
with reference to The Middle English Dictionary and 
to The Index to Middle English Verseand within 
the limitations of current scholarship Eisner 
believes this text to be a faithful rendering.

                    When lief a Churl   
                                                 Our Chateleine enthrones 
                    To Woe a Mort ere  
                                                 More Her Dower* guerdones   
                    For Domayne Reft  
                                                 the Wolf-Dam nere atones 
                    Til Lord of Hosts 
                                                 fain All of Heaven summons

Above: 1326,
Queen Isabella, ‘She-Wolf’ of France, consort of Edward
II, and her lover Roger Mortimer raise an insurgent
mercenary army to rule England as de facto regents.

Beneath the overt meaning of this verse it’s tempting to
read a dangerously libellous covert broadside whose
intention, if correctly interpreted, places its composition
at some point between 1325 and 1330.
Overt meaning: ‘When willingly Our Lady Regnant
raises a Ruffian to High Office/a great deal [mortof
her Dowery, before an even greater amount, is gifted to
Sorrow/since the She-Wolf never atones for Plundering
the Realm/until the Kingdom of Heaven is obliged by evil
deeds on earth to summon the aid of the Lord God.’
Covert meaning: ‘When willingly Queen Isabella raises
an Upstart [Mort-i-more] to the Throne of England/
a great deal [mort] of England’s Treasury, before an even
greater amount, is gifted to England’s Bankruptcy/
because the She-Wolf of France never atones for
plundering the English Realm/until the Kingdom
of Heaven is obliged by the Lovers’ evil deeds
on earth to summon the aid of the Lord God.
Above: 1308,
Princess Isabella, twelve years old, daughter
of King Phillip IV of France, marries the new
king of England, Edward II, aged 24.

*Anglia dos Mariae. (England, Mary's dowry.)
On reflection, when probing deeper into the connotations of this verse, I believe the words are an anti-royalist Mariolatrous invocation protesting the despoiling of England by the French She-Wolf’s predations on the King’s treasury. The words possibly seek to quicken in the reader (assuming there existed a trusting confidant in the 14th Century privy to read them) an affirmation of a religiose national idolatry. The denunciatory character of the verses are all the more heretical since they point up the extreme comparison to be found in Queen Isabella’s ‘Dowry-by-Plunder' when contrasted with the metonym for England that is Our Lady’s Dowry (or Dowry of the Virgin and similar variations). This metonym had become widespread by the middle of the fourteenth century for at that time it is stated, ‘It is commonly said that the land of England is the Virgin’s dowry.’  The Virgin Mary was regarded, therefore, as England’s Protectress who, through her power of intercession, acted as the country’s defender or guardian. The iambic scansion of these lines suggest that 'dower’ was pronounced with a diphthong.



For a transcription of the first of these medieval verses by an unknown hand, see

Verse 1 (possibly 1307) a devout prayer on the occasion of Edward II’s coronation:
https://catherineeisnerfrance.blogspot.com/2016/03/medieval-song.html
The tabulae appear chronological in composition; see the following Verse 2 of 1312:
https://catherineeisnerfrance.blogspot.com/2020/01/medieval-verse-2-hart-there-was.html
The Fourth verse, which ends the series (the succeeding wax tablets are irredeemably welded together) see: