28 July 2008


This is what Tony would term a 'cup-holder' post — something to keep you interested while a more substantial post remains in gestation. The picture is a version of what Wordle does to the last paragraph of my post about Kileshwar, Gujarat. The size of the words is proportional to how often they appear in the input text. The colours and layout are not proportional to anything, but can be chosen from a limited range of options. The wordlerised version seems to present its own form of meaning, similar to but more nebulous than the original text, yet different enough to stand on its own. Dave Pollard and Emma have also been wordlerising; Dave presents an interesting comparison between his own and a friend's version (read his comment carefully — it's easy to misread what I'm certain is deliberate).

Of course, the 'meaning' depends hugely on what text you choose. And, on what you choose to read into it. Here, more, than in sentences and phrases, individual words seem to accrue and convey meaning according to their context, yet (or perhaps consequently) some words seem to leap out, even when they're small.

To what degree is this 'me'?

1. I arrived back in the Valley on Saturday after a much-needed week away, on the coast, out of phone and internet access, with a swag of photos and a bit of scribbled writing. More posts will follow.

2. A warning: wordle is a superb time-waster.

© 2008 Pete McGregor

19 July 2008

This is the world now

Pohangina Valley mid winter

This is the world now. Without leaves with herons grey and craning high in branches like omens over winter water; a hawk turning, turning, in dull distant air above a ridgeline a cold wire fence the desiccated heads of old dead weeds. The world now is a pair of yellowhammers each on its own post then gone slipping sideways off on the elsewhere wind. The world now is plovers stepping in damp fields stopping and stepping and stopping a ripple of sky in a trough where black and white cattle moan and wait; wait for the truck and the hollow clang of a cold iron gate and steam from silage rising into the grey world, not knowing they're waiting for the end of winter the end of mud and rain and dark days, grey days, cold days in damp bones a skull eyeless and broken turning green under skeletal branches sinking into the earth, into the earth into the past. Sheep cough in the dark under a pale moon gibbous drifting beyond torn cloud.

Back yard view
The world now is strange days when bees out of season feed on one tree and why not the others and why in mid winter when all but the solitary queens have gone and those quiet in abandoned mouse nests deep in spring dreams yet here they roar among the pale flowers. The world now does not make sense. The world now is changing. The world now is grey the future is grey and black and white. The future is full of colour. The world now grey, the world now black and white, is luminous with dreams of colour.

1. Five weeks of intense contract work did this. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible soon.

1. Western skyline, Pohangina Valley.
2. View from the back door
(click to enlarge it).

Photos and words © 2008 Pete McGregor