Friday, March 26, 2010

The Thoughtless Redness of Red

It's autumn, and the liquidambar is reddening. The days are cooling. The footpaths are becoming crunchy. Gala apples are crisp, and next door's persimmons are ripening.

As I finish the gardens book, persimmon is also on my page - an ardent Iroshizuku orange-red that says: "This sentence is dull. That sentence is false. And this section is in the wrong place."

But it says it with charm and passion. It makes the trivia of editing pleasurable.

So when I'm jittery, I indulge myself a little. Every now and then, I hold my pen up to the window. Why?

Yes, it reminds me of persimmons, and the arcing lines in apples, and the tips of the liquidambar. Yes, it evokes autumn, blood and fire.

But for a few moments, I'm just gratified by saturation: this intense, distinctive colour. It's about the meaningless, useless, thoughtless redness of the red.

This is refreshing. Perhaps because so much is briefly put aside - calculation, anxiety, analysis - my faculties are rested.

And then back to putting persimmon on the page - finishing, not fidgeting. Of course I could be running, doing weights, practicing karate or gardening - and I do.

But sometimes the thoughtless redness of red is enough to revive the dying editor inside me.


Jesse said...

I never knew persimmons were red. I've them mixed up with asian pears for five years, could never figure why they did not feel like the poem by Li-Young Lee.

Damon Young said...

How frustrating, Jesse, to be robbed of the central imagery of Lee's poem!

Is the poem rejuvenated in your mind now?

Jesse said...

I learned about persimmons by reading the poem and wanted to try one. So yes, because it relates now.