Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Poet & His Apples

"Peering into the pantry, which held a particular fascination for me, my eye was caught by several jars of preserved fruit that stood on the otherwise empty shelves and by a few dozen diminutive crimson apples on the sill of the window darkened by the yew tree outside. And as I looked on those apples which shone through the half-light much as the golden apples likened in Proverbs to a word fitly spoken, the quite outlandish thought crossed my mind that these things, the kindling, the jiffy bags, the fruit preserves, the seashells and the sound of the sea within them had all outlasted me, and that Michael was taking me round a house in which I myself had lived a long time ago."
W.G.Sebald 'The Rings of Saturn', on visiting Michael Hamburger's Suffolk home

On a recommendation from friend Ren, I've just been to the Frith Street Gallery (now located on Golden Square) to see a very beautiful and affecting film by Tacita Dean. The film was commissioned for Waterlog, an exhibition which looked at the East Anglian landscape and Sebald's writing there. It is a portrait of the poet Michael Hamburger finished just a few months before he died. He holds and speaks about the apples that he has grown (some from pips), their history and associations. Outside the wind blows, clouds part, we peer in through a gap in the curtains and see his wife spooning out dinner...
If you get the chance, see this film.

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