Thursday 12 March 2009

Faster than Fairies, Faster than Witches....

Travelling can be seriously boring, so there's every excuse to bring out the sketchbook to while away the time.
Rapid sketches are de rigueur and greatly increase the power of observation- that child on the bus just won't stay still, we're only in this train station for a few minutes, the traffic queue's starting to move up ahead, and the boat's about to weigh anchor- whatever that means!

It's good to draw the landmarks as they flash by- don't try this when driving... all that passes is 'a glimpse and gone forever'. No time here to be tight or precious about one's drawing, but just to furiously draw and damn the result! A page crammed with small, even incomplete studies can look most charming..
Case study: I'm waiting on the platform at the gare de Rennes and I'm irritated already by the incessant loud chatter of two ladies close by. Dear God, I pray, please don't let them be in the same carriage! They are, and they're just behind me, and like yours truly they're going all the way to Paris. With my allocated seat I'm trapped for the two-hour duration. I turn this to my advantage and amuse myself by sketching the passing scenery, but also I write down choice phrases of their conversation- neatly turning a negative experience into a positive and
live-enriching episode- or something along those lines.

It might be, I recall, unlawful to depict airports, stations and ports- national security and all that. But -What The Hell! Live dangerously say I, taking out my threatening sketchbook and pen, and feeling Matahari-esque as I do so.... while remaining out of bed and fully clothed.

From a Railway Carriage

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows, the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away on the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

Robert Louis Stevenson.


degz said...

hi Caroline, I stumbled to your site from the Permaculture in Brittany one.

I love the poem - I've taken to drawing while travelling recently but my family call drawing people nearby "stalking".

Thought I'd leave a comment - I often feel I'm just talking to myself when I blog.

Unknown said...

Hi Caroline,this is the poem which I used to recite during my childhood days& I love it sooooo much
Nowadays I travel by train to meet my children who are staying far away from home for higher studies& it takes me down memory lane!!!
Thanks for posting it

Caroline said...

Belated thanks to both of you for your kind comments!

T-Corp said...

As a child I was always fascinated by this poem. Its simply awesomme. I used to paint the picture in my mind while reading this poem. Thank you so much Caroline. I feel like I'm living in my childhood again. Cheers from INDIA..... :)

Unknown said...

so nice and useful