Saturday, 18 September 2010

Winged Hearts

I was saving most of these picture-postcards for a celebratory moment, but now I'm just looking for uplift. So here's a little prayer for wings. As it turns out I'll now be needing some serious help taking-off on schedule...

Even though it gets a mention in Paul Auster's Moon Palace (as table-talk before one of his characters faints in the hallway), few people know about Cyrano De Bergerac's voyage to the moon, an adventure he spuriously committed to paper in about 1647, or some twenty odd years before Isaac Newton watched an apple fall from a tree. I think the Moon is a world like this one, Cyrano prophesies before taking flight:

'After many experiments I constructed a flying machine, and, sitting on top of it, I boldly launched myself in the air from the crest of a mountain. I had scarcely risen more than half a mile when something went wrong with my machine, and it shot back to the earth. But, to my astonishment and joy, instead of descending with it, I continued to rise through the calm, moonlight air. For three quarters of an hour I mounted higher and higher. Then suddenly all the weight of my body seemed to fall upon my head. I was no longer rising quietly from the Earth, but tumbling headlong on to the Moon. At last I crashed through a tree, and, breaking my fall among its leafy, yielding boughs, I landed gently on the grass below.

'I found myself in the midst of a wild and beautiful forest, so full of the sweet music of singing birds that it seemed as if every leaf on every tree had the tongue and figure of a nightingale. The ground was covered with unknown, lovely flowers, with a magical scent. As soon as I smelled it I became twenty years younger. My thin grey hairs changed into thick, brown, wavy tresses; my wrinkled face grew fresh and rosy; and my blood flowed through my veins with the speed and vigour of youth.'

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