8 thoughts on “The Salix Arcanum – Benjamin Tweddell

  1. B43C2FEC-B0E1-4805-B249-802A89BB8AADObviously this book looks beautiful, and it handles beautifully and sturdily, too. Over 60 pages; my copy numbered 5/88. Orange to my eyes, rather than any other colour. All the pages the same colour paper, but photos above have varying angles of light’s attack…

    Pages 7 – 10

    We meet Mr Godwin, painterly student of our relationship with water (is it significant that the local pub is called the Waterman’s Arms?), since arriving in this land of hawk and reed cutters (with whom he converses and tells to call him Henry not Mr Godwin), this land, too, of willows and sky, and curlew. Peter Warlock’s Curlew cycle I will now listen to.

  2. Pages 10 – 15

    “, grunting with exertion as they hauled their narrow conical fyke nets up from the murky water.”

    …as I hawl literature such as this with my own dreamcatcher, words I once used to describe it. This rich text’s net itself thralls me with a sense of pending rapture in the John Cowper Powys-like Somerset levels as I follow Henry in his communion with bodies of water and nature, his having recently escaped from London’s smog. Here we have the ambiance of a secluded chapel and of King Henry’s earlier ravages, a different Henry.

  3. 5840493A-F792-420B-9BF2-766015D556C0Portrait of T.F. Powys (brother of JC Powys), a painting by Augustus John with whom Henry Godwin once caroused in London.
    Pages 15 – 22122581C7-233C-4481-A6AF-82A84AB844A2
    “These august gentlemen are the oldest living willow in the county you know, perhaps in the country,” spoken by the reverend in the chapel, whom Henry suddenly meets, the chapel with the tantalising stained glass window…. Not only is Henry ‘captivated’ by it but so am I. As I also am by my own haunting over the years by a willow, thumbnailed alongside. Some strong expressions of the erstwhile here.

  4. Pages 22 – 35

    “…something genuinely transformative in the field of art.”

    Just noticed this book’s main title (as yet unexplained, if not altogether inexplicable) has had this slipped in under it: “A Story of Enchantment & Illusion.” What, I wonder, has crept into the text I have already read, without my noticing? There are two seeming minor typos in the pages just read today, which may be corrected by tomorrow? Meanwhile, I continue to watch Henry’s progress amid the rhynes of richly described Somerset levels, his intermittent disorientations, his ambition of transformation in art on canvas or conscious, a sense of pervading paranoia amid pagan pantheism, plus two passing, easily missable references to Persia connecting Henry with an old man he sees…and the orange pages make me feel dizzily disorientated, too.

  5. Pages 35 – 47

    “, feet following familiar patterns, he glimpsed their shared bond, the depth of collective experience,…”

    Indeed, for twenty years in 70s and 80s I lived near Coulsdon, where in the middle of nowhere I discovered this chapel-like church HERE, one that reminds me of Henry’s chapel. My reading feet also follow Henry, as an outsider in both city or countryside, out of sorts during a village celebration, the undercurrents of notes regarding arcane mythologies or truths. His experience of whatever has haunted him, captivated him, nay, now captured him. Amid the atmospheric equivalence of Powysian power from an erstwhile world of Glastonbury Romance that Henry has entered, with, here, an arguable equivalence of powerfulness in this its more recent slant of narrative viewpoint.

  6. https://weirdtongue.wordpress.com/quotations-from-the-glastonbury-romance-by-john-cowper-powys/#comment-325
    Above is a link to my many choice quotations from THE GLASTONBURY ROMANCE by John Cowper Powys that I collected when reading it for the second time in 2012.
    I showed earlier above a photo of my own salix arcanum, a willow I have long called my Yieldingtree. For other images of it please google “Yieldingtree” and “nullimmortalis” together.

    “Their three pairs of eyes were turned simultaneously to the fire now, where at last there had appeared a solitary tongue of orange-coloured flame dancing up and down on the top of the black coals. And there fell upon them all, at that moment, that mysterious, paralysing quiescence, full of inertia and a strange numbness, which sometimes seizes a group of human consciousnesses…” John Cowper Powys

    Pages 47 – 62

    “I knew it would be there, I was certain of it.”

    “The roots of a great tree now entwined that which had been bare wall just moments before…”

    A magnificent culmination to this book, at once rapturous as well as paradoxically “somehow dissipated, scattered like light within a prism.” This book’s unlikely prism of orange. Not orange at all, perhaps, but persimmon, atomic tangerine, tea rose or pumpkin, But above all bittersweet orange. Demonic-Angelic. Henry’s unlikely prison by someone who wanted to ‘save’ him from its revelation. As he wanders into some bittersweet Narnia of flooded Somerset levels and their serpent soul. Corn snakes are orange. And so is fire.7AE29EDA-82AC-45B7-96FA-C90CCEB913F1

    “They say that the Holy Spirit taught the apostles in fiery tongues.”

    Time now at last for Henry to accept that lady’s offer of a dance?


  7. PS: I am very proud of my many laboriously collected quotes from The Glastonbury Romance linked above. A book that ends with a Somerset flood!
    The Salix Arcanum has proved to be a very valuable addition to my sump of such literature. In fact, priceless.


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