Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Tuesday April 15, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 PM

Green and Burning

After posting the 2:42 PM entry at a public library this afternoon, I picked up the following at a “Friends of the Library” used-book sale:

The Green and Burning Tree:
On the Writing and Enjoyment
of Children’s Books

by Eleanor Cameron (Little, Brown and Company, Boston and Toronto, 1969).

Cameron, on page 73, gives the source of her title; it is from the Mabinogion:

“And they saw a tall tree by the side of the river, one half of which was in flames from the root to the top, and the other half was green and in full leaf.”

Cameron finds the meaning of this symbol in Dylan Thomas: His Life and Work, by John Ackerman (Oxford University Press, 1964), p. 6:

“Another important feature of the old Welsh poetry is an awareness of the dual nature of reality, of unity in disunity, of the simultaneity of life and death, of time as an eternal moment rather than as something with a past and future.”

For part of a Nobel Prize lecture on this topic — time as an eternal moment — see Architecture of Eternity, a journal note from December 8, 2002.

That lecture is from an author, Octavio Paz, who wrote in Spanish.  Here are some other words in that language:

Mi verso es de un verde claro,
Y de un carmín encendido.

My verse is a clear green,
And a burning crimson.

These lyrics to the song “Guantanamera” (see Palm Sunday) were on my mind this afternoon when Cameron’s book caught my eye.

Green and crimson are, of course, also the colors of Christmas, or “Christ Mass.”  In view of the fact that Cameron’s book is about children’s literature, this leads, like it or not, to the following meditation.

From a religious site:

Matthew 18:3 – And said, Truly I say to you, Unless you are converted, and become like little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 10:15 – Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter it at all.

Luke 18:17 – Truly I say to you, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall by no means enter it.

A meditation from a less religious site:

“What I tell you three times is true.”

Finally, from what I now consider 

  • in view of the song lyrics quoted above,
  • in view of the fact that it deals with a Cuban movie also titled “Guantanamera,”
  • in view of Cameron’s remarks on Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” (p. 129), and
  • in view of my April 7 entry on mathematics and art,

to be an extremely religious site, a picture:

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