Weather and art

Guess what we’re supposed to get tonight in Minnesota? It’s white and it’s cold, and it rhymes with that word Don Imus is in trouble for saying.

As my late father used to say, “Why in blazes would anybody live in this country?”

In order to balance my negative review of Bernard Cornwell’s Enemy of God yesterday, I’d like to share a passage from the next book, Excalibur, which pleased me.

Guinevere is talking to a bard (poet) who disparages the old-fashioned style of loud, bellicose songs. He says the younger bards are concentrating more on style and harmony nowadays.

‘Any man can make a noise, Lady,’ Pyrlig defended his craft….

‘And soon the only people who can understand the intricacies of the harmony,’ Guinevere argued, ‘are other skilled craftsmen, and so you become ever more clever in an effort to impress your fellow poets, but you forget that no one outside the craft has the first notion of what you’re doing. Bard chants to bard while the rest of us wonder what all the noise is about. Your task, Pyrlig, is to keep the people’s stories alive, and to do that you cannot be rarefied.’

‘You would not have us be vulgar, Lady!’ Pyrlig said and, in his protest, struck the horsehair strings of his harp.

‘I would have you be vulgar with the vulgar, and clever with the clever,’ Guinevere said, ‘and both, mark you, at the same time, but if you can only be clever then you deny the people their stories, and if you can only be vulgar then no lord or lady will toss you gold.’

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