Monday, 13 April 2009

Cythera by Ian Hamilton Finlay

These are from a piece called "Cythera" by Ian Hamilton Finlay. They belong to a ring of standing stones situated near a busy road in my home town of Hamilton. They have been vandalised to an extent but are still clean. Layers of stone are beginning to crumble but they remain solid. They are framed by the sky as every element of earth should be. When I look up at them I feel both solid and as light as a leaf in air. I feel the earth and I feel the sky. I feel rooted and I feel transcendent.

There are more which I may post at some later date. For now, these words are for me today. They exist for today. This day, as all days, I am of earth and heaven. I am both. When the balance is right, I exist centrally, solidly, softly. I have direction and belonging. I am of and I am to. Of and to. This is a blessing as words on stone are a blessing. Reaching from and to. For, of, in, up, to. Today, somedays, all daze.


troylloyd said...


thanx for posting these, esp. w/ nice bluesky clouds & i appreciate your comments about feeling both solid & featherweight -- that was Finlay's genius as i read him, to give those feelings, to open up the garden, to bring a reader that point of pivot from which earth is sky & sky is earth & words are words are words & can only elicit what we already know.

thanx for helping me remember.

Andrew Philip said...

I didn't know about these. How many other IHF pieces are dotted around the country, I wonder? (Scotland as Muckle Sparta ... i(h)f only.)

Word verification: dyinaily.

Stephen Nelson said...

Hey Andy,

Thanks for popping in!

Yeah, they actually lie at the end of a tree lined avenue intended as a walkway between the Duke of Hamilton's old palace (now a complex of sports facilities) and his hunting lodge at Chatelerault. Unfortuantely the avenue runs parallel to the main road out of Hamilton (past ASDA) into Motherwell and Larkhall. Still, it's quite a place of contemplation for me.