Sunday, January 15, 2012

Skating On Thin Ice, Revisited

Edmund Blunden's exhortation to continue skating despite the darkness beneath us is echoed by A. S. J. Tessimond.  Tessimond's darkness is of a more psychological sort -- his life was not haunted by the horrors that Blunden experienced in the trenches -- but his advice bears consideration.

            Skaters' Waltz

'. . . So tempting to let freeze
   One's deepest, darkest pools
And learn to skim with ease
   Thin ice; for who but fools

Dive into who-knows-what?'
   'But if the ice by chance
Breaks?'  'But if not, if not?
   And how it glitters!  Dance!'

A. S. J. Tessimond, Selection (1958).

                 Andreas Schelfhout, "Skaters and a Horse-Sledge" (1857)

The topic of skating inevitably brings to mind (at this point I ask my younger readers to please bear with me) my favorite Jethro Tull song. (Owen Wilson's line from the movie Armageddon just popped into my head:  "I'll tell you one thing that really drives me nuts, is people that think that Jethro Tull is just a person in the band.")  The song is "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day" (from the album War Child, which was released in -- ah, Time! -- 1974).  It was written, and is sung by, the inimitable Ian Anderson.  This is from the third verse:

And as you cross the circle line
The ice-wall creaks behind
You're a rabbit on the run.
And the silver splinters fly
In the corner of your eye
Shining in the setting sun.

                        Andreas Schelfhout, "Skating in Holland" (1846)


Deb said...

Ah, that Jethro Tull song was a favourite of mine too. I even used a few lines of it to finish off a poetry assignment at High School. Goosebumps... (and yes, "ah, Time"!)

Stephen Pentz said...

Deb: Yes, the sound of Jethro Tull was always around in the background in my high school and college years. "Skating Away . . ." is not as well known as many other songs by Ian Anderson, but it was my favorite. I agree: it always brought goosebumps to me, from the first time I heard it, so long ago. It still does.

Thank you for stopping by again, and for sharing your thoughts.