Amy Leach (2012). Thing That Are: Encounters With Plant, Stars and Animals

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Things That Are is the size of a prayer book. And you should have to put on those white gloves snooker referees wear when re-spotting a ball, when opening its pages. It should be treated with reverence and awe, because there is wisdom in these words. It should become a religion with worshipers meeting up to discuss sentence and phrases such as the introduction to ‘Silly Lilies’, ‘Most plants bend over backwards to cooperate with reality’.  This is a book you can stay faithful to. Read every day, but only after a night of silence when the words are bright and your mind clear.

I could make promises, but I’m such a book slut. Really, anything with a cover lying open is fair game. But there was trouble with this book right away. First paragraph, opening page, ‘In the seventeen century, his Holiness the Pope adjudged beavers to be fish’.  As a Catholic I know the Pope is infallible, but I didn’t know when I was eating a fish supper I was eating beaver, after all I’m a vegetarian. The trouble wasn’t with that sudden gift. Prayers can mutter themselves. The trouble is, if like me, you start making notes of the good, the true, the metaphors that dance, the similes that sing, phrases that go ping, then you’ll find that you’ve copies out the whole book word for word as if the Angel Gabriel has been whispering it in your ear. Listen to this truth, ‘The Moon also graces the water without getting floated off its feet, but effortlessly, while beavers have to work as hard as derricks’.

The mad disorder of order, just poetics, the wisdom of biology and mythology ‘King of Babylon who  was too proud’ and for his penance roamed ‘green of mind’. There are loose sentence in grammar that begins with the main idea at the beginning and periodic sentence that express the main idea at the end. ‘Try climbing to the moon with only thirteen rungs in your backpack.’ Sometimes the liminal, the transition between what is and what is not, you just can’t explain, put into words, beauty in being, not unless you are Amy Leach. Genius you can genuflect to.

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