The words…


These words have been rattling around in my head for quite a while. I owe so much of my love of words to these, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and Joyce’s description of eternity in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And I owe the lion’s share of any skill I have as a designer to that love, and hence to those three works, but as of late, none more so than these words…

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mud-cracked houses
              If there were water

And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water

–T.S. Eliot, “The Wasteland” (331-358)

You can really see everything I work toward and try to do in those three pieces, the scope and scale, the spaces and concerns, the very lexicon of putting one with another, but somewhere within almost every fabric design there are these words, hidden, secret, but there. You just have to know how to see them…


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