Seen to Scene was inspired by “The Death of the Moth,” an essay by Virginia Woolf.

The essay “The Death of the Moth” can be accessed at
https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/woolf/virginia/w91d/chapter1.html

The following composition is intended to be shown as a visual work(forthcoming). Italicized text within this piece is excerpted from “The Death of the Moth.”


 

Seen to Scene

A day at the speed of ordinary
can feel like a place
where all minutes mesh
one into the other
each fading its way out of view
to be eternally replaced by others
of a similar hue

There is a window
through which all can be seen

all is scene

and a writer who records
with her pencil
what it is that she has seen

all she sees is scene

…in her haze of thought
a movement thus happens
upon a window frame      a day moth alights

here: a first set of frames
zeroes in upon
a moment in monochrome:
a powdery exposure in beige

Seen to scene
at a point
in the time of ordinary
a pale moment is
stirred to life upon
the screen of a mind…

it is but a slight stir
and yet on this day
it is enough to trip up
the mundane tick of time

such as it is

A scene makes its way
into the writer’s eye
so that she begins to record
with her pencil (now filling with words)
and from stillness to action
articulates at the speed of thought

Pencil scratching upon paper
like a film clip clipping
from a projector
this writer knows how to spin
real into reel

A master with words
a page of pure white
springs to life at her touch:
words transform
what is seen into scene

action:direction

the writer records
as the scene plays itself out
quick movements catch her eye
as she focuses away
from the beigelittlemoth
and pans out to formmovement
out and beyond the frame

word sequences begin
moving at shutter speeds

rooks…soaring round the tree tops…a
vast net with a thousand black knots
…cast up into the air…after a few
moments sank slowly upon the trees…
Then…thrown into the air again in a
wider circle this time, with utmost
clamor and vociferation…

Images resonate
as distant sounds
faint and ghostlike
carried as they are upon a breeze
tingle her senses

The plough…scoring the field…the
earth…pressed flat and gleamed with
moisture…vigor…rolling in from the
fields and the down beyond…the size
of the downs, the width of the sky, the
far-off smoke of houses, and the
romantic voice, now and then, of a
steamer out at sea…

Advance the speed of your reading
and the word images
she has composed
will spin to life
in your mind
at the speed of reel time

Suddenly
a scene performed:
rooks are not just said
they are flying an aerial ballet

The reader’s attention is caught:
the language
it is like optics
it is words
forming an optical allusion in the mind

each individual word strung together
amongst the other becomes a moving
image in a spinning of the scene
words whirl by as rooks in full flight

It is…
exploration at the speed of thought
for thought is action too
however inert it may appear to be

and daily life has its contingent moments

a flowing stream in flux
it is a continuous, peripheral state of the mind
and it ebbs and flows
into a sort of mementum: (memory + moment)

snapshots flickering in time

We are surrounded by the daily:
ever-so-brief
serieslike cinemaclips
constants in motion

Ever at the ready
able to see
through the monotonous hue
the writer so does
observe in wait
from her point of view
as she looks though her lens
of thought
for the moment
when she can write what she sees
reeling in images
then casting these out
with her pencil
as narrative
from a filament made up of words
that live in her mind

A plain little moth

a show of words

an act
a tiny bead of pure light
an illumination of a narrative scene
words flowing from a pencil
showing at shutter speed

Action is energy
however static it appears written on a page

a writer
a pencil
a paper
a moth
a window
a moment
a movement
a word

turning the benign
into the sublime

A tiny movement appears(insignificant as it may seem)
then plays itself out for one to see.

The scene has been recorded.

Settling upon its narrow window ledge, the little beige moth
has completed its performance. Beyond this ledge,
images retreat out of focus. The film clip ends.
The light goes out.

The pencil is gently returned to a place upon a clean white page…

 

– Jacqueline Harris –