prelude to a sequel

it is never easy to begin a sequel. one anthropologist is meandering between south-eastern and north-western europe. this weblog walks along the dee, the atert and the bosphorus, considering worthy of attention the fresh-water fish, d’lëtschen, lovers entwined along the water shore, mosquitoes, schleisen and keels of all kinds. its anti-hero, nutshell-kit, has been writing a thesis, learning to recognise the use and abuse of meandering, and following conversations taking odd turns. she may be interested in a lot of things, but lacks the concentration to make lists. she particularly likes to dance on the rooftops at dawn, revelling in her vertigo. she is part-kitten, part-tempest, part-ordinary dreams. she likes to think she was a dervish in a former life. she writes pompous things like that and laughs about them loudly. do take her seriously enough, and feed her your own worlds.

this is by nizar qibbani – it’s called ‘to the reader’… someone once said i should aim for highest possible standards in writing even in the full knowledge that my limits are such that i will never quite emulate the masters.

and i am fine with that square millimetre of manoeuvre possibility.

so, amaze me, and be my echo, and we can sing together.

Statement to the Reader (translation by Salman M. Hilmy):

I fill my pocket with stars; And build for myself a place to sit; On the seat of the sun.
Sunset weeps on my balcony; And cries for a rendezvous with me.
I am a sail that cannot stand a journey’s end; I am a loss that wants no guidance.
My letters are swarms of swallows; That drape the clear sky with their black mantle.
I have imagined till I made perfumes visible; And resonance of the echo smell.
In my red veins is a woman; Who walks with me in the folds of my gown; Hisses and blows in my bones; To turn my lungs into a brazier.
Your beauty springs from me—without me;You’d be nothing, without me you wouldn’t be; Without me no rose would bloom; No breast would bubble or revel.
O reader, my travel companion; I’m the lips and you’re the echo.
I plead with you, be soft and tender; If tomorrow you embrace my letters; When you pass by them remember; The torture of these letters to exist.
No one dies who in time has loved; No one dies who—like a bird—has sung.



6 thoughts on “prelude to a sequel

  1. nutshell Post author

    i’m just the editor round here. qabbani is the one who deserves the mention :o)
    thanks for readin anyway…

  2. peter

    Beautifully written, lovely to read and thought provoking enough to interest. Very nice blog.

  3. Caroline

    Katy, I’ve loved reading your blogs (what an unromantic word) and have been looking again at the contents pages of your thesis with their great titles. It’s the unconventionality that sings out. Where can I read the contents themselves? Transhumant human teetering on edge of trans-European bus trip. Here is Gwyneth Lewis on Nothing: ‘Importance leaves me cold, as does all information that is classed as news/I like those events that the centre ignores: small branches falling, the slow decay of wood into humus, how a puddle’s eye silts up slowly, till, eventually, the birds can’t bathe there’. When the world seems to shrivel, it’s time to get out and about. How is permaculture? Is there any hope? From rain-sodden, spring-greening Wales.

    All best,


    1. nutshell Post author

      Thank you Caroline. The thesis has now been defended and will be more widely available in a few months’ time.
      Enjoy rain-sodden by now surely spring-soaked Wales 🙂

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