23 August 2009
A Tale of Two Economies
Walter de la Mare's tale The Wharf: An extraordinarily simple and wide-ranging story, set in England c. 1920, that moves from town to farm to dream, and then back again. It contains a horror more of the real than of the imaginary kind, more of the soul than of the flesh, plus a hope so tangible you can practically smell it. But for me obviously it is much easier to describe its effect than to summarize its plot. Let me just say that out of the residue left over when the details have evaporated, a most interesting pattern seems to emerge: A powerful meditation on our human world and the treasures it has, out of which it makes refuse; and on the natural world around us, and the refuse it has, out of which it makes treasure.