Sunday, August 16, 2009

the gold tree


among the many books i've read so far this summer
is one standout that is filled with the delicious romantic,
florid writing that i am occasionally drawn to.
published in 1917, this collection of stories authored by john collings squire has some
exquisite moments and phrases that i have gone back to read several times.

entitled "the gold tree",
its centrepiece (similarly titled, "the gold tree") chronicles the appearance of a tree that ...

"changed into something more beautiful than anything I had ever seen in my life . . . ."


maxfield parrish "peaceful valley"

everywhere visible between the twigs, and the leaves had all gone a uniform gold. it was not the heavy gold of opulent stuffs from italian looms ; it had no tinge of brown or crimson. it was splendid ; but the splendour was pale and pure and spiritual. here, in an immense complex pattern, were thousands of leaves of ethereal gold. they were all thin and smooth and perfectly shaped. they were all distinct ; yet they seemed, though so clear and finely edged, weightless and insubstantial. the tree was a vision of that perfection that dwells always as a longing in some recess of the soul, and that is scarcely ever realised in any material embodiment.


the full text of this amazing and beautiful tale can be found here.
or, you can do what i did and order it through amazon's reprint service.

19 comments:

Eryl Shields said...

Amazon does a reprint service? I had no idea. The possibilities that opens!

steven said...

hi eryl, they linked me with kessinger publishing which can be accessed online at http://www.kessinger.net have fun and keep your charge card at the ready!!!! lucky us eh! steven

Titus said...

Like Eryl, I am impressed by your ingenuity. Have been looking for "Us Dogs" for decades, unfortunately I don't know the author's name. How did you know you wanted "The Gold Tree" reprinted?

steven said...

oh titus thankyou for thinking me so clever and wise but it was entirely an accident!!! see eryl's comment for the link that allows you to dig up oldies but goodies!!! i took a quick look around and didn't see "us dogs" but there are several free online clubs who will dig up info about old books for you. just google "help find an old book"! watch what comes up. good luck. steven

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

dear steven - you are a veritable fount of valuable information today! Thank you.

The description of the golden tree and what it meant to squires is simply exquisite. To my mind, a metaphor for the elusive, golden, shimmering link to the divine that we all have within. There is this longing, this faint familiarity, this recognition of something we know so intimately and yet can rarely pin down with our conscious mind. But when we see a facsimile we know it and it evokes the deepest of yearnings . . .

Linda said...

Thank you for making us bloggyland folks aware of this service and most of all THIS STORY! What a treasure, considering dutch elm disease has wiped out most of the species! When I wrote my blog on
"The Underpainter" last week, I mentioned to Dave King in his reply, about my experience of having vivid fall colours seared in pictures in my brain. I thought I might be alone in this and hadn't mentioned it before. Now I have two examples from literary sources and I am sure there must be dozens more. It's not a phenomenon people discuss at parties or anything. All three examples, in The Underpainter, The Gold Tree and my brain are of yellow leaves with blue skies. I wonder if other fall colours get seared in the brain? Woah, this is really interesting. Thanks, Steven!=D

Titus said...

I thank you, and I shall.

Barry said...

Not a writer I'd heard of, Steven. But, my, the man can certainly write!

steven said...

hi bonnie, right place right time!!! it's a funny thing but in his time and even in subsequent reviews of his writing, he is not very highly thought of. i can see something of the verity in this because he is inconsistent, but there's some more of his writing that i'm thinking of upping here that is really exquisite. i go with gut instinct on what i think is good or not anyway!!! there is something in his writing that points (as you say) to the metaphoric link to the divine. it's like he stands at the dge of that knowing but for whatever reason can't go all the way there. "there is this longing, this faint familiarity, this recognition of something we know so intimately and yet can rarely pin down with our conscious mind. but when we see a facsimile we know it and it evokes the deepest of yearnings . . ."
that is so very true and well within my experiencing . . . . . . . . phew!!! put that on your website bonnie!!!!!! see what comes of that!!!! lovely. steven

steven said...

hi linda, the fall is my favourite time of year. i can be here or in england and be deeply charged by the changes in the natural environment. i love algonquin or even the kawarthas for the simple fact of the changing colours of everything. the different feeling and taste the air has. the quality of light. mottled reds, chrome yellows that fade into ochre and then brown, deep blue skies free of humidity that go on forever. i would love to see someone gather some of these experiences together - colours and emotions and time of year. thanks for your thoughts linda! steven

steven said...

hey barry, he was new to me and i can't remember exactly where i came across him but i was wandering around and i saw a little sample of his writing and was drawn to it in the same way i am drawn to mary webb, or thomas hardy or balzac or maupassant. i love writing that is sensory first and then wraps human experience inside it. metaphors find their way through that much more easily!!!! have a peaceful afternoon. i imagine you're on the road to t.o. as i write. so i am sending my good vibes your way barry. steven

Crafty Green Poet said...

that looks like a book i should search out....

steven said...

hi crafty green - or use the link in the posting and read it online for free!!! ha!! have a lovely evening. steven

gleaner said...

Hmm, might try typing that - "how to find old books"...although I was trying to limit my ever-expanding book collection...maybe I'll just look :)

willow said...

The fall is my favorite time of year, too. This piece from Squire is perfect paired with the Parrish painting, Steven.

Thanks for the info on the Amazon reprint service. I have used Quintin Publications several times and have been very happy with their service, too.

steven said...

hi gleaner - i found a bok for my wife that she'd been looking for since she was in grade six which was just a few years ago admittedly but all the same . . . and i signed up with one of these online "find an old book forums" (for free!!) and within a day they gave me the title, where i could get it, everything!!! i didn't know the author, just a rough approximation of the title and the plot. good luck. steven

steven said...

hi willow, thanks. i'll bank the info on qintin as well. i don't generally go looking for specific older books as much as i hope to stumble across something unique by chance!!! i bet you're something the same. have a lovely day at the manor. steven

Sixpence and a Blue Moon said...

I'm loving my visit here today - all of your post I have missed lately are...touching and moving. So now I find a Maxfield Parrish painting, another favorite of mine. Will have to look for this book, have not read it.

Btw, have you read The Ginger Tree? One of my favorite reads.

Thanks for sharing some beautiful thoughts!

xoxo

steven said...

hi sixpence, well it's a good thing you're here then. i used to have a big book of maxfield parrish and somewhere along the line of my life it up and disappeared. so this is the first maxfield parrish painting i've used on this blog. i don't know the ginger tree but as soon as i'm done writing this i'll be googling it!!! thanks for the tip. thanks also for leaving so many kind and generous comments. steven