And speaking of John Keats and things writ in, or on, water, I discovered an Italian “street artist” named Guildor who cuts letters out of foam and arranges them into words and phrases containing vaguely uplifting sentiments (in Italian), phrases like “Think thoughtless,” “Love, let the rest flow,” or “Happiness happens.” At least that’s how they were translated by the New Yorker. He then ties the letters together using nylon cord and floats them on the surface of Italian rivers; I’m not honestly sure which rivers to be honest.
This reminds me of a time I went walking by the canal in Sheffield a few years back. Growing up in Sheffield I never even knew there was a canal, but now that the heavy industry has died in Sheffield, many of the remaining industrial relics have been cleaned up, turned into heritage, and made accessible as a walking route.
I was there by the Sheffield canal one Sunday afternoon with a companion, and we were walking on the towpath and suddenly we saw a big foam letter floating along the canal towards us. It was the letter Y.
Now, my pal, a man of spiritual inclination and yearning, suggested that the universe was sending us a message, encouraging us to consider the big questions: Why? Why indeed? Why anything? I, being less that way inclined was reminded of the old Simpsons episode, you know the one with Ringo Starr, in which Marge becomes a painter, and there’s a show in an art gallery and one of the paintings looks like this:
Still, it was a good walk by the Sheffield canal. And there are many, far worse things to find floating in the water than a big foam letter.