Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Name on the Wall

I've spent the past week grappling with many things, not the least of which is trying to find a fitting way to memorialize my father, to let the world know who he was. My searches and struggles led me to a book written by Diarmid's father, Charles Richard Cammell, or rather I should say they led the book to me.

The Name on the Wall is my grandfather's ode to the blue plaques that appear here and there on the sides of buildings throughout London. Each plaque gives the name, dates of birth and death, and occupation of the noted person who once lived there, sometimes with the dates of their residence. Charles' book highlights ten such locations, the one-time homes of poets John Dryden, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lord Byron; painter Lord Leighton; and poet, craftsman, and Socialist William Morris, among others. In each chapter, Charles writes of the person's life, their work, and remarkable anecdotes about their time at the dwelling-place.

A passage from the chapter on painter and poet William Blake struck a chord with me. For now, this is something very close to how I would like my father Diarmid to be remembered.

"To understand Blake one must understand, above all else, his visionary character. Blake (as all who knew him knew) was no madman, no crazed enthusiast; though to common minds his claims to seerdom appeared at times to be insane, for in talk he was at no pains to explain, and he was easily irritated into making reckless statements if contradicted. But behind his visions lay a deep and sacred philosophy."

1 comment:

rochambeau said...

It's good you are making a special to honor your father Karima. He was no doubt a very wonderful man to have such a creative daughter. So sorry for your loss!!

My father never wanted a religious service. When he died we planted his ashes with a little live oak tree. Every week we scatter rose petals around the base. The plaque reads: Joe Muller
Books~Music~Laughter~ Joy.