Wednesday, September 7, 2022

First Word: Imogen Mark: Quiver


(What an onomatopoeic word. How does it achieve that?)

Quiver: It’s rabbits caught in headlights, quivering, shaking with fear, an involuntary movement. Because its voluntary movement, its will is paralysed. Its fur is bristling and its body is shaking but its eyes are fixed, glazed over, no life in them, only the reflection of the light.

But quivering has some physiological purpose, doesn’t it? Is it supposed to activate microscopic body systems that will flood the organism with hormones, telling it to wait, first, in case it hasn’t been seen? 

The lights are as impersonal and distant as the moon. But the moonlight makes my rabbit, not just quiver, it makes it dance, and leap “high and disposedly”*, and throw up its hind legs like a giddy thing. Rabbit experiences moonlight as purely invigorating, not fine, contained quivering, but full out joy in its own self.


*(This is a learned quote from a painting of Queen Elizabeth I of England, dancing, as the painter has it, “high and disposedly”. From your favourite source of obscure and possibly pretentious information. But who likes the description.)

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