Take a leaf out of my book – believe me – I lief would – leaves of grass – leaf thin gold leaf – leaf mulch – leafing through something thumbing pages flicked through dog-eared – turning over a new leaf – the Manyoshu or Collection of 10,000 Leaves is the first major anthology of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime about 760 AD and containing over 4500 poems – “…your thoughts disheveled like your morning hair” – leaf green is chlorophyll – Indian Yellow was made from the urine of cattle fed on mango leaves, a cruel process finally banned in 1908 – I went into the garden to cut a cabbage leaf – Margaret, are you grieving / Over Goldengrove unleaving? / Leaves, like the things of man, you / With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? – next to humans, leafcutter ants form the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth – they feed on a fungus created from a mixture of the ants’ fluid and freshly cut leaves which exists only in Leafcutters’ nests – each year winged females and males leave their nests en masse and engage in a nuptial flight known as the revoada – each female mates repeatedly to collect the 300 million sperm she needs to set up a colony – to start her own fungus garden, the queen stores bits of the parental fungus garden mycelium in her infrabuccal pocket – most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines, which are highly modified leaves – Clarice Lispector complained that some of the translators of her novels from the original Portuguese removed the prickles from the cactus by translating away her awkwardness – write carelessly so that nothing that is not green will survive – you who were the smooth bark, roundness and leaf of my words – Daphne escaping from Apollo’s unwanted advances metamorphosing into a tree, fingers turning to leaves – the tears of the Heliades, sisters of Phaethon who drove the Sun God’s chariot too close to the sun, their tears becoming amber as they became poplar trees – in old books when coloured plates were tippped in, a leaf of tissue lay between the text and the plate for protection, so that each illustration was seen first through a veil – leaves can show many different degrees of hairiness for which botany has a very precise vocabulary – leaves can for example be hirsute, bearded, bristly, pubescent, floccose, glabrescent – glabrescent leaves lose hairs with age – leaves as camouflage covering ghillie suits – on location a ghillie suit is customized with twigs and leaves commom to that habitat – these local additions must be changed every few hours as the leaves and green grasses wilt – leaves are carried by the soldiers as Great Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane and Macbeth is vanquished – the trees are coming into leaf like something almost being said – leaf and stick insects camouflage themselves by their uncanny mimesis of particular leaves – Antonio Pigafetta sailing with Ferdinand Magellan’s circum-navigational expedition writes: “In this island are also found certain trees, the leaves of which, when they fall, are animated, and walk. They are like the leaves of the mulberry tree, but not so long; they have the leaf stalk short and pointed, and near the leaf stalk they have on each side two feet. If they are touched they escape, but if crushed they do not give out blood. I kept one for nine days in a box. When I opened it the leaf went round the box. I believe they live upon air” – leaf-like camouflage is used by many different species including frogs and fish – leaf red is erythrophyll – certain bats are leaf-nosed, having a leaflike appendage on the snout – botanically a leaflet is a division of a compound leaf – commonly it is a small-sized leaf of paper containing printed matter often for free distribution – airborne leaflet propaganda is a form of psychological warfare in which leaflets or flyers are scattered from the air – there are six different functions of airborne leaflet propaganda which have been used over the past century – in Isaac Babel’s1920 Diary detailing his time as a war correspondent with the Red Cavalry he describes the great power of Soviet Union leaflets brought to them by defectors from the Polish army – later he finds a Polish leaflet – “Touching, sad, without the steel of Bolshevik slogans, no promises and words like order, ideals and living in freedom. Victory will be ours!” – but it wasn’t – Duchamp’s wedding present to his sister Suzanne was the instruction for a readymade – she was to hang a geometry book by strings on the balcony of their apartment “so that the wind could go through the book, choose its own problems, turn and tear out the pages” – wind in the leaves – The Unhappy Readymade – disparaging the seriousness of a book full of principles – in its exposure to the weather “the treatise seriously got the facts of life” – a leaf scar is the cicatrix left on the bark by separation of the leaf stalk of a fallen leaf – Duchamp’s concept of the infrathin refers to the invisible yet nevertheless defining qualities of objects or materials which are part of a temporally defined process – Duchamp believed that the infrathin can only be described by examples, such as the difference between a clean shirt and the same shirt worn once – the lingering warmth of a seat when someone has just vacated it – a leaf‘s thickness of difference – the victor wears a crown of laurel leaves – The Laurel, meed of mighty Conquerors / And Poets sage… The Willow worn of forlorn Paramours – poisonous leaves – leaves of three, let them be – deadly nightshade or belladonna is one of the most toxic plants in the Western hemisphere –ingestion of a single leaf can be fatal to an adult – salad leaves – skeleton leaf – leaf print – leaf line leaves on the line, a common cause of train delays – in the UK a number of rail companies change their timings and publish special “leaf fall timetables” – the French word for leaf is feuille – millefeuille is a classic French pastry cake popularized by Carême – it consists of three pieces of puff pastry sandwiched with cream – classic puff pastry correctly made has 729 layers of butter between 730 leaves of pastry so millefeuille has 2190 leaves – feuilleton from feuillet / sheet of paper / little leaf is the part of a European newspaper containing reviews and articles of general entertainment – on the Beaufort wind scale leaves rustle in a light breeze – in a gentle breeze leaves and small twigs are in constant motion – in a moderate breeze dust and leaves are raised up – I found it out, what love is all about / And every day at three, when school lets out / I see my baby, I get weak in the knees / Ain’t nothin’ shakin’ but the leaves on the trees
LEAF/ LEAVES was written for and first performed at
Evergreen, X Marks the Bökship, London on March 30th 2012, part of an evening of readings, performances and soup around the theme of leaves, curated by VerySmallKitchen for the London visit of Márton Koppány. Other work from the night by Claire Potter is here.