Quote: Watchmen

February 27, 2009

Regarding Ornithology:

“Is it possible, I wonder, to study a bird so closely, to observe and catalogue its peculiarities in such minute detail, that it becomes invisible?  Is it possible that while fastidiously calibrating the span of its wings or the length of its tarsus, we somehow lose sight of its poetry?

… Until we transform our mere sightings into genuine visions; until our ear is mature enough to order a symphony from the shrill pandemonium of the aviary; until then we may have a hobby, but we shall not have a passion.

… Although I had recovered my motor abilities in the aftermath of the owl’s shriek, I found that my equilibrium was not so easily regained.  Some facet of the experience had struck a chord in me, forged a connection between my dulled and jaded adult self and the child who sprawled in the faint starlight while the great night hunters staged dramas full of hunger and death in the opaque jet air above me.  An urge to experience rather than merely record had been rekindled within me.

… A scientific understanding of the beautifully synchronized and articulated motion of an owl’s individual feathers during flight does not impede a poetic appreciation of the same phenomenon.  Rather, the two enhance each other, a more lyrical eye lending the cold data a romance from which it has long been divorced.” (‘Nite Owl’ from Watchmen, chapter 7. Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons)

Clearly, it applies to all things.  Karate, cycling, cello, everything.  Writing like this is why this is more than a ‘comic book’, why this is a graphic novel.

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3 Responses to “Quote: Watchmen”

  1. Rebecca said

    Great quote – I remember it from when I read Watchmen. As someone who’s both a birder and a bit of a comic book geek, I found the idea of an ornithologist becoming a superhero (or costumed vigilante, or whatever) really fun.

  2. Jeanne Lachance said

    Paul, This is so beautiful, I am in awe of anyone who can write as beautifully as this. Thank you for sharing this with us, your faithful readers. Love your very own Memere

  3. Mike said

    Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

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