This piece is not authored by myself but consists of extracts from a conversation I had with a friend and which I felt were fascinating and deserved a wider readership, so his thoughts on the Blue/Green dilemma.....
French preserves this as a hybrid, from the Greek 'glauque' [ Homer describes the sea as glaukos], in English you hardly ever hear the term 'glaucous', other than in the condition of glaucoma, which implies a certain cloudiness, or opacity, even greyness glaukommatos, grey-eyed..........
.............There was a scene which had Van Gogh staring into a glass of absinthe, It was only commented upon in the drama in relation to the effects of alcohol on an unstable mind, but the vision would surely also have been experienced by Vincent [as by other artists pretty much from Monet onwards] as a colour phenomenum: the swirl of the 'louche' as the sugar releases the herbal essences - before the 'green fairy' emerges.....
The English term 'louche' conveys this idea of shadiness, whose moral associations are transferred from from the French [notably in that rather 'shady' field of late nineteenth-century criminology which extrapolates from physical to psychological attributes] but without so much the ocular substrate: 'loucher' in French means 'to squint' and derives from the Latin 'lusca', feminine of luscus, 'blind in one eye'. [i.e. people who squint are dodgy].........
New Order's 1982 track 'Temptation' has a refrain which goes,
' Oh you've got green eyes....oh you've got blue eyes.....oh you've got grey eyes'
Which echoes a lot of the really obsessively repetitive rhythms of the Belgian symbolist poet Maurice Maeterlink, which foreshadows Beckett and which, like so much else, comes straight out of Baudelaire, notably his poem 'Ciel Brouillie', [Cloudy Sky].
Van Gogh with absinthe: Toulouse Lautrec Angel Fernandez de Soto: Picasso
Cloudy Sky: Charles Baudelaire. [first verse]
One would say that your gaze was veiled with mist;
Your mysterious eyes [are they blue, grey or green?]
Alternately tender, dreamy, cruel,
Reflect the indolence and pallor of the sky.
This poem has always struck me as the perfect symbolist precursor because of the way the observation is heightened by analogy: so the eyes give way to mood, environment, and finally a kind of lethargy.
Thanks to J.W.
AGED AND AWKWARD