Thursday, September 30
Wednesday, September 29
Will it be possible to come down to earth again? For two years I have lived in woodlands and enchanted castles, torn between contemplation and action: on the one hand hoping to catch a glimpse of the face of the beautiful creature of mystery who, each night, lies down beside her knight; on the other, having to choose between the cloak of invisibility or the magical foot, feather, or claw that could metamorphose me into an animal. And during these two years the world about me gradually took on the attributes of fairyland, where everything that happened was a spell or a metamorphosis: kings who had been thought kindly turned out to be brutal parents; silent, bewitched kingdoms suddenly came back to life. I had the impression that the lost rules which govern the world of folklore were tumbling out of the magic box I had opened ... [encompassing everything:] the arbitrary division of humans, albeit in essence equal, into kings and poor people; the persecution of the innocent and their subsequent vindication, which are the terms inherent in every life; love unrecognized when first encountered and then no sooner experienced than lost; the common fate of subjection to spells, or having one's existence predetermined by complex and unknown factors. This complexity pervades one's entire existence and forces one to struggle to free oneself, to determine one's own fate; at the same time we can liberate ourselves only if we liberate other people, for this is a sine qua non of one's own liberation. There must be fidelity to a goal and purity of heart, values fundamental to salvation and triumph. There must also be beauty, a sign of grace that can be masked by the humble, ugly guise of a frog; and above all, there must be present the infinite possibilities of mutation, the unifying element in everything: men, beasts, plants, things.
-- Italo Calvino Italian Folktales
Translated by George Martin
Posted by rb at 9/29/2004
Gently, easily, away from man's domain,
Leaving, quitting, drawing near the town of God,
Up far beyond the strands of starry chronograms,
Looking down on the lights of sun and moon
Swiftly now, past the Great Tenuity:
The shine of a sky dwelling -- gleaming, glittering!
-- Wu Yun
Posted by rb at 9/29/2004
Tuesday, September 28
Dum Dianae vitrea
sero lampas oritur
et a fratris rosea
luce dum succenditur,
dulcis aura zephyri
spirans omnes aetheri
vis chordarum pectora
cor, quod nutat
ad amoris pondera.
When Diana lighteth
Late her crystal lamp,
Her pale glory kindleth
At her brothers fire;
Little straying west winds
Wander over heaven,
With a sound of lute strings shaken,
Hearts that have denied his reign
To love again.
Hesperus, the evening star,
To all things that mortals are,
Grants the dew of sleep.
-- Anonymous Carmina Burana
Translated by Helen Waddell
Posted by rb at 9/28/2004
Monday, September 27
Almost unconsciously he stopped in Saint Sulpice square, flooded in sunshine, and observed a boy climbing the statues in the fountain. Suddenly he became aware of what he was seeing: a dark orange color in the light, the most vivid violet at the edges of the shadows, and golden reflections in the shadows cast on the ground. The orange and the violet alternated, sometimes blended; the golden tone was seemingly tinged with green. He noted this precisely in his diary long before impressionism.
-- Josef Svoboda, on Delacroix The Secret of Theatrical Space
Posted by rb at 9/27/2004
Sunday, September 26
The Girl on the Bridge was filmed in a register that was not as realistic but somewhat more poetic. At the end, when she arrives, just as he is about to throw himself into the water, you never ask yourself about plausibility -- she was there and that was enough. And it's true in Intimate Strangers that William goes to the South to find Anna -- I don't know exactly how he managed to find her, but in any event he moved and recreated the same decor in his new office, and he took off his tie, and in the end, he starts to smoke, just like she does. This is a reminder of an expression we have in French, 'Il n'y a pas d'amour, il n'y a que des actes d'amour' ('There is no such thing as love, there are only acts of love'). When a man does something like William does, he's really in love.
-- Patrice Leconte Cineaste
Posted by rb at 9/26/2004
Saturday, September 25
Mature as he was, she might yet be able to help him to the building of the rainbow bridge that should connect the prose in us with the passion. Without it we are meaningless fragments, half monks, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man. With it love is born, and alights on the highest curve, glowing against the gray, sober against the fire....
-- E. M. Forster Howard's End
Posted by rb at 9/25/2004
Many arrivals make us live: the tree becoming
Green, a bird tipping the topmost bough,
A seed pushing itself beyond itself,
The mole making its way through darkest ground,
The worm, intrepid scholar of the soil --
Do these analogies perplex? A sky with clouds,
The motion of the moon, and waves at play,
A sea-wind pausing in a summer tree.
What does what it should do needs nothing more.
The body moves, though slowly, toward desire.
We come to something without knowing why.
-- Theodore Roethke
Posted by rb at 9/25/2004
Friday, September 24
From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the spring.
The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.
But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.
-- Yehuda Amichai
Translated by Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell
Posted by rb at 9/24/2004
Thursday, September 23
It's not hard to paint a design. Nor to paint a representation of something you can see. But to express a thought in painting -- that is hard. Why? Because thought is fluid. What you put on canvas is concrete, and this tends to direct the thought. The more you put on canvas, the less of your original thought remains.
-- Edward Hopper
Posted by rb at 9/23/2004
Wednesday, September 22
No words this time? No words. No, there are times
when nothing can be done. Not this time. Is it
censorship? Is it censorship? No, it’s evaporation.
No, it’s evaporation. Is this leading somewhere?
Yes. We’re going down the lane. Is this going
somewhere? Into the garden. Into the backyard.
We’re walking down the driveway. Are we moving
towards.... We’re in the backyard. ...some
transcendental moment? It’s almost light. That’s
right. That’s it. Are we moving towards some
transcendental moment? That’s right. That’s it.
Do you think you’ll be able to pull it off? Yes. Do
you think you can pull it off? Yes, it might happen.
I’m all ears. I’m all ears. Oh the morning glory!
-- Leonard Cohen
Posted by rb at 9/22/2004
Tuesday, September 21
In the unconscious, one is unfortunately in the same situation as in a moonlit landscape. All the contents are blurred and merge into one another, and one never knows exactly what or where anything is, or where one thing begins and ends.
-- Marie-Louise von Franz Man and His Symbols
Posted by rb at 9/21/2004
We artists and poets know one thing for certain, that the life within man's inner nature must be kept alive and transmitted and carried through this tragic transitional period of history ... We all -- each one -- have within us a fountain of life -- and contact with it is our real hope. We carry this fountain within the secret recesses of our own hearts ...
-- Cecil Collins The Vision of the Fool
Posted by rb at 9/21/2004
Monday, September 20
I was in many shapes before I was released:
I was a slender enchanted sword ...
I was rain drops in the air, I was stars' beam;
I was a word in letters, I was a book in origin;
I was lanterns of light for a year and a half;
I was a bridge that stretched over sixty estuaries;
I was a path, I was an eagle, I was a coracle in seas.
-- Taliesin The Book of Taliesin
‘As here we find in trances, men
Forget the dream that happens then,
Until they fall in trance again.
‘So might we, if our state were such
As one before, remember much,
For those two likes might meet and touch.
‘But, if I lapsed from nobler place,
Some legend of a fallen race
Alone might hint of my disgrace;
‘Some vague emotion of delight
In gazing up an Alpine height,
Some yeaming toward the lamps of night;
‘Or if thro’ lower lives I came–
Tho’ all experience past became
Consolidate in mind and frame–
‘I might forget my weaker lot;
For is not our first year forgot?
The haunts of memory echo not.
‘And men, whose reason long was blind,
From cells of madness unconfined,
Oft lose whole years of darker mind.
‘Much more, if first I floated free,
As naked essence, must I be
Incompetent of memory:
‘For memory dealing but with time,
And he with matter, could she climb
Beyond her own material prime?
‘Moreover, something is or seems,
That touches me with mystic gleams,
Like glimpses of forgotten dreams–
‘Of something felt, like something here;
Of something done, I know not where;
Such as no language may declare.’
-- Alfred Lord Tennyson, from The Two Voices
Sunday, September 19
I was in the washtub naked. The place was dimly lit, and I was soaking in hot water and rocking myself by holding on to the rims of the tub. At the lowest point the tub teetered between two sloping boards, the water making little splashing noises as it rocked. This must have been very interesting for me. I rocked the tub with all my strength. Suddenly it overturned. I have a very vivid memory of the strange feeling of shock and uncertainty of that moment, of the sensation of that wet and slippery space between the boards against my bare skin, and of looking up at something painfully bright overhead.
-- Akira Kurosawa Something Like an Autobiography
Posted by rb at 9/19/2004
For the sake of a single verse, one must see many cities, men and things, one must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the little flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents whom one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and did not grasp it (it was a joy for someone else); to childhood illnesses that so strangely begin with such a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars -- and it is not yet enough if one may think of all this. One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labor, and of light, white, sleeping women in childbed, closing again. But one must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises. And still it is not yet enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not til they have turned to blood within us, to glance and gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves -- not till then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigg
Translated by M.D. Herter Norton
Posted by rb at 9/19/2004
Saturday, September 18
Domiziana Giordano and Alain Delon
It was as if they had already lived all this. Their words seemed frozen in the traces of other words from other times. They paid no heed to what they did but to the difference which set today's acts in the present and parallel acts in the past. They felt tall, motionless, above them past and present -- identical waves in the same ocean.
-- Alain Delon narrating in Jean-Luc Godard's Nouvelle Vague
It was a marvelous morning and you could have walked on endlessly, never feeling the steep hills. There was a perfume in the air, clear and strong. There was no one on that path, coming down or going up. You were alone with those dark pines and the rushing waters ... There was no one to talk to and there was no chattering of the mind. A magpie, white and black, flew by, disappearing into the woods. The path led away from the noisy stream and the silence was absolute. It wasn't the silence after the noise; it wasn't the silence that comes with the setting of the sun, nor that silence when the mind dies down. It wasn't the silence of museums and churches but something totally unrelated to time and space ...
-- Krishnamurti Journal 15 September 1973
Friday, September 17
Then came a small storm. I found myself standing alone in the cold moonlight, with spray everywhere and my black cape whipping, and my face probably looking a little sick but covering, I am sure, wild and unspeakable thoughts. Suddenly I seemed so ridiculous, so melodramatically Mid-Victorian about my Hopeless Passion, that I blushed with embarrassment, straightened my hair, and went down ...
I would bathe elaborately, calmly, and then lie safe under the feathers, moving with the water all around me, flat so that when the ship rolled I could feel my guts shift delicately against my spine. I would sip, and nibble, and read somnolently of other more tepid dramas than my own, mystery stories as mild as pap beside what was happening on that ship ...
-- M.F.K. Fisher The Gastronomical Me
Posted by rb at 9/17/2004
I did not deem it half so sweet
To feel thy gentle hand,
As in a dream thy soul to greet
Across wide leagues of land.
Untouched more near to draw to you
Where, amid radiant skies,
Glimmered thy plumes of iris hue,
My Bird of Paradise.
Let me dream only with my heart,
Love first, and after see:
Know thy diviner counterpart
Before I kneel to thee.
So in thy motions all expressed
Thy angel I may view:
I shall not on thy beauty rest,
But beauty’s self in you.
Posted by rb at 9/17/2004
Wednesday, September 15
I met her as a blossom on a stem
Before she ever breathed, and in that dream
The mind remembers from a deeper sleep:
Eye learned from eye, cold lip from sensual lip.
My dream divided on a point of fire;
Light hardened on the water where we were;
A bird sang low; the moonlight sifted in;
The water rippled, and she rippled on.
She came toward me in the flowing air,
A shape of change, encircled by its fire.
I watched her there, between me and the moon;
The bushes and the stones danced on and on;
I touched her shadow when the light delayed;
I turned my face away, and yet she stayed.
A bird sang from the center of a tree;
She loved the wind because the wind loved me.
Love is not love until love's vulnerable.
She slowed to sigh, in that long interval.
A small bird flew in circles where we stood;
The deer came down, out of the dappled wood.
All who remember, doubt. Who calls that strange?
I tossed a stone, and listened to its plunge.
She knew the grammar of least motion, she
Lent me one virtue, and I live thereby.
She held her body steady in the wind;
Our shadows met, and slowly swung around;
She turned the field into a glittering sea;
I played in flame and water like a boy
And I swayed out beyond the white seafoam;
Like a wet log, I sang within a flame.
In that last while, eternity's confine,
I came to love, I came into my own.
-- Theodore Roethke
Posted by rb at 9/15/2004
Tuesday, September 14
These wanderers must have looked on Earth, circling safely in the narrow zone between fire and ice, and must have guessed that it was the favorite of the sun's children. Here, in the distant future, would be intelligence; but there were countless stars before them still, and they might never come this way again.
So they left a sentinel, one of millions they have scattered throughout the universe, watching over all the worlds with the promise of life. It was a beacon that down the ages has been patiently signaling the fact that no one had discovered it.
-- Arthur C. Clarke "The Sentinel" (the short story that was the genesis for 2001: A Space Odyssey)
Posted by rb at 9/14/2004
There is only one condition for seeing life sacramentally: “Take off your shoes!” Realize that the ground on which we stand is holy ground. The act of taking off our shoes is a gesture of thanksgiving and it is through thanksgiving that we enter into sacramental life.
Going barefoot actually helps! There is no more immediate way of getting in touch with reality than direct physical contact. To feel the difference between walking on sand, on grass, on smooth granite warmed by the sun, on the forest floor; to let the pebbles hurt us for a while; to squeeze the mud between our toes. There are so many ways of gratefully touching God’s healing power through the earth. Whenever we take off the dullness of being- used- to it, of taking things for granted, life in all its freshness touches us and we see that all life is sacramental. If we could measure our aliveness, surely it is the degree to which we are in touch with the Holy One as the inexhaustible fire in the midst of all things.
-- Brother David Steindl-Rast
Posted by rb at 9/14/2004
Monday, September 13
"He's dreaming now," said Tweedledee, "and what do you think he's dreaming about?"
Alice said, "Nobody can guess that."
"Why, about you!" Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. "And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be?"
"Where I am now, of course," said Alice.
"Not you!" Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. "You'd be nowhere. Why you're only a sort of thing in his dream!"
"If that there King was to wake," added Tweedledum, "you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"
"I shouldn't!" Alice exclaimed indignantly. "Besides, if I'm only a sort of thing in his dream, what are you, I should like to know?"
"Ditto," said Tweedledum.
"Ditto, ditto!" cried Tweedledee.
-- Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass
Posted by rb at 9/13/2004
What part of confidante has that poor teapot played ever since the kindly plant was introduced among us. Why myriads of women have cried over it, to be sure! What sickbeds it has smoked by! What fevered lips have received refreshment from it! Nature meant very kindly ... when she made the tea plant; and with a little thought, what series of pictures and groups the fancy may conjure up and assemble round the teapot and cup.
-- William Makepeace Thackeray quoted in If Teacups Could Talk by Emilie Barnes
Posted by rb at 9/13/2004
Sunday, September 12
We got to like him, too, once we had adjusted to his neuroses. He has to drink a lot, but is funny once he is relaxed; beautifully phrased anecdotes, rehearsed and timed, I suspect, but none the worse for that. Tom and I went into the backlands with him and Antonia. She fell asleep at the table afterwards, apparently a common habit, and Harold told us of their first night of love, when the decision to start the celebrated affair was taken. He decided to do it in style, and that there could be no better way to express the depth of his feeling than by reading her some of his poems. Antonia arrives, sits in an armchair, Harold reads his carefully selected poems with the most painstaking attention to tone and phrasing and effect. After a few minutes he looks up. Antonia is fast asleep.
-- John Fowles (on Harold Pinter) Journal 22 October 1980 from Granta
I've never written any prose fiction on the typewriter. I've just always had a very comfortable relationship with No. 2 pencils and these yellow sheets, which I might add vary also in quality. Some you get are abominable: You can't erase on them, which is something that I like to do. I would be almost in deep despair if I found myself on some island on vacation and unable to get yellow sheets. I could compose on white sheets, in longhand, but it would be an added handicap ...
I get a fine warm feeling when I'm doing well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by the pain of getting started each day. Let's face it, writing is hell.
-- William Styron in The Writer's Desk by Jill Krementz
Saturday, September 11
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man- in- the- street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
-- W.H. Auden from September 1, 1939
Posted by rb at 9/11/2004
There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot — air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That's the world, and we all live there.
— William Stafford
Posted by rb at 9/11/2004
Friday, September 10
'Why!' said he, 'don't you know that there are some people who are always in a turmoil; people who must be dreaming or doing, turn and turn about, people in whom the loftiest of passions are followed by frenzied self- indulgence, who fling themselves into the wildest extravagances.'
Whereupon she gazed at him as one gazes on a traveller who has journeyed through strange and far- off lands.
'We women, poor souls! haven't even that distraction,' she said.
'A melancholy distraction, for you don't get any happiness out of it.'
'But does one ever find happiness?'
'Yes, some day or other,' he replied.
'And that is what you have realized,' said the [background Agricultural Show] speaker. 'You agriculturists, you who labour on the soil, you peaceful pioneers in a great enterprise of civilization, you men of progress and steadfast probity - you have come to know that political upheavals are even more redoubtable than atmospheric disturbances --'
'Yes,' said Rodolphe, 'you fall in with it some day. It comes all of a sudden, when you have given up hope. Then the heavens seem to open and it is as though you heard a voice crying, "Behold it has come!" You feel somehow that you must give up your whole life to that one person, give up everything, sacrifice everything. You don't try to reason; you just go to each other, instinctively. You've seen one another in your dreams' (here he looked at Emma). 'And there in front of you is the long- sought treasure; it shines, it sparkles before your eyes. Nevertheless, you are still in doubt, you dare not believe it; you are dazzled, as if you had just stepped out of the darkness into the light.'
-- Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary (chapter 17)
Translated by J. Lewis May
Update: More on Madame Bovary at Ionarts
Dès que la guerre est déclarée, impossible de tenir les poètes. La rime, c'est encore le meilleur tambour.
When war is declared, it will be impossible to restrain the poets. Rhyme remains the most effective drum.
-- Jean Giraudoux La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu (The Trojan War will not take place)
Thursday, September 9
A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Some mystic or other speaks of the intellect as standing in the same relation to the soul as the senses to the mind; and beyond a certain border, surely we come to this place where the ecstasy is not a whirl or a madness of the senses, but a glow arising from the exact nature of perception.
-- Ezra Pound The Spirit of Romance
Posted by rb at 9/09/2004
Art journalists overrate content; it becomes a conclusion about iconography or subject matter or even pictorial attitude (that is, a declaration that an artist's style is "expressionistic" or "minimal"). It's like calling architecture "bricks." Although God is said to be in the details, it's not in those details. More interesting is the pursuit of relationships --- how to stand in relation to something, yet remain inside the work.
-- David Salle
Posted by rb at 9/09/2004
Wednesday, September 8
To all thoughts of your or any one's mind, — to all yearnings, passions, love, hate, ennui, madness, desperation of men for women, and of women for men, — to all charging and surcharging, — that head which poises itself on your neck and is electric in the body beneath your head, or runs with the blood through your veins, or in those curious incredible miracles you call eyesight or hearing, — to all these, and the like of these, have been made words. Such are the words that are never new and never old.
What a history is folded, folded inward and inward again, in the single word I.
-- Walt Whitman An American Primer
Posted by rb at 9/08/2004
I don't want learning or dignity or respectability.
I want this music and this dawn
and the warmth of your cheek against mine.
The grief-armies assemble, but I'm not going with them.
This is how it always is when I finish a poem.
A great silence overcomes me,
and I wonder why I ever thought to use language.
Posted by rb at 9/08/2004
Tuesday, September 7
So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years —
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate — but there is no competition —
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.
-- T.S. Eliot East Coker
Posted by rb at 9/07/2004
Monday, September 6
But then, can I describe what it was like when we were first together? It just had to be. What others find in other ways, the oneness with all that lives and breathes, the peace of all peace, it does pass all understanding, that was between us, never to be lost completely. Love can be such a little thing with little meaning, then it can be a big one.
Everything seemed worth while, even trivial happenings; living with him was important and took on an air of magnificence.
After the first shock and surprise of this being together, as if a big wave had lifted us high on its crest to look at new horizons, it dawned on me: maybe this is a great man I am living with. I wish I knew what greatness consists of; if it were so obvious right away, it would not be great, because it's a man's uniqueness that makes him great.
We weren't soulful, Tristram and Isolde- ish. There wasn't time for tragedy. This new world of freedom and love kept us in its hold. His thoughts and impulses came up from such deep roots always more and more. I was on the alert all the time. The experience put us apart from other people that had not experienced it the same as we had. It made a barrier.
We quarreled so fiercely. But it was never mean or sneaky. We had come so close to each other, so we met each other without holding back, naked and direct.
-- Frieda Lawrence Memoirs and Correspondence
Posted by rb at 9/06/2004
Sunday, September 5
O I do think that I have been alone
In chastity: yes, Pallas has been sighing,
While every eve saw me my hair uptying
With fingers cool as aspen leaves. Sweet love,
I was as vague as solitary dove,
Nor knew that nests were built. Now a soft kiss—
Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss,
An immortality of passion’s thine:
Ere long I will exalt thee to the shine
Of heaven ambrosial; and we will shade
Ourselves whole summers by a river glade;
And I will tell thee stories of the sky,
And breathe thee whispers of its minstrelsy.
My happy love will overwing all bounds!
O let me melt into thee; let the sounds
Of our close voices marry at their birth;
Let us entwine hoveringly — O dearth
Of human words! roughness of mortal speech!
Lispings empyrean will I sometime teach
Thine honied tongue — lute-breathings, which I gasp
To have thee understand, now while I clasp
Thee thus, and weep for fondness — I am pain’d,
Endymion: woe! woe! is grief contain’d
In the very deeps of pleasure, my sole life?
-- John Keats Endymion
Posted by rb at 9/05/2004
Saturday, September 4
Uncle Isak says we are surrounded by realities, one outside the other. He says that there are swarms of ghosts, spirits, phantoms, souls, poltergeists, angels, and devils. He says that even the smallest pebble has a life of its own.
-- Ingmar Bergman Fanny and Alexander
Posted by rb at 9/04/2004
Within the gentle heart Love shelters him
As birds within the green shade of the grove.
Before the gentle heart, in nature's scheme,
Love was not, nor the gentle heart ere Love.
For with the sun, at once,
So sprang the light immediately; nor was
Its birth before the sun's.
-- Guido Guinicelli
Translated by D.G. Rossetti Dante and His Circle
Posted by rb at 9/04/2004
Friday, September 3
"What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?"
"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best ---" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you begin to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
-- A.A. Milne The House At Pooh Corner
Posted by rb at 9/03/2004
Already while building [the nest], the male radiates the most gorgeous colours, which gain in depth and iridescence when a female approaches. Like lightening, he shoots towards her and glowing, halts. If the female is prepared to accept him, she demonstrates it by investing herself with a characteristic, if modest colouring consisting of light grey vertical stripes on a brown background. With fins closely folded, she swims towards the male who, trembling with excitement, expands all his fins to breaking point and holds himself in such a position that the dazzling brilliance of his full broadside is presented to his bride. Next moment he swims off with a sweeping, gracefully sinuous movement, in the direction of the nest. The beckoning nature of this gesture is at once apparent even when seen for the first time ... The movement says: "I am swimming away from you, hurry up and follow me!" At the same time, the fish swims neither too fast nor far and turns back immediately to the female who is following but timidly and shyly in his wake.
In this way the female is enticed under the bubble nest and now follows the wonderful love- play which resembles, in delicate grace, a minuet, but in general style, the trance dance of a Balinese temple dancer. In this love dance, by age- old law, the male must always exhibit his magnificent broadside to his partner, but the female must remain constantly at right angles to him ... he moves in circles round the female and she follows his every movement by keeping her head always turned towards him; the love- dance is thus executed in a small circle, exactly under the middle of the nest. Now the colours become more glowing, more frantic the movements, ever smaller the circles, until the bodies touch. Then, suddenly, the male slings his body tightly round the female, gently turns her on her back and quivering, both fulfil the great act of reproduction. Ova and semen are discharged simultaneously.
-- Konrad Z. Lorenz King Solomon's Ring
Posted by rb at 9/03/2004
Thursday, September 2
Wednesday, September 1
... the cliffs divide as they touch the sea facing west. At this point, facing the setting sun across the Atlantic, where sky and sea blend with hills and rocks, the forms seem to enfold the watcher and lift him towards the sky.
-- Barbara Hepworth on Trevalgan (above)
I have now had it before me a couple of weeks, living with it in all shades of light, both physically and mentally, and this is the report: it is a strong and exacting companion, but at the same time one of deep quiet and timeless perspective in inner space. You may react at the word exacting, but a work of great art sets its own standard of integrity and remains a continuous reminder of what should be achieved in everything.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld Letter to Barbara Hepworth 3 June 1961
In her sleep Bright- Shining- Woman thought she was in a big open empty place, and something long, hard and round came floating up. She reached out and took hold of it and started walking away carrying it with her, though she couldn't think what it was nor what it could be for. But the more she walked the more she could feel her dream telling her what it was, and finally it began to form in her mind that this was an ear of corn, and that it was something to eat, and you had to call it holy besides. Now she could hear a voice telling her that as long as men lived on earth they'd live by corn. But if they ever failed to keep it holy, the corn would fail too, and life would end.
So she woke up and there was Come- And- Carry- Light. Now they had corn to plant and animals to hunt, and they had both dreamed the same dream about them.
The next thing they did was to climb a hill to look at the world under the sun. They got up high enough so they could see away off yonder east, and if they turned right around, away off yonder west. They could see where the hills and the timber quit, in the east and in the west too, and the prairie that started from there. They noticed many places to plant corn, and animals all over the glades. Then that night they both had the same dream again. Their dream told them that this timber country laid out between prairie on the east and prairie on the west was their own. This was the center of the world, the dream said, and it would always belong to Come- And- Carry- Light and Bright- Shining- Woman and all the people coming after.
-- Towakoni Jim as told to George Dorsey
Retold by L.D. Clark
The world is changing. The landscape begins to respond as a current upwells. It is starting to clack with itself, though nothing moves in space and there's no wind. It is starting to utter its infinite particulars, each overlapping and lone, like a hundred hills of hounds all giving tongue. The hedgerows are blackberry brambles, white snowberries, red rose hips, gaunt and clattering broom. Their leafless stems are starting to live visibly deep in their centers, as hidden as banked fires live, and as clearly as recognition, mute, shines forth from eyes. Above me the mountains are raw nerves, sensible and exultant; the trees, the grass, and the asphalt below me are living petals of mind, each sharp and invisible, held in a greeting or glance full perfectly formed. There is something stretched or jostling about the sky which, when I study it, vanishes. Why are there all these apples in the world, and why so wet and transparent?
-- Annie Dillard Holy the Firm