Sunday, 19 April 2015

ophelia

BARNET
I

On the calm black water where the stars are sleeping
White Ophelia floats like a great lily ;
Floats very slowly, lying in her long veils…
- In the far-off woods you can hear them sound the mort.

For more than a thousand years sad Ophelia
Has passed, a white phantom, down the long black river.
For more than a thousand years her sweet madness
Has murmured its ballad to the evening breeze.

The wind kisses her breasts and unfolds in a wreath
Her great veils rising and falling with the waters ;
The shivering willows weep on her shoulder,
The rushes lean over her wide, dreaming brow.

The ruffled water-lilies are sighing around her ;
At times she rouses, in a slumbering alder,
Some nest from which escapes a small rustle of wings ;
- A mysterious anthem falls from the golden stars.

II

O pale Ophelia ! beautiful as snow !
Yes child, you died, carried off by a river !
- It was the winds descending from the great mountains of Norway
That spoke to you in low voices of better freedom.

It was a breath of wind, that, twisting your great hair,
Brought strange rumors to your dreaming mind ;
It was your heart listening to the song of Nature
In the groans of the tree and the sighs of the nights ;

It was the voice of mad seas, the great roar,
That shattered your child's heart, too human and too soft ;
It was a handsome pale knight, a poor madman
Who one April morning sate mute at your knees !

Heaven ! Love ! Freedom ! What a dream, oh poor crazed Girl !
You melted to him as snow does to a fire ;
Your great visions strangled your words
- And fearful Infinity terrified your blue eye !

III

- And the poet says that by starlight
You come seeking, in the night, the flowers that you picked
And that he has seen on the water, lying in her long veils
White Ophelia floating, like a great lily.

RIMBAUD

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Mas o Silêncio também pode ter beleza! 
Sim, por que houve uma tarde, num vale desolado dos Alpes, em que realmente ouvi o Silêncio.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Fala, Memória

and life

ANA ATKINS
The sun just touched the morning; 
The morning, happy thing, 
Supposed that he had come to dwell, 
And life would be all spring.
EMILY DICKINSON

dreaming of a spring day

Things: Spring, BEN RIVERS

Friday, 10 April 2015

I could not help it; the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes. Then my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third story, backwards and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot...
JANE EYRE/CHARLOTTE BRONTE

les femmes, qui rêvent

the reader

On July 11 1942 Irène Némirovsky wrote in her notebook: 
"The pine trees all around me. I am sitting on my blue cardigan in the middle of an ocean of leaves, wet and rotting from last night's storm, as if I were on a raft, my legs rucked under me! In my bag, I have put Volume II of Anna Karenina, the diary of Katherine Mansfield and an orange. My friends the bumblebees, delightful insects, seem pleased with themselves and their buzzing is profound and grave. I like low, serious tones on voices and in nature ... In a moment or so I will try to find the hidden lake."
 “How disturbing it is that our illusions 
are often our most important beliefs.”
HANIF KUREISHI

Sunday, 5 April 2015

I measure time by how a body sways


I knew a woman, lovely in her bones, 
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them; 
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one: 
The shapes a bright container can contain! 
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak, 
Or English poets who grew up on Greek 
(I'd have them sing in a chorus, cheek to cheek).

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin, 
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand; 
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin; 
I nibbled meekly from her proferred hand; 
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake, 
Coming behind her for her pretty sake 
(But what prodigious mowing we did make).

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose: 
Her full lips pursed, the errant notes to sieze; 
She played it quick, she played it light and loose; 
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees; 
Her several parts could keep a pure repose, 
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose 
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay: 
I'm martyr to a motion not my own; 
What's freedom for? To know eternity. 
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone. 
But who would count eternity in days? 
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways: 
(I measure time by how a body sways).

THEODORE ROETHKE

Thursday, 2 April 2015

i am apparently gentle

MARINELLA PIRELLI
Dear Leo 

[…] 

I see myself and my life each day differently. What can I say? The facts lie. I have been Don Quixote, always creating a world of my own. I am all the women in the novels, yet still another not in the novels. It took me more than sixty diary volumes until now to tell about my life. Like Oscar Wilde I put only my art into my work and my genius into my life. My life is not possible to tell. I change every day, change my patterns, my concepts, my interpretations. I am a series of moods and sensations. I play a thousand roles. I weep when I find others play them for me. My real self is unknown. My work is merely an essence of this vast and deep adventure. I create a myth and a legend, a lie, a fairy tale, a magical world, and one that collapses every day and makes me feel like going the way of Virginia Woolf. I have tried to be not neurotic, not romantic, not destructive, but may be all of these in disguises. 

It is impossible to make my portrait because of my mobility. I am not photogenic because of my mobility. Peace, serenity, and integration are unknown to me. My familiar climate is anxiety. I write as I breathe, naturally, flowingly, spontaneously, out of an overflow, not as a substitute for life. I am more interested in human beings than in writing, more interested in lovemaking than in writing, more interested in living than in writing. More interested in becoming a work of art than in creating one. I am more interesting than what I write. I am gifted in relationship above all things. I have no confidence in myself and great confidence in others. I need love more than food. I stumble and make errors, and often want to die. When I look most transparent is probably when I have just come out of the fire. I walk into the fire always, and come out more alive. All of which is not for Harper’s Bazaar.  

I think life tragic, not comic, because I have no detachment. I have been guilty of idealization, guilty of everything except detachment. I am guilty of fabricating a world in which I can live and invite others to live in, but outside of that I cannot breathe. I am guilty of too serious, too grave living, but never of shallow living. I have lived in the depths. My first tragedy sent me to the bottom of the sea; I live in a submarine, and hardly ever come to the surface. I love costumes, the foam of aesthetics, noblesse oblige, and poetic writers. At fifteen I wanted to be Joan of Arc, and later, Don Quixote. I never awakened from my familiarity with mirages, and I will end probably in an opium den. None of that is suitable for Harper’s Bazaar. 

I am apparently gentle, unstable, and full of pretenses. I will die a poet killed by the nonpoets, will renounce no dream, resign myself to no ugliness, accept nothing of the world but the one I made myself. I wrote, lived, loved like Don Quixote, and on the day of my death I will say: ‘Excuse me, it was all a dream,’ and by that time I may have found one who will say: ‘Not at all, it was true, absolutely true.’
ANAIS NIN

i stare at a picture

I stare at the picture of a small child at a summer’s picnic, clutching her big sister’s hand with one tiny hand while in the other she has a precarious hold on a big slice of watermelon that she appears to be struggling to have intersect with the small o of her mouth. That child is me. But why is she me? I have no memory at all of that summer’s day, no privileged knowledge of whether that child succeeded in getting the watermelon into her mouth. 

Is death one of those adventures from which I can’t emerge as myself? The sister whose hand I am clutching in the picture is dead. I wonder every day whether she still exists.

A person whom one has loved seems altogether too significant a thing to simply vanish altogether from the world. A person whom one loves is a world, just as one knows oneself to be a world. How can worlds like these simply cease altogether? But if my sister does exist, then what is she, and what makes that thing that she now is identical with the beautiful girl laughing at her little sister on that forgotten day? Can she remember that summer’s day while I cannot?
REBECCA GOLDSTEIN, Betraying Spinoza
- Alissa chora? - pergunta.
- Não. - diz Stein.
Stein, com as mãos, volta a cabeça morta de Alissa perto do seu rosto e olha-a.
- Ela repousa. - diz.
MARGUERITE DURAS, Destruir - diz Ela