Sunday, March 31, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
Saturday, March 23, 2013
J. E. Soice
To drop thy foolish tears upon my grave,
To trample round my fallen head,
And vex the unhappy dust thou wouldst not save.
There let the wind sweep and the plover cry;
But thou, go by.
Child, if it were thine error or thy crime
I care no longer, being all unblest:
Wed whom thou wilt, but I am sick of Time,
And I desire to rest.
Pass on, weak heart, and leave to where I lie:
Go by, go by.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Monday, March 18, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
Eça de Queirós, O Crime do Padre Amaro
Thursday, March 14, 2013
The poet is a man who feigns
so thoroughly, at last
to feign as pain
he really feels,
who read what once he wrote
clearly, in the pain they read,
the pains he felt,
pain they cannot sense.
around its jolting track
runs, to keep our reason busy,
circling clockwork train of ours
agree to call a heart.
TRANSLATED BY EDOUARD RODITI
The poet is a man who feigns
TRANSLATED BY EDOUARD RODITI
Monday, March 11, 2013
comme un ange silencieux et invisible
Sunday, March 10, 2013
It is one thing to sing the beloved. Another, alas, to invoke that hidden, guilty river-god of the blood. Her young lover, whom she knows from far away-what does he know of the lord of desire who often, up from the depths of his solitude, even before she could soothe him, and as though she didn't exist, held up his head, ah, dripping with the unknown, erect, and summoned the night to an endless uproar. Oh the Neptune inside our blood, with his appalling trident. Oh the dark wind from his breast out of that spiraled conch. Listen to the night as it makes itself hollow. O stars, isn't it from you that the lover's desire for the face of his beloved arises? Doesn't his secret insight into her pure features come from the pure constellations? Not you, his mother: alas, you were not the one who bent the arch of his eyebrows into such expectation. Not for you, girl so aware of him, not for your mouth did his lips curve themselves into a more fruitful expression. Do you really think that your gentle steps could have shaken him with such violence, you who move like the morning breeze? Yes, you did frighten his heart; but more ancient terrors plunged into him at the shock of that feeling. Call him . . . but you can't quite call him away from those dark companions. Of course, he wants to escape, and he does; relieved, he nestles into your sheltering heart, takes hold, and begins himself. But did he ever begin himself, really? Mother, you made him small, it was you who started him; in your sight he was new, over his new eyes you arched the friendly world and warded off the world that was alien. Ah, where are the years when you shielded him just by placing your slender form between him and the surging abyss? How much you hid from him then. The room that filled with suspicion at night: you made it harmless; and out of the refuge of your heart you mixed a more human space in with his night-space. And you set down the lamp, not in that darkness, but in your own nearer presence, and it glowed at him like a friend. There wasn't a creak that your smile could not explain, as though you had long known just when the floor would do that... And he listened and was soothed. So powerful was your presence as you tenderly stood by the bed; his fate, tall and cloaked, retreated behind the wardrobe, and his restless future, delayed for a while, adapted to the folds of the curtain. And he himself, as he lay there, relieved, with the sweetness of the gentle world you had made for him dissolving beneath his drowsy eyelids, into the foretaste of sleep-: he seemed protected . . . But inside: who could ward off, who could divert, the floods of origin inside him? Ah, there was no trace of caution in that sleeper; sleeping, yes but dreaming, but flushed with what fevers: how he threw himself in. All at once new, trembling, how he was caught up and entangled in the spreading tendrils of inner event already twined into patterns, into strangling undergrowth, prowling bestial shapes. How he submitted-. Loved. Loved his interior world, his interior wilderness, that primal forest inside him, where among decayed treetrunks his heart stood, light-green. Loved. Left it, went through his own roots and out, into the powerful source where his little birth had already been outlived. Loving, he waded down into more ancient blood, to ravines where Horror lay, still glutted with his fathers. And every Terror knew him, winked at him like an accomplice. Yes, Atrocity smiled . . . Seldom had you smiled so tenderly, mother. How could he help loving what smiled at him. Even before he knew you, he had loved it, for already while you carried him inside you, it was dissolved in the water that makes the embryo weightless. No, we don't accomplish our love in a single year as the flowers do; an immemorial sap flows up through our arms when we love. Dear girl, this: that we loved, inside us, not One who would someday appear, but seething multitudes; not just a single child, but also the fathers lying in our depths like fallen mountains; also the dried-up riverbeds of ancient mothers-; also the whole soundless landscape under the clouded or clear sky of its destiny-: all this, my dear, preceded you. And you yourself, how could you know what primordial time you stirred in your lover. What passions welled up inside him from departed beings. What women hated you there. How many dark sinister men you aroused in his young veins. Dead children reached out to touch you . . . Oh gently, gently, let him see you performing, with love, some confident daily task,- lead him out close to the garden, give him what outweighs the heaviest night . . . . . . Restrain him . . . . . .From 'Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke' Edited and Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Friday, March 08, 2013
11. And then this: "If the possible uses of a word are before our minds in half-tones as we say or hear it - this goes just for us. But we communicate with other people without knowing wether they have these experiences too." (Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, G. E. M. Anscombe translation, revised 4rth edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, p. 190). If the meaning of a word can be imagined metaphorically as a series of units within a box that contains all its possible meanings including its nuances or half-tones, how much of the meaning of a word are we really sharing with the person we are talking to? Whats is the meaning of the word "love" or of the word "marriage" for me, for example? and for you? Because we need to communicate, because we need to love and to be loved, we may overlook the seriousness of the problem. Love or marriage may not even exist as we imagine them (if that is the case, how do they exist, then?). But it helps so much to believe that we are or can be in love and that we are or can be loved. It helps so much to believe that we are settled in the clearly defined frontiers of a room in the big house of one thousand rooms. Life is about many things; but it is about meaning first of all.
Thursday, March 07, 2013
so that he was able to travel to a distant island
to study Zen with a certain Master for a
three-year period. At the end of the three
years, feeling no sense of accomplishment,
he presented himself to the Master and
announced his departure. The Master said,
“You’ve been here three years. Why don’t
you stay three months more?” The student agreed,
but at the end of the three months he still
felt that he had made no advance. When he
told the Master again that he was leaving,
the Master said, “Look now, you’ve been here
three years and three months. Stay
three weeks longer.” The student did, but
with no success. When he told the Master
that absolutely nothing had happened, the
Master said, “You’ve been here three years,
three months, and three weeks. Stay
three more days, and if, at
the end of that time, you have not
attained enlightenment, commit
suicide.” Towards the end of the
second day, the student was enlightened.
Che, or volge l'anno, sovra questo colle
Io venia pien d'angoscia a rimirarti:
E tu pendevi allor su quella selva
Siccome or fai, che tutta la rischiari.
Ma nebuloso e tremulo dal pianto
Che mi sorgea sul ciglio, alle mie luci
Il tuo volto apparia, che travagliosa
Era mia vita: ed è, né cangia stile,
0 mia diletta luna. E pur mi giova
La ricordanza, e il noverar l'etate
Del mio dolore. Oh come grato occorre
Nel tempo giovanil, quando ancor lungo
La speme e breve ha la memoria il corso,
Il rimembrar delle passate cose,
Ancor che triste, e che l'affanno duri!
O lovely moon, now I’m reminded
how almost a year since, full of anguish,
I climbed this hill to gaze at you again,
and you hung there, over that wood, as now,
clarifying all things. Filled with mistiness,
trembling, that’s how your face seemed to me,
with all those tears that welled in my eyes, so
troubled was my life, and is, and does not change,
O moon, my delight. And yet it does help me,
to record my sadness and tell it, year by year.
Oh how sweetly it hurts, when we are young,
when hope has such a long journey to run,
and memory is so short,
this remembrance of things past, even if it
is sad, and the pain lasts!
When one goes to Obaku temple in Kyoto he sees carved over the gate the words "The First Principle." The letters are unusually large, and those who appreciate calligraphy always admire them as being a masterpiece. They were drawn by Kosen two hundred years ago.
When the master drew them he did so on paper, from which workmen made the larger carving in wood. As Kosen sketched the letters a bold pupil was with him who had made several gallons of ink for the calligraphy and who never failed to criticize his master's work.
"That is not good," he told Kosen after the first effort.
"How is that one?"
"Poor. Worse than before," pronounced the pupil.
Kosen patiently wrote one sheet after another until eighty-four First Principles had been accumulated, still without the approval of the pupil.
Then, when the young man stepped outside for a few moments, Kosen thought: "Now is my chance to escape his keen eye," and he wrote hurridly, with a mind free from disctraction. "The First Principle."
"A masterpiece," pronounced the pupil.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Héloïse - Stop, please. I beg you. It's not funny anymore.
J. - But you were not alone and you kept your eyes fixed on the ground, you preferred not to see me. Why did you do that? Why do people do that? You don't like me.
Héloïse - Yesterday and before yesterday we spent the day and the night together. We were together all the time. We had dinner at a restaurant in Montecito and then we returned home together. Did you forget?
J. - Really? What a good excuse indeed. Are you sure that it was me?
J.- Me bored? Never. You should know me better.
Héloïse- What’s wrong with you, Joseph? You are in a very bad humor, it seems. What did I do to you? Hug me, please, kiss me.
J.- Hmmm... We will see what I can do. Later, not now. Please.
Héloïse - Joseph! I am losing my patience.
J.- Don't, it's not worth it.
Héloïse - Kiss me.
J.- Would a kiss solve your problem? I can do it.
Héloïse - You have two seconds to kiss me. Not sure that I will stay longer.
J. - Hmmmm... OK, I know, there is no solution to loneliness. Is there any reasonable solution at all to this shit we call life?
Héloïse - Don't start again, Joseph, you are boring.
J.- No, I will not. And since you insist, let’s give it a try. Give me a good kiss. And hug me, I think I like it. Will you also forgive me for being unbearable? Who knows, maybe things will get better afterwards.
J. - I am ashamed. No more comments, Héloïse. I will explain later. Let's go now, the concert at the Granada theater starts soon and there is a lot of trafic on the freeway at this hour. I never saw Anne-Sophie Mutter play live, I am very curious. Did Karajan love her or he just admired her talent?
(J. E. Soice)
Monday, March 04, 2013
Translated by J. J. Aubertin.
Sunday, March 03, 2013
C LIT 188. Narrative Studies: Tales of Love and Sorrow
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.
Stories told by books are about men, women and their lives; they are also about each author’s personal experience of life and her/his world’s vision. But the material or tool of literature is language. The presentation and discussion of some fundamental concepts of narrative technique, starting with Aristotle, will help students to develop their awareness of the formal aspect of literature in order to better understand and explain the procedures at work in the transformation of the writer’s personal experience in literature.
moved through its massive darkness. Blood welled up
among the roots, on its way to the world of men,
and in the dark it looked as hard as stone.
Nothing else was red.
and forests made of mist. There were bridges
spanning the void, and that great gray blind lake
which hung above its distant bottom
like the sky on a rainy day above a landscape.
And through the gentle, unresisting meadows
one pale path unrolled like a strip of cotton.
mute, impatient, looking straight ahead.
In large, greedy, unchewed bites his walk
devoured the path; his hands hung at his sides,
tight and heavy, out of the failing folds,
no longer conscious of the delicate lyre
which had grown into his left arm, like a slip
of roses grafted onto an olive tree.
His senses felt as though they were split in two:
his sight would race ahead of him like a dog,
stop, come back, then rushing off again
would stand, impatient, at the path’s next turn, —
but his hearing, like an odor, stayed behind.
Sometimes it seemed to him as though it reached
back to the footsteps of those other two
who were to follow him, up the long path home.
But then, once more, it was just his own steps’ echo,
or the wind inside his cloak, that made the sound.
He said.to himself, they had to be behind him;
said it aloud and heard it fade away.
They had to be behind him, but their steps
were ominously soft. If only he could
turn around, just once (but looking back
would ruin this entire work, so near
completion), then he could not fail to see them,
those other two, who followed him so softly:
a traveler’s hood above his shining eyes,
his slender staff held out in front of him,
and little wings fluttering at his ankles;
and on his left arm, barely touching it: she.
more lament than from all lamenting women;
that a whole world of lament arose, in which
all nature reappeared: forest and valley,
road and village, field and stream and animal;
and that around this lament-world, even as
around the other earth, a sun revolved
and a silent star-filled heaven, a lament-
heaven, with its own, disfigured stars —:
So greatly was she loved.
her steps constricted by the trailing graveclothes,
uncertain, gentle, and without impatience.
She was deep within herself, like a woman heavy
with child, and did not see the man in front
or the path ascending steeply into life.
Deep within herself. Being dead
filled her beyond fulfillment. Like a fruit
suffused with its own mystery and sweetness,
she was filled with her vast death, which was so new,
she could not understand that it had happened.
and was untouchable; her sex had closed
like a young flower at nightfall, and her hands
had grown so unused to marriage that the god’s
infinitely gentle touch of guidance
hurt her, like an undesired kiss.
who once had echoed through the poet’s songs,
no longer the wide couch’s scent and island,
and that man’s property no longer.
poured out like fallen rain,
shared like a limitless supply.
the god put out his hand to stop her, saying,
with sorrow in his voice: He has turned around —,
she could not understand, and softly answered
dark before the shining exit-gates,
someone or other stood, whose features were
unrecognizable. He stood and saw
how, on the strip of road among the meadows,
with a mournful look, the god of messages
silently turned to follow the small figure
already walking back along the path,
her steps constricted by the trailing graveclothes,
uncertain, gentle, and without impatience.
Saturday, March 02, 2013
He is here, come down to look for you.
It is the song that calls you back,
a song of joy and suffering
equally: a promise:
that things will be different up there
than they were last time.
You would rather have gone on feeling nothing,
emptiness and silence; the stagnant peace
of the deepest sea, which is easier
than the noise and flesh of the surface.
You are used to these blanched dim corridors,
you are used to the king
who passes you without speaking.
The other one is different
and you almost remember him.
He says he is singing to you
because he loves you,
not as you are now,
so chilled and minimal: moving and still
both, like a white curtain blowing
in the draft from a half-opened window
beside a chair on which nobody sits.
He wants you to be what he calls real.
He wants you to stop light.
He wants to feel himself thickening
like a treetrunk or a haunch
and see blood on his eyelids
when he closes them, and the sun beating.
This love of his is not something
he can do if you aren’t there,
but what you knew suddenly as you left your body
cooling and whitening on the lawn
was that you love him anywhere,
even in this land of no memory,
even in this domain of hunger.
You hold love in your hand, a red seed
you had forgotten you were holding.
He has come almost too far.
He cannot believe without seeing,
and it’s dark here.
Go back, you whisper,
but he wants to be fed again
by you. O handful of gauze, little
bandage, handful of cold
air, it is not through him
you will get your freedom.
Friday, March 01, 2013
And so I hold myself back and swallow the call-note
Let's read more:
But they keep on using each other to hide their own fate.
Don't you know yet? Fling the emptiness out of your arms
I will stop here for the moment. Maybe we get into more problems than solutions when we try to understand both Rilke and Eça.... and ourselves. True love seems to be presented here as being at the same time an experience that may exceed the lover's potential resources and as an experience that may end deceiving his expectations. My impression is that José Matias' enigmatic behavior could be explained in a rilkean way by his awareness of how great is the love he feels and how insufficient would be his capacity of enduring it for real and of making it real.