Thursday, February 27, 2014

O poeta sem sentimentos

Eu sou um poeta sem sentimentos, disse
ele. Se estou contente, pode ser que me
vejam sorrir, mas não escrevo um poema.
E se o escrever não lhe dou mais importância
do que a um rabisco pintado no tédio da página.

Se o desespero me ameaça, tento entender onde
está o intruso, o erro ou o inimigo; e procuro
uma solução prosaica e eficaz para o problema.
De modo geral evito dramatizar e evito celebrar.

Não contem comigo para escrever poemas de
amor nem epitáfios, as excrescências da paixão
deixam-me silencioso em casa a meditar. O tempo
que estas coisas demoram a ser entendidas! O tempo
que demora a descobrir que conhecemos as coisas
pelo nome errado. Todas as confusões têm a sua
origem na linguagem e no conceito. E se o poema
não corrige o mal-entendido, para que serve a poesia?

Eu respeito a ignorância, mas lamento-a. Se a poesia
não nasce da ambição de conhecer, se o motor que a
faz progredir pelos caminhos traiçoeiros da linguagem
não é movido pela necessidade de corrigir o que está
errado, de perceber o que não se percebe, de separar
o que estava misturado, de fazer incidir nas trevas
um raio de luz, para que serve a poesia? Digam-me.

J. E. Soice

Friday, February 14, 2014

About the meaning of words again

The problem with words is the same as the problem we may have with any other type of behavior: each one of us has his or her memory of his or her own particular personal experience with words. 

The meaning of words in the dictionary needs to be taken in consideration. But getting knowledge of that stated “official” meaning of a word is just the beginning of a long process. Words and their meaning will become in some way always private and more or less sensitive property through our own experience of them and of life.

More important than the dispassionate meaning of words as stated in a dictionary is my personal feeling about words and what they are supposed to mean. Feelings, ideas, and thoughts mix with each other so easily. What counts then is the amount of total meaning of each word for me. Words become objects indeed. Like swords or like flowers.

We should be aware of this situation when we are dealing or communicating with others and most of the time we are not - or we are only partially aware of it. That may be an explanation for many conflicts and pain in our lives and for our failure in getting along with someone we thought we could get along with. We didn’t know enough about the previous life experiences of that person and about the meaning of words for her. Instead of inspiring good feelings, sympathy, curiosity and interest, we caused pain and discomfort unintentionally and without being aware of it.

It may happen that we did not have the time to get acquainted with someone we liked because the words we uttered and our behavior reminded her of previous experiences and were an immediate source of pain, suspicion and misunderstanding for her. She took us for what we are not and our behavior for what it was not.

How could we anticipate it? We were just candidly using words with the meaning we give them and behaving naively. We didn’t know enough about that person’s previous good or bad experiences with people or situations that she were reminded of when talking to us and getting acquainted wit us.

Are we all in one way or another traumatized by some previous experience in our life? Relationships are not an easy thing to deal with and to understand.

This is also a good way to explain why a poem or a novel or any literary text may be interpreted and felt so differently by different readers. Reading or listening cannot be understood independently of who and what we are and of all the past experience that made us who and what we are.

We are who and what we are and we are it all the time (everything is permanently moving and changing, yes, but even so we are something in particular differentiated from other things in particular). To any situation, including a relationship, we go with everything we are even if we will never know exactly and clearly what we are.

J. E. Soice

P. S. When I first met her she was talking to me. But very soon she started seeing me as someone else (who? I don't know) and talking to that ghost in her previous life, not to me. It seems that it happens all the time with all of us but we are not aware of it. Isn't it unfortunate?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Not wooing, no longer shall wooing, voice that has outgrown it,

be the nature of your cry, but instead, you would cry out as purely as a bird

when the quickly ascending season lifts him up, nearly forgetting

that he is a suffering creature and not just a single heart

being flung into brightness, into the intimate skies. Just like him

you would be wooing, not any less purely—, so that, still

unseen, she would sense you, the silent lover in whom a reply

slowly awakens and, as she hears you, grows warm,—

the ardent companion to your own most daring emotion.

Oh and springtime would hold it—, everywhere it would echo

the song of annunciation. First the-small

questioning notes intensified all around

by the sheltering silence of a pure, affirmative day.

Then up the stairs, up the stairway of calls, to the dreamed-of

temple of the future—; and then the trill, like a fountain

which, in its rising jet, already anticipates its fall

in a game of promises. . . . And still ahead: summer.

Not only all the dawns o£ summer—, not only

how they change themselves into day and shine with beginning.

Not only thee days, so tender around flowers and, above

around the patterned treetops, so strong, so intense.

Not only the reverence of all these unfolded powers,

not only the pathways, not only the meadows at sunset,

not only, after a late storm, the deep-breathing freshness,

not only approaching sleep, and a premonition . . .

but also the nights! But also the lofty summer

nights, and the stars as well, the stars of the earth.

Oh to be dead at least and know them endlessly,

all the stars: for how, how could we ever forget them!

Look, I was calling for my love. But not just she

would come . . . Out of their fragile graves

girls would arise and gather . . . For how could I limits

the call, once I called it? These unripe spirits keep seeking

the earth.—Children, one earthly Thing

truly experienced , even once, is enough for a lifetime.

Don't think that fate is more than the density of childhood;

how often you outdistanced the man you loved, breathing, breathing

after the blissful chase, and passed on into freedom.

Truly being here is glorious. Even you knew it,

you girls who seemed to be lost, to go under - in the filthiest

streets of the city, festering there, or wide open

for garbage. For each of you had an hour, or perhaps

not even an hour, a barely measurable time

between two moments—, when you were granted a sense

of being. Everything. Your veins flowed with being.

But we can so easily forget what our laughing neighbor

neither confirms nor envies. We want to display it,

to make it visible. We want to display it,

to make it visible, though even the most visible

happiness can't reveal itself to us until we transform it, within.

Nowhere, Beloved, will world be but within us. Our life

passes in transformation. And the external

shrinks into less and less. Where once an enduring house was,

now a cerebral structure crosses our path, completely

belonging to the realm of concepts, as though it still stood in the brain.

Our age has built itself vast reservoirs of power,

formless as the straining energy that it wrests from the earth.

Temples are no longer known. It is we who secretly save up

these extravagances of the heart. Where one of them still survives,

a Thing that was formerly prayed to, worshipped, knelt before—

just as it is, it passes into the invisible world.

Many no longer perceive it, yet miss the chance

to build it inside themselves now, with pillars and statues: greater.

Each torpid turn of the world has such disinherited ones,

to whom neither the past belongs, nor yet what has nearly arrived.

For even the nearest moment is far from mankind. Though we

should not be confused by this, but strengthened in our task of preserving

the still-recognizable form.— This once stood among mankind,

in the midst of Fate the annihilator, in the midst

of Not-Knowing-Whither, it stood as if enduring, and bent

stars down to it from their safeguarded heavens. Angel,

to you I will show it, there! in your endless vision

it shall stand, now finally upright, rescued at last.

Pillars, pylons, the Sphinx, the striving thrust

of the cathedral, gray, from a fading or alien city.

Wasn't all this a miracle? Be astonished, Angel, for we

are this, O Great One; proclaim that we could achieve this, my breath

is too short for such praise. So. after all, we have not

failed to make use of these generous spaces, these

spaces of ours.. (How frighteningly great they must be,

since thousands of years have not made them overflow with our feelings.)

But a tower was great, wasn't it? Oh Angel, it was—

even when placed beside you? Chartres was great—, and music

reached still higher and passed far beyond us. But even

a woman in love—, oh alone at night by her window. . . .

didn't she reach your knee—?

                                                  Don't think that I'm wooing.

Angel, and even if I were, you would not come. For my call

is always filled with departure; against such a powerful

current you cannot move. Like an outstretched arm

is my call. And its hand, held open and reaching up

to seize, remains in front of you, open

as if in defense and warning,

Ungraspable One, far above.

(Translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bizarre bizarre

From time to time I have the impression that the Internet, and Facebook in particular, is responsible for multiple forms of bizarre behavior and some sort of general madness.

Loneliness and incapacity of establishing normal relationships with others are developing to such an extent in modern societies - more and more submitted to all kinds of rules and types of control of behavior -  that Facebook and the Internet can be looked at as resulting from a desire of solving the in fact old problem of solitude.

Instead of solving the problem however what the Internet and Facebook are doing besides making some people very rich is most probably just creating other equally damaging problems. The illusion of being in touch with other people and with reality can develop in such a way through the use of the Internet that we are all living more or less in some kind of totally invented and weird personal world without being minimally aware of it.

- Hasn’t it been always so? - may ask the philosopher.

- Probably yes, but did people receive in the past from others (even through their apparently supportive silence) as many reasons as we may receive now to believe that their madness was not indeed one? 

To be convinced that expressing our opinion on everything really counts, is taken seriously, and has some impact on others, may just be a particular and treacherous aspect of how problematic it is to reconcile our existence as individuals with our existence in society.

P. S. I forgot to talk about Google. Google is becoming the ruler of the world. Fear it! As I read somewhere recently in the internet: as soon as some site becomes popular Google buys it and imposes its own rules. Youtube is now in their hands and the blog world too. And they are the ones who decide about what information deserves to be in the internet, eliminating other sources of information.Who are they exactly? Where did they get their money and their values, what is their ambition? Is it enough to have money and to be good in computer technology to be allowed so much power? Are the USA, unconsciously or intentionally, perverting the world, and is Google their new and most efficient tool to cynically destroy our best traditionally respected values? Will we all become robots submitted to the stupidity of some obscure powerful world rulers? No more private life, no more diversity of opinions and feelings, and if you think that your relationships with other people and your love life for example are immune to their influence you are dead wrong.

The Internet is not at all a bad thing in itself. It just happened with the Internet what happened with everything else: it's being controlled by money and by political power (and by people with a poor and limited understanding of many things). The permanent fight for democracy is a reality in USA, I sincerely believe it. But unfortunately democracy does not mean that the power is in the hands of the best. And the ideological, financial, corporative or political lobbies that in permanence are succeeding in imposing their values, their rules and interests to all of us are cynically perverting democracy and putting at risk different ways - more open and more intelligent - of understanding and defining what life and living in society is about.