St. Mary’s Square
by Adriana CarcuA loud
whistle pierces the air. The girl knows where it is coming from
without turning her head. She sits on the wooden bench with her
back to the crossing and looks straight at the statue. more >>
by Carmen Firan
It wasn’t even Friday, much less the 13th, but since
early morning I had a premonition that things would not end
well, not at all. more >>
VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
by Irina Murarasu I dreamt of a
man stabbed in the heart right in front of me, and I don’t know
how, I got his heart in my hands; I was running down the streets
searching desperately for a doctor to save his life. more >>
The Beautiful Moments
by Phoenix life izz
like the weather sometimes it izz Warm&Sunny aaand sometimez ít
izz Kold&Wet, it izz a matter how we ride through it more >>
On the Banks of Death
by Adrian SangeorzanWe could hear
the waving of the thousands of flag strings tied between the
trees, the jingle of the bells, and the cracking of wood and of
the bones returning gradually to nature. more >>
by Frank LeistnerThe
festival films are featured in most cinemas and one great
advantage is that you discuss with film directors and actors
after some of those movies. more>>
A Slice of Athens
by Irina Murarasu
Besides the plenty, the colors and the smells, there is the
noise, the shouting out loud what the thing is about and the
making you buy it. more>>
Jerusalem – Rome - Santiago
by Hanelore BreitenhofferOut of
Jerusalem, with bright sun, he drove down and along the wall.
The grey tall concrete, cutting through people’s yards and
houses, the check points with lines, passports and guns. more>>
by Nina Frauenfeld
The French are getting into the “German tradition” of a real
Christmas market with vin chaud (mulled wine) and even in
the tiniest village, they are creating their own interpretation
of a Christmas market. more>>
From inside the partition created by a
canvas sheet hung in front of the window to keep curious
looks away, the girl is watching the window dresser pleating
a printed fabric in equal stripes and pinning it on a dummy.
Each time he fixes a pleat he takes a pin out of the wrist
cushion that looks like a silver hedgehog. In her left hand,
deep in her pocket, the girl holds tightly a thin wad of
money. The man ignores her and she likes it. She doesn’t
need to talk. She doesn’t want to talk. She just stands
there watching, mesmerized, how the light summer fabric
becomes dresses, skirts and tops under his nimble hands.
When the man has draped the last
mannequin and disappears into the shop, the girl emerges
from under the striped canvas into the blinding sunshine.
She walks a few steps past the entrance to the building
where she lives and enters the confectionery. “A savarine
and a lemonade, as always?” asks the lady at the counter.
The girl nods. She takes the plate with the juicy cake and
goes to the table in the corner, where she can eat it
unobserved. She eats the cake, drinks the lemonade and walk
out into the sun again.
She crosses the noisy street and stops in
front of the shoe repair shop. From the window she watches
Mr. Miclos put small wooden nails into the rims of a sole.
The regularity with which he takes them out of a tin box and
hammers them lightly into the tiny holes hypnotizes her. The
sun is burning on her back. She turns around and almost
bumps into Mrs. Ghioca, her neighbor, who is wearing a
summer hat decorated with a bunch of artificial cherries.
The cherries shine temptingly. Instinctively the girl
reaches out to touch them. The woman stops her hand in
the air with a firm grip. The girl looks at her and
understands. You are not supposed to touch the decoration on
ladies’ hats on the street. Especially not when they are
wearing them. She greets her politely, “I kiss your hand”,
and crosses the next street to the little square around St.
The marble Virgin stands tall inside a
crenellated baldachin with the child in her arms. The open
chapel is surrounded by an iron fence of a very intricate
pattern. The monument is in memory of a martyr who died
under torture in this place 450 years ago. The statue is the
first thing the girl lays her eyes upon every time she walks
out of the building where she lives, over the crossing. She
likes the thick iron rods, like the curves of a leaning
anchor, which mark the limits of the square; likes the warm
smoothness and the feeling of security when she runs her
hands along them.
Anica, the crazy girl from the
neighborhood, is standing in the middle of the crossing in
her dirty blue slacks with the metal whistle hanging from
her neck. Cars and trams pass noisily by. Within
minutes the whole tram traffic is in havoc. It is
always the same. The drivers mistake her whistling with the
signals of the traffic coordinators and take the wrong
By the time the coordinator spots her and
chases her away, Anica has become furious. That is the
time when you don’t want to stand in her way. It may be
dangerous. She once bit the girl’s shoulder with her sharp
teeth. When things have quieted down, and trams are hurling
along in their usual way, the girl crosses the street and is
again in front of the garment shop. This time she walks
inside. In the back of the shop, up the creaking wooden
staircase which smells of gasoline, is the hosiers’ counter.
The lady is her friend. She can talk to her. From
there she can see through the window to the door of her
apartment on the second floor of the building on the left.
The girl stands there for hours looking
at the myriads of buttons in their little wooden cases; all
colors and shapes. She likes the whirls of ribbons, the
faint smell of rubber of the elastic bands the lady is
measuring with a wooden ruler; her precise, dainty movements
when she counts safety pins or garment hooks, and the sweep
of her hand when she pours them into the little cones she
makes from brown paper packaging. They don’t talk much.
Suddenly, the girl hears the noise of the shutters coming
down. The shop is closing and as usual she will leave
together with the lady through the back door.
The lady disappears briefly behind the
tall cupboard made of hundreds of tiny square drawers, each
of them containing a different roll of ribbon or colored
band, and comes out again holding her white summer purse.
They are ready to go. In the street the girl looks at the
huge clock right in front of the entrance to the apartment
building where she lives. It is exactly six o’clock.
The lady knows that she lives there. They pass the
confectionery and the bakery, and enter the building where
the lady lives. The girl follows her to the door. While
looking for her keys in the bag, the lady asks the girl
where her parents are. The girl says, “They are not home”.
The lady unlocks the door, walks in and turns around.
Holding the door with one hand she says: “You can’t come
into my house” and closes it softly.
It wasn’t even Friday, much less the 13th,
but since early morning I had a premonition that things
would not end well, not at all. The lawyer called me at the
last minute saying that he could not appear with me in
Court, a minor setback that I should get off easy. Not to
worry, if I but repeated that which he had taught me to say.
That was exactly what made me even more nervous. I spent a
sleepless night dreading the bang of the Judge’s gavel as he
pronounced me “Guilty”! And God knows what would happen to
me next. Surely this was not why I had come to America
However, it seems I had dozed off that
morning. In that twilight state the Judge’s head was like
that of a bird of prey, towering above me from the heights
of his bench, with nostrils shooting flames, and he pecked
at the top of my head with his beak hard-as-a rock. I wake
up with a throbbing migraine, the top of my head aching.
Worriedly, I place my hand there and feel gingerly and
carefully, all the while looking at myself in the mirror,
but I do not see any marks from the hard beak of justice. I
pray to my mother, now with God for many years, just as I
always do when faced with a problem, convinced that our
departed loved ones, now in a place where sorrows and
sadness are no more, will intercede on our behalf. And
mother always did.
I then start to carefully think about
what to wear, all the while repeating in my head the lines
that the lawyer had told me to learn by rote, reminding
myself not to be intimidated, for they will try to get rid
of all these criminals who are clogging the courtrooms of
justice everyday. A cold chill runs down my spine. So, now I
am a criminal. These things are taken seriously in America,
and the word “crime” is frequently bandied about. It is also
a crime when you take a life, or when you cheat, steal or
even merely lie. Not to mention my case!
I eventually decide to wear an impersonal
and demure dress, straight and simple, neither too long nor
too short, a shade of gray that suggests rueful regret. I
intentionally avoid black so as not to appear overly
elegant; or white, for that is the color of subliminal
innocence; I avoid saucy red as being too fresh and joyful,
as well green or yellow, the colors of shy surrender.
Certainly, no flowery prints. God forbid jewelry! I did,
however, hide my watch well under my sleeve, as it too was
inappropriate. Naked arms could have seemed offensive, and
mine were not even as comely as Michelle Obama’s. Maybe one
of my friends, the one with a mean streak, was right, you
should start going to the gym after you reach that “certain
I pick just the right shoes. I think that
I should look like a conscientious Internal Revenue Service
clerk the thought of that made me dizzy. The tax authorities
were to me the best example of Kafka’s world of absurd
bureaucracy from which I had emigrated, one where a person’s
impending guilt, one who could soon to be caught red-handed,
even though totally innocent. Back then, life was full of
black cats, lizards and all sort of slimy creatures that
could humiliate or put you in the slammer despite having
justice on your side.
Some time ago Apostrophe Magazine
conducted a survey on fear to which I had responded with an
essay in which Kafka and Durrenmatt featured prominently,
only to beat around the bush, hiding the fact that I, in
fact, did live in fear. I was afraid of any form of
authority, of a totalitarian system, from the militia, to
the revenue office, and that I felt like a criminal every
time I demanded these of institutions respect my rights.
America is totally another story. A
normal world, where the individual is respected and
institutions are created to serve him not to crush him, so I
had nothing to be afraid of. With this invigorating thought,
I took a deep breath, a deep breath to relax. Nevertheless,
it is but common sense that an individual must be fair and
just, to abide by the law. But had I done so? My breath
stopped halfway, I did not finish my thought and I pressed
my hand against my chest to stop my wildly beating heart. I
was told before that I care too much, but I could physically
feel how the vital steam which pulsates inside the body was
now accumulating in my stomach, it would afterwards wildly
rush up and gasp in my temples, or it would go down at full
speed mellowing my knees.
I had taken my car for a tune-up the day
before, washed it and filled it up, although I was not sure
whether I should have left it a bit dustier. It is not a
good thing to draw attention to yourself, this I also learnt
in my native country where after having satisfied their
thirst for gossip, they would ignore you by denying your
very existence. Well, you do exist here, exactly the way you
are, you are noticed here with all your faults, blemishes
and achievements. It was not about achievement in my case. I
had made a mistake and I would have to pay for it.
Before me was a long three hour trip to
the north of New York State. The hearing was scheduled
for seven in the evening, but God knows how long it would
last, and then another three hours for the return. I took
water and chocolates with me. I wanted to slip a small cross
in my purse for added safety, but an old woman’s words
drummed in my ears: “In this town you should wear the cross
on the back”. It was shortly after I had arrived in this
country and at that time I did not understand what she
meant. I was not a big fan of necklaces with crosses and
virgins anyway. So I left the cross on the table, even
though New York had nothing to do with the small town I was
going to, the town that no one had ever heard of, somewhere
in the countryside, where people actually go to church on
Sundays and hunt deer and wild turkeys after the mass.
The migraine would not go away so at the
last minute I made myself a turban out of a fine head dress
and I wrapped it around my head thinking it would protect me
in the car as I would have to drive hours with windows open,
like any goof god fearing East European who cannot stand air
conditioning and can easily fall victim to a draft. The word
victim made me feel uneasy as my mind was already besieged
by the words I would utter in front of the prosecutor,
policemen and judge, together with God knows how many others
that will be in the courtroom: “We were visiting with some
friends when my husband who is a doctor was called to the
My lawyer had insisted that I be brief,
clear, not give many explanations and details and especially
avoid metaphors or give away useless details. It would seem
hard for someone who comes from a culture of metaphors,
where if a language is not plastic then it is poor, where
details and parables, ambiguity and exalted gestures,
sprinkled with a bit of humor and diminutives is enough as
to destroy the communication barriers and to unwind the
atmosphere in order to create a false familiarity. But I had
learnt my lesson in America: “How are you?” “I’m fine.”
“How about you?” “I’m fine, thank you.”
But should I also add that he was a
gynecologist, that the patient needed an urgent Caesarian
that she had gone into premature labor, she had a cyst that
complicated the surgery, the umbilical cord was wrapped
around the baby’s neck, that it was a matter of life and
I imagined the lawyer making faces
especially at the “Matter of life and Death” bit, which was
part of the category of metaphors that he despised, so I
looked in the mirror one more time, the head dress made me
look repentant yet noble, Oh, had I known what it would
bring me! -, I grabbed my keys and got into my car feeling
as though I was going on the front.
I dreamt of a man stabbed in the heart right
in front of me, and I don’t know how, I got his heart in my
hands; I was running down the streets searching desperately for
a doctor to save his life. Who was that man? Isn’t this kind of
a reversed, curing image? Damn it, that was my heart, I know it
for sure. That reminded me in a strange, remote way of another
dream I had many years ago after parting with my unhappiness
provider: had cut a piece of my belly, wrapped it and put it
into the fridge. So many wounds, they never seem to cure, still
bleeding here and there. These dreams have something to do with
it. But who am I to me?
No more playing, we should get back to
our false impressions; adjust to what we need to adjust to.
Jesus Christ, how many times before have I adjusted to damn
situations? Maybe life is more about adjusting, carving, giving
up, letting in. Minimalism is not only a trend in luxurious
of the rich, well marketed artists fed up with the
plenty of things, with the ‘vas et viens’… it is a way of
putting up with life.
I have this sheet of paper on my desk;
it is from an old agenda… with endless lists of what I should
read, should learn and should do. My agendas are motivational. I
don’t remember very well when and why I was seized with a sudden
interest in Merongivian
art, in paleo
Christianity… also, in the history of the Mediterranean region.
It is a good thing I kept it well written at least. I haven’t
thrown it so far but now I think it is high time. Or maybe I
should throw all old agendas I have carefully kept so far. I
have a pile of them. What’s the use in seeing where I was and
what I was doing on the 8th
of September 200X. I know damn well the whole story of it. I
know I almost died that day. Those ashes from my agendas… don’t
need them anymore.
Impossibility urges us to err. It is the fear
we have in front of total dismay. We try to avoid it when we
know perfectly well that in certain respects all options are
When the window opens to the sun, Of a blue sky and the singing dawn, I sense my breath is moving to, A way to feel the early morn, To take the world and show I know it, Give the love that lives beyond.
The door below,
it has been open, Though in effect is always closed, I know that I can go and use it, But I’d rather watch the dawn;
songbird on my tree, Singing with an early dew, Flying then, with arms outstretched, Knowing, that I am free.
Once in Persia reigned a King,
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance,
Fit for every change and chance.
Solemn words, and these are they;
"Even this shall pass away."
Trains of camels through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to match with these;
But he counted not his gain,
Treasures of mine or main;
"What is wealth?" the king would say;
"Even this shall pass away."
Mid the revels of his court,
At the zenith of his sport,
When the palms of all his guests,
Burned with clapping at his jests,
He, amid his figs and wine;
Cried, 'O loving friends of mine;
Pleasures come, but not to stay;
"Even this shall pass away"
Lady, fairest ever seen,
Was the bride he crowned his queen.
Pillowed on his marriage bed,
Softly to his soul he said:
Though no bridegroom ever passed;
Fairer bosom to his breast,
Mortal flesh must come to clay-
"Even this shall pass away"
Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield;
Soldiers, with a loud lament,
Bore him bleeding to his tent.
Groaning from his tortured side,
"Pain is hard to bear," he cried;
"But with patience, day by day,
Even this shall pass away.
Towering in the public square,
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue carved in stone.
Then the king, disguised, unknown,
Stood before his sculptured name,
Musing meekly: "What is fame?"
Fame is but a slow decay;
Even this shall pass away.
Struck with palsy, sore and old,
Waiting at the Gates of Gold,
Said he with his dying breath,
"Life is done, but what is death?"
Then, in answer to the king,
Fell a sun beam on his ring,
"Even this shall pass away."
When you were a tadpole and I was a fish
In the Paleozoic time,
And side by side on the ebbing tide
We sprawled through the ooze and slime,
Or skittered with many a caudal flip
Through the depths of the Cambrian fen,
My heart was rife with the joy of life,
For I loved you even then.
Mindless we lived and mindless we loved
And mindless at last we died;
And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift
We slumbered side by side.
The world turned on in the lathe of time,
The hot lands heaved amain,
Till we caught our breath from the womb of death
And crept into light again.
We were amphibians, scaled and tailed,
And drab as a dead man's hand;
We coiled at ease 'neath the dripping trees
Or trailed through the mud and sand.
Croaking and blind, with our three-clawed feet,
Writing a language dumb,
With never a spark in the empty dark
To hint at a life to come.
Yet happy we lived and happy we loved,
And happy we died once more;
Our forms were rolled in the clinging mold
Of a Neocomian shore.
The eons came and the eons fled
And the sleep that wrapped us fast
Was riven away in a newer day
And the night of death was past.
Then light and swift through the jungle trees
We swung in our airy flights,
Or breathed in the balms of the fronded palms
In the hush of the moonless nights;
And, oh! what beautiful years were there
When our hearts clung each to each;
When life was filled and our senses thrilled
In the first faint dawn of speech.
Thus life by life and love by love
We passed through the cycles strange,
And breath by breath and death by death
We followed the chain of change.
Till there came a time in the law of life
When over the nursing side
The shadows broke and the soul awoke
In a strange, dim dream of God.
I was thewed like an Auroch bull
And tusked like the great cave bear;
And you, my sweet, from head to feet
Were gowned in your glorious hair.
Deep in the gloom of a fireless cave,
When the night fell o'er the plain
And the moon hung red o'er the river bed
We mumbled the bones of the slain.
I flaked a flint to a cutting edge
And shaped it with brutish craft;
I broke a shank from the woodland lank
And fitted it, head and haft;
Then I hid me close to the reedy tarn
Where the mammoth came to drink;
Through the brawn and bone I drove the stone
And slew him upon the brink.
Loud I howled through the moonlit wastes,
Loud answered our kith and kin;
From west to east to the crimson feast
The clan came tramping in.
O'er joint and gristle and padded bone
We fought and clawed and tore,
And cheek by jowl with many a growl
We talked the marvel o'er.
I carved the fight on a reindeer bone
With rude and hairy hand;
I pictured his fall on the cavern wall
That men might understand.
For we lived by blood and the right of might
Ere human laws were drawn,
And the age of sin did not begin
Till our brutal tush were gone.
And that was a million years ago
In a time that no man knows;
Yet here tonight in the mellow light
We sit at Delmonico's.
Your eyes are deep as the Devon springs,
Your hair is dark as jet,
Your years are few, your life is new,
Your soul untried, and yet -
Our trail is on the Kimmeridge clay
And the scarp of the Purbeck flags;
We have left our bones in the Bagshot stones
And deep in the Coralline crags;
Our love is old, our lives are old,
And death shall come amain;
Should it come today, what man may say
We shall not live again?
God wrought our souls from the Tremadoc beds
And furnished them wings to fly;
He sowed our spawn in the world's dim dawn,
And I know that it shall not die,
Though cities have sprung above the graves
Where the crook-bone men make war
And the oxwain creaks o'er the buried caves
Where the mummied mammoths are.
Then as we linger at luncheon here
O'er many a dainty dish,
Let us drink anew to the time when you
Were a tadpole and I was a fish.
Jorge Luis Borges
We are the time. We are the famous
We are the time. We are the famous
metaphor from Heraclitus the Obscure.
We are the water, not the hard diamond,
the one that is lost, not the one that stands still.
We are the river and we are that Greek
that looks himself into the river. His reflection
changes into the waters of the changing mirror,
into the crystal that changes like the fire.
We are the vain predetermined river,
in his travel to his sea.
The shadows have surrounded him.
Everything said goodbye to us, everything goes away.
Memory does not stamp his own coin.
However, there is something that stays
however, there is something that bemoans
Edgar Allan Poe, Ulalume
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere -
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir -
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Here once, through and alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul -
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll -
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole -
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.
Geoffrey Chaucer, Rondel of Merciless Beauty
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.
Only your word will heal the injury
To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean -
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.
Upon my word, I tell you faithfully
Through life and after death you are my queen;
For with my death the whole truth shall be seen.
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.
Dylan Thomas And Death Shall Have No Dominion
And death shall have no dominion.
Dead mean naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.
Federico García Lorca, Sonnet of the Sweet Complaint
Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent
the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek at night.
I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.
If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross, my dampened pain,
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,
never let me lose what I have gained,
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.
Charles Baudelaire, Meditation
Calm down, my Sorrow, we must move with care.
You called for evening; it descends, it's here.
The town is coffined in its atmosphere,
bringing relief to some, to others care.
Now while the common multitude strips bare,
feels pleasure's cat o' nine tails on its back,
and fights off anguish at the great bazaar,
give me your hand, my Sorrow. Let's stand back;
back from these people! Look, the dead years dressed
in old clothes crowd the balconies of the sky.
Regret emerges smiling from the sea,
the sick sun slumbers underneath an arch,
and like a shroud strung out from east to west,
listen, my Dearest, hear the sweet night march!
Robert Lowell, from Marthiel & Jackson Matthews, eds.,
The Flowers of Evil (NY: New Directions, 1963)
LUCIAN BLAGA, I do not crush the world's corolla of
I do not crush the world's corolla of wonders
and I do not kill
with my mind the secrets I encounter
in my way
in flowers or in eyes, on lips or tombs.
The light of others
chokes the spell of the arcane hidden
in depths of dark
with my own light I heighten the world's mystery
and just as with its white beams the moon
does not abate, but quivering
increases the secrets of the night,
so I enrich the dark horizon
with ample shivers of holy mystery,
and all that's recondite
gains greater depths
under my very eyes -
for I do love
the flowers, and the eyes, and lips, and tombs.
Emily Dickinson, There's a Certain Slant of Light
Winter Afternoons -
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes -
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us -
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are -
None may teach it - Any -
'Tis the Seal Despair -
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air -
When it comes, the Landscape listens -
Shadows - hold their breath -
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death -
On beatitude, happiness and change...
The Ground Beneath Her Feet, pp. 143-154
In a time of constant transformation,
beatitude is the joy that comes with belief, with certainty.
The beatific bathe in almighty love, wear smug grins and
play their harps and acoustic guitars. Safe in their
cocoon from the storms of metamorphosis, the blessed give
thanks for their unchangingness, and ignore the iron biting
into their ankles. It's eternal bliss, but nix nix,
you can keep that jailhouse cell. The Beats and their
Generation were wrong. Beatitude is the prisoner's
surrender to his chains.
Happiness, now, that's something else
again. Happiness is human, not divine, and the pursuit
of happiness is what we may call love. This love,
earthly love, is a truce between metamorphs, a temporary
agreement not to shape-shift while kissing and holding
hands. Love is intimate democracy, a compact that
insists on renewals, and you can be voted out overnight,
however big your majority. It's fragile, precarious
and it is all we can get without selling our soul to one
party or the other. It's what we can have while
remaining free. (...) All treatises can be broken, all
promises end up as lies. Sign nothing, make no
promises. Make a provisional reconciliation, a fragile
peace. If you are lucky it may last five days; or
James Joyce, Ulysses,
I have no money but if you will lend me
your attention I shall endeavour to sing to you of a heart
By the sandwichbell in screening
shadow, Lydia her bronze and rose, a lady's grace, grave and
withheld: is in cool glaucous
eau de Nil Mina to tankards two
pinnacles of gold.
The harping chords of prelude closed.
A chord longdrawn, expectant drew a voice away.
When I first saw thy form
Dedalus's voice, he said.
Braintipped, cheek touched with flame,
they listened feeling that flow endearing flow over skin
limbs human heart soul spine. Bloom signed to Pat,
bald Pat is a waiter hard of hearing, to set ajar the door
of the bar. The door of the bar . So. That will do.
Pat, waiter, waited, waiting to hear, for he was hard of
hear by the door.
Sorrow from me seemed to
Through the hush of air a voice sang to
them, low, not rain, not leaves in murmur, like no voice of
strings of reeds or whatdoyoucallthem dulcimers, touching
their still ears with words, still hearts of their each his
remembered lives. Good, good to hear: sorrow from them
each seemed to from both depart when first they heard.
When first they saw, lost Richie, Poldy, mercy of beauty,
heard from a person wouldn't expect it in the least, her
first merciful lovesoft oftloved word.
Love that is singing: love's old
sweet song: Bloom unwound slowly the elastic band of
his packet. Love's old sweet sonnez la
gold. Bloom wound a skein round four forkfingers,
stretched it, relaxed, and wound it round his troubled
double, fourfold, in octave, gyved them fast.
Full of hope and all delighted
Tenors get women by the score.
Increase their flow. Throw flower at his feel when will we
meet? My head is simply. Jingle all delighted.
He can't sing for tall hats. Your head it simply
swurls. Perfumed for him. What perfume does your
wife? I want to know. Jing. Stop.
Knock. Last look at mirror always before she answers
he door. The hall. There? How do you do?
I do well. There? What? Or? Phila of
cachous, kissing comfits, in her satchel. Yes?
Hands felt for the opulent.
Alas! The voice rose, sighing, changed:
loud, full, shining, proud.
But alas, 'twas idle dreaming
Glorious tone he has still. Cork
air softer also their brogue. Silly man! Could have
made oceans of money. Singing wrong words. Wore out
his wife: now sings. But hard to tell. Only the
two themselves. Id he doesn't break down. Keep a
trot for the avenue. His hands and feet sing too.
Drink. Nerves overstrung. Must be
abstemious to sing. Jenny Lind soup: stock, sage, raw
eggs, half pint of cream. For creamy dreamy.
Tenderness is welled: slow, swelling.
Full is throbbed. That's the chat. Ha, give!
Take! Throb, a throb, a pulsing proud erect.
Words? Music? No: it's what's
Bloom looped, unlooped, nodded, disnoded.
Bloom. Flood of warm jimjam lickit
up secretness flowed to flow in music out, in desire, dark
to lick flow, invading. Tipping her tepping her
tapping her topping her. Tup. Pores to dilate
dilating. Tup. The joy the feel the warm the.
Tup. To pour o'er sluices pouring gushes. Flood,
gush, flow, joygush, tupthorp. Now! Language of
... ray of hope ...
Beaming. Lydia for Lidwell squeak
scarcely hear so ladylike the muse unsqueaked a ray of hope.
it is. Coincidence. Just going to write. Lione's
song. Lovely name you have. Can't write.
Accept my little pres. Play on her heartstrings
pursestrings too. She's a. I called you naughty
boy. Still the name: Martha. How strange.
The voice of Lionel returned, weaker but
unwearied. It sang again to Richie Poldy Lydia Lidwell
also sang to Pat open mouth ear waiting, to wait. How
first he saw that form endearing, how sorrow seemed to part,
how look, form, word charmed him Gould Lindwell, won Pat
Wish I could see his face, though.
Explain better. Why the barber in Drago's always
looked my face when I spoke his face in the grass.
Still hear it better here than in the bar though farther.
Each graceful look ...
First night when I first saw her at Mat
Dillon's in Terenure. Yellow, black lace she wore.
Musical chairs. We two the last. Fate.
After her. Fate. Round and round slow.
Quick round. We two. All looked. Halt.
Down she sat. All oused looked. Lips laughing.
Charmed my eye ...
she sang. I turned her music. Full voice of
perfume of what perfume does your lilactrees. Bosom I
saw, both full, throat warbling. First I saw.
She thanked me. Why did she me? Fate.
Spanish eyes. Under a peartree alone patio this hour
in old Madrid one side in shadow Dolores shedolores.
At me. Luring. Ah, alluring.
Martha! Ah, Martha!
Quitting all languor Lionel cried
in grief, in cry of passion dominant of love to return with
deepening yet with rising chords of harmony. In cry of
lionel loneliness that she should know, must Martha feel.
For only her he waited. Where? Here there try
there here all thy where. Somewhere.
Co-me, thou lost one!
Alone. One love. One hope.
One comfort me. Martha, chestnote, return.
It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a
swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, speeding,
sustained, to come, don't spin it out too long long breath
he breath long life, soaring high vast irradiation
everywhere all soaring all around about the all, the
Come. Well sung. All clapped.
She ought to. Come. To me, to him, to her, you too,
Bravo! Clipclap. Goodman, Simon. Clappyclapclaa.
Encore! Clapclipclap. Sound as a bell. Bravo,
Simon! Clapclipclap. Encore, enclap, said,
cried, clapped all, Ben Dollard, Lydia Douce, George
Lidwell, Pat, Mina, two gentlemen with two tankards, Cowley,
first gent wit tank and bronze Miss Douce and gold Miss
Blazes <boylen's smart tan shoes
crecked on the barfloor, said before. Jingle by
monuments of sir John Gray, Horatio onehanded Nelson,
reverend father Theobald Matthew, jaunted as said before
just now. Atrot, in heat, heatseated. Cloche. Sonnez la. Cloche: Sonnez la.
Slower the mare went up the hill by Rotunda, Rutland square.
Too slow for Boylan, blazes Boylan, impatience Boylan,
joggled the mare.
An afterclang of Cowley's chords closed,
died in the air made richer. (...)
James Joyce, Ullyses,
Nicole Kraus, from The History of Love
Franz Kafka is Dead
He died in a tree from which he wouldn't
come down. "Come down!" they cried to him. "Come down!
Come down!" Silence filled the night and the night
filled the silence, while they waited for Kafka to speak.
"I can't," he finally said with a note of wistfulness.
"Why?" they cried. Stars spilled across the black sky.
"Because then you won't stop asking for me."The people
whispered and nodded among themselves. They put their
arms around each other, and touched their children's hair.
They took off their hats and raised them to the small,
sickly man with the ears of a strange animal, sitting in his
black velvet suit in the dark tree. Then they turned
and started for home under the canopy of leaves.
Children were carried on their fathers' shoulder, sleepy
form having been taken to see a man who wrote his books on
pieces of bark he tore off the trees form which he refused
to come down. In his delicate illegible handwriting.
And they admired those books, and they admired his will and
stamina. After all: who does wish to make a spectacle
of their loneliness? One by one, families broke off
with a goodnight and a squeeze of the hands, suddenly
grateful for the company of the neighbors. Door closed
to warm houses. Candles were lit in the windows.
Farr off, in his perch in the trees, Kafka listened to it
all: the rustle of clothes being dropped to the floor, of
lips fluttering along naked shoulders, beds creaking under
the weight of tenderness. It all caught in the
delicate pointed shells of his ears and rolled like pinballs
through the great hall of his mind.
That night, a freezing wind blew in.
When the children woke up, they went to the windows and
found the world encased in ice. One child, the
smallest, shrieked out in delight and her cry tore through
the silence and exploded the ice of a giant oak tree.
The world shone.
They found him frozen on the ground like
a bird, It's said that when they put their ears to the
shell of his ears, they could hear themselves.
Virginia Woolf, On Words
(Transcript of a BBC Interview) Words, English words, are full of
echoes, memories, associations. They've been out and
about on peoples lips, in their houses, in the streets, in
the fields, for so many centuries. And that is one of
the chief difficulties of writing today. They are
stored with other meanings, with other memories and they
have contracted so many famous marriages in the past.
The splendid word, incarnadine,
for example, who can use that without remembering multitudinous seas*?
In the old days, of course, when English was a new language,
writers could invent new words
and use them. Nowadays
it's easy enough to invent new words; they spring to the
lips whenever we see a new sight or feel a new sensation.
But we don't use them because the English language is old.
You cannot use a brand new word in an old language.
The cause is obvious. This mysterious fact is that a word is
not a single and sacred entity; it is part of all our words.
Indeed it is not a word; indeed it is part of a sentence.
Words belong to each other. And of course only a great
poet knows that the word
incarnadine belongs to the
To combine new words with old words is painful to the
constitution of the sentence. In order to use new
words properly, you will have to invent a whole new language
and that, no doubt, is not at the moment our business.
Our business is to see what we can do with the old English
language as it is. How can we combine the old words in new
orders, so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so
that they tell the truth? That is the question.
* Whence is that knocking? How is't with me, when every noise
appalls me? What hands are here? Hah! They pluck
out mine eyes. Will all great Neptune's ocean wash
this blood Clean from my hand? No; this my hand
will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red.
Macbeth Act 2, scene 2, 54-60
Leonard Cohen, How to Speak Poetry Take the word butterfly. To use this
word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than
an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not
necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It
is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with
butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly.
There is the word and there is the butterfly. If you confuse
these two items people have the right to laugh at you. Do
not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that
you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or
really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely
data. It is not an opportunity for you to hover, soar,
befriend flowers, symbolize beauty and frailty, or in any
way impersonate a butterfly. Do not act out words. Never act
out words. Never try to leave the floor when you talk about
flying. Never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side
when you talk about death. Do not fix your burning eyes on
me when you speak about love. If you want to impress me when
you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under
your dress and play with yourself. If ambition and the
hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you
should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the
What is the expression which the age
demands? The age demands no expression whatever. We have
seen photographs of bereaved Asian mothers. We are not
interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. There is
nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror
of this time. Do not even try. You will only hold yourself
up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. We
have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and
dislocation. Everyone knows you are eating well and are even
being paid to stand up there. You are playing to people who
have experienced a catastrophe. This should make you very
quiet. Speak the words, convey the data, step aside.
Everyone knows you are in pain. You cannot tell the audience
everything you know about love in every line of love you
speak. Step aside and they will know what you know because
you know it already. You have nothing to teach them. You are
not more beautiful than they are. You are not wiser. Do not
shout at them. Do not force a dry entry. That is bad sex. If
you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you
promise. And remember that people do not really want an
acrobat in bed. What is our need? To be close to the natural
man, to be close to the natural woman. Do not pretend that
you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which
has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very
moment. The bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have
destroyed more than just the trees and villages. They have
also destroyed the stage. Did you think that your profession
would escape the general destruction? There is no more
stage. There are no more footlights. You are among the
people. Then be modest. Speak the words, convey the data,
step aside. Be by yourself. Be in your own room. Do not put
This is an interior landscape. It is
inside. It is private. Respect the privacy of the material.
These pieces were written in silence. The courage of the
play is to speak them. The discipline of the play is not to
violate them. Let the audience feel your love of privacy
even though there is no privacy. Be good whores. The poem is
not a slogan. It cannot advertise you. It cannot promote
your reputation for sensitivity. You are not a stud. You are
not a killer lady. All this junk about the gangsters of
love. You are students of discipline. Do not act out the
words. The words die when you act them out, they wither, and
we are left with nothing but your ambition.
Speak the words with the exact precision
with which you would check out a laundry list. Do not become
emotional about the lace blouse. Do not get a hard-on when
you say panties. Do not get all shivery just because of the
towel. The sheets should not provoke a dreamy expression
about the eyes. There is no need to weep into the
handkerchief. The socks are not there to remind you of
strange and distant voyages. It is just your laundry. It is
just your clothes. Don't peep through them. Just wear them.
The poem is nothing but information. It
is the Constitution of the inner country. If you declaim it
and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better
than the politicians whom you despise. You are just someone
waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a
kind of emotional patriotism. Think of the words as science,
not as art. They are a report. You are speaking before a
meeting of the Explorers' Club of the National Geographic
Society. These people know all the risks of mountain
climbing. They honour you by taking this for granted. If you
rub their faces in it that is an insult to their
hospitality. Tell them about the height of the mountain, the
equipment you used, be specific about the surfaces and the
time it took to scale it. Do not work the audience for gasps
ans sighs. If you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not
be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. It
will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice
or the cutting of the air with your hands. It will be in the
data and the quiet organization of your presence.
Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to
be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when
you're tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now
come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty.
These solitary hills have always been dear to me.
Seated here, this sweet hedge, which blocks the distant
horizon opening inner silences and interminable distances.
I plunge in thought to where my heart, frightened, pulls
Like the wind which I hear tossing the trembling plants
which surround me, a voice from the inner depths of spirit
shakes the certitudes of thought.
Eternity breaks through time, past and present intermingle
in her image.
In the inner shadows I lose myself,
drowning in the sea-depths of timeless love.
Luis Borges, The Art of Poetry
To gaze at a river made of time and water
and remember Time is another river.
To know we stray like a river
and our faces vanish like water.
To feel that waking is another dream
that dreams of not dreaming and that the death
we fear in our bones is the death
that every night we call a dream.
To see in every day and year a symbol
of all the days of man and his years,
and convert the outrage of the years
into a music, a sound, and a symbol.
To see in death a dream, in the sunset
a golden sadness such is poetry,
humble and immortal, poetry,
returning, like dawn and the sunset.
Sometimes at evening there's a face
that sees us from the deeps of a mirror.
Art must be that sort of mirror,
disclosing to each of us his face.
They say Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
wept with love on seeing Ithaca,
humble and green. Art is that Ithaca,
a green eternity, not wonders.
Art is endless like a river flowing,
passing, yet remaining, a mirror to the same
inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
and yet another, like the river flowing.
There is an evening coming in
Across the fields, one never seen before,
That lights no lamps.
Silken it seems at a distance, yet
When it is drawn up over the knees and breast
It brings no comfort.
Where has the tree gone, that locked
Earth to the sky? What is under my hands,
That I cannot feel?
What loads my hands down?
Perfection Wasted And another regrettable thing about
death is the ceasing of your own brand of
magic, which took a whole life to develop and
market- the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones
nearest the lip of the stage, their soft faces
blanched in the footlight glow, their laughter
close to tears, their warm pooled breath in and out
with your heartbeat, their response and your performance
twinned. The jokes over the phone. The memories
packed in the rapid-access file. The whole
act. Who will do it again? That's it: no
one; imitators and descendants aren't the
8 Count from my bed
on a telephone
one is left,
my typewriter is
and I am
reduced to bird
just thought I'd
When Friendship or Love
Our sympathies move;
When Truth, in a glance, should appear,
The lips may beguile,
With a dimple or smile,
But the test of affection's a Tear:
Too oft is a smile
But the hypocrite's wile,
To mask detestation, or fear;
Give me the soft sigh,
Whilst the soultelling eye
Is dimm'd, for a time, with a Tear:
Mild Charity's glow,
To us mortals below,
Shows the soul from barbarity clear;
Compassion will melt,
Where this virtue is felt,
And its dew is diffused in a Tear:
The man, doom'd to sail
With the blast of the gale,
Through billows Atlantic to steer,
As he bends o'er the wave
Which may soon be his grave,
The green sparkles bright with a Tear;
The Soldier braves death
For a fanciful wreath
In Glory's romantic career;
But he raises the foe
When in battle laid low,
And bathes every wound with a Tear.
If, with high-bounding pride,
He return to his bride!
Renouncing the gore-crimson'd spear;
All his toils are repaid
When, embracing the maid,
From her eyelid he kisses the Tear.
Sweet scene of my youth!
Seat of Friendship and Truth,
Where Love chas'd each fast-fleeting year
Loth to leave thee, I mourn'd,
For a last look I turn'd,
But thy spire was scarce seen through a Tear:
Though my vows I can pour,
To my Mary no more,
My Mary, to Love once so dear,
In the shade of her bow'r,
I remember the hour,
She rewarded those vows with a Tear.
By another possest,
May she live ever blest!
Her name still my heart must revere:
With a sigh I resign,
What I once thought was mine,
And forgive her deceit with a Tear.
Ye friends of my heart,
Ere from you I depart,
This hope to my breast is most near:
If again we shall meet,
In this rural retreat,
May we meet, as we part, with a Tear.
When my soul wings her flight
To the regions of night,
And my corse shall recline on its bier;
As ye pass by the tomb,
Where my ashes consume,
Oh! moisten their dust with a Tear.
THIS ROOM HAS MYSTERY LIKE A TRANCE
This room has mystery like a trance
Of wine; forget-me-nots of you
Are chair and couch, the books your
Fingers touched. And now that you
Are absent here the silence scrapes
A secret rust from everything;
While sudden wreath of sorrow's
Dust uncover emptiness like halls
To stumble through, and terror falls.
With long sobs
of autumn wound
my heart with languorous
Choking and pale
When I mind the tale
the hours keep,
my memory strays
down other days
and I weep;
and I let me go
where ill winds blow
now here, now there,
harried and sped,
even as a dead
A Secret Told
A Secret told -
Ceases to be a Secret - then -
A Secret - kept -
That - can appall but One -
Better of it - continual be afraid –
Than it -
And Whom you told it to - beside –
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin,
What's friendship? The hangover's faction,
The gratis talk of outrage,
Exchange by vanity, inaction,
Or bitter shame of patronage.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Rudyard Kipling, IF If you can keep your head when all
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!
CELESTIAL LOVE No mortal thing enthralled
these longing eyes When perfect peace in thy fair
face I found; But far within, where all is
holy ground, My soul felt Love, her comrade
of the skies: For she was born with God in
Paradise; Nor all the shows of beauty
shed around This fair false world her wings
to earth have bound: Unto the Love of Loves aloft
she flies. Nay, things that suffer death
quench not the fire Of deathless spirits; nor
eternity Serves sordid Time that withers
all things rare. Not love but lawless impulse is
desire: That slays the soul; our love
makes still more fair Our friends on earth, fairer in
death on high.
Robert Frost, A Dream Pang I had withdrawn in forest, and
Was swallowed up in leaves that blew away;
And to the forest edge you came one day
(This was my dream) and looked and pondered long,
But did not enter, though the wish was strong:
you shook your pensive head as who should say,
'I dare not--to far in his footsteps stray-
He must seek me would he undo the wrong.'
Not far, but near, I stood and saw it all
behind low boughs the trees let down outside;
And the sweet pang it cost me not to call
And tell you that I saw does still abide.
But 'tis not true that thus I dwelt aloof,
For the wood wakes, and you are here for proof.
Francois Villon, Ballad Of The Ladies Of Yore Tell me where, in what country,
Is Flora the beautiful Roman,
Archipiada or Thais
Who was first cousin to her once,
Echo who speaks when there's a sound
On a pond or a river
Whose beauty was more than human?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?
Where is the leamed Heloise
For whom they castrated Pierre Abelard
And made him a monk at Saint-Denis,
For his love he took this pain,
Likewise where is the queen
Who commanded that Buridan
Be thrown in a sack into the Seine?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?
The queen white as a lily
Who sang with a siren's voice,
Big-footed Bertha, Beatrice, Alice,
Haremburgis who held Maine
And Jeanne the good maid of Lorraine
Whom the English bumt at Rouen, where,
Where are they, sovereign Virgin?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?
Prince, don't ask me in a week
or in a year what place they are;
I can only give you this refrain:
Where are the snows of yesteryear?
O, My Luve is Like a Red
Red Rose O, my luve is like a red, red
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my luve is like a melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi the sun!
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho it were ten thousand mile!
Edgar Allan Poe,
A Dream Within A Dream Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
The Erl-King Who rides there so late through
the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.
"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?"
"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."
"Oh, come, thou dear infant! Oh, come thou with me!
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."
"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?"
"Be calm, dearest child, 'tis thy fancy deceives;
'Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves."
"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They'll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."
"My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?"
"My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
'Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight."
"I love thee, I'm charm'd by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou'rt unwilling, then force I'll employ."
"My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last."
The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread,--
The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.
DaWanderinOnion last story 4 2010 well how was your
year AAAHHH mine was Krazy/Kool dig life izz like
the weather sometimes it izz Warm&Sunny aaaaaand
sometimez ít izz Kold&Wet, it izz a matter how we ride
through it like it or not we all know people who just want the
PERFECT Xistance NOO stress HMMP what do they eat 4
breakfastwell 2010 was a personal highl-light 4 me played
almost 50times YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEE my partners from my many projects
stress me sometimes the konditons kould B better this or
that way BUT I am a believer in moving, yes one must have a
plan BUT only discussing does not get U 2 your destination
THE musical high-light this year
was playing on the street I recommend any musician 2 enjoy
the Xperince it has its ups&downs BUT the joy watching
Children dance AND making their parents wait till
they R satisfied izz priceless FUNNY they have what we somehow have
lost the ability 2 B Free of shame & just 2 enjoy LIFE 4
what it really izzz
Well Readers&Readettes bring the NewYear
in on ya KNEESS HAHAHAHA & don 4get the beautiful moments of
Luxembourg, situated in the Western part of Europe, and Sibiu
(Hermannstadt), a historical town in the Romanian province of
Transylvania, have been designated as the Cultural Capitals of
Europe in the year of 2007. The two cities are hosting all
through the year a rich range of cultural events including
performances, workshops, jam sessions, conferences and debates
from the domains of literature, art, music, film and dance.It is the first time in history that a city from Eastern
Europe has been granted the privilege of hosting a cultural
event of such magnitude.
Quite a few reputed manifestations, like the
Festival of the Cultures
and Arts and the cultural week
Africa, the Cradle of Humanity, or a show with Carl Orff’s
Carmina Buranaare taking place in
Luxembourgin the month of August.If you happen to be there this summer, don’t miss the art
project Trans(ient) City by Jiu Yue jiu de Jiu and Xu Tan in the Place of
Some of the highlights of the 300 events planned during the
months of August and September in
Sibiu are: The
National Festival of Folk Traditions, permanent Dali and
Chagall exhibitions or the
Sibiu International Salon of Photographic Art with the
participation of some 1,500 photographers from all over the
world, including approximately 8,000 photos.
The common program called “A
European Marathon of Poetry” includes philharmonic concerts
in both cities, as well as historical films of the two “European
Other European Events
On September 1 -2, the traditional
Regis, West Sussex – England, is again giving those who seek
just 15 seconds of celebrity the opportunity to jump-fly off
Bognor pier with their human powered flying machines in an
attempt to win a big distance prize.An absolute must if you are visiting England in those
Next day we traveled with a small bust to the
place from where you could see the Everest. We couldn’t
see a thing because of the weather, but we were happy to come
out of it alive. The wheels of the car were constantly rolling
inches away from the abyss. In Nepal there are no trains. Only
cars and the surviving travelers, planes and birds.
After lunch we made a stop at
Pashupatinath, the holy temple. On
the pyres they were burning the third shift of dead people.
Up in the mountains, where there’s no wood, the burnings are
replaced with the aerial burials. The bodies are chopped
into pieces and are thrown on the rocks to be eaten by animals
and birds. The body without life and soul doesn’t mean
anything anymore. Nepal is a place without graveyards.
We walked among temples that climb high up the hills and I took
pictures of the so-called ascetic hermits, who for a couple of
rupees would take strange catatonic postures, and for another
couple would pierce their cheeks with a blunt needle. For a
decent amount one of them would lift a 60 Pound weight tied to
his penis. Others who already had their fill were eating
or smoking sitting on the temple stones happy with the pray of
the day. Their faces are made up like those of sad clowns
of stagnation because they know that one day they will end on
the pyres across the street.
The real performance, that of the un-raddled
death, is happening on the banks of the almost dry river.
Here nobody is begging, nobody is pushing and nobody is looking
into your eyes. You can get as close to the pyres as you
wish, not like in India, where we were kept at distance.
Around the river there are hospices with dying people waiting
peacefully their turn. In Nepal the tourists are allowed
everything, like the idols of a new cast.
Dozens of pyres like tongues of stone point to
the water. Those closer to it are for the rich. On the side
there’s almost everywhere a body already waiting. Beyond the
pyres, there’s a big sign: Center for cornea donation.
Cornea is the part of the eye that can be removed with a lance.
It is the last sacrifice that the dead can bring to the living.
In the world beyond there’s no need for eyes and in the next
reincarnation we will see through a different cornea. Besides,
the Center is supporting a share of the burial costs.
Death is profitable even here.
I have seen from very near the burial of
a man. He was very thin, clad in orange robes, covered
with flower garlands and lots of paper money. He was
brought on a bamboo bier and placed directly on the pyre.
Three cubic feet, hardwood. The guide tells us that if a tourist
happens to die here they need 12 feet, because we are fatter.
The priest who was celebrating the ceremony has thrown the
flowers into the water and had gathered carefully the money.
Then he oiled the body with special essences that facilitate the
burning. There was no bad smell anywhere. He walked around the
pyre three times with a torch in his hand followed by the eldest
son who was lighting the fire. During the burning, that
can take hours, the sons of the dead shave their heads but for a
lock at the top of their heads. The women sit on the other bank
of the river and cry. They are allowed to come near at the
end when they will throw the ashes into the water. The
wife of the dead can, at the most, practice the sathi, that
is, to jump into the fire and burn along with her husband. A
practice that was usual in India, and, some say, although
forbidden, it is still practiced in isolated places, nowadays.
The widow used to be drugged and helped by the relatives to jump
into the fire. Nobody needs a widow.
On the other hand, Nepal and Tibet are the
only places in the world where feminine polygamy is practiced.
In the alpine zone a woman can marry more than one man, usually
the relatives of the husband. The motives are in most cases, the
preserving of the family wealth. The women are programming
the men upon preference and accessibility, because most of them
are away most of the time, and paternity is never discusses: the
children belong to all.
When the fire of the pyre got high we took a
walk on silence on the banks of death. The wind coming
down from Himalaya got stronger getting up the fires. We
could hear the waving of the thousands of flag strings tied
between the trees, the jingle of the bells, and the cracking of
wood and of the bones returning gradually to nature. After
two hours the ashes left by the incandescent embers are thrown
into the river while still warm. The water is sizzling. On
the river wreath of flowers, lit candles, but mostly plastic
bags and bottles float on the river that is avidly waiting for
the Monsoon to raise its water and carry everything into the
In my earlier articles on Switzerland I had
talked occasionally about going to cinema. This month I want to
dedicate this article fully to the topic. What is special about
movies in Switzerland? For one it has a well established film
festival every year that draws a number of the big stars to the
city. The festival films are featured in most cinemas and one
great advantage is that you discuss with film directors and
actors after some of those movies.
But going to the movies is also a regular
activity for Swiss people. Yes, DVDs and movie-downloads, are
also putting pressures on cinemas around here, and sometimes the
movie halls can be a bit empty. But on weekends, when it comes
to monumental, 3D or foreign language films it is still very
popular to spend a night at the movies.
There are two things about going to the
movies around here that I had not experienced in other
countries. First of all in Zurich movies have a break, and it
doesn't matter if it is a 70min or 200min movie, towards the
middle and often at a pretty exciting spot the light goes on and
you get a chance to stretch, go to the bathroom or pick up some
popcorn. It is usually really only about 5 minutes, but you can
be pretty sure there will be one.
The second thing that struck me about going
to the movies here is that people are usually coming pretty much
last minute. Increasingly people buy their tickets at home
on-line and then just walk to the actual cinema with a printout
or they just use a code to print a ticket at a machine in the
hallway in front of the cinema. So you got your seat. Why should
you come early? As a result it could be that you are sitting
there 5 minutes before the official starting time and you are
almost alone. By the time the film starts the place is packed,
One thing that I really like is that
movies are available in a range of languages. While you might
get the block busters dubbed in German, a lot of the French,
English or Italian movies come in original language (sometimes
with sub-titles in one or more languages), and sometimes, in
some of the smaller Arthouse
type cinemas, they come without subtitles.
I really like the original voices of American
or British actors. Translation usually loses a lot of the jokes
and can hardly ever be as good as the original, I have found.
Of course there are also movies in
Swiss German, the language spoken around here. We had an
interesting episode when we went to one of those movies. The
ticket agent who was not the most friendly example of this
profession asked a little brisk: "Well you know this movie is in
Mundart (Swiss German), right?"
With a smile I replied, "Thank you, yes we know, in fact that is
the point of us wanting to see it."
One special initiative to fill the cinemas is
the so-called "Lunch-Kino", which is a feature film shown around
noon for special price. It is usually pretty packed with
retirees but if you have the luxury of a day off during the
week, it is a great alternative to watching a movie around
So all in all going to the movies is
something we always have in our portfolio of things to do. What
makes it also very nice here in Zürich is the quality of public
transportation. If we don't follow the movie with a drink at a
bar, we can be home from almost any of the mentioned cinemas in
about 15 minutes after the closing curtain.
The best cure ever for
feeling low is to go shopping on a Saturday morning in one of
Athens’ markets. If you only feel like strolling you should bear
in mind the fact that there is absolutely no way to leave
without actually buying something in a market stretching over
more than half a mile; that flavors, colors, lights will
bring you back in a wink some Italian ‘mercato’ or a ‘marché de
dimanche’ in southern France but as a matter of fact, in Greece
you have more than that because here you can get simply lost
among Athenians carrying their heavy shopping carts filled with
fruit and vegetables for their big families, among the
numberless stands filled with everything you’ve ever dreamt of
finding in a market even though it is the end of December:
salads, tasty fennels, onions of all colors and sizes, cabbages,
broccolis, cauliflowers, tomatoes, cucumbers, small zucchinis
with yellow flowers for edible flowers aficionados, big, orange
slices of pumpkin reigning among some other unknown fruit of a
reddish color; a bit farther you have nuts, pistachios and
spices carefully wrapped in small bags (vegetarians are really
happy in this country). Oranges, mandarins and lemons are simply
pouring out of the market stands… they’re so many and fill the
air with citric scent, also so cheap that it is simply indecent
to buy only a few. Then you walk to a nice guy’s table selling
all sorts of olives and your mouth is watering heavily, thanks
God, tasting is allowed… and you’re buying something but you
feel like there is always something better than what you’ve just
bought; you go on thinking that next time you’ll try a different
sort. There is also the fish seller and you’re like going mad
because you simply don’t know what to choose… the guy would
gladly help you but the only thing he knows is ‘sorry, my
English is not very good’. Besides the plenty, the colors and
the smells, there is the noise, the shouting out loud what the
thing is about and the making you buy it. Here they don’t
smile or ask you politely to try their merchandise… no, you are
in a Greek market… better get used to it… this is a
‘manly’ thing like so many other things in Greece. On your way
back home you feel like you’ve been ‘infused’ some life. You
hear words like ‘kalimera’, ‘parakalo’,‘ef̱charistíes’ and God knows
what else, you smile and you keep going on.
This was his birthday present. He had
always wanted to see Bethlehem.
he arrived on Friday, when most places were closed, walls arches
and doors were silent; empty roads, the Shabbat. A
phantom city to an outsider’s eye. Out of Jerusalem, with bright
sun, he drove down and along the wall. The grey tall concrete,
cutting through people’s yards and houses, the check points with
lines, passports and guns.
smiling humble up on a hill, its time far back, layered and
exposed. Small old churches and crosses made of stone, the roads
curved, the mellow colors felt soothing. He went to the Manger Square to see the
Church of Nativity, and looked
under the altar, to see where Jesus was born. He bought a
tunic, looked at the handmade toys, and ate Kubbi balls
The outdoor market was full of flavors: Sumak, Tahina, Cardamom, Turmeric, Cumin,
and … the color of pomegranate. He sat near Palestinian men, on
a small stool, listened to their conversations, the sound of
their words, the playing cards, the shade, smoking hooka and
snaking on watermelon seeds. He drank warm sage tea, and
later on arabic coffee
spiced with cardamom
and unsweetened- its bitterness a symbol of hospitality -, with
the very sweet Kanafeh
pastry. In the evening he got drunk with anise seed flavored
and walked out of the city, sat on the cold ground and watched
the sky full of stars. The stars seemed to move, more than the
eyes could see, a secret language, far into space… the time
stopped, slid back, its stories and histories… and everything
City, Jerusalem… He returned to
it, fascinated and aware. A labyrinth, its walls so present,
divided and permissive, it’s four quarters and three religions.
So he took days. He walked and watched. Discovered the gestures,
the codes, the feelings… and the ever present awareness that
something can happen at any moment. He went to the Wailing Wall
in the morning and listened to the sound of pages being turned,
the whispered prayers facing the wall, aiming beyond. The
Dome of the Rock,
so precious, desired… he looked at it from a distance, its
perfect shape almost surreal, golden. Bright sun shining through
the dust; at times he felt almost blind.
Holy Sepulcher Church time seemed
to stare at him from each surface. The rough and the smooth, its
floors and the steps, the touch of all hands connecting in time;
the cuts and marks. The Mount
of Olives was quiet, a small
orthodox church, and the blue sky.
dating back to 10th
century BC, just outside Jerusalem, up on the hill, with all its
layers, its silent stones washed by sun, the tunnel underground,
the spring, the true old city of Jerusalem.
As a child, he had always been interested in
cities; his books were covered with images of places around the
world. Religious places, even more so… as he grew up… he became
fascinated with… not religion in itself, but what religion does
He had been living and working in London for
3 years, and had already travelled to so many places, when he
arrived to Rome.
In Rome, he walked in Trastevere
district, the old medieval houses, aristocratic or common, old
ladies and young people, the sound of mopeds. The streets paved
in unique roman cobble stones found only here, the walls draped
in ivy, the deep warm colors, the coffee shops, the tables
outside, the bars at night, the fragrant flowers, the Italian
ice cream… he felt like a child, he fell in love with the city,
and wanted to live there forever. The fountains, the squares,
the polished marble warm in the sun, the beautiful statues of
such beautiful bodies, graceful and strong, encoded gestures,
still… playful and free, with no demand, almost alive,
abundant… At night in his sleep he dreamt they were moving, he
laughed in his dreams… the sound of the water falling on stone,
the sun tickled his forehead in the morning, and happiness was
In Rome he lived in a very small
studio, a basement with white arches, on a narrow street right
near the Vatican. Only five minutes away, he walked to work
every day, and on his way back he went to the small Church of Santa Maria,
and looked at Bernini’s Ecstasy of
Santa Teresa, with the same
fascination each time. He used to ride his bike by the river,
and eat salad on Corso Victorio
Manuel, or ice-cream next to Piazza de Fiori.
Tonight he went back to Tastevere, or
the streets around the Pyramid, all full of life, clubs and
cafes open till morning. But sometimes he would go alone to
Circus Maximus, lay on the grass and watch the sky, without
wanting anything else than what he had. He discovered a small
round temple called San Pietro de
Montorio, and he loved to spend
hours doing nothing around Fontana
di Trevi, but his favorite was
with Fontana deiQuatro Fiumi
by Bernini, and that one sculpture lifting its hand in fear
toward Boromini’s building… that was his favorite detail! He
would sit on the edge of the fountain eating a crepe and
watching people and acrobats, painters and tourists…he felt
happy every day, with no exception. One place he had forgotten
about, and never visited while in Rome, was Via Francigena,
the pilgrim’s road to Rome, before their arrival to San Pietro
and Saint Peter’s Tomb.
Javier was born in Santiago de Compostela,
Spain, home of the relics of Saint James. As a child, he had
seen pilgrims from all over Europe arriving on Caminho De Santiago
starting in Northern France, and waiting in line in front of the
imposing baroque façade of the
Cathedral of Santiago. They would
then enter the church and kneel, in the very shoes they had
walked for days or weeks, and the first thing to do was to come
close to the small statue of Santo
dos Croques and gently knock
your head on it.
Dip your fingers in the holy water, trace the
cross three times, and only then enter the cathedral, where the
golden bust of Saint James covered in precious stones awaits to
Embraced form behind, so you must do,
and enter only from left or right, it all has a meaning,
directions, the number of steps, the movement of your body, the
way you see and the way you touch, the others. To him a
curiosity, these rituals were part of the natural rhythm of the
year, just as the Carnival,
the All Saints Day
or the Easter Procession.
He had watched the silver El
Botafumeiro balanced up high in the
Cathedral every Sunday, and never knew it was one of the largest
censers in the world. And he had played on Monte del Cozo
(the Mount of Pleasure) as a child, on warm summer days, and
never knew it meant so much to other people.
The intricate façade of the Cathedral,
Puerta de Obradoiro,
with all its saints devils and angels lined up, he had taken for
granted. He often sat bored during the mass, on the narrow
wooden bench, the words fading in the background, a murmur, past
the embroidered white table cloth, bright and fresh, the smell
of fresh flowers, the candles… words curving along the tall grey
arches, they felt like veins, alive and powerful, gold crawling
up on them. He examined all details, his eyes wondered forever,
his mind flew away, dragons and caves, swords, diamonds, gold
and blood… He stared at the sculptures of Saint Paul with the
sword, Saint Peter with the key, Saint Mathew with a Lion, Saint
George Slaying the Dragon, Santa Clara with her breasts cut, and
Santa Lucia offering her eyes on a plate... and wondered, but
never truly longed for an answer. Beautiful and
frightening, they were part of his daily life, just as the old
steps, the bells ringing every day, San Antonio on the façade of
the house granting a good husband, the Virgin of the Sailors in
the backyard, and the Shell of
Santiago sculpted in stone in the
church, on the walls or the city, above taverns and shops, in
silver hanging between his mother’s breasts, or stamped on a
This story came about by talking to Pablo
Castro from Vigo, and it is based in large part on Pablos’ life.
Winter at the French Riviera is a
wonderful season. I will most probably start every article
about the four seasons in France like this, but I cannot help it
– I just need to. The French Riviera is a wonderful spot of the
world with its climate, the culture, the lifestyle, the food –
but above all, the variety of the “façade” along the coast as
well as the down to earth reality in the Hinterland makes this
paradise so special and unique for many people.
The bird’s eye-view shows the short distance
between the seaside and the Sea Alps.
November 29, 2010 leaving from Nice
The hard-boiled people from all around the
world, mostly retired grandmothers and grandfathers, residing in
their winter domicile, are still swimming in the Mediterranean
Sea. At present the water temperature is at relatively “mild” 9°
13, Cannes beach at la Croisette
At the same time you can ski in Les
Gréolières les Neiges,
a 50 minute drive from the coastline.
4, 2010 Les Gréolières les Neiges
One of the best experiences and a “must
do” is buying a Christmas tree at the Promenade des Anglais
in Nice. Hundreds of Christmas trees are facing the Med, after
they have travelled all the way from Denmark, Norway or Germany.
The cost of the trees is lower than for example in Germany, even
though one would expect it differently. After storing the tree
in the car, you can have a sunbath and picnic at the beach.
This somehow provides the feeling of a pre-Christmas season in
the Southern Hemisphere.
11, 2010 Nice, Promenade des Anglais
The French are getting into the “German
tradition” of a real Christmas market with vin chaud
(mulled wine) and even in the tiniest village, they are creating
their own interpretation of a Christmas market. Often the
temperatures are not as they “should be” for drinking mulled
wine, nevertheless the many expatriates are coming together in
troops to get the Christmas and winter feeling they experienced
at home”. The French seem to be less contemplative about
Christmas, it is more vivid and they feature funny music bands
like for example Fanfare Miss Trash on their Christmas markets.
Fanfare Miss Trash
The crowds of tourists visiting this
very popular region from Easter until late September are more or
less absent in the winter time, which makes life more real and
down to earth. Even though the villages are relatively “empty”
the back-country is a real insider tip for all country-loving
people. Villages like Valbonne
are coming across as authentic villages. During the high season,
there are busloads of people arriving, and there is nothing
authentic left at all. In case you want to be exposed to real
culture, when you are fed-up with the countryside, than book
your tickets early enough for a Pina Bausch performance in
And last but not least, there is always
our cross-cultural take-away for you beside the travel-tips.
This time, I would like to share some experience with the word
“no”. We are exposed again and again, to a strong initial “no” –
no matter if it is at the car mechanics, at the post office, at
the bank or at the bakery - in many situations there comes first
a “No, this isn’t possible”. I as a native German have learned,
that a no is a no, and it is a sign of respect to not
questioning other peoples position. I have learnt in France,
that the “no, ce n’est pas possible” is neither intended
personally nor a lack of respect, when I am questioning it.
Because, as soon as you start negotiating, even though you are
not taking their no as an answer but you are ready to debate in
order to convince them, the initial no most likely turns into a
“yes”. This is part of their culture and in a way it is a great
way of personal involvement. If you want to learn more about
cross-cultural communication with the French, have a look at our
to work or working to live”:
This object took shape little by little in the late summer of
1932; it revealed itself to me slowly, the various parts taking
their exact form and their precise place within the whole.
By autumn it had attained such reality that its actual execution
in space took no more than one day. It is related without
any doubt to a period in my life that had come to an end a year
before, when for six whole months hour after hour was passed in
company of a woman who, concentrating all life in herself,
magically transformed my every moment. We used to
construct a fantastic palace at night – days and nights had the
same color, as if everything happened just before day-break;
throughout the whole time I never saw the sun – a very fragile
palace with matchsticks. At the slightest false move a
whole section of this tiny construction would collapse. We
would always begin it over again. I don’t know why I came
to be inhabited by a spinal column in a cage – the spinal column
this woman sold me one of the very first nights I met her on the
street – and by one of the skeleton birds that saw the very
night before the morning in which our life together collapsed –
the skeleton birds that flutter with cries of joy at four
o’clock in the morning very high above the pool of clear, green
water where the extremely fine skeletons of fish float in the
great unroofed hall. In the middle there rises the
scaffolding of a tower, perhaps unfinished or, since its top has
collapsed, perhaps also broken. On the other side there
appeared the statue of a woman, in which I recognize my mother,
just as she appears in my earliest memories. The mystery
of her long black dress touching the floor troubled me; it
seemed to me like a part of her body, and aroused in me a
feeling of fear and confusion …”
Bedroom in Arles
Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh's own title for this composition was simply The
Bedroom (French: La Chambre à coucher). There are
three authentic versions described in his letters, easily
discernible from one another by the pictures on the wall to the
The painting depicts Van Gogh's bedroom at 2, Place Lamartine in
Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, known as his Yellow House. The
door to the right was opening to the upper floor and the
staircase, the door to the left served the guest room he held
prepared for Gauguin. The window in the front wall was looking
to Place Lamartine and its public gardens. This room was not
rectangular, but trapezoid, with an obtuse angle in the left
hand corner of the front wall and an acute angle at the right.
Van Gogh evidently did not spend much time on this problem, he
simply indicated that there was a corner, somehow.
(Information retrieved from Wikipedia)
The Romanian Blouse
By painting “La Blouse Roumaine” in 1940
Henri Matisse gave it artistic perenity and International
recognition. The painting, which is now in the Musee d’Art
Moderne in Paris, had become an epitome for Romania and for
Pieter Brueghel the Younger
oldest son of the famous sixteenth-century Netherlandish painter
Pieter Brueghel the Elder (known as "Peasant Brueghel") and
Mayken Coecke van Aelst. His father died in 1569, when Pieter
the younger was only five years old. Then, following the death
of his mother in 1578, Pieter, along with his brother Jan
Brueghel the Elder ("Velvet Brueghel") and sister Marie, went to
live with their grandmother Mayken Verhulst (widow of Pieter
Coecke van Aelst). She was an artist in her own right, and
according to Carel van Mander, possibly the first teacher of the
two sons. The family moved to Antwerp sometime after 1578 and
Pieter possibly entered the studio of the landscape painter
Gillis van Coninxloo (1544-1607). In the 1584/1585 registers of
Guild of Saint Luke, "Peeter Brugel" is listed as an independent
master. On November 5, 1588 he married Elisabeth Goddelet, and
the couple had seven children.
He painted landscapes, religious subjects and fantasy paintings.
For this last category he often made use of fire and grotesque
figures, leading to his nickname "Hell Brueghel".
Apart from these paintings of his own invention, Pieter Brueghel
the Younger also copied the works his father had created by
using a technique called pouncing. His genre paintings of
peasants lack Pieter the Elder's subtlety and humanism, and
emphasize the picturesque.
Information retrieved from Wikipedia
(31 December 1869 – 3 November 1954) was a French artist, known
for his use of colour and his fluid, brilliant and original
draughtsmanship. He was a master draughtsman, printmaker, and
sculptor, but excelled primarily as a painter. Matisse is
regarded, with Picasso, as the greatest artist of the 20th
century. Although he was initially labeled as a Fauve (wild
beast), by the 1920s, he was increasingly hailed as an upholder
of the classical tradition in French painting.
His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing,
displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won
him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.
(The Red Madras Headress) is a painting by Henri Matisse from
1907. The woman depicted is the painter's wife, Amélie Noellie
It was an angel al the beginning and while his wings were
brushing my soul I wanted to share the moment. The colours
took me to a Northern country of winds and magic, and then he
became a saint in a white room letting his blessings descend on
the weary lids of oblivion.
The painting, now in a private collection in Germany, belongs to
a large size series (2X2m) that has been exhibited by in 2000 in
the Helios Gallery of Timisoara by Calin Beloescu, an
internationally acknowledged Romanian artist.
Christ of Saint John of the Cross
The painting is known as the "Christ of Saint John of the
Cross," because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th
century Spanish friar Saint John of the Cross. The composition
of Christ is based on a triangle (Christ's arms); and a circle
(Christ's head) that can also be seen as a reference to the
Trinity.Dalí explained its inspiration on the bottom
of his painting studies: "In the first place, in 1950, I had a
'cosmic dream' in which I saw this image in color and which in
my dream represented the 'nucleus of the atom.' This nucleus
later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered it 'the very
unity of the universe,' the Christ!"
The painting can be seen in Kelvingrove’s Art Gallery in
by Marc Chagall (1915)
Chagall grew up in the Russian Jewish shtetl town of Vitebsk and
went on to challenge many traditions of Jewish and Western art,
becoming one of the major artists of the 20th century. His art
reflects the influence of Cubism, and Fauvism, as well as a
novel style expressed in oil, watercolor, and gouache painting,
stained-glass, theatre and costume design, book illustration,
ceramics and mosaics.
The painting “Birthday,” which celebrates the young Chagall’s
marriage to his wife Bella Rosenfeld can be admired in MoMA, New
The Wedding Tower Darmstadt, Germany
The city of Darmstadt had the tower built in memory of the
marriage of the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig to Princess Eleonore zu
Solms-Hohensolms-Lich on the 2nd of February, 1905.
The architect Josef Maria Olbrich, who joined the artists'
colony at the Grand Duke's invitation in 1899, designed the
48-metre tower, which was completed in 1908.
The brick tower building comprises a symmetrical, multiple-level
footing with an entrance portal, an upright main tower body with
eccentric window bands extending around the corners and a unique
five-spired top based on a concept from the Grand Duke himself
and reminiscent of the outstretched fingers of a hand.
The tower interior has seven storeys, including an entrance
hall, a book magazine, rooms for the Grand Duke and Grand
Duchess, the latter decorated with frescos by Philipp Otto
Schäfer. The uppermost storey is the viewing platform.
This is not a pipe
René François Ghislain Magritte
(21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967) was a Belgian surrealist
artist. He became well known for a number of witty and
thought-provoking images. His intended goal for his work was to
challenge the observer's preconditioned perceptions of reality
and force the viewer to become hypersensitive to their
Magritte's work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary
objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar
things. The representational use of objects as other than
what they seem is typified in his painting, The Treachery of
Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe
that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store
advertisement. Magritte painted above the pipe "This is not a
pipe" (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), which seems a
contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe,
it is an image of a pipe. It does not "satisfy
emotionally" — when Magritte once was asked about this image, he
replied that of course it was not a pipe, just try to fill it
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
A French singer, dancer and entertainer made famous in paintings
by Toulouse-Lautrec Anne-Marie Marcelle Bastien, began
dancing at the age of sixteen and within a few years made a name
for herself performing at the Théâtre des Variétés in
Lautrec's portrait of her in full costume, her flame-red hair
accentuated by two red poppies worn like plumes, boosted
Lender's popularity considerably after it appeared in a Paris
magazine. The painting was eventually sold to a collector from
the United States and on her passing in 1998 the painting's then
owner, American Betsey Cushing Whitney, donated it to the
National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
is a widely acclaimed contemporary artist living in Paris.
His sculptures, some of them of huge dimensions, are covering a
large thematic area from imposing statues of dictators made of
glued pieces of timber, cardboard of paper to homage to
Guttenberg cast in bronze prints.
Princess Lulu is part of the artist’s larger project consisting
of papier maché sculptures, all replicas to Brancusi`s
series of MademoisellePogany.
Venus Anadyomene (after Titian)
The Scottish artist Calum Colvin reinterprets Titian’s
motive by making use of the photographic technique to which he
juxtaposes a symbolic graphic surface with two points of
reflection, a dressing table and a camera set upon a tripod in
the pupil of the eye.
In his own words: “This work has a reflection at its centre,
in fact it has two. There is the dressing-table mirror’s
reflection of Venus painted on the left-hand wall, then there is
a camera set upon a tripod in the pupil of her eye … What I
wanted to do was look at the narrative behind it, at the idea of
Venus, and make my own version of this image which would refer
to photography and the notion of creativity … To look at these
paintings afresh, in a sense to represent the image and let the
people just think.”
Bather Wringing her Hair
The work has been painted at Picasso’s home in Vallauris on the
French Côte d’Azur and is dated 7 October 1952. It that
time Picasso’s relationship with his companion Françoise Gilot
was deteriorating; a year later she ended the relationship
taking her children, Claude and Paloma, with her back to Paris.
Picasso statuesque figure has the quality of a sculputure which
can be viewed “in the round”; the figure is seen from both front
and the back. It is likely that Picasso was directly
inspired by Titian’s painting of Venus (see Art Gallery).
Direct comparison can be drawn by the use of color and the scale
and composition of the figure.
Venus Rising from the Sea
Titian lived in Venice for most of his life, but was also known
throughout Europe. He may have made this work to rival a famous
ancient Greek painter called Apelles*. Apelles was greatly
admired in the 1500s. He had painted a 'Venus Rising from the
Sea' (1520) , which had since been lost and was known only
through a written description. Titian's Venus is a big,
beautiful woman who dominates the picture. She looks unaware of
being seen, like a celebrity snapped by a paparazzo while wading
ashore after a swim. The only reference to her mythical status
is the small scallop shell in the bottom left-hand corner.
Titian's Venus fills the canvas. The small shell floating on the
water identifies the beautiful nude female as the goddess of
love. The ancient Greek poet Hesiod described how Venus was born
fully grown from the sea and blown to the shore on a scallop
shell. Titian shows the goddess wringing her hair, a pose
inspired by classical sculpture and by an account of a painting
by Apelles, the most celebrated painter of ancient Greece.
Titian's Venus proved that he could rival the art of antiquity
and that he could make the ideal appear real. The painting is in
exceptionally fine condition and was acquired from the
Sutherland collection in 2003.
The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli (1444–1510)
The classical goddess Venus emerges from the water on a shell,
blown towards shore by the Zephyrs, symbols of spiritual
passions. She is joined by one of the Horae, goddesses of the
seasons, who hands her a flowered cloak.
The effect is distinctly pagan, considering it was made at a
time and place when most artworks depicted Roman Catholic
themes. It is somewhat surprising that this canvas escaped the
flames of Savonarola's bonfires, where a number of Botticelli's
other alleged pagan influenced works perished. Botticelli was
very close to Lorenzo de Medici. Because of their friendship and
Lorenzo's power, this work was spared from Savonarola's fires
and the disapproval of the church.
The anatomy of Venus and various subsidiary details do not
display the strict classical realism of Leonardo da Vinci or
Raphael. Most obviously, Venus has an improbably long neck, and
her left shoulder slopes at an anatomically unlikely angle. Some
have suggested it prefigures mannerism.
Apelles of Kos:
was a renowned painter of ancient Greece. Pliny the Elder, to
whom we owe much of our knowledge of this artist, claims that
this very painting had been part of the collection of Julius
Caesar, but was destroyed when Caesar's mansion on the Palatine
Hill burned down.
While sketching one of Alexander the Great's concubines,
Campaspe, Apelles fell in love with her. As a mark of
appreciation for the great painter's work, Alexander presented
her to him.
The image represents the birth of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, as
she emerges from the waters. According to Greek mythology
Aphrodite was born fully adult from the sea, which perpetually
renewed her virginity. A motif of the goddess wringing out her
hair is often repeated.
Constantin Brancusi: MademoisellePogany
A friend, Margit Pogany, was the inspiration for
Mlle Pogany II, one of the sculptures that came to
epitomise Brancusi's work.
The most radical of these works is the mysterious
Princess X, from 1915. A photograph survives of the
first version of this sculpture, in which a woman arches her
neck to catch a glimpse of herself in a mirror. The neck is
exaggerated in order to convey the self awareness of this
gesture. Dissatisfied with this version, Brancusi carved back
the superficial details. The head became an ovoid on an arching
neck and the supporting hand is reduced to a pattern.
He showed this sculpture in New York, but when the bronze
version was exhibited in Paris in 1920 it was banned - to
Brancusi's apparent bewilderment - as being deliberately
phallic. It was only reinstated as a result of a campaign to
support his freedom of expression.
The sculpture can be admired at MoMA, NY.
Ceiling of l’Opera Garnier in Paris
The Marc Chagall mural on the ceiling of the auditorium
of l’Opera Garnier. Installed in 1964, it provoked much heated
controversy because it was not in keeping with the "Napoleon
III" style of the original. Furthermore the new mural was
attached in such a way that the old mural (underneath the new)
was permanently damaged. Nevertheless time has softened the
controversy and to the first time visitor, the Chagall has a
lightness and beauty that complements the 19th century decor in
a charming (and lasting) way.
Echoing the colorful style dear to Charles Garnier's, Chagall
has designed his painting as a living image of the festive
spirit surrounding each performance: luminous, fluid figures
surge forth, contrasting with the gold and red tones of the
One of Velázquez's most representative works Las
Meninas (1656, The Maids of Honour), appears to have as a
subject the eldest daughter of the new Queen, Margarita,
However, in looking at the various viewpoints of the painting it
is unclear as to who or what is the true subject. Is it the
royal daughter, or perhaps the painter himself? The answer may
lie in the image on the back wall, depicting the King and Queen.
Is this image a mirror, in which case the King and Queen are
standing where we stand? Are they the subject of Velazquez's
work? Or is the work simply a court painting? Much is still in
speculation about the true subject of this masterpiece, and many
of the questions that we ask may never be truly answered.
Created four years before his death, it is a staple of the
European baroque period of art. An apotheosis of the work has
been effected since its creation; Luca Giordano, a contemporary
Italian painter, referred to it as the "theology of painting,"
and the eighteenth century the Englishman Thomas Lawrence cited
it as the "philosophy of art," so decidedly capable of producing
its desired effect. That effect has been variously interpreted;
Dale Brown points out an interpretation that, in inserting
within the work a faded portrait of the king and queen hanging
on the back wall, Velázquez has ingeniously prognosticated the
fall of the
that was to gain momentum following his death. Another
interpretation is that the portrait is in fact a mirror, and
that the painting itself is in the perspective of the King and
Queen, hence their reflection can be seen in the mirror on the
The Creation of Adam
The fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was painted by
Michelangeloabout 500 years ago. It illustrates
the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis in which God
breathes life into Adam, the first man. Chronologically the
fourth in the series of panels depicting episodes from Genesis
on the Sistine ceiling, it was among the last to be completed.
The fresco technique requires that the artist paint a freshly
plastered wall which is still sufficiently humid to allow the
paint to bond chemically so that when the plaster dries, the
paint is completely a part of the wall. In order to paint the
plaster which dries very quickly, the artist must have a very
rapid and precise techniques of painting. He must clearly know
how much he can paint during the course of the day ('giornata').
It is possible to identify the extent of the various daily
paintings from the plaster on the borders of the frescoes. From
these it is clear that Michelangelo painted at a remarkably high
creation of Adam was painted in two weeks.
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe
The Luncheon on the Grass
originally titled The Bath(Le Bain), between 1862
and 1863. It is oil on canvas and measures 208 by 264.5
centimeters. The juxtaposition of a female nude with fully
dressed men sparked controversy when the work was first
exhibited at the Salon des Refusés in 1863. The piece is now in
the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
“Painters, and especially Édouard Manet, who is an analytic
painter, do not share the masses' obsession with the subject: to
them, the subject is only a pretext to paint, whereas for the
masses only the subject exists.”
Perhaps the most important of Wassily Kandinsky's
paintings from the decade of the 1900s, it shows a small cloaked
figure on a speeding horse rushing through a rocky meadow. The
rider's cloak is a medium blue, and the shadow cast is a darker
blue. In the foreground are more amorphous blue shadows,
presumably the counterparts of the fall trees in the background.
The Blue Rider in the painting is prominent, but not clearly
defined, and the horse has an unnatural gait (which Kandinsky
must have known). Indeed, some believe that a second figure, a
child perhaps, is being held by the rider (though this could
just as easily be another shadow from a solitary rider). This
type of intentional disjunction allowing viewers to participate
in the creation of the artwork would become an increasingly
conscious technique used by the artist in subsequent
years—culminating in his great "abstract expressionist" works of
the 1911–1914. In The Blue Rider Kandinsky shows
the rider more as a series of colors than of specific details.
In and of itself, The Blue Rider is not exceptional in
that regard when compared to contemporary painters, but it does
show the direction that Kandinsky would take only a few years
Jean-Auguste-DominiqueIngres (1780-1867). A summation of the theme of
female voluptuousness, attractive to Ingres throughout his life,
The Turkish Bath, was painted in 1862, in the circular format of
The most erotic of all his works, created at the end of his
life, this harem scene combines the figure of the nude with an
oriental theme. Taking as his inspiration the letters of
Lady Montague, who recounts a visit to a women's bath in
Istanbul in the early eighteenth century, Ingres has borrowed
figures from some of his previous paintings for this composition
full of arabesques.
It was Prince Napoleon who commissioned this harem scene around
1848. The painting was delivered in 1859, but returned soon
afterwards because it had shocked the empress. The painter
continued to rework his picture until 1863, even after he had
dated it 1862. It was only finally revealed to the wider public
in 1905, on the occasion of the Ingres retrospective at the
Salon d'Automne, and here it excited the most avant-garde
painters such as Picasso. The Turkish Bath was the masterpiece
of Ingres' later years, as audacious in its subject as it was in
its style. The painting can be admired in the
A masterpiece by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio,
a painter of the baroque era, completed in
1599-1600 for the Contarelli Chapel in the church of the French
congregation, San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. The
church is located in the neighborhood of Piazza Navona.
Caravaggio represented the event as a nearly silent, dramatic
narrative. The sequence of actions before and after this moment
can be easily and convincingly re-created. The tax-gatherer Levi
(Saint Matthew's name before he became the apostle) was seated
at a table with his four assistants, counting the day's
proceeds, the group lighted from a source at the upper right of
the painting. Christ, His eyes veiled, with His halo the only
hint of divinity, enters with Saint Peter. A gesture of His
right hand, all the more powerful and compelling because of its
languor, summons Levi. Surprised by the intrusion and perhaps
dazzled by the sudden light from the just-opened door, Levi
draws back and gestures toward himself with his left hand as if
to say, "Who, me?", his right hand remaining on the coin he had
been counting before Christ's entrance.
Johannes Vermeer van Delft
the painter of meditative portraits and of
scenes was a master of rendering the almost material
quality of light falling on rich textures, on the delicate
traces of a face or on a pearl. Girl with the Pearl
Earringwon in the past years a well deserved fame
through Tracy Chevalier’s novel and through the homonymous film;
a consuming story of unconventional love and renunciation in an
exquisite patrician environment.
The portrait can be admired in
Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis,
The Hague, The Netherlands.
(1471 1528), painter and graphic artist, was the central figure
in the German Renaissance and one of the most outstanding
personalities in the history of art. In the year 1500 Dürer painted a self portrait in a hieratical pose that up his
time was only reserved for kings and for Jesus, whose features
he was emulating in it. This portrait represents his own
interpretation of the biblical figure and his belief in the
divine inspiration as the source of the artist’s creative
powers. The remarkable force of the portrait is emanating
from the balanced focus of the stare.
Some time ago I made a note in my diary to
write an essay about smiling. I wasn’t quite sure why this
would be a good topic but somehow I wanted to explore all the
meanings that lay dormant behind the most genuine form of
expression known to man. I became aware of the power of a smile
during my first days in Germany. In those days I could
only speak a few words in German, so the first system of
signalization was used a lot instead. A few months later,
when I was visiting back home and I was asked how I was getting
along with the Germans I heard myself answer: I don’t know yet;
all I can tell you is that whenever you smile at somebody they
smile right back at you.
I remember reading
somewhere that you need
17 muscles to smile and
43 to frown. That alone would usually be enough for any
biological system to go on the energy save mode, but the
“problem” with the facial muscles is that they are directly
connected to our emotions. As a rule, with a lot of good
practice you can fake a smile but you cannot fake your reaction
to smiling. Children are the best proof here. It is
the first thing they learn to imitate.
But that’s not the main reason why I wanted
to write an essay on smiling. Have you ever tried to look
at people’s faces while you are walking down the street?
If you haven’t, do it next time you go out. You will be
surprised. Most of the people have a vacant look on their
faces, as if they were alone; quite a few frown and almost
nobody smiles. You will says, why smile, if there’s nobody
to smile to. There is!
As a small child I have developed a sort of a
habit, or maybe I got born with it, of tensing my facial muscles
in a grin. My mother used to say that I would age early if
I pulled my face like that and she used to whistle each time I
was doing it, which was most of the time, only to remind me to
stop. But I didn’t stop! I grew up, and the grin
grew with me and turned into a smile.
These days when I walk on the street I see
quite often faces that wreathe in smiles. Sometimes I think that
it must be my grin. Sometimes I think that maybe it is the habit
I have developed in my non-verbal days. But whatever the
cause may be it is always a joy to see so many faces becoming
suddenly beautiful with smiles.
Smiling is the only common language we share.
It is the language that, just like music, goes straight to the
heart without engaging the thinking and therefore remains a
genuine, untainted by convention.
Shine a smile at the world and the world will
smile back at you!
Yesterday, while waiting at the traffic light
I saw a young man on the other side of the street. The sun was
shining on him. As he sat on his bike waiting, he closed
his eyes, raised his head and smiled.