Monday, November 1, 2010

Balzac on Love and Marriage (2)

Love is the most melodious of all harmonies and the sentiment of love
is innate. Woman is a delightful instrument of pleasure, but it is
necessary to know its trembling strings, to study the position of
them, the timid keyboard, the fingering so changeful and capricious
which befits it. How many monkeys--men, I mean--marry without knowing
what a woman is! How many of the predestined proceed with their wives
as the ape of Cassan did with his violin! They have broken the heart
which they did not understand, as they might dim and disdain the
amulet whose secret was unknown to them. They are children their whole
life through, who leave life with empty hands after having talked
about love, about pleasure, about licentiousness and virtue as slaves
talk about liberty. Almost all of them married with the most profound
ignorance of women and of love. They commenced by breaking in the door
of a strange house and expected to be welcomed in this drawing-room.
But the rudest artist knows that between him and his instrument, of
wood, or of ivory, there exists a mysterious sort of friendship. He
knows by experience that it takes years to establish this
understanding between an inert matter and himself. He did not
discover, at the first touch, the resources, the caprices, the
deficiencies, the excellencies of his instrument. It did not become a
living soul for him, a source of incomparable melody until he had
studied for a long time; man and instrument did not come to understand
each other like two friends, until both of them had been skillfully
questioned and tested by frequent intercourse.

Can a man ever learn woman and know how to decipher this wondrous
strain of music, by remaining through life like a seminarian in his
cell? Is it possible that a man who makes it his business to think for
others, to judge others, to rule others, to steal money from others,
to feed, to heal, to wound others--that, in fact, any of our
predestined, can spare time to study a woman? They sell their time for
money, how can they give it away for happiness? Money is their god. No
one can serve two masters at the same time. Is not the world,
moreover, full of young women who drag along pale and weak, sickly and
suffering? Some of them are the prey of feverish inflammations more or
less serious, others lie under the cruel tyranny of nervous attacks
more or less violent. All the husbands of these women belong to the
class of the ignorant and the predestined. They have caused their own
misfortune and expended as much pains in producing it as the husband
artist would have bestowed in bringing to flower the late and
delightful blooms of pleasure. The time which an ignorant man passes
to consummate his own ruin is precisely that which a man of knowledge
employs in the education of his happiness.

Balzac, The Physiology of Marriage

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Balzac: Catechism of Marriage

Marriage is a science.

A man ought not to marry without having studied anatomy, and dissected
at least one woman.

The fate of the home depends on the first night.

A woman deprived of her free will can never have the credit of making
a sacrifice.

In love, putting aside all consideration of the soul, the heart of a
woman is like a lyre which does not reveal its secret, excepting to
him who is a skillful player.

Independently of any gesture of repulsion, there exists in the soul of
all women a sentiment which tends, sooner or later, to proscribe all
pleasure devoid of passionate feeling.

The interest of a husband as much as his honor forbids him to indulge
a pleasure which he has not had the skill to make his wife desire.

Pleasure being caused by the union of sensation and sentiment, we can
say without fear of contradiction that pleasures are a sort of
material ideas.

As ideas are capable of infinite combination, it ought to be the same
with pleasures.

In the life of man there are no two moments of pleasure exactly alike,
any more than there are two leaves of identical shape upon the same

If there are differences between one moment of pleasure and another, a
man can always be happy with the same woman.

To seize adroitly upon the varieties of pleasure, to develop them, to
impart to them a new style, an original expression, constitutes the
genius of a husband.

Between two beings who do not love each other this genius is
licentiousness; but the caresses over which love presides are always

The married woman who is the most chaste may be also the most

The most virtuous woman can be forward without knowing it.

When two human beings are united by pleasure, all social
conventionalities are put aside. This situation conceals a reef on
which many vessels are wrecked. A husband is lost, if he once forgets
there is a modesty which is quite independent of coverings. Conjugal
love ought never either to put on or to take away the bandage of its
eyes, excepting at the due season.

Power does not consist in striking with force or with frequency, but
in striking true.

To call a desire into being, to nourish it, to develop it, to bring it
to full growth, to excite it, to satisfy it, is a complete poem of

The progression of pleasures is from the distich to the quatrain, from
the quatrain to the sonnet, from the sonnet to the ballad, from the
ballad to the ode, from the ode to the cantata, from the cantata to
the dithyramb. The husband who commences with dithyramb is a fool.

Each night ought to have its _menu_.

Marriage must incessantly contend with a monster which devours
everything, that is, familiarity.

If a man cannot distinguish the difference between the pleasures of
two consecutive nights, he has married too early.

It is easier to be a lover than a husband, for the same reason that it
is more difficult to be witty every day, than to say bright things
from time to time.

A husband ought never to be the first to go to sleep and the last to

The man who enters his wife's dressing-room is either a philosopher or
an imbecile.

The husband who leaves nothing to desire is a lost man.

The married woman is a slave whom one must know how to set upon a

A man must not flatter himself that he knows his wife, and is making
her happy unless he sees her often at his knees.

Gardel: Por una cabeza

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

μάνος χατζιδάκις/στη μνήμη μιας παλιάς φωτογραφίας

Balzac on love and marriage

"You remind me of a hive of honey-bees! But go your way, you'll be a
dupe all your life. Ha, ha! you wish to marry to have a wife! In other
words, you wish to solve satisfactorily to your own profit the most
difficult problem invented by those bourgeois morals which were created
by the French Revolution; and, what is more, you mean to begin your
attempt by a life of retirement. Do you think your wife won't crave the
life you say you despise? Will _she_ be disgusted with it, as you are?
If you won't accept the noble conjugality just formulated for your
benefit by your friend de Marsay, listen, at any rate, to his final
advice. Remain a bachelor for the next thirteen years; amuse yourself
like a lost soul; then, at forty, on your first attack of gout, marry a
widow of thirty-six. Then you may possibly be happy. If you now take a
young girl to wife, you'll die a madman."

"Ah ca! tell me why!" cried Paul, somewhat piqued.

"My dear fellow," replied de Marsay, "Boileau's satire against women is
a tissue of poetical commonplaces. Why shouldn't women have defects? Why
condemn them for having the most obvious thing in human nature? To my
mind, the problem of marriage is not at all at the point where Boileau
puts it. Do you suppose that marriage is the same thing as love, and
that being a man suffices to make a wife love you? Have you gathered
nothing in your boudoir experience but pleasant memories? I tell you
that everything in our bachelor life leads to fatal errors in the
married man unless he is a profound observer of the human heart. In the
happy days of his youth a man, by the caprice of our customs, is always
lucky; he triumphs over women who are all ready to be triumphed over
and who obey their own desires. One thing after another--the obstacles
created by the laws, the sentiments and natural defences of women--all
engender a mutuality of sensations which deceives superficial persons as
to their future relations in marriage, where obstacles no longer exist,
where the wife submits to love instead of permitting it, and frequently
repulses pleasure instead of desiring it. Then, the whole aspect of a
man's life changes. The bachelor, who is free and without a care, need
never fear repulsion; in marriage, repulsion is almost certain and
irreparable. It may be possible for a lover to make a woman reverse an
unfavorable decision, but such a change, my dear Paul, is the Waterloo
of husbands. Like Napoleon, the husband is thenceforth condemned to
victories which, in spite of their number, do not prevent the first
defeat from crushing him. The woman, so flattered by the perseverance,
so delighted with the ardor of a lover, calls the same things brutality
in a husband. You, who talk of marrying, and who will marry, have you
ever meditated on the Civil Code? I myself have never muddied my feet
in that hovel of commentators, that garret of gossip, called the
Law-school. I have never so much as opened the Code; but I see its
application on the vitals of society. The Code, my dear Paul, makes
woman a ward; it considers her a child, a minor. Now how must we govern
children? By fear. In that one word, Paul, is the curb of the
beast. Now, feel your own pulse! Have you the strength to play the
tyrant,--you, so gentle, so kind a friend, so confiding; you, at whom
I have laughed, but whom I love, and love enough to reveal to you my
science? For this is science. Yes, it proceeds from a science which
the Germans are already calling Anthropology. Ah! if I had not already
solved the mystery of life by pleasure, if I had not a profound
antipathy for those who think instead of act, if I did not despise the
ninnies who are silly enough to believe in the truth of a book, when
the sands of the African deserts are made of the ashes of I know not
how many unknown and pulverized Londons, Romes, Venices, and Parises, I
would write a book on modern marriages made under the influence of the
Christian system, and I'd stick a lantern on that heap of sharp stones
among which lie the votaries of the social 'multiplicamini.' But the
question is, Does humanity require even an hour of my time? And besides,
isn't the more reasonable use of ink that of snaring hearts by writing
love-letters?--Well, shall you bring the Comtesse de Manerville here,
and let us see her?"

"Perhaps," said Paul. 
Balzac, The Marriage Contract, 
Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Sunday, October 3, 2010

About physiology and marriage


Physiology, what must I consider your meaning?

Is not your object to prove that marriage unites for life two beings
who do not know each other?

That life consists in passion, and that no passion survives marriage?

That marriage is an institution necessary for the preservation of
society, but that it is contrary to the laws of nature?

That divorce, this admirable release from the misfortunes of marriage,
should with one voice be reinstated?

That, in spite of all its inconveniences, marriage is the foundation
on which property is based?

That it furnishes invaluable pledges for the security of government?

That there is something touching in the association of two human
beings for the purpose of supporting the pains of life?

That there is something ridiculous in the wish that one and the same
thoughts should control two wills?

That the wife is treated as a slave?

That there has never been a marriage entirely happy?

That marriage is filled with crimes and that the known murders are not
the worst?

That fidelity is impossible, at least to the man?

That an investigation if it could be undertaken would prove that in
the transmission of patrimonial property there was more risk than

That adultery does more harm than marriage does good?

That infidelity in a woman may be traced back to the earliest ages of
society, and that marriage still survives this perpetuation of

That the laws of love so strongly link together two human beings that
no human law can put them asunder?

That while there are marriages recorded on the public registers, there
are others over which nature herself has presided, and they have been
dictated either by the mutual memory of thought, or by an utter
difference of mental disposition, or by corporeal affinity in the
parties named; that it is thus that heaven and earth are constantly at

That there are many husbands fine in figure and of superior intellect
whose wives have lovers exceedingly ugly, insignificant in appearance
or stupid in mind?

All these questions furnish material for books; but the books have
been written and the questions are constantly reappearing.

Physiology, what must I take you to mean? 
Produced by Dagny and John Bickers

Saturday, October 2, 2010

About married women

The most important and decisive step in a woman's life is the very
one that she invariably regards as the most insignificant. After her
marriage she is no longer her own mistress, she is the queen and
the bond-slave of the domestic hearth. The sanctity of womanhood is
incompatible with social liberty and social claims; and for a woman
emancipation means corruption. If you give a stranger the right of entry
into the sanctuary of home, do you not put yourself at his mercy? How
then if she herself bids him enter it? Is not this an offence, or, to
speak more accurately, a first step towards an offence? You must
either accept this theory with all its consequences, or absolve illicit
passion. French society hitherto has chosen the third and middle course
of looking on and laughing when offences come, apparently upon the
Spartan principle of condoning the theft and punishing clumsiness.
And this system, it may be, is a very wise one. 'Tis a most appalling
punishment to have all your neighbors pointing the finger of scorn
at you, a punishment that a woman feels in her very heart. Women are
tenacious, and all of them should be tenacious of respect; without
esteem they cannot exist, esteem is the first demand that they make
of love. The most corrupt among them feels that she must, in the first
place, pledge the future to buy absolution for the past, and strives
to make her lover understand that only for irresistible bliss can she
barter the respect which the world henceforth will refuse to her.

Some such reflections cross the mind of any woman who for the first time
and alone receives a visit from a young man; and this especially when,
like Charles de Vandenesse, the visitor is handsome or clever. And
similarly there are not many young men who would fail to base some
secret wish on one of the thousand and one ideas which justify the
instinct that attracts them to a beautiful, witty, and unhappy woman
like the Marquise d'Aiglemont.

Mme. d'Aiglemont, therefore, felt troubled when M. de Vandenesse was
announced; and as for him, he was almost confused in spite of the
assurance which is like a matter of costume for a diplomatist. But not
for long. The Marquise took refuge at once in the friendliness of manner
which women use as a defence against the misinterpretations of fatuity,
a manner which admits of no afterthought, while it paves the way to
sentiment (to make use of a figure of speech), tempering the transition
through the ordinary forms of politeness. In this ambiguous position,
where the four roads leading respectively to Indifference, Respect,
Wonder, and Passion meet, a woman may stay as long as she pleases, but
only at thirty years does she understand all the possibilities of the
situation. Laughter, tenderness, and jest are all permitted to her at
the crossing of the ways; she has acquired the tact by which she finds
all the responsive chords in a man's nature, and skill in judging the
sounds which she draws forth. Her silence is as dangerous as her speech.
You will never read her at that age, nor discover if she is frank or
false, nor how far she is serious in her admissions or merely laughing
at you. She gives you the right to engage in a game of fence with her,
and suddenly by a glance, a gesture of proved potency, she closes the
combat and turns from you with your secret in her keeping, free to offer
you up in a jest, free to interest herself in you, safe alike in her
weakness and your strength. 
Honore De Balzac 
Translated by Ellen Marriage 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Katherine Mansfield: The Meeting

We started speaking,
Looked at each other, then turned away.
The tears kept rising to my eyes
But I could not weep.
I wanted to take your hand
But my hand trembled.
You kept counting the days
Before we should meet again.
But both of us felt in our hearts
That we parted for ever and ever.
The ticking of the little clock filled the quiet room.
“Listen,” I said. “It is so loud,
Like a horse galloping on a lonely road,
As loud as that-a horse galloping past in the night.”
You shut me up in your arms.
But the sound of the clock stifled our hearts' beating.
You said, “I cannot go : all that is living of me
Is here for ever and ever.”
Then you went.
The world changed. The sound of the clock grew fainter,
Dwindled away, became a minute thing.
I whispered in the darkness, “If it stops, I shall die.”

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Geoffrey Hill: September Song

Undesirable you may have been, untouchable
you were not. Not forgotten
or passed over at the proper time.

As estimated, you died. Things marched,
sufficient, to that end.
Just so much Zyklon and leather, patented
terror, so many routine cries.

(I have made
an elegy for myself it
is true)

September fattens on vines. Roses
flake from the wall. The smoke
of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.

This is plenty. This is more than enough.

Hugh Wood: Three pieces for piano

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rimbaud: Le bateau ivre

Comme je descendais des Fleuves impassibles,
Je ne me sentis plus guidé par les haleurs :
Des Peaux-Rouges criards les avaient pris pour cibles,
Les ayant cloués nus aux poteaux de couleurs.

J'étais insoucieux de tous les équipages,
Porteur de blés flamands ou de cotons anglais.
Quand avec mes haleurs ont fini ces tapages,
Les Fleuves m'ont laissé descendre où je voulais.

Dans les clapotements furieux des marées,
Moi, l'autre hiver, plus sourd que les cerveaux d'enfants,
Je courus ! Et les Péninsules démarrées
N'ont pas subi tohu-bohus plus triomphants.

La tempête a béni mes éveils maritimes.
Plus léger qu'un bouchon j'ai dansé sur les flots
Qu'on appelle rouleurs éternels de victimes,
Dix nuits, sans regretter l'oeil niais des falots !

Plus douce qu'aux enfants la chair des pommes sûres,
L'eau verte pénétra ma coque de sapin
Et des taches de vins bleus et des vomissures
Me lava, dispersant gouvernail et grappin.

Et dès lors, je me suis baigné dans le Poème
De la Mer, infusé d'astres, et lactescent,
Dévorant les azurs verts ; où, flottaison blême
Et ravie, un noyé pensif parfois descend ;

Où, teignant tout à coup les bleuités, délires
Et rhythmes lents sous les rutilements du jour,
Plus fortes que l'alcool, plus vastes que nos lyres,
Fermentent les rousseurs amères de l'amour !

Je sais les cieux crevant en éclairs, et les trombes
Et les ressacs et les courants : je sais le soir,
L'Aube exaltée ainsi qu'un peuple de colombes,
Et j'ai vu quelquefois ce que l'homme a cru voir !

J'ai vu le soleil bas, taché d'horreurs mystiques,
Illuminant de longs figements violets,
Pareils à des acteurs de drames très antiques
Les flots roulant au loin leurs frissons de volets !

J'ai rêvé la nuit verte aux neiges éblouies,
Baiser montant aux yeux des mers avec lenteurs,
La circulation des sèves inouïes,
Et l'éveil jaune et bleu des phosphores chanteurs !

J'ai suivi, des mois pleins, pareille aux vacheries
Hystériques, la houle à l'assaut des récifs,
Sans songer que les pieds lumineux des Maries
Pussent forcer le mufle aux Océans poussifs !

J'ai heurté, savez-vous, d'incroyables Florides
Mêlant aux fleurs des yeux de panthères à peaux
D'hommes ! Des arcs-en-ciel tendus comme des brides
Sous l'horizon des mers, à de glauques troupeaux !

J'ai vu fermenter les marais énormes, nasses
Où pourrit dans les joncs tout un Léviathan !
Des écroulements d'eaux au milieu des bonaces,
Et les lointains vers les gouffres cataractant !

Glaciers, soleils d'argent, flots nacreux, cieux de braises !
Échouages hideux au fond des golfes bruns
Où les serpents géants dévorés des punaises
Choient, des arbres tordus, avec de noirs parfums !

J'aurais voulu montrer aux enfants ces dorades
Du flot bleu, ces poissons d'or, ces poissons chantants.
- Des écumes de fleurs ont bercé mes dérades
Et d'ineffables vents m'ont ailé par instants.

Parfois, martyr lassé des pôles et des zones,
La mer dont le sanglot faisait mon roulis doux
Montait vers moi ses fleurs d'ombre aux ventouses jaunes
Et je restais, ainsi qu'une femme à genoux...

Presque île, ballottant sur mes bords les querelles
Et les fientes d'oiseaux clabaudeurs aux yeux blonds.
Et je voguais, lorsqu'à travers mes liens frêles
Des noyés descendaient dormir, à reculons !

Or moi, bateau perdu sous les cheveux des anses,
Jeté par l'ouragan dans l'éther sans oiseau,
Moi dont les Monitors et les voiliers des Hanses
N'auraient pas repêché la carcasse ivre d'eau ;

Libre, fumant, monté de brumes violettes,
Moi qui trouais le ciel rougeoyant comme un mur
Qui porte, confiture exquise aux bons poètes,
Des lichens de soleil et des morves d'azur ;

Qui courais, taché de lunules électriques,
Planche folle, escorté des hippocampes noirs,
Quand les juillets faisaient crouler à coups de triques
Les cieux ultramarins aux ardents entonnoirs ;

Moi qui tremblais, sentant geindre à cinquante lieues
Le rut des Béhémots et les Maelstroms épais,
Fileur éternel des immobilités bleues,
Je regrette l'Europe aux anciens parapets !

J'ai vu des archipels sidéraux ! et des îles
Dont les cieux délirants sont ouverts au vogueur :
- Est-ce en ces nuits sans fonds que tu dors et t'exiles,
Million d'oiseaux d'or, ô future Vigueur ?

Mais, vrai, j'ai trop pleuré ! Les Aubes sont navrantes.
Toute lune est atroce et tout soleil amer :
L'âcre amour m'a gonflé de torpeurs enivrantes.
Ô que ma quille éclate ! Ô que j'aille à la mer !

Si je désire une eau d'Europe, c'est la flache
Noire et froide où vers le crépuscule embaumé
Un enfant accroupi plein de tristesse, lâche
Un bateau frêle comme un papillon de mai.

Je ne puis plus, baigné de vos langueurs, ô lames,
Enlever leur sillage aux porteurs de cotons,
Ni traverser l'orgueil des drapeaux et des flammes,
Ni nager sous les yeux horribles des pontons.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Vladimir Visotsky (1938-1980)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Os sulcos

― Não vale a pena, Zé Fernandes. Há uma imensa pobreza e secura de invenção! Sempre os mesmos florões Luís XV, sempre as mesmas pelúcias... Não vale a pena!

Eu arregalava os olhos para este transformado Jacinto. E sobretudo me impressionava o seu horror pela Multidão ― por certos efeitos da Multidão, só para ele sensíveis, e a que chamava os «sulcos».

― Tu não os sentes, Zé Fernandes. Vens das serras... Pois constituem o rijo inconveniente das Cidades, estes sulcos! É um perfume muito agudo e petulante que uma mulher larga ao passar, e se installa no olfacto, e estraga para todo o dia o ar respirável. É um dito que se surpreende num grupo, que revela um mundo de velhacaria, ou de pedantismo, ou de estupidez, e que nos fica colado à alma, como um salpico, lembrando a imensidade da lama a atravessar. Ou então, meu filho, é uma figura intolerável pela pretensão, ou pelo mau-gosto, ou pela impertinência, ou pela relice, ou pela dureza, e de que se não pode sacudir mais a visão repulsiva... Um pavor, estes sulcos, Zé Fernandes! De resto, que diabo, são as pequeninas misérias de uma Civilização deliciosa!

Tudo isto era especioso, talvez pueril ― mas para mim revelava, naquele chamejante devoto da Cidade, o arrefecimento da devoção. Nessa mesma tarde, se bem recordo, sob uma luz macia e fina, penetrámos nos centros de Paris, nas ruas longas, nas milhas de casario, todo de caliça parda, eriçado de chaminés de lata negra, com as janelas sempre fechadas, as cortininhas sempre corridas, abafando, escondendo a vida. Só tijolo, só ferro, só argamassa, só estuque: linhas hirtas, angulos ásperos: tudo seco, tudo rígido. E dos chãos aos telhados, por toda a fachada, tapando as varandas, comendo os muros, Tabuletas, Tabuletas...

―Oh, este Paris, Jacinto, este teu Paris! Que enorme, que grosseiro bazar!

E, mais para sondar o meu Príncipe do que por persuasão, insisti na fealdade e tristeza destes prédios, duros armazéns, cujos andares são prateleiras onde se apilha humanidade! E uma humanidade impiedosamente catalogada e arrumada! A mais vistosa e de luxo nas prateleiras baixas, bem envernizadas. A reles e de trabalho nos altos, nos desvãos, sobre pranchas de pinho nu, entre o pó e a traça...

Jacinto murmurou, com a face arrepiada:

―É feio, é muito feio!

E acudiu logo, sacudindo no ar a luva de anta:

―Mas que maravilhoso organismo, Zé Fernandes! Que solidez! Que produção!

Eça de Queirós, A Cidade e as Serras

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Leonard Warren O du mein holder Abendstern Tannhäuser Live

This video is in honor of the 49th anniversary of Leonard Warren's final performance March 4th 1960, 49 yrs ago today. During this performance he passed away on the stage of the metropolitan opera...this is a live recording.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Habitação do Ser

O Ser habita o corpo.
Quando o corpo morre
o Ser fica sem habitação.
Ninguém sabe aonde
ele foi, em que lugar
misterioso se esconde.

Algumas pessoas acreditam
que o Paraíso e o Inferno
são a morada do Ser que
ficou sem casa quando o
corpo morreu. Eu,
pessoalmente, não tenho
opinião sobre o assunto.

A ideia de sobreviver ao corpo
que serve de habitação ao Ser
agrada-me. Mas não basta que
as coisas me agradem para que
se tornem possíveis. Por isso
não extraio conclusões e tento
concentrar-me em mim mesmo
enquanto o Ser não me abandona.

A maneira como eu me
exprimo é absurda: se eu
sou o Ser, como posso afirmar
que o Ser me abandona? Devia
perguntar-me: quando deixar de
ter como lugar de habitação o
corpo, onde se refugia aquilo
que sou eu, o Ser? Escrevo
estas coisas como se elas
fossem um poema. A poesia
é uma maneira afectada
de se elevar acima
da materialidade imediata
e sem sentido
do mundo. Há pessoas
que para dar ao amor
uma dimensão poética
inventam cenários tolos:
estão à beira de um mar
gelado com a mulher que
amam e aspiram à morte,
não se sabe bem porquê.
Para tornar as coisas mais
interessantes evocam os
corsários. Vivem em Lisboa,
andam pelos cafés e pelos
cinemas, estamos no século
XXI, mas eles sonham com
corsários. Que mistura
inacreditável. É isso a
poesia, voltar à infância
mais infantil é a poesia?
O Ser deles é uma borboleta
perdida de si mesma, uma
borboleta que bate as asas
no ar quente da noite sem
saber por que bate as asas.
Por não saberem aonde ir
nem o que é a vida lançam
poeira nos olhos dos leitores
indefesos e perplexos. É isso a
literatura? Eles aproximam-se
da vida enganando-se no
caminho, por isso, em vez
de se aproximarem da vida,
afastam-se dela. A vida
aterroriza-os? A falta de
sentido da vida aterroriza-os?
É o que parece, à primeira vista,
mas eles devem ter outras
explicações, todos nós
temos sempre muitas
explicações para tudo o que
acontece e o que não acontece.

Eu não sou melhor do que eles,
entretenho-me a desfiar a meada
do sentido influenciado pelos
meus estados de espírito que
em si mesmos não têm qualquer
importância. E as paixões
deformam a minha compreensão
do mundo e da minha presença
nele, há dias em que penso uma
coisa e no dia seguinte vejo o
que acontece a partir de uma
perspectiva bem diferente
- sem no entanto ser capaz
de admitir que me enganei: tudo
o que acontece e o que eu penso
do que acontece, concluo então, tem
a sua justificação em si mesmo e
nos mistérios do percurso do sangue
pelo meu corpo. Por isso a minha
capacidade de perdão é imensa,
embora uma parte de mim nunca
perdoe verdadeiramente a
ninguém nem a mim próprio
o descalabro, o erro, a mentira,
a ilusão e a vaidade com que
nos passeamos na rua e nos
sentamos nos cafés a perorar
sobre o que tem importância
e a desvalorizar o que não nos
interessa e aqueles que vêem
as coisas de uma maneira
muito distinta da nossa. O
Ser suporta tudo e quando
chegar a hora de se esvair em
nada, tudo revela-se enfim,
aos olhos de quem quiser
observar com alguma frieza
o que se passou, como sendo
pouca coisa. Ficaram as palavras,
a memória delas e dos rostos,
mas o que vale a memória das
palavras e o que valem os rostos
que se perderam e confundiram
nas nuvens da memória? Nada.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Philip Larkin: Aubade

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
-- The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused -- nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear -- no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can't escape,
Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring 
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.