Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Never anyone but you despite stars and loneliness
Despite the trees mutilated at nightfall
Never anyone but you will follow her path which is mine
The further you go the bigger your shadow gets
Never anyone but you will greet the ocean at dawn when I, worn out with wandering, 
coming through dark forests and nettle bushes, walk towards the foam
Never anyone but you will put her hand on my forehead over my eyes
Never anyone but you, and I renounce lying and unfaithfulness
You may cut the rope of this anchored ship
Never anyone but you
The eagle imprisioned in a cage slowly gnaws on the patina of the copper bars
What a deception
It's the Sunday marked by nightingales singing in the tender green woods the boredom
of little girls staring at a cage a canary flutters around in while in the empty street 
the sun slowly moves its thin line along the hot sidewalk
We'll cross other lines
Never never anyone but you
And I alone alone alone like withered ivy in suburban gardens
alone like glass
And you never anyone but you.

Never anyone but you - Robert Desnos, 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Illness and art


A great cover of the old Clientele song 'From a Window' reminded me all of a sudden of this passage by Proust:

'Nearly midnight. The hour when an invalid, who has been obliged to start on a journey and to sleep in a strange hotel, awakens in a moment of illness and sees with glad relief a streak of daylight shewing under his bedroom door. Oh, joy of joys! it is morning. The servants will be about in a minute: he can ring, and some one will come to look after him. The thought of being made comfortable gives him strength to endure his pain. He is certain he heard footsteps: they come nearer, and then die away. The ray of light beneath his door is extinguished. It is midnight; some one has turned out the gas; the last servant has gone to bed, and he must lie all night in agony with no one to bring him any help.'

Swann's Way p.4 tr. C. K. Scott Moncrieff

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Virgil's melancholy

... everything, by nature's law
Tends to the worse, slips ever backward, backward
As with a man, who scarce propels his boat
Against the stream: if once his arms relax
The current sweeps it headlong down the rapids

Virgil, Georgics, bk I-199

Twice in the year, men gather the honey harvest
First when Taygete the Pleiad shows
Her comely face to the world, and with her foot
Has spurned the streams of Ocean; and again
When the same star, fleeing the rainy sign
Of the Fish, more sadly hastens down the sky
Into the wintry waves

Ibid, bk IV, 231-5

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

carved in air


'The outer suburbs have almost a moorland fascination when fog lies thick and orange-coloured over their huge flat wastes of grass ... but does not quite conceal the stark outlines of a traction engine, some procumbent timber, a bonfire and frantic figures darting around it, and aerial scaffolding far away. Other fields, yet unravished but menaced, the fog restores to a primaeval state. And what a wild noise the wind makes in the telegraph wires as in wintry heather and gorse ... If a breeze arises it makes that sound of the dry curled leaves chafing along the pavement; at night they seem spies in the unguarded by-ways. But there are also days -  and spring and summer days too - when a quiet horror thicks and stills the air outside London.

The ridge of trees high in the mist are very grim. The isolated trees stand cloaked in conspiracies here and there about the fields. The houses, even whole villages, are translated into terms of unreality as if they were carved in air and could not be touched; they are empty and mournful as skulls or churches. There is no life visible - for the ploughmen and the cattle are figures of light dream. All is soft and grey. The land has drunken the opiate mist and is passing slowly and reluctantly into perpetual sleep.'

-Edward Thomas, The South Country, 1909, p.96-97