Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Pessimism of the Poet

“That simultaneously discredited and privileged being we call a poet goes among men with a profound sense of sadness. As soon as he opens his eyes to the light of the sun he looks around for something to admire; he sees nature ever young and beautiful and is overwhelmed with divine ecstasy and inexpressible rapture; but soon inert creation ceases to satisfy him. The true poet is passionately drawn to God and God’s works; but it’s in himself and in his like that he sees the flame of eternal light burning for him most distinctly and most completely. He wants to find it there unadulterated and to worship God in man as a sacred flame on a spotless altar. His soul yearns, his arms open wide; so great is his need for love he would willingly tear open his breast if it would allow every object of his deep desire and his chaste affection to become part of him; but his clear eye, his searching gaze can’t fail to discern human baseness and the work of centuries of corruption. It pierces the outer covering and sees sham souls in magnificent bodies, hearts of clay in marble and gold statues. Then he grieves, rebels, complains and remonstrates. The heavens that granted him this penetrating vision endowed him too with a deep, resounding voice, both for lamentation and for thanksgiving, for prayer and for threats, which imprudently betrays the extent of his anguish. The world’s shortcoming draw from him cries of distress; the spectacle of hypocrisy burns his eyes with red-hot irons; the sufferings of the oppressed stimulate his courage, audacious sympathies seethe in his breast. The poet raises up his voice and tells men truths they would rather not hear.”
(George Sand, Lettres D'un Voyageur)

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Keep It Strange

Jang Seung-up is an egoist. He is humble too; with those who share his sensibility. Not so our modern commentators. Unwilling to do the necessary work they condemn what they do not understand. Ignorance and laziness. What a lovely couple! Together they conceive an unfortunate little beast; there he is now: screaming and crying, and demanding… Concise summaries! Obvious symbols!

Friday, 11 December 2015

The Rabbi and His Grandchild

Dried fruit. Ripe fruit. An apple ready to fall... 

Her red cheeks; her fleshy nose; her hair smooth, richly brown and thick. Those gorgeous lips: they are a flower blossoming out to be kissed. 

A spring sun rises out of a pale winter. 


This old man. The years have withered him. Only the outlines of a personality are left. He is a type; a painterly artefact; a tree after the autumn wind. 


The living person. A stylised image. Textures of ages. 

This girl overflows with the riches of youth. Suspicious of her wealth, she watches it seep into her grandfather’s fingers; spread along his poor palm…


In a house of many rooms only one has a radiator.

And his life? Breath in a cold cave. The face frozen into caricature, his beard a bush of stalactites, here is a rabbi fixed for all eternity.

A flag blows in the wind.

Only the hand is alive. Bye! bye! it will wave to its grandchild, when she runs out to play with friends and kiss the boys.