Archive for December, 2007

Little Infinite Poem

For Luis Cardoza y Aragon

To take the wrong road
is to arrive at the snow,
and to arrive at the snow
is to get down on all fours for twenty centuries and eat the
grasses of the cemeteries.

To take the wrong road
is to arrive at woman,
woman who isn’t afraid of light,
woman who murders two roosters in one second,
light which isn’t afraid of roosters,
and roosters who don’t know how to sing on top of the
snow.

But if the snow truly takes the wrong road,
then it might meet the southern wind,
and since the air cares nothing for groans,
we will have to get down on all fours again and eat the
grasses of the cemeteries.

I saw two mournful wheatheads made of wax
burying a countryside of volcanoes;
and I saw two insane little boys who wept as they leaned on
a murderer’s eyeballs.

But two has never been a number –
because it’s only an anguish and its shadow,
it’s only a guitar where love feels how hopeless it is,
it’s the proof of someone else’s infinity,
and the walls around a dead man,
and the scourging of a new resurrection that will never end.
Dead people hate the number two,
but the number two makes women drop off to sleep,
and since women are afraid of light,
light shudders when it has to face the roosters,
and since all roosters know is how to fly over the snow
we will have to get down on all fours and eat the grasses of
the cemeteries forever.


While Little Infinite Poem seems to be part of Lorca’s more
experimental work, it also seems to carry a signature typical
for most of his work, the idea that became the cornerstone
of his philosophy on art and his view of the Spanish tradition:
‘Duende’. According to The Cortland Review, Little Infinite Poem is
drenched in Duende, which Lorca defines by borrowing Goethe’s
allusion to the ‘mysterious power which everyone senses and
no philosopher explains’. The Duende for Lorca is a force that
is irrational and intuitive; spiritually connected to the earth
and pantheistic; and – quintessentially Spanish – aware of death.
‘All that has black sounds has Duende,’ wrote Andalusian cantaor
Manuel Torre, and Lorca seems to agree. And for him the Duende’s
obsessions with death and so forth bring forth the artist’s
creativity, make it a unique force animating the latter. So indeed:
Little Infinite Poem is drenched in Duende.
 

[the image above is a portrait of Garcia Lorca by Salvatore Dali]

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Burial – Burial

Posted: December 24, 2007 in creativity
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Dorian Lynskey
Friday December 22, 2006
The Guardian

You don’t need to know a thing about London’s dubstep scene to find this cryptic debut the most mesmerising electronic album of the year. A “scene” suggests community and bonding, but Burial’s clattering beats and ghostly vocal fragments, cradled in a hiss that could be radio static or endless rain, articulate the desperate loneliness of city life gone wrong. It’s pitched as the soundtrack for a “near-future south London under water”, and sure enough, it evokes images of New Orleans after Katrina, all that urban noise and bustle replaced with murderous hush. You could imagine it being broadcast from an abandoned tower block in the dead of night.
What makes Burial seem to owe as much to Joy Division and Brian Eno as it does to pirate radio and dub is a devastating sadness which, depending on your mood, has the power to comfort, unsettle or move you to tears.

Arthur Rimbaud

Posted: December 20, 2007 in creativity
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When he was not yet 17, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) electrified Paris’s literary society with the incendiary poems that later made him the guiding saint of 20th-century rebels, from Pablo Picasso to Jim Morrison. “A Season in Hell,” “The Drunken Boat,” and the prose poems of Illuminations were epochal works that changed the nature of an art form–and yet their author abandoned poetry at age 21 and spent the rest of his short life as a colonial adventurer in Arabia and Africa. “He was writing in a void,” explains British scholar Graham Robb. “In 1876, most of Rimbaud’s admirers either were still in the nursery or had yet to be conceived.” Hardly surprising, since the poet was a difficult and frequently unpleasant person to actually know. The Parisian poets who took him under their wing soon discovered that Rimbaud was ungrateful, crude, and as scornful of their precious verse as he was of the Catholic Church, bourgeois proprieties, and everything else his disapproving mother held dear. Rimbaud’s stormy affair with Paul Verlaine estranged the older poet from his wife and, eventually, from most of his artistic friends as well. In Robb’s depiction, the poet possessed from his earliest youth a restless, searching intellect that permitted no compromise with convention nor tenderness for others’ weaknesses. The author doesn’t soften Rimbaud’s “savage cynicism” or gloss over his frequently obnoxious behavior, yet Robb arouses our admiration for “one of the great Romantic imaginations, festering in damp, provincial rooms like an intelligent disease.” Like Robb’s excellent biographies of Hugo and Balzac, this sharp, subtle, unsentimental portrait is both erudite and beautifully written. – [Wendy Smith on “Arthur Rimbaud – A Biography” by Graham Robb]

[thank you to Famous Poets & Poems]

Sun and Flesh (Credo in Unam)

 

I

The Sun, the hearth of affection and life,
Pours burning love on the delighted earth,
And when you lie down in the valley, you can smell
How the earth is nubile and very full-blooded;
How its huge breast, heaved up by a soul,
Is, like God, made of love, and, like woman, of flesh,
And that it contains, big with sap and with sunlight,
The vast pullulation of all embryos!

And everything grows, and everything rises!

– O Venus, O Goddess!
I long for the days of antique youth,
Of lascivious satyrs, and animal fauns,
Gods who bit, mad with love, the bark of the boughs,
And among water-lilies kissed the Nymph with fair hair!
I long for the time when the sap of the world,
River water, the rose-coloured blood of green trees
Put into the veins of Pan a whole universe!
When the earth trembled, green,beneath his goat-feet;
When, softly kissing the fair Syrinx, his lips formed
Under heaven the great hymn of love;
When, standing on the plain, he heard round about him
Living Nature answer his call;
When the silent trees cradling the singing bird,
Earth cradling mankind, and the whole blue Ocean,
And all living creatures loved, loved in God!

I long for the time of great Cybele,
Who was said to travel, gigantically lovely,
In a great bronze chariot, through splendid cities;
Her twin breasts poured, through the vast deeps,
The pure streams of infinite life.
Mankind sucked joyfully at her blessed nipple,
Like a small child playing on her knees.
– Because he was strong, Man was gentle and chaste.

Misfortune! Now he says: I understand things,
And goes about with eyes shut and ears closed.
– And again, no more gods! no more gods! Man is King,
Man is God! But the great faith is Love!
Oh! if only man still drew sustenance from your nipple,
Great mother of gods and of men, Cybele;
If only he had not forsaken immortal Astarte
Who long ago, rising in the tremendous brightness
Of blue waters, flower-flesh perfumed by the wave,
Showed her rosy navel, towards which the foam came snowing
And, being a goddess with the great conquering black eyes,
Made the nightingale sing in the woods and love in men’s hearts! 

 

II

I believe! I believe in you! divine mother,
Sea-born Aphrodite! – Oh! the path is bitter
Since the other God harnessed us to his cross;
Flesh, Marble, Flower, Venus, in you I believe!
– yes, Man is sad and ugly, sad under the vast sky.
He possesses clothes, because he is no longer chaste,
Because he has defiled his proud, godlike head
And because he has bent, like an idol in the furnace,
His Olympian form towards base slaveries!
Yes, even after death, in the form of pale skeletons
He wishes to live and insult the original beauty!
– And the Idol in whom you placed such maidenhood,
Woman, in whom you rendered our clay divine,
So that Man might bring light into his poor soul
And slowly ascend, in unbounded love,
From the earthly prison to the beauty of day,
Woman no longer knows even how to be a Courtesan!
– It’s a fine farce! and the world snickers
At the sweet and sacred name of great Venus!

III

If only the times which have come and gone might come again!
– For Man is finished! Man has played all the parts!
In the broad daylight, wearied with breaking idols
He will revive, free of all his gods,
And, since he is of heaven, he will scan the heavens!
The Ideal, that eternal, invincible thought, which is
All; The living god within his fleshly clay,
Will rise, mount, burn beneath his brow!
An when you see him plumbing the whole horizon,
Despising old yokes, and free from all fear,
You will come and give him holy Redemption!
– Resplendent, radiant, from the bosom of the huge seas
You will rise up and give to the vast Universe
Infinite Love with its eternal smile!
The World will vibrate like an immense lyre
In the trembling of an infinite kiss!

– The World thirsts for love: you will come and slake its thirst.

…………………………………………….

O! Man has raised his free, proud head!
And the sudden blaze of primordial beauty
Makes the god quiver in the altar of the flesh!
Happy in the present good, pale from the ill suffered,
Man wishes to plumb all depths, – and know all things! Thought,
So long a jade, and for so long oppressed,
Springs from his forehead! She will know Why!…
Let her but gallop free, and Man will find Faith!
– Why the blue silence, unfathomable space?
Why the golden stars, teeming like sands?
If one ascended forever, what would one see up there?
Does a sheperd drive this enormous flock
Of worlds on a journey through this horror of space?
And do all these worlds contained in the vast ether,
tremble at the tones of an eternal voice?
– And Man, can he see? can he say: I believe?
Is the langage of thought anymore than a dream?
If man is born so quickly, if life is so short
Whence does he come? Does he sink into the deep Ocean
Of Germs, of Foetuses, of Embryos, to the bottom
of the huge Crucible where Nature the Mother
Will resuscitate him, a living creature,
To love in the rose and to grow in the corn?…

We cannot know! – We are weighed down
With a cloak of ignorance, hemmed in by chimaeras!
Men like apes, dropped from our mothers’ wombs,
Our feeble reason hides the infinite from us!
We wish to perceive: – and Doubt punishes us!
Doubt, dismal bird, beat us down with its wing…
– And the horizon rushes away in endless flight!…

……………………………………………….

The vast heaven is open! the mysteries lie dead
Before erect Man, who folds his strong arms
Among the vast splendour of abundant Nature!
He sings… and the woods sing, the river murmurs
A song full of happiness which rises towards the light!…
– it is Redemption! it is love! it is love!…

……………………………………………….. 

 

IV

O splendour of flesh! O ideal splendour!
O renewal of love, triumphal dawn
When, prostrating the Gods and the Heroes,
White Callipyge and little Eros
Covered with the snow of rose petals, will caress
Women and flowers beneath their lovely outstretched feet!
– O great Ariadne who pour out your tears
On the shore, as you see, out there on the waves,
The sail of Theseus flying white under the sun,
O sweet virgin child whom a night has broken,
Be silent! On his golden chariot studded with black grapes,
Lysios, who has been drawn through Phrygian fields
By lascivious tigers and russet panthers,
Reddens the dark mosses along the blue rivers.
– Zeus, the Bull, cradles on his neck like a child
The nude body of Europa who throws her white arm
Round the God’s muscular neck which shivers in the wave.
Slowly he turns his dreamy eye towards her;
She, droops her pale flowerlike cheek
On the brow of Zeus; her eyes are closed; she is dying
In a divine kiss, and the murmuring waters
Strew the flowers of their golden foam on her hair.
– Between the oleander and the gaudy lotus tree
Slips amorously the great dreaming Swan
Enfloding Leda in the whiteness of his wing;
– And while Cypris goes by, strangely beautiful,
And, arching the marvellous curves of her back,
Proudly displays the golden vision of her big breasts
And snowy belly embroidered with black moss,
– Hercules, Tamer of beasts, in his Strength,
Robes his huge body with the lion’s skin as with glory
And faces the horizons, his brow terrible and sweet!

Vaguely lit by the summer moon,
Erect, naked, dreaming in her pallor of gold
Streaked by the heavy wave of her long blue hair,
In the shadowy glade whenre stars spring in the moss,
The Dryade gazes up at the silent sky…
– White Selene, timidly, lets her veil float,
Over the feet of beautiful Endymion,
And throws him a kiss in a pale beam…
– The Spring sobs far off in a long ectasy…
Ii is the nymph who dreams with one elbow on her urn,
Of the handsome white stripling her wave has pressed against.
– A soft wind of love has passed in the night,
And in the sacred woods, amid the standing hair of the great trees,
Erect in majesty, the shadowly Marbles,
The Gods, on whose brows the Bullfinch has his nest,
– the Gods listen to Men, and to the infinite World!

Arthur Rimbaud, May 1870 

 

[thank you to mag4]

manhattan_underwater.jpg

The world’s sea levels could rise twice as high this century as UN climate scientists have previously predicted, according to a study. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposes a maximum sea level rise of 81cm (32in) this century. But in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers say the true maximum could be about twice that: 163cm (64in). They looked at what happened more than 100,000 years ago – the last time Earth was this warm. The results join other studies showing that current sea level projections may be very conservative.Sea level rise is a key effect of global climate change. There are two major contributory effects: expansion of sea water as the oceans warm, and the melting of ice over land. In the latest study, researchers came up with their estimates by looking at the so-called interglacial period, some 124,000 to 119,000 years ago, when Earth’s climate was warmer than it is now due to a different configuration of the planet’s orbit around the Sun. That was the last time sea levels reached up to 6m (20ft) above where they are now, fuelled by the melting of ice sheets that covered Greenland and Antarctica.

‘Robust’ work

The researchers say their study is the first robust documentation of how quickly sea levels rose to that level. “Until now, there have been no data that sufficiently constrain the full rate of past sea level rises above the present level,” lead author Eelco Rohling, of Britain’s National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, said in a statement. Rohling and his colleagues found an average sea level rise of 1.6m (64in) each century during the interglacial period. Back then, Greenland was 3C to 5C (5.4F to 9F) warmer than now – which is similar to the warming period expected in the next 50 to 100 years, Dr Rohling said.

Current models of ice sheet activity do not predict rates of change this large. However, they also do not include many of the dynamic processes already being observed by glaciologists, the researchers said. “The average rise of 1.6m per century that we find is roughly twice as high as the maximum estimates in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, and so offers the first potential constraint on the dynamic ice sheet component that was not included in the headline IPCC values,” explained Dr Rohling. Last year, a separate study found sea level rise projections could be under-estimating the impact of human-induced climate change on the world’s oceans.

Stefan Rahmstorf, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, and colleagues plotted global mean surface temperatures against sea level rise, and found that levels could rise by 59% more than current forecasts.

[BBC News]

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestler’s sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.