Monday, 10 November 2008
I come before you as if you were God.
I know, people don't usually do such sort of things
but I could never be bothered
with the small details of breathing.
If my body fails to adore you,
I will punish it.
My eyes, I will say to my eyes,
if you fail to see
through his blade of grass,
I will take you out of my eyes.
My mouth, I will say to my mouth,
if you fail to glow
beyond the word and its absence,
if you fail to open as the sin at dusk,
I will take you out of my mouth.
My blood and my bones,
I will say to you then,
if you fail to build his house,
his temple of snow,
his ark of sorrow,
his throne of wine
I will take you out of my blood and my bones
stripped of myself,
learn to be.
Und ich muss erzählen, ich werde erzählen, bald gibt es nichts mehr... Denn wenn I. nicht zu mir gehören sollte, wie ich zu ihm gehöre, dann wird er eines Tages existieren in einem gewöhnlichen Leben, und er wird davon gewöhnlich werden, nicht mehr gefeiert werden, aber I. will vielleicht nichts anderes als sein einfaches Leben, und ich habe ihm ... ein Stück Leben schwierig gemacht.
I. sagt lachend, aber nur einmal: Ich kann dort nicht atmen, wo du mich hinstellst, bitte nicht so hoch hinauf, trag niemand mehr in die dünne Luft, das rat ich dir, das lern noch für später! Ich habe nicht gesagt: Aber wenn soll ich noch nach dir? aber du denkst doch nicht, dass ich nach dir? ich lerne lieber noch alles für dich. Für sonst niemand mehr.
I have to find a way to make sense again, a way to continue. until then, silence, the most unbearable thing, is the only thing I - hope to - bear.
Monday, 3 November 2008
the untold stories
plunging their roots
into the bone of
poisonous and hungry
the unwritten sisters and
daughters of mine
agitating their dark foliage
to whose feet my untold
bodies of despair command
me to kneel
they put a rope around
they take my
they want revenge
they tear me
in search of
hear me out you
to whose feet I don't
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof's full stop.
Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?
The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.
Wislawa Szymborska (from The Joy of Writing)
and I don't believe in the joy of writing either, but then I am not a writer. nevertheless, I believe in the joy of photographing. no, maybe I am wrong: when the words desert us, we should turn to images and sounds and most of all, to gestures. the tenderness and yet ambiguity of a mortal hand.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
nu trebuie să povesteşti în poezie-am citit
un sfat către un tânăr poet-deci să nu povestesc
cum,foarte devreme, ea se scula dimineaţa,şi aşezându-se pe pat
aştepta să i se liniştească respiraţia,cu faţa în mâini-
să nu spun nimic despre chipul ei atâta de obosit
încât i se încovoiau umerii,în faţa oglinzii,când
se pieptăna încet.să nu-mi mărturisesc spaimele
lângă faţa ei înstrăinată,întoarsă de la mine.
să nu umblu cu versuri,ca şi cu oglinda în mâini
în care se răsfrâng acele dimineţi cu lumina cenuşie
dinainte de zori.poezia nu trebuie să fie reprezentare,
serie de imagini-aşa scrie.poezia
trebuie să fie vorbire interioară.adică
tot eu să vorbesc despre faţa ei înecându-se,căutându-şi
respiraţia?însă atunci ar fi numai felul în care eu vorbesc
despre faţa ei,despre mişcările încetinite prin straturi
de remuşcări tulburi,de gânduri doar ale mele,
ale imaginii ei-ar fi numai un chip,o imagine-
şi ea-adevărata ei fiinţă?
Mircea Ivănescu (Poezia e altceva?)
this piece of advice to a young poet - so I must not narrate
how, very early, she would get up in the morning,
and sit down on the bed,
and wait for her breath to be still, her face in her hands -
I must tell nothing of her face so tired
that her shoulders bent, in front of the mirror,
as she combed herself slowly. I must not confess my fears
to her estranged face, turned away from me.
I must not use verses, as I do the mirror
reflecting those mornings with the grey light
before dawn. Poetry must not be representation,
a series of images - so it is written. Poetry
must be inward talk. Now is it me
who should speak about her face choking, struggling
for breath? Then it would only be the way in which I speak
about her face, about the gestures slowed down through layers
of blurred remorses, of thoughts all mine,
of her image - it would be just a likeness, an image -
and she - her true self then?
(Is Poetry Something Else?, tr. Dan Duţescu)
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Next to my own skin, her pearls. My mistress
bids me wear them, warm them, until evening
when I´ll brush her hair. At six, I place them
round her cool, white throat. All day I think of her,
resting in the Yellow Room, contemplating silk
or taffeta, which gown tonight? She fans herself
whilst I work willingly, my slow heat entering
each pearl. Slack on my neck, her rope.
She´s beautiful. I dream about her
in my attic bed; picture her dancing
with tall men, puzzled by my faint, persistent scent
beneath her French perfume, her milky stones.
I dust her shoulders with a rabbit´s foot,
watch the soft blush seep through her skin
like an indolent sigh. In her looking-glass
my red lips part as though I want to speak.
Full moon. Her carriage brings her home. I see
her every movement in my head.... Undressing,
taking off her jewels, her slim hand reaching
for the case, slipping naked into bed, the way
she always does.... And I lie here awake,
knowing the pearls are cooling even now
in the room where my mistress sleeps. All night
I feel their absence and I burn.
Carol Ann Duffy (Warming Her Pearls)
Thursday, 23 October 2008
I am lost
the gold dripping off your fingers
the useless gold
making my hair heavy
too heavy for this life
the gold dripping off your feet
the weary gold
making my breasts heavy
too heavy for this death
all that gold
I used to be the gentian
growing out of your footstep
light and soft
I used to be
I turned into gold
that tired gold
all that gold
that you don't need
I am lost
... [ich] höre nicht auf, Ivan, der noch eine Viertelstunde schlafen darf, im Halbdunkel anzusehen, zu hoffen, zu betteln und zu meinen, einen Satz gehört zu haben, der nicht nur von der Müdigkeit gekommen ist, einen Satz, der mich versichert in der Welt ... aber da Ivan mich nicht liebt, mich auch nicht braucht, warum sollte er mich eines Tages lieben oder brauchen? Er sieht nur mein glatter werdendes Gesicht und freut sich, wenn er mich zum Lachen bringt, und er wird mir wieder erklären, dass wir gegen alles versichert sind, wie unsere Autos, gegen die Erdbeben und die Hurrikane, gegen die Diebstähle und die Unfälle, gegen die Feuerbrünste und gegen den Hagel, aber ich bin versichert in einem Satz und in sonst nichts. Die Welt kennt keine Versicherung fuer mich.
Ingeborg Bachmann (Malina)
for a, who humbled me by saying that my writing reminds her of Ingeborg's.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
I entered into him as into a rose garden. Young and spoiled, fluttering my black tides, my hair undone, my dance unfolding into the evening maze which was his. Easy the way out, I thought back then, I will teach the garden to surrender, the thorns to be soft on my thighs, the scents to need me, the time to be good and behave. And look at me, look at me now, after so many years, you who sit out there at your small tables and eat your dinners and make love to your wives and put your children to bed, all that quiet breathing in and out of 'life', or what you have decided to call as such. Barely alive, my dance folded back into the evening maze which is still his, I wait for the garden to let me out, I beg the time to 'resume his course', or what you have decided that time usually does.
There is no such thing as a merciful rose, I have learned, I who had thought to be the teacher, the imperial sister, the courtesan with the cruelest smile. He forgets that I am still there, I am sure of it. Only at times, when he talks matter-of-factly about the autumn of his soul and nobody can make out if he is serious or not, as it often happens, I wonder if he doesn't mean me.
Friday, 17 October 2008
i want to take this poem
on a long train journey
through old countries
and foreign stations
i want to forget it
so that it can find
its way back to me
dog eared and tattered
i want to hear it
wheezed in other languages
tobacco stained, bloodied
a survivor’s tale
i want to bring this poem to you
open it out in some bar or café
where you can see it sunlit
lined and underlined
and there we will hear the poem
in each others’ mouths
and there we will begin
to talk, to see, to know
swiss (it was living)
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Eliot (The Waste Land)
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Saturday, 27 September 2008
And I remember your words: 'You've already plunged so many knives into me by making me see all my flaws, my faults, my pitiful frailties'. In the silence that followed, I contemplated my hands. My hands had failed me. The glowing knives of love and song that I used to throw at you had missed. Your transparent mind, the shape of your heart, that my knives knew how to draw again and again, your dark body which I had taught a pale shade of white, a burning shade of gold, they were suddenly out of my reach.
But your devotion for me had also failed. Your longing for the soft bow of my hands in the air, your hunger for my sacred knives of mystery had faded away. Oh how I wished you to resist, to fight the growing loss of grace in my fingers, to lure me back into the spiral of throwing, that perfect act of abolition - death and rebirth of time - the only one possible between us. It would have been so easy. But you just stood there, blinking gently, as if through a haze, smiling in defeat, and I knew then that you hadn't even grasped what had happened. As the meaning dawned upon us, we had already forgotten the face of each other.
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Mit wechselndem Schlüssel
schliesst du das Haus auf, darin
der Schnee des Verschwiegenen treibt.
Je nach dem Blut, das dir quillt
aus Aug oder Mund oder Ohr,
wechselt dein Schlüssel.
Wechselt dein Schlüssel, wechselt das Wort,
das treiben darf mit den Flocken.
Je nach dem Wind, der dich fortstösst,
ballt um das Wort sich der Schnee.
you unlock the house, where
the snow of what’s silenced drifts.
Tuned to the blood that wells
from your eye or mouth or ear,
it changes, your key.
Changes your key, changes the word
that may drift with the flakes.
Tuned to the wind that pushes you back,
it gloms onto the word, that snow.
With a changing key,
trans. James Owen
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Dino Buzzati, The Tartar Steppe
Monday, 15 September 2008
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Nun, mein Lieber, laß uns das auf den Geist anwenden. Sieh den Menschen an in seiner Eingeschränktheit, wie Eindrücke auf ihn wirken, Ideen sich bei ihm festsetzen, bis endlich eine wachsende Leidenschaft ihn aller ruhigen Sinneskraft beraubt und ihn zugrunde richtet.
Vergebens, daß der gelassene, vernünftige Mensch den Zustand Unglücklichen übersieht, vergebens, daß er ihm zuredet! Ebenso wie ein Gesunder, der am Bette des Kranken steht, ihm von seinen Kräften nicht das geringste einflößen kann.
Goethe (Die Leiden des jungen Werther)
Now, my good friend, apply this to the mind; observe a man in his natural, isolated condition; consider how ideas work, and how impressions fasten on him, till at length a violent passion seizes him, destroying all his powers of calm reflection, and utterly ruining him.
It is in vain that a man of sound mind and cool temper understands the condition of such a wretched being, in vain he counsels him. He can no more communicate his own wisdom to him than a healthy man can instil his strength into the invalid, by whose bedside he is seated.
(The Sorrows of Werther)
Friday, 29 August 2008
And constantly in our thirst-haunted dreams we grope for the past in its every detail, in its every line and fold. Then it cannot but seem to us as if we had not had our fill of love and life; yet no regret brings back what has been let slip. Would that this mood might be a lesson to us for each moment of our happiness.
Ernst Jünger (On the Marble Cliffs)
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Lasă-mă să-ţi amintesc de gândul filozofului antic ce se întreba:
când aduni pe unu cu unu, care unu se adună cu celălalt?
Care unu devine doi?
Au stat muţi matematicienii în faţa unei asemenea întrebări
căci ei nu ştiu decât de mărimi comutative.
Dar când prietenul întâlneşte prietenul?
Constantin Noica, Trei poeme filozofice pentru S. (Poemul I)
let me remind you of the ancient philosopher’s thought
who used to ask himself: when one is added to one
which one is added to which one?
which one becomes two?
silent remained the mathematicians before such a question
because they only knew of commutative elements.
yet what happens when the friend meets the friend?
Constantin Noica, Three Philosophical Poems for S.
Constantin Noica: Romanian philosopher, close friend of Cioran and Ionesco, who chose to refuse the exile because he believed in resisting history through culture. He tried to set up the example of a Romanian paideia but there are many voices who accuse him now of having made a pact with the regime in order to be able to pursue his dream. As an anecdote, he used to select his disciples after a several hours’ discussion in German. Oh yes, and they were asked to learn ancient Greek, of course – and if possibly, Latin too. I think this makes A very happy :-).
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
The waves, as I drove back this afternoon, and the high foam, how it was suspended in the air before it fell... What is it that happens in that moment of suspension? It is timeless. In that moment (what do I mean) the whole life of the soul is contained. One is flung up - out of life - one is 'held', and then, - down, bright, broken, glittering on to the rocks, tossed back, part of the ebb and flow.
I don't want to be sentimental. But while one hangs, suspended in the air, held - while I watched the spray, I was conscious for life of the white sky with a web of torn grey over it; of the slipping, sliding, slithering sea; of the dark woods blotted against the cape; of the flowers on the tree I was passing; and more - of a huge cavern where my selves (who were like ancient sea-weed gatherers) mumbled, indifferent and intimate...