Monday, December 31, 2012

Lucky New Year

"They always ate twelve raisins, one for each chime, to bring luck during the next year, a popular custom widely observed abroad. You're talking about rich countries, but do you really believe such a custom will bring you good fortune. I do not know, but perhaps my year would have been even worse had I not eaten those raisins. It was with such arguments that the man who has no God seeks gods, while he who was abandoned his gods invents God. One day we shall rid ourselves of both God and gods."

- Saramago, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (72)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring and All

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast—a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines—

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken

-- William Carlos Williams

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In places we would never to find (and perhaps did not wish to find)

"...It seemed to me that while we would never find answers to these fundamental questions, it was good for us to ask them anyway, that true happiness and meaning resided in places we would never find and perhaps did not wish to find but--whether we were pursuing the answers or merely pleasure and emotional depth--the pursuit mattered no less than the attainment, the asking as important as the views we saw through the windows of the car, the house, the ferry. With time, life--like music, art, and stories--would rise and fall, eventually to end, but even years later those lives are with us still, in the city views that flow before our eyes, like memories plucked from dreams."
- Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul 315-316