(Com)Passion

An extract from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera:

Yes, it was unbearable for him to stay in Zurich imagining Tereza living on her own in Prague.
But how long would he have been tortured by compassion? All his life? A year? Or a month? Or only a week?
How could he have known? How could he have gauged it?
Any schoolboy can do experiments in the physics laboratory to test various scientific hypotheses. But man, because he has only one life to live, cannot conduct experiments to test whether to follow his passion (compassion) or not.


Woman Reading

La liseuse sur fond. Henri Matisse.

La liseuse sur fond. Henri Matisse.


Ode to a Lemon

By Pablo Neruda

Out of lemon flowers
loosed
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
essences,
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
emerges,
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
bazaars
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
brims
into the starry
divisions:
creation’s
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
alive:
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
altars,
aromatic facades.

So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
wells
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet

*

click here to read in Spanish


Pillar

Mark Borthwick

Mark Borthwick


Fernweh

Longing to Travel

Fernweh. Tacita Dean. 2009.

Fernweh. Tacita Dean. 2009.

“Fernweh is an improbable landscape made of cliffs, forest and dunes. I created it from four small discoloured nineteenth century photographs that I found in flea markets some time ago. The craggy horizon is a famous outcrop, called Sächsische Schweiz – Saxony’s Switzerland, which is near Dresden. The foreground is unknown sand and scrub.
Finding a path amongst the vegetation and boulders of the photographic distortions, I imagined Goethe’s voyage to Italy, particularly his parcours south of Rome on his way to Naples.

‘Fernweh’ is discontinued parlance for a longing to travel, an aching to get away. Different, I imagine, from ‘Wanderlust’, which is a more spirited desire to be in the landscape.

It is the etymological opposite of the German word, ‘Heimweh’, which means homesickness. We do not have a single word in English for this more considered desire to be gone. This work should be approached through its title.” Tacita Dean


Melancholia

The Soothsayer's Recompense. Giorgio de Chirico. 1913.

The Soothsayer’s Recompense. Giorgio de Chirico. 1913.

This painting is one of a series of melancholic cityscapes that de Chirico painted featuring a lone statue in a deserted Italian piazza. The antique statue represents the sleeping Ariadne, who according to Greek mythology was abandoned by her lover on the desert island of Naxos. The confrontation of the classical world with a modern steam engine in the distance creates an uneasy ambiguity of time and space.

(From Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Melancholia. Giorgio de Chirico. 1916

Melancholia. Giorgio de Chirico. 1916

Melancholy of a beautiful day. Giorgio de Chirico. 1913

Melancholy of a beautiful day. Giorgio de Chirico. 1913


Syntheses of Naples

Syntheses of Naples. Enrico Prampolini. before 1930.

Syntheses of Naples. Enrico Prampolini. before 1930.