Veteran’s Day: asking ourselves what it must have been like to live through…

The same thing happens whenever we attempt, incredulously, to peer into the past, asking ourselves what it must have been like to live through World War Two, the Holocaust, or during Stalin’s purges, the years of the greatest terror, and it seems impossible, inconceivable, to survive even an hour in such a nightmare—but for those who weren’t that day’s direct victims of persecution, there was always more reality, always some kind of weather, they were either hungry or well fed, a dog was barking somewhere, a plane flew overhead, Mother was making pierogi in the kitchen, you had to think about buying winter boots, making the soup … They went for walks in the park, they forgot for a moment. They were in love, happily or otherwise, they read Madame Bovary or some other nineteenth-century novel, the radio played a Schubert sonata. Anyone who spent his or her childhood in Stalin’s Poland will remember the scent of the first spring pussy willows and the stammering priest who taught catechism in a cramped parish hall smelling of floor polish better than the gigantic portraits of leaders floating awkwardly, flapping over the May Day Parade. Even the fear that paralyzed so many in its time evaporates as the years pass, becomes difficult to imagine. Especially fear, fear, which is like a migraine—it disappears and leaves no trace. Although it may leave scars upon the soul.


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: In honor of all who served.
  • Photo: Daily Mail – “My hero big brother: Heart-wrenching moment a soldier’s grieving sister collapses in front of his grave at Arlington Cemetery”
  • Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski

5:00 P.M. Bell!


via Momentary Mood

Before you leave

Josh Farrow is an Illinois-born kid who played punk rock music as a teenager, eventually headed to Nashville in his early 20s to chase after his future wife — pulling triple-duty as lead singer, songwriter and ringleader.  He is inspired by the New Orleans funk of Allen Touissant and the Chicago blues of his hometown — chasing down success on his own terms, bringing with him a sound that’s smoky, soulful, and signature.

“Before You Leave,” was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.  

This old house feels empty
There’s nothing I can hear
But the sad and silent echo
Of better years

I feel something breathe
In this dead and hollow room
It’s just this heavy old heart
That’s hanging on you

So before you leave
Darling, won’t you le me down easy?
Before you go
Won’t you help me ease my achin’ bones?
So before you leave
Darling, please, won’t you take what’s left of me

Living like it’s dark out
And the breeze is running cold
It’s moving through me like a haunting ghost
A photograph by the beside, it’s all that’s left I own
It’s a picture of a woman and all I’ve known.
So before you leave
Darling, won’t you let me down easy?
Before you go
Won’t you help me ease my achin’ bones?
So before you leave
Darling, please, I’m begging
won’t you take what’s left of me

~ Josh Farrow, from “Before you Leave (Atwood Magazine, Oct 26, 2016)

Lightly child, lightly.

For the flight of a single butterfly
the entire sky is needed.

~ Paul Claudel,  1868 – 1955, French poet and dramatist.


Notes:

  • Photo Source: My Modern Met. France-based street artist Mantra transforms multi-story buildings into gigantic butterfly specimen cases in a series of clever, trick-of-the-eye 3D murals. The enormous, hyper-realistic butterflies appear to be set within wooden-framed boxes, recessed into the side of each building. Long shadows and subtle details, which suggest a transparent glass surface, create a convincing level of depth that helps to enforce the head-turning optical illusions.
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Truth

Culture replaces authentic feeling with words. As an example of this, imagine an infant lying in its cradle and the window is open, and into the room comes something, marvelous, mysterious, glittering, shedding light of many colors, movement, sound, a transformative hierophany of integrated perception. The child is enthralled, and then the mother comes into the room and says to the child, “That’s a bird, baby, that’s a bird.” Instantly the complex wave of the angel, peacock, iridescent, transformative mystery is collapsed into the word. All mystery is gone, the child learns this is a bird, this is a bird, and by the time we’re five or six years old all the mystery of reality has been carefully tiled over with words. “This is a bird, this is a house, this is the sky,” and we seal ourselves in within a linguistic shell of disempowered perception.

~ Terence McKenna, Ordinary Language, Visible Language and Virtual Reality 


Notes: Quote via cobotis. Photo: Ahmed via Eyeem via Newthom.com

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

Most of him is lost to us of course.

Mike Lankford, opening lines in his biography titled “Becoming Leonardo: : An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci:

“Most of him is lost to us, of course. The timbre of the voice, the thoughts visible in his eyes, the physical gestures when happy or sad, the way he walked, his smell, his hands, the habitual grimace his friends knew all too well but no one bothered to record—all that is lost. When he was young there was no reason to write any of it down, and when he was old he became too hard to describe, too strange. What to do with Leonardo?”


Walter, Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci, in an interview in By the Book in The New York Times Book Review, Nov 2, 2017:

Q: Which book was most helpful to you in working on your biography of Leonardo da Vinci?

A: Leonardo’s own notebooks. More than 7,000 pages still, miraculously, survive. Paper turns out to be a superb information-storage technology, still readable after five hundred years, which our own tweets likely (and fortunately) won’t be. Leonardo crammed every page with drawings and looking-glass notes that seem random but provide intimations of his mental leaps. Scribbled alongside each other, with rhyme if not reason, are math calculations, sketches of his devilish young boyfriend, birds, flying machines, theater props, eddies of water, blood valves, grotesque heads, angels, sawed-apart skulls, tips for painters, and studies for paintings. I love his to-do lists, which have entries like “Describe the tongue of the woodpecker.”


Painting: Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Mozart. People compare you to Mozart. What do you think of that?

It takes Alma Deutscher just four notes and forty seconds to improvise an impressive short piano sonata right before 60 Minutes cameras. That alone is remarkable – but she’s also just 12 years old…Alma, a musical prodigy who, by the age of 10, had composed a full-length opera. She’s also a virtuoso on the violin and piano, where the music flows from her fingers as effortlessly as the breath from her body.

Scott Pelley: There is another composer who had an opera premiere in Vienna at the age of 11. Mozart. People compare you to Mozart. What do you think of that?

Alma Deutscher:  I know that they mean it to be very nice to compare me to Mozart.

Scott Pelley: It could be worse.

Alma Deutscher: Of course, I love Mozart and I would have loved him to be my teacher. But I think I would prefer to be the first Alma than to be the second Mozart.

~ Scott Pelley, Watch a prodigy create – from four notes in a hat (CBS 60 Minutes, November 5, 2017)


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Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Zofia Nalkowska writes in Medallions that we’re never given reality in its entirety, it reaches us only in “fragments of events,” and this alone permits us to bear periods of historical catastrophes. But isn’t it just the opposite? We manage to survive great misfortunes, times of terror, only because we receive an excess of reality. Of course, tyrants waste no time, but a bird is still singing somewhere, a tram bell rings, rain begins falling, a neighbor asks to borrow a pinch of sugar, I hear my heart beating, stars burn at night as they always do. Someone plays cards in the suburbs, a bottle of rotgut stands in the grass, green tomatoes ripen in the sun.


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: A gunman walked into a small Baptist church in rural Texas on Sunday and opened fire, killing at least 25 people and turning a tiny town east of San Antonio into the scene of the country’s most recent mass horror. (NY Times, November 5, 2017)
  • Photo: Harvest to Table
  • Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski

Sunday Morning

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

Pat Schneider, The Patience of Ordinary Things, “Another River: New and Selected Poems


Notes: Poem – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: Colorinstantfilm

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