Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Coming, all is clear, no doubt about it.
Going, all is clear, without a doubt.
What, then, is all?

(13th century)


  1. Bună dimineaţa Roxana,
    guess that 'all' is the ability to be born again, after a night, after a winter, after a life, after a dream.

  2. this reminded me of Freidrich's painting. But perhaps it is also the first tree.

    Coming, going, the heart fading, soaring. That is all.

    hi ! :-)


  3. In my current pregnancy-brain state (i.e. braindead!) that little poem is going to confuse me all day, lol. I love the tree, right in front of me I have a little marble rock with a tree painted on it that looks just like it.

  4. Touché!
    It really stroke me. Thanks Roxana.


  5. "all" is everything ... and nothing.

  6. All is neither coming nor going
    Nor doubting
    All simply is . . .

  7. The beautiful foolishness of things: Such a tender and moving coming together of sensibilities, of visions! Part of me wants this as a book, so I can hold it, hold on to it, buts the elusiveness of this project, having to scroll up and down to read and the limpid quality of the images on the computer screen are seductive too. And actually the writing is limpid, it never illustrates, but throws open new spaces. The stillness of it all is mesmerising, there's a quiet breath between and through images and text which at times becomes a rasping one, a breath caught in one's throat, a swallowing back of tears, joyful, of sorrowful.

  8. observing (always) in silence (at times)

  9. beautiful roxana.. touching..

    yes.. coming like a breeze.. going like float clouds.. no constraints or restriction over the relationship.. ^,~

  10. subtle poem...just three lines, yet so dense! And what beautiful image accompanying it.

    Between coming and going, mind tries to understand and comprehend reality. It forms concepts and beliefs and fills itself. Maybe, "All" is that 'between'. It is full of doubts. Only at the extremes, I guess, can there be some consolation, can there be doubtlessness....coz only at the extremes either everything is clear, and nothing is cared for...mind starts "accepting" a tree as a tree.

    It is beautiful too! I am going to stare at it for some more time.

  11. I left a short comment the other day, a first reaction of the top of my head... but would like to add a little...

    Makes me think of the question : How many Zen buddhists does it take to change a lightbulb ?

    A. Three ; one to change the lightbulb, one to not change the lightbulb, and one to do neither...

    But also, I've come back a few times to gaze at your photo, and have left a few times sort of blank, numb, perplexed. This lone tree with nothing around to give any context seems to contain an infinity of desolate loneliness. A dying tree in a blizzard of fog and snow, cold, alone. I think there must be whole forests of such trees in the Ukraine near Tchernobyl, a spindly, dwindling tree... a Christmas tree that was cut down, propped up, now three weeks later the needles are dropping off, the branches wilting, stooping; it needs a forlorn gold star on top, or an angel, to speak of loss, of past time of gone, of death, of mourning... a tree that gree near Mount Saint Helens, that was blasted by a blistering wind of hot ash and furnace from the center of the earth heat, now standing desolate in a cinder field, crying our for birds to come and sunshine and green to return, but one knows that can never be, until another lifetime has passed, and the fog is thick, the fog obscures all from my eyes but this skeleton, this ghost, this faintest suggestion of what was, of what could be again if only we would stop burning vast quantities of oil daily, stop our vast factories of weapons and hate, this tree stands in the noxious clouds of the human race, will the earth look like this when the glaciers have melted, is this the steam bath of tropical heat even far north and far south in a few decades... yes, this lone tree speaks volumes to me, and I can only imagine that you saw something altogether different ???

    This image is perhaps performing a sort of Rorschach ink blot test for me, unleashing a stream of thoughts, that tell you much about your patient on the couch here... I hope that is not all so dim and dark and gloomy as to be off-putting, but this image speaks to my innermost fears... fear that mankind is doing unspeakable damage to this gleaming island of ours in the depths of a very black universe... and Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach comes to mind... "let us be true to one another..."

    PS and I apologize if the "the poor illiterate immigrant" comment on the post below was not clear, it was not clear to me either, but it just came out that way, I didn't mean "illiterate" in a literal sense, just a bit figuratively in myself feeling humbly, woefully, un-read sometimes, yet deeply wishing, wanting to understand more deeply... does that make sense ? That is what drives me out to photograph... searching for understanding, for the poetry at the root of our visual world... tying it back to words, words which sometimes seem so inadequate to express emotion, feelings...

  12. Robert, bună ziua! :-)

    i think this dark Bridge was really in need of such optimistic readers, always ready to celebrate the joy of life. i will post about that, right now :-)

  13. braindead! :-)
    i am sorry to having confused you, dear Sorlil, some brighter posts are on their way, i hope they will make up for that.

  14. ah, Manuel. i am deeply grateful for your comment.
    i thank you.

  15. dear S. - yes.
    (i am giving you a hug, in silence)

  16. dear Owen, thank you so much for interrupting your Brittany holiday which seems to go along so fine judging from the last series of beach pictures :-) - to come here and leave such a long and thoughtful comment - though i feel a little uneasy that my foggy tree has been haunting your sunny days, i am not sure anyone wants to be subjected to Rorschach tests during holiday :-)

    it is fascinating for me to follow your stream of thoughts regarding this image and the way you placed it in a precise historical, even geographical context. for it is indeed surprising to me, i had chosen this image exactly for opposite reasons, because it seemed to me to be able to translate, from a certain point of view, something essential about the human existence, beyond any contingency. as you say, "an infinity of desolate loneliness", but - for me - in a clearly metaphysical way, while your ecological reading is a historically and socially contextualized one. not that i am opposed to it, on the contrary, i couldn't agree more, i share the same concerns and fears.

    and indeed, the way we respond to an image (let's say, a work of art) tells us perhaps more about ourselves than about that work itself.

    ps. i absolutely love your explanation of the 'poor illiterate immigrants' and it strikes me that in this sense i could also fit the description, and perhaps many more of us.
    pps. zen monks changing a bulb!!!! :-)))

  17. Marjojo, my dear Marjojo, you will never know how precious your kind words are to me - and i am sure to Michael as well, i have emailed him your comment, i hope you won't mind. The Foolishness, as we call it tenderly, would be honoured to be met with such a gaze at any time, but even more so when this gaze is that of an artist whose sensitivity and deep empathy and openness for human frailty are so striking. an artist i admire so much.
    i am deeply grateful and find myself at a loss of words right now.

  18. Prospero, being grateful (always) for your silent (or no) presence.

  19. hi, Peter, i was certain this would agree with your newly regained zen consciousness :-) and how else could it be, after you just returned from Korea? i can imagine how nostalgic you must feel right now.

  20. ah, Jigar! i am truly touched by your comment - thank you so much for coming to my blog and telling me your thoughts. and that the image speaks to you as well, i am so happy!

    this very short yet so intense poem is what the Japanese call a 'death poem', a haiku written usually by Zen monks when they felt their death approaching. i don't know if you have a similar tradition in India?
    i don't think anyone could object to your succinct definition of human kind:
    "Between coming and going, mind tries to understand and comprehend reality. It forms concepts and beliefs and fills itself. Maybe, "All" is that 'between'." my only question would be: if the mind surely does this, what about the soul? (in our European tradition we are caught in this dualism, you know).

  21. très jolie je penserai à une fossile

  22. Yes, or at least I think so..Hmm..depends on what you mean by "really", really.

    Of course, it could just be an alien or an automated response, but then so could this. You ask such tricky questions!

    Take care,


  23. Roxanna,

    This duality is very much talked about in the east as well, but I am ignorant to the matters of the soul. I don't think soul forms concepts and beliefs, it is surely mind that does that.

    I think, if at all there is anything like a human soul, it does all the yearings. Yes, that may be. Our yearnings can be the trick of the soul. But you now, I cannot really say. As the person above me puts it well: you do ask tricky questions!